Gallant, Soldierly, and Deadly
Confederate Raider Capt. Bill
Marion Shot Down In Manton
Washington County, Kentucky
By Gerald W. Fischer - 2013
Stanley Young of Nelson County, Kentucky, was born in 1831.
When Stanley was a child, he visited the area of Meade County.
His mother's brother, William Marsh, resided there. While visiting
Marsh, St. Clair Young, Stanley's father, and Marsh got into
an argument at the dinner table. Marsh grabbed a carving knife,
and while Stanley looked on, Marsh stabbed St. Clair Young to
death. Stanley was nine years old, but vowed to avenge his father's
murder. His chance came in Bran-denburg, Kentucky, nine years
later. It was court day and Uncle Marsh was standing in front
of the Ashcraft Hotel talking with Dr. Owings. Owings was one
of the State Representatives who later voted against secession.
Owings was leaning against a sign pole and Uncle Marsh was standing
on the walk facing Owings with his back to the hotel. Young
crept up the back steps of the hotel, making his way onto the
balcony overlooking the two men. He took careful aim and fired
his pistol into the top of Marsh's head, killing him instantly.
Young ran up the hill to the courthouse where his horse was tied
and rode away but was later captured and sent to prison.
Young returned years later as a Confederate guerrilla. Said to
be distantly related to the John Young Brown family, and not
wanting to bring more shame on his kin, Young adopted the sobriquet
of Capt. Bill Marion. He was gallant, soldierly, and deadly.
This dashing Confederate Raider wore a white pheasant feather
in his hat and occasionally polk leaves, and ostrich plumes.
He led a raid of 75 guerrillas against the 100-man Home Guard
in Brandenburg, Meade County. Later he led 12 guerrillas including
Frank James and Peyton Long, two of Quantrill's Raiders, on a
raid to Bewleyville, Breckinridge County, where they were ambushed
by a large Union force. Long was, mortally wounded, but, Marion
rode by his side, steadying him in the saddle, while continuing
to fight. Marion and James held back the Union Cavalry until
nightfall, when they rested and Peyton Long died. They slipped
away back to Nelson County, and safety. Marion took part in the
Simpsonville Raid, and many other actions, and was known as a
loyal leader who would battle desperately to protect his men.
He along with Sue Mundy, Henry Magruder, and Oscar "One
Armed" Sam Berry made up the redoubtable fearsome foursome
of Kentucky Confederate guerrilla raiders.
In January of 1865, William Clarke Quantrill and his raiders,
including Frank James and the Younger brothers, made their way
to Kentucky. Sue Mundy was getting a lot of press coverage by
George Prentice, editor of the Louisville Daily Journal. Quantrill
wanted to join guerrilla, Sue Mundy's band, but Mundy was suspicious
of Quantrill's men who wore stolen Union uniforms. On Marion's
orders, Quantrill was held in camp under guard while Marion led
a raid with Quantrill's men. The raid took the better part of
a week, and covered the Danville and Midway areas, as well as
others. After the raid, Marion reported that "he would ride
into any danger with such men." From that time on Marion,
Mundy, Berry, Quantrill, Magruder, and others would join together
in military actions. One of the independent scouts, who caused
such an uproar and fought against these Confederates often and
savagely, was Captain Edwin Terrell. To say that Terrell had
a checkered past would be an understatement. He killed his first
man while he was a bare-back rider in Dan Costello's Circus.
When he was a teenager in Baltimore, Maryland, he angered a bartender
when he complained about the bourbon whiskey he was served. The
bartender fired a double-barreled shotgun at Terrell, wounding
him, but Terrell jumped upon the bar, wrestled the gun away,
and killed the bartender. Terrell joined the Confederate Army
but got into trouble and reportedly killed his commanding officer
over his laying hands on Terrell. Sentenced to death, Terrell
escaped, made his way north, and joined the Union Scouts hunting
for guerrillas. He was a contemptible but deadly adversary.
In Meade County, March 12, 1865, Sue Mundy, H. C. Magruder, and
Henry Medkiff were captured by the renowned guerrilla hunter
Major Cyrus Wilson. On March 23rd, Wilson was on his way to Louisville
with the three captives. Marion was in Meade County when he sent
a telegraphed message addressed to General Palmer in care of
George Prentice of the Louisville Daily Journal threatening to
kill 50 Union men if his friend Sue Mundy or his men were harmed.
Prentice did not print the telegram until March 25th, ten days
after Mundy was hanged. There was little question that he would
avenge the execution of his friend. This may have caused General
Palmer to send for "Bad Ed" Terrell a dangerous, but
capable Independent Scout. Palmer later said that meeting with
Terrell always made him uneasy, and he kept a loaded revolver
ready in case he needed to protect himself. By his own admission,
Terrell had killed 17 men even accepting the contract killing
of Hercules Walker, a Jefferson County outlaw. Palmer offered
a fine horse to Terrell if he would bring in a certain guerrilla.
Terrell asked if it mattered dead, or alive? Palmer answered
his question with a look. The guerrilla was Bill Marion, who
was operating in the Fairfield, Bloomfield, and Chaplin areas,
a Confederate leaning region. The Confederate battle flag waved
over Bloomfield throughout the war.
On Thursday April 13, 1865, Ed Terrell and 16 of his scouts met
Bill Marion and his 30 men on the road running between Bloomfield
and Taylorsville. Although outnumbered, he charged the guerrillas
and for a time, kept up a lively fight. Terrell finally retreated
to a barn. Marion and Terrell who hated each other swore what
they would do, if each ever caught the other. Under a flag of
truce, Marion sent Terrell a message to surrender because Quantrill
was on his way to the fight with 40 men. Terrell sent back the
message, "Come and take me." He then dispatched a
man to Bardstown for reinforcements. Captain Robert H. Young
and 35 men of the 54th Kentucky Mounted Infantry, were on their
way to the fight. Young with his men arrived at the scene of
the action just after Quantrill arrived with his men. After
a brisk skirmish, the guerrillas were routed and closely pursued
by Terrell and Young's men. Marion was wounded in the thigh,
and had a tuft of hair shot from his head. There were two Union
casualties and three Confederates wounded. Terrell bragged to
the citizens of Bloomfield that the next time they saw him he
would be wearing Marion's new, custom-made, high-top-ped riding
boots. That same night, the Confederates ambushed Cyrus Wilson's
troops, the men who captured Sue Mundy, killing one of his men
and wounding another. On April 15th, Captain Penn of the Casey
County Guard, was ordered to Springfield by General Palmer's
adjutant, General E. H. Hobson. There he would combine forces
with Wilson and Terrell's Independent Scouts. General Palmer
had called out his "Special Forces" to kill Captain
Bill Marion, now the state's most dangerous Confederate raider.
On Saturday April 16, 1865, Cyrus Wilson and George W. Penn each
with 50 men, and Ed Terrell with his scouts, rendezvoused in
Springfield. A plan was hatched to trap Marion and his men reportedly
traveling to Washington County. Intelligence said Marion would
come toward Manton. Their combined force numbered about 120,
and they decided to split forces and approach Manton from both
roads leading there. If successful, their plan would intercept
Marion on either road, and if neither party made contact they
would reform in Manton.
Before Captain Penn reached Manton he dispatched Sgt. George
W. Hughes with 12 men to the Hard Rock Still-House, near the
Manton church and school on the road to Loretto Station. Captain
Marion with four men rode up to the still-house, 150 yards from
Hughes' picket line inquiring whose men they were, and then firing
on them. Marion dismounted. Hughes' men returned fire, and Marion
fell. Four others fled in different directions and got away.
Terrell and Penn came up and pursued the four guerrillas until
Terrell left Penn and returned to the body. Marion was identified
by the wounds he incurred on April 13th. Terrell, who fought
many bloody engagements with Marion, took the body to Louisville
claiming the kill and his reward. Penn's men were armed with
Ballard Carbine rifles, and Terrell's men with pistols. Marion
was shot with a rifle ball causing a dispute about who killed
Marion. It is reported that several days later Terrell was seen
in Bloomfield wearing Marion's new riding boots. Terrell also
took a heavy gold ring from Marion and wore it until his own
death three years later.
On May 10, 1865, at a battle near Wakefield Station, in Spencer
County, "Bad Ed" Terrell inflicted a mortal wound to
William Clarke Quantrill. Ed Terrell died of the wounds he suffered
at the hands of a posse in Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky
after the war. He and another man tried to bluff the town with
their pistols and threats of death. His bluff was called. He
died in 1868 at the age 23 years. He was barely 20 years old
at the killing of Marion and Quantrill. Upon his death, "Bad
Ed" Terrell bequeathed the only things he truly valued,
to his brother, his revolvers and Marion's gold ring.
Acknowledgement: Many thanks to Springfield Mayor John Cecconi,
Lori Smith, and Historian Nell Haydon for their time and help
with this story. If anyone has more to share, contact Gerald
Fischer, 560 Roach Road, Webster, KY 40176; firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Brief History Of Manton
The town of Manton was formerly known as Blincoe. It is an
unincorporated community in Washington County near the intersection
of Washington, Marion, and Nelson counties. Both names Manton
and Blincoe were commonly used as late as 1896. The town was
originally named for Richard Blincoe, a resident. The name Manton
was derived from two names, Mandt and Harrington. William F.
Mandt was married to Mary A. Harrington. Mandt owned several
coal mines in Eastern Kentucky. In 1844 Holy Rosary, a brick
mission church and cemetery, was established in the town on Hardin's
Creek. Newton's grocery store has been open there for at least
80 years. A park, the old school house, several homes, a historic
brick house built originally as a hotel, the church, cemetery,
and the store comprise this picturesque Kentucky town.
There were two distilleries in Manton owned by Price and Thompson.
There was a low distillery, and another sitting high on a hill.
They produced "Hard Rock Whiskey" and other brands.
Anecdotal evidence states "Cock of the Walk" was also
produced, and it is believed by some that the first Jim Beam
Whiskey was made there. A still house for the low distillery
was located across from the church yard near where the old school
now sets. It is here where Bill Marion was killed. There is no
monument to commemorate that event.
During the Civil War, men from Manton were mustered into the
Union Army's 10th Kentucky Infantry. General John Hunt Morgan
rode through the area on some of his raids. Confederate guerrilla
Henry Clay "Billy" Magruder and 17 men traveled through
Manton in the winter of 1864. Later Magruder rescued Captain
Marion who was being chased by Terrell. In that engagement near
Bloomfield, Marion shot and badly wounded Terrell. Told by a
doctor he was going to die from the wound, Terrell replied, "You're
a d----- liar." And he was. Magruder went to Manton to
reconnoiter a force of 20 soldiers reported to be Federals, but
found they were guerrillas being led by Captain Pratt. Manton
is a small Kentucky town richly steeped in history, and a true