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Henry Lane Stone, b. 1842
"Morgan's Men:" A Narrative of Personal Experiences
Louisville: Brandt & Fowler, Inc., [1919].

Summary

Henry Lane Stone was born in Bath County, Kentucky, on January 17, 1842, to Samuel and Sallie (Lane) Stone. Stone attended Kentucky and Indiana public schools and later studied law. He had just received his law license when the Civil War erupted, and he left his new career to join the Ninth Kentucky Cavalry. After the war, he married Pamela Lane Boune, with whom he had a daughter and a son. In 1866, Stone began practicing law again in Owingsville, Kentucky and served in several firms throughout the state before becoming city attorney of Louisville, Kentucky, in 1896. In 1905, he became general council of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad and served in this position until 1921. Stone died on May 31, 1922, in Louisville.

Stone's narrative of the Civil War, "Morgan's Men," was originally a speech given at a Confederate veterans' group meeting in 1919. The Free Public Library Press of Louisville, Kentucky, printed the story as a pamphlet at the suggestion of the Louisville Evening Post, which could "not find the space for this exciting and instructive story" (p. 1). The narrative begins with Stone leaving his family in Indiana, a free state, for Kentucky, where he could join a Confederate company. Stone explains that despite the fact that three of his brothers enlisted in the Federal army, he was "an earnest advocate of State rights," and "could not conscientiously go with them" (p. 4). Stone then describes his adventures fighting on the war's Midwestern fronts as a member of General John H. Morgan's famous cavalry; his capture and escape from multiple prisons; and his thoughts on the aftermath of the Civil War.

Stone's experiences as a soldier are particularly interesting, because in his travels through the North and the border states, he consistently encounters friends and family members on the Union side of the conflict. For example, when his company captures an Indiana regiment at Muldraugh's Hill, Indiana, Stone meets many prisoners who were "old friends and acquaintances" (p. 9). He reports, "I saw and conversed with a number of them while prisoners in our charge, and had my fellow soldiers show them as much kindness as possible under the circumstances" (p. 9). When Stone himself is captured, Federal troops take him to a prison "within forty miles of the home of [his] parents" (p. 11).

Stone's escape from this prison camp sets in motion a series of events that reads more like a runaway slave's narrative than a confederate soldier's memoir. Stone first heads back home, to "the very house" of his birth, where he is recaptured and taken for a time to a dungeon-like cell with "chains which were said to have been used in the confinement of runaway slaves before the Civil War" (p. 15). When he escapes again, he flees toward Canada, and arrives safely only because he hides in the engine room of the boat on which he travels.

He stays in Canada for the winter of 1863-64 before deciding that he must return to the battlefield. When he leaves Canada, he disguises himself by dyeing his hair, mustache, and beard black. He reaches "Morgan's Men" at Greenville, Tennessee, just in time for the battle in which Morgan is killed. The already forlorn troops then head to Georgia to follow in the wake of Sherman's march through the South near the end of the war. They hear of General Robert E. Lee's war-ending surrender while they are in Greensboro, North Carolina, but Stone eventually surrenders in Indiana and is paroled in May 1865.

Stone devotes the rest of his narrative to reflecting on his experiences in the war's aftermath. According to the pamphlet's preface, the Evening Post was particularly impressed with Stone's "vivid" portrayal of Morgan's command, as well as his attention to "the part played in the affairs of Kentucky and the Union by these soldiers of Morgan's command after the war was over" (p. 1). Stone points out, for example, that many of the soldiers with whom he served went on to be lawyers, doctors, or statesmen. He also notes that the United States, "with peace and prosperity throughout the land and all sections again united in fraternal feeling," emerged from the Civil War a greater nation and "beyond question the greatest country in the world" (p. 35). This preeminence, Stone suggests, allowed the United States to fight so successfully for "human liberty" during World War I (p. 36).

Works Consulted: "Henry Lane Stone," The National Cyclopedia of National Biography, Vol.19, New York: James T. White, 1926, p. 96.

Jennifer L. Larson

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