On July 8, 1863, Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan and approximately 1,800 cavalrymen commandeered two steamboats and crossed into Indiana, with the intentions of distracting Union forces from Confederate actions in Tennessee. After a quick skirmish with local militia near their landing site in Mauckport, Indiana, Morgan’s forces continued deeper into Indiana. The next day, the Harrison County Home Guard, led by Colonel Lewis Jordan, caught up with the Confederate contingent a mile south of Corydon and engaged in Indiana’s only Civil War battle. Outnumbered and outfought, Jordan retreated to Corydon and surrendered after only an hour of fighting. Although short, the battle left fifteen dead and almost sixty wounded. Morgan gradually made his way to Corydon with 355 captured Home Guard members, releasing the troops before plundering the city.
After leaving Corydon, Morgan went north, hitting the small towns of Vernon, Dupont, Pekin, Salem, and Versailles before leaving Indiana on July 13th. He was eventually defeated in the July 23, 1863 Battle of Salineville in Ohio. The raid caused the citizens of Indiana a considerable amount of anxiety, not to mention a considerable cost in damaged property and payments to militia members--but Morgan’s actions had little impact otherwise on the state or the Civil War’s final outcome.
The Battle of Corydon Memorial Park marks the spot where Harrison County’s Home Guard skirmished with Morgan’s troops. The park includes commemorative markers, a replica log cabin, and a walking trail. It also hosts an annual re-enactment of the battle near the end of June. The battle site was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.