"A Pretty Close Call"

"A Pretty Close Call" (HM2AJ8)

Location: Bardstown, KY 40004 Nelson County
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 48.842', W 85° 27.922'

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Christmas Raid

—December 29, 1862 —

General John Hunt Morgan, his second in command Col. Basil Duke, and other senior officers were adjourning a meeting at the Hamilton Hall House near Lebanon Junction when their command of 4,000 was surprised by an attack made by 3,000 Union troops under the command of Colonel John Marshall Harlan.

During the fight a shell fragment struck Col. Duke, who fell to the ground. Capt. Tom Quirk picked up the unconscious Duke and brought him to the home of Dr. Gus Cox. Reverend John Cunningham was at the house when Duke was helped upstairs and laid on a thick pallet on the floor, where he was attended to by Dr. Thomas Alten, a surgeon in Morgan's army from nearby Taylorsville.

Reverend Cunningham wrote, "I stood by and witnessed the treatment of the distinguished patient. The wound was on the right side of the head and when the doctor had washed the blood from it, I was invited to examine a cannon's work. The wound was supposed to be made by a small piece of bursted shell on a small cannon. A piece of skin and bone behind the ear were gone. If the direction of the flying bit of shell had been directly from the right of the victim, it would have passed through the lower part of the head and death would have been instantaneous. As I bent over the prostrate warrier looking at his wound, he said in a somewhat cheerful tone, 'that

was a pretty close call." H e did not complain or in any way indicate that his wound was a painful one."

The next day Col. Duke, carrier in a wagon accompanied Morgan's command ontheir return to Tennessee. Duke recovered from his wound, served the remainder of the war, and later wrote several wartime histories, including The History of Morgan's Cavalry. He died in 1916 at the age of 78.

Col. Basil Duke
After the Civil War, Duke resumed his law practice in Louisville. He was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1869. Duke also served as a commissioner for the National Park at Shiloh.

Dr. Augustus "Gus" Cox House
Basil Duke was treated in the upstairs north bedroom of this house, which stood on this lot until 1967.
HM NumberHM2AJ8
Placed ByKentucky Heartland Civil War Trails Commission
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, August 18th, 2018 at 2:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 635080 N 4186291
Decimal Degrees37.81403333, -85.46536667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 48.842', W 85° 27.922'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 48' 50.52" N, 85° 27' 55.32" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)502
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 324 N 3rd St, Bardstown KY 40004, US
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