In the spring of 1863 my husband [Col. James Weston Langley] was doing garrison duty with his regiment [125th Illinois] at Nashville, Tennessee and had procured for me a permit to visit him in camp. This was a favor not easily obtained for at that time central and western Kentucky and middle Tennessee were practically military camps for friends and foe; and traveling was attended with danger and difficulty.
After many frightful rumors of rebel raids, delayed and destroyed trains, finally greatly to my relief, I reached Nashville, then the base of supplies for the army and near the front lines of the enemy. It was my privilege to prolong my stay for over two months when orders came directing the garrison to prepare for an advance movement of the army and further that all lady visitors should immediately return to the north.
Regretfully I bade goodbye to my husband and looked for the last time upon the military surroundings with which I had become so familiar and, with a heavy heart and many misgivings as to the possible result of the campaign, I sped homeward by way of Louisville and Indianapolis.
Before reaching Louisville, we learned that John Morgan, the famous rebel raider, was in our front, had captured and robbed a provision train and left it in smoking ruins on the track. In those days the very name of John Morgan and his "Rough Riders" produced an uneasiness in the breast of the bravest "boy in blue"óbut with a trainload of women, it created a panic so terrible that it was not quieted until we were safely landed on the north bank of the Ohio river.
With comparative comfort and assured safety, we reached Indianapolis where I purposed staying a few days with friends. I had been in the city but a few hours when suddenly as if an earthquake had shaken the place, pealing bells and screeching whistles gave note of danger and warning that set the people running to and fro in an agony of fear. Men and women rushed to the public square, inquiring the cause and to be told by others equally excited that the terrible, ever present John Morgan with something less than a million men, as terrible as himself, had crossed the river to the free soil of Indiana and was already within a few miles of its capitol and with sword and torch was devastating the country and levying tribute on its inhabitants. Whole families left their homes as if fleeing from a pestilence. Every wheeled vehicle from a lordly carriage to a mad cart was requisitioned to aid them in their flight.
In the midst of this increasing terror, Gov. Morton, who was well informed of the enemyís whereabouts, issued a bulletin containing the comforting assurance that Morgan was not near the city; had less than 4,000 men, and was in speedy retreat toward the Ohio river with the obvious intention of crossing it into Kentucky, but that every ford was guarded and his escape would be impossible.
Instantly the wail of terror was turned to shouts of joy so loud and long that the foremost in flight heard it and returned to the city and I never heard one of them admit a thought of fear or a doubt that Morganís bold raid would be his doom. Of course, I was not scared. The nearer danger forty-eight hours before had disciplined me to composure.
[Note: Celeste "Pet" Langley, baby daughter of J. W. Langley, accompanied her mother on this trip. She was given the nickname of "Pet" by the men of the 125th] Back side of Pet's Photo
Note: Clicking the links on this page will take you to photo's of
the people mentioned. Photo's of James and Jeanette J. (Young) Langley
were taken in 1888. Photo of Celeste "Pet" Langley was taken in 1864