Major George Rue
Major George Rue
801. July 30, 2003 -- Morgan captor lived in relative obscurity in Hamilton:
Journal-News, Wednesday, July 30, 2003
Morgan captor lived in relative obscurity in Hamilton
By Jim Blount
John Hunt Morgan gained fame during the Civil War as a Confederate cavalry commander. Hundreds of books and magazine articles have heralded his exploits, including his daring raid into Indiana and Ohio in July 1863. In contrast, George W. Rue, Morgan's captor, lived in relative obscurity in Hamilton for about 45 years after the Civil War.
Major Rue accepted Brigadier-General Morgan's surrender Sunday, July 26, 1863, in Columbiana County, near the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, ending Morgan's 1,006-mile, 25-day raid from Tennessee into Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio.
By telegram, Rue's modest report said "I captured John Morgan today at 2 p.m., taking 336 prisoners, 400 horses and arms." Morgan had started his northern sweep July 2 with 2,460 troopers.
After his capture, Morgan and some of his officers were sent to the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus, but he didn't stay long. The evening of Nov. 26-27, 1863 -- through methods still in doubt -- Morgan and a few of his men escaped after about four months in captivity and returned to the Confederacy.
Morgan was killed at Greeneville, Tenn., Sept. 4, 1864, taking to his grave the answers to many questions and mysteries associated with his daring dash through three states, including a threatened attack on Hamilton the night of July 13-14, 1863.
His captor, Major Rue, was born June 8, 1828, at Harrodsburg, Ky., one of seven children. In June 1846, at age 18, he enlisted in Captain R. B. Thompson's Second Kentucky Infantry. He served under General Zachary Taylor in the Mexican War, fighting in the Battle of Buena Vista. Rue was wounded in the right eye, possibly losing sight in that eye.
He returned to Harrodsburg to recuperate and remained in Mercer County until 1854, working as a builder or carpenter. That year Rue moved to Dayton, Ohio, and married Elizabeth Brown, 27, who died seven weeks after giving birth to their son, Isaac Rue.
In 1855, he moved to Glendale, Ohio, for about eight months before relocating to Hamilton. He was married Dec. 20, 1855, to Amanda Kline, who died in Hamilton in 1889. They were the parents of a daughter, Mary Rue.
Rue was mustered into the Ninth Kentucky Cavalry Aug. 22, 1862, and saw Civil War action Oct. 8 in the Battle of Perryville, Ky.
In early July 1863, he was involved in the pursuit of Morgan's raiders when he became ill. He resumed the chase from Cincinnati July 14.
Rue was mustered out Aug. 21, 1863 -- less than a month after capturing the Confederate leader -- upon completion of his one-year term. He apparently immediately returned to Hamilton then, although evidence is sketchy.
After the Civil War, Rue was a prominent citizen and active in Democratic Party politics in Butler County. He was one of the first door-to-door mail delivery men in Hamilton, but his prime business interests were construction and real estate,
He was married a third time in 1895 to Marietta (Mary) Miller Seward. Rue, then a resident of 236 North 11th Street, in Hamilton died April 3, 1911, at age 82.
He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, but there is no grave marker mentioning his Civil War feat of capturing the legendary General Morgan, ending the "panic [that spread] across southern Ohio for 23 days" 140 summer ago.
(This column is the last of a six-part series on Morgan's 1863 raid into Ohio.)