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Second Battle of Cynthiana – June 11-12, 1864

Two years later, Morgan’s Raiders, on their Last Kentucky Raid with 1,200 men, again attacked a Union garrison at Cynthiana.  The battle took place in three locations: The covered bridge downtown, Keller’s Bridge and the present site of Battle Grove Cemetery.  On June 11th, Cynthiana was defended by 300 men of the 168th Ohio and the local Home Guards under Colonel George W. Berry.  At dawn, Morgan attacked at the covered bridge and from the southeast. The Union troops first retreated to the depot, and then fled toward Pike Street, where they fired from buildings. To flush out Union soldiers, Morgan ordered several buildings to be set fire.  The flames spread rapidly, consuming thirty-seven downtown structures.  Surrounded at the courthouse and elsewhere, the Union soldiers surrendered.

The same morning at dawn, unaware of Morgan’s proximity, 600 soldiers of the 171st Ohio under General Edward Hobson arrived by train one mile north of Cynthiana at Keller's Bridge. The Confederates spotted them and a battle was fought in a bend of the South Fork Licking River near the railroad bridge. After three hours of intense fighting, Hobson surrendered.

Expecting an attack from the direction of Paris by Union General Stephen Burbridge, Morgan placed his dismounted cavalry one mile east of Cynthiana on the Millersburg Pike on Kimbrough Hill, which included the later site of Battle Grove Cemetery. Burbridge, with 2,400 men and two artillery pieces, arrived at dawn June 12th on the Millersburg Pike and attacked.  Morgan’s center and left line soon collapsed from flanking Union cavalry.  Morgan's right line held somewhat, but both a determined Union frontal attack and a cavalry flanking movement compelled the Rebels to retreat.  Morgan escaped and his men who were not captured dispersed in all directions, ending the last Civil War engagement in Harrison County.

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