Battle of Tebbs Bend

Coordinates: 37°14′42″N 85°21′50″W / 37.24497°N 85.36394°W / 37.24497; -85.36394
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Battle of Tebbs Bend
Part of the American Civil War

Overview of the battlefield
DateJuly 4, 1863 (1863-07-04)
Location37°14′42″N 85°21′50″W / 37.24497°N 85.36394°W / 37.24497; -85.36394
Result Union victory
Confederate States of America Confederate States of America United States United States of America
Commanders and leaders
John Hunt Morgan Orlando H. Moore
800-1000 cavalry[1]
4 Artillery pieces
5 companies of the 25th Michigan Infantry (approx. 200 men)
Casualties and losses
35 killed
45 wounded
6 killed
23 wounded
Battle of Tebbs Bend
Battle of Tebbs Bend is located in Kentucky
Battle of Tebbs Bend
Battle of Tebbs Bend is located in the United States
Battle of Tebbs Bend
Nearest cityCampbellsville, Kentucky
Area376 acres (152 ha)
NRHP reference No.99000900[2]
Added to NRHPJuly 28, 1999

The Battle of Tebbs Bend (or Tebb's Bend or Green River Bridge) was fought on July 4, 1863, near the Green River in Taylor County, Kentucky during Morgan's Raid in the American Civil War. Despite being badly outnumbered, elements of the Union Army thwarted repeated attacks by Confederate Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan's dismounted cavalry.


Confederate Brigadier General Morgan and 2,460 Confederate cavalrymen rode west from Sparta in middle Tennessee on June 11, 1863, intending to divert the attention of the Union Army of the Ohio from Southern forces in the state. Morgan moved northward on June 23, bound for Kentucky. On the night of July 2, he crossed the rain-swollen Cumberland River. He advanced into Kentucky, proceeding as far as Cane Valley, camping between Campbellsville and Columbia. The next day, he planned to cross the Green River at Tebbs Bend, guarded by five companies of about 200 men of the 25th Michigan Infantry led by Colonel Orlando Hurley Moore (July 13, 1827 to October 31, 1890). Moore had erected earthworks in the woods near the river crossing, guarded by a line of abatis of felled trees and several forward rifle pits. Moore aimed to protect the Lebanon-Campbellsville-Columbia Turnpike, a vital supply line and the easiest route for Morgan to reach Louisville.

Morgan divided his force, sending the bulk of his cavalry to flank the small garrison and cut off their avenue of retreat. At sunrise on July 4, Union pickets opened fire on approaching enemy cavalrymen. Soon, Morgan's artillery answered, wounding two Union soldiers in the rifle pits. About 7 a.m., Morgan called for a cease-fire and sent forward three officers under a flag of truce, demanding that Moore surrender, wishing to avoid further bloodshed. However, the Union commander refused, and firing resumed. Sharpshooters soon silenced Morgan's artillery battery of four guns.

An illustration of the battle

Morgan sent forward two dismounted regiments under Col. Adam R. Johnson, about 400 troopers, who easily overran the advanced rifle pits. However, the attack stalled under heavy fire from U.S. soldiers behind the abatis. Morgan then deployed the 5th Kentucky Cavalry from Col. Basil W. Duke's brigade to support Johnson. Over three hours, Morgan attempted a total of eight separate attacks, with each one being repulsed, including the flanking column. Finally acknowledging that he could not seize the fortifications, Morgan sent another delegation under a flag of truce to Colonel Moore to request permission to collect his wounded and bury his dead. That task completed, Morgan withdrew southward along the bluffs of the Green River, finally crossing the bend at Johnson Ford and heading back towards Campbellsville. The next day, he would fight again at the Battle of Lebanon.


Morgan lost 35 killed and 45 wounded, while Moore counted 6 killed and 23 wounded. Of significance, among Morgan's casualties were 24 experienced officers, a particular target of the Michigan sharpshooters.

A Confederate Monument which says, "They have not been forgotten by their countrymen," was erected at the Tebbs Bend Battlefield in 1872. In 1997, the site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places; the battlefield was listed in 1999.

150th anniversary[edit]

On June 8, 2013, some two hundred persons attended a re-enactment of the battle to observe the 150th anniversary of the fighting. A new marker dedicated to Confederate Private Frank Voss of Maryland was unveiled, with some of his descendants present. The ceremony was planned by historian Betty Jane Gorin-Smith and other Tebbs Bend Battlefield Association members, including its president, Cheryl Tillery. "We are here to remember those men who gave the full measure of devotion for causes in which they sincerely believed," said Gorin-Smith.[3]

Morgan asked for a truce so that the Confederates could bring in the injured and dead, who were interred in a mass grave. "It is said that the blood ran down through the yard into the turnpike road," Gorin-Smith recalled.[3] Only the Confederate cemetery remains at Tebbs Bend; the bodies of U.S. soldiers were buried near the Green River stockade and later removed to the Lebanon National Cemetery in Lebanon, Kentucky. Gorin-Smith read a roll call of the dead buried in the cemetery and acknowledged the unknown soldiers who perished there as well.[3]

According to a century-old newspaper clipping, on June 3, 1911, some four thousand attended a 48th anniversary remembrance of the battle. This particular gathering was reportedly the largest in the history of the Green River Valley.[3]

See also[edit]


  • Duke, Basil Wilson, A History of Morgan's Cavalry. Cincinnati, Ohio: Miami Printing and Pub. Co., 1867. On-line version[permanent dead link]
  • Gorin-Smith, Betty Jane, 'Morgan Is Coming!': Confederate Raiders in the Heartland of Kentucky. Louisville, Kentucky: Harmony House Publishers, 2006, 452 pp., ISBN 978-1-56469-134-7.
  • Horwitz, Lester V., The Longest Raid of the Civil War. Cincinnati, Ohio: Farmcourt Publishing, Inc., 1999. ISBN 0-9670267-3-3.
  • Mowery, David L., Morgan's Great Raid: The Remarkable Expedition from Kentucky to Ohio. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2013. ISBN 978-1-60949-436-0.
  • Ramage, James A., Rebel Raider: The Life of General John Hunt Morgan. Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky, 1986. ISBN 0-8131-1576-0.
  • U.S. War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 70 volumes in 4 series. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1880–1901. On-line version


  1. ^ "The Battle of Tebbs Bend". Tebbs Bend Battlefield Association. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d "Calen McKinney, "150 years later: Remembering the Battle of Tebbs Bend", June 14, 2013". Central Kentucky News-Journal. Retrieved June 17, 2013.

External links[edit]