What higher comply with as much as the cannonball thriller than to narrate the story of the person who fired the shot. I discussed that it was Capt. Jerome Clarke. Clarke was John Hunt Morgan’s chief of artillery and would have given the order to fireside the shot. He turned well-known for different causes following the demise of Basic Morgan.
Brigadier Basic Hector M. Clarke and spouse Mary Hail gave start to a son, Marcellus Jerome Clarke, Aug. 25, 1845, in Simpson County, Kentucky. He was an orphan being raised by an aunt by age 10.
When the Warfare Between the States broke out, 16-year-old Jerome joined the Accomplice Military.
His household was well-connected, however not rich. His uncle was a Kentucky congressman and he was associated to the Confederacy’s “Grey Ghost,” John Singleton Mosby.
Clarke was described by these round him as having “eyes giant and darkish, hair black as a raven’s wing that hung in clusters concerning the shoulders, a dreamer, little educated however literate, an avid reader and one who was of a stressed nature, daring, daring, fearless and courageous as a lion but light as a young lady.” Actually, he was recognized to decorate as a lady to glean info from unsuspecting Union officers.
He was a person who would go down in historical past as a legend referred to as “Sue Mundy.” Books have been written about Sue Mundy and his gang, however was Clarke actually a person or was he a lady?
On July 4, 1861 at Camp Burnett close to Clarksville, Tennessee, Clarke was mustered into Firm B, 4th KY Infantry. He educated as an artilleryman and fought at Fort Donelson, lobbing cannonballs at Union gunboats on the Cumberland River. The federals beneath then-unknown U.S. Grant prevailed, inflicting an “unconditional give up.” On the give up, Clarke was among the many prisoners taken to Camp Morton close to Indianapolis. After six-months of captivity, Clarke was exchanged in a prisoner swap.
He served for a time with Henry Magruder, a fellow Kentuckian who had additionally joined the trigger at age 17. Magruder was captured at Fort Donelson and escaped captivity. He joined the private bodyguard of Accomplice Basic Albert Sidney Johnston, serving beneath him on the Battle of Shiloh. Following Basic Johnston’s demise, Magruder transferred to Basic John Hunt Morgan’s Kentucky Cavalry. He took half in Morgan’s raid into Ohio and Indiana; and as soon as once more escaped seize. He was ultimately capable of cross the Ohio River again into Kentucky.
Clarke strongly resembled Magruder not solely in seems to be, however in lots of their feats in addition to serving collectively from the time of their enlistments. The resemblance of their exploits turned so intertwined that they’ve change into confused over time.
Clarke too, eagerly sought out and enlisted in John Hunt Morgan’s famed 2nd Kentucky cavalry. Morgan, the “Kentucky Cavalier,” was a dashing and standard determine within the South. Extra importantly to Clarke, he was a fellow Kentuckian, and beloved by his males who adopted him willingly. An knowledgeable horseman because the age of 5, Clarke longed to mount up and trip with “Morgan’s Males,” however he was nonetheless an artilleryman. Underneath Morgan’s command, he was assigned to a cannon as a substitute of a horse.
Within the mountains of Virginia, he discovered himself swabbing and loading a cannon beside Morgan himself, the place he made an impression on his commander. From this time till Morgan’s demise, he could be Morgan’s chief of artillery.
Following Morgan’s demise on Sept. 4, 1864, in Greeneville, Clarke fashioned his personal unit and returned to Kentucky in October. He raided all through the state, killing Union troopers and destroying provides. His raids impressed the Louisville Journal’s tales of the notorious “Sue Mundy,” inflicting U.S. Maj. Gen. Stephen G. Burbridge, army governor of Kentucky, substantial embarrassment. Clarke’s unit was referred to by the Louisville Journal as “Mundy’s Gang,” becoming a member of up with William Quantrill’s Raiders. Clarke was seen as a harmful enemy of the Union. On the evening of Feb. 2, 1865, this joint drive of Quantrill and Clarke rode into Lair Station, Kentucky, and burned the railroad depot and freight automobiles. Per week later, on Feb. 8, 1865, the guerrillas killed three troopers, took 4 extra prisoner, and destroyed a wagon prepare.
George Prentice was the editor and principal author of the Louisville Every day Courier. A Union supporter, even a one-time good friend of Lincoln, he was rising more and more disenchanted with the bungling and brutalities of the occupying Union troops. Typically seen as “thieves and rowdies,” the Union troops had little help among the many inhabitants. Prentice and different journalists reported in nice element, with little sympathy, the successes of the Accomplice partisans, maybe to embarrass the ineffectual Basic Burbridge. It made for good copy.
In October 1864 Prentice wrote a couple of small band beneath Clarke who had raided the city of Nice Hill, Kentucky. They robbed the Crawfordsville stagecoach, stealing the mail baggage and “relieving the passengers of their valuables however not their lives.” The driving force of the stage described the chief of the group as being a lady. He mentioned, “this officer was a younger lady, and her proper identify is Sue Mundy. She wearing male apparel sporting a full Accomplice uniform. Upon her head she wore a jaunty plumed hat, beneath which escapes a wealth of darkish hair. She is possessed of a comely type, has a darkish, piercing eye, is a daring rider and a daring chief.”
Thus, primarily based on the testimony of a shaken stage driver and an imaginative newspaperman, Marcellus Jerome Clarke’s transformation into the legend of Sue Mundy was born. Whereas he wore his hair lengthy, alongside along with his boyish determine and beardless cheeks, which could confuse a frightened man peering into the muzzle of a Colt Navy .44.
Whether or not Prentice initially believed this story or not, we are going to by no means know. However the picture happy him and his readers as effectively. He would use it to barb Burbridge for his failure to regulate, comprise or seize the guerrillas.
A narrative appeared nearly each week, and Burbridge couldn’t flush out and even find the guerrillas, however Prentice, delighted along with his invention, adopted their each exploit. Quickly each partisan raid within the Bluegrass of northern Kentucky was laid to “Sue Mundy’s gang.” It simplified issues and elevated the drama. It elevated newspaper gross sales too. In his paper, Prentice stored up a working, nearly affectionate banter along with his imaginary creation.
One entrance web page barb learn, “You might have been an terrible lady, Sue. You might have killed so many individuals, of all colours, that little question white, yellow and black ghosts hang-out you frequently …”
“Sue Mundy, the she-guerrilla who murders folks for pastime is claimed to be single. There’s a pleasant opening for some enterprising younger insurgent.”
“Sue Mundy is reported to say she gained’t marry any man. We guess she is reserving herself to marry Devil.”
“Fairly and mild Sue … We’d fairly really feel the wadding of your bosom than your pistol wad. We needs to be nearly as keen to see the nipples of your bosom because the nipples of your fire-arms.”
Prentice was nothing if not beneficiant. Quickly “Sue” was promoted to “the outlaw lady, the wild and daring chief of the band.” Clarke along with his girlish seems to be and lengthy locks was clearly “Sue.” At first, he resented it, however later took a sure pleasure. He even recognized himself to captives and supporters as effectively. “I’m Sue Mundy,” he was heard to say. Even Magruder, at the least in public as they have been looting shops and homes, started to name him “Sue.” He by no means lower his hair, which solely added to the legend.
Clarke started to inhabit his legend, which he was maybe starting to grasp was more likely to outlast his life. Clarke did have a girlfriend, 16-year-old Mollie Thomas who he would “court docket” every time he was close to. She was mentioned to be “entranced by the dashing cavalier along with his lengthy locks.”
That winter, because the file chilly once more set in, Kentucky’s coldest in years, “Sue Mundy’s gang” was using excessive, quick and onerous.
Burbridge had had sufficient and employed a bounty hunter, placing beneath Union contract a brutal mercenary named “Unhealthy Ed” Terrel. He and his males rode as “decoy guerrillas” and have been feared by atypical residents as a lot because the guerrillas they have been looking. The hunter was extra brutal than the hunted. “Unhealthy Ed” as soon as shot and killed a nine-year-old Negro boy who was watering his horse, simply to check a brand new pistol. “Unhealthy Ed” and his gang had little success capturing Clarke however have been very profitable in turning the Union inhabitants he encountered into Insurgent supporters.
One newspaper wrote of Clarke, “He’s a quiet, light, soft-spoken dandy, along with his hair in love knots six inches lengthy, a hand like a schoolgirl and a waist like a lady … When he fought, he fought savagely. His lengthy hair in battle blew because the mane of a horse. The dandy in a melee turned a Cossack.”
That January with the created “Sue Mundy” turning into a hero to the on a regular basis Kentuckians, Prentice was compelled to confess that “Sue” was certainly a person, Jerome Clarke. He adopted it up with one other lurid piece of fiction to attempt to cowl himself: “Even John Morgan, on a sure event, mistook him for a feminine.” The readers delighted in all of it, and as “Sue Mundy’s gang” rode on, their legend solely grew.
On March 12, 1865, 50 Union troopers from the thirtieth Wisconsin Infantry, beneath the command of Maj. Cyrus Wilson, who have been tasked with capturing Clarke and his gang, surrounded a tobacco barn 10 miles south of Brandenburg close to Breckinridge County. 4 Union troopers have been wounded within the ensuing altercation, however Clarke and two others have been ultimately captured.
Main Wilson signaled a cease-fire, ordering his troops to face down. The conflict was all however over, and this might maybe be led to a extra civilized trend. He approached the barn beneath a white flag to discuss with the guerrillas’ chief.
Capt. Clarke invited him in. Wilson was stunned, and maybe dissatisfied, to seek out solely three dog-tired, hungry and determined males. Clarke launched himself: “I’m the person they name Sue Mundy.”
The 2 shared a cordial cigarette and a cup of espresso. Wilson, wanting no extra bloodshed, diplomatically suggested Clarke to give up. “Do it,” mentioned the wounded Magruder, who lay patiently ready to die. He knew the sport was up. So did Clarke. Enjoying his final card, he insisted that he be handled as a Accomplice prisoner of conflict.
Wilson agreed however admitted that it most likely “wouldn’t wash in Louisville.” Underneath order #59 Wilson was licensed, and certainly inspired, to shoot guerrillas on sight. “Not less than you’ll stay a couple of extra days,” he instructed Clarke.
Maj. Wilson escorted the three males to Brandenburg, the place they boarded a steamer for Louisville. Navy authorities stored Clarke’s trial a secret and the decision had been determined the day earlier than the trial. Even Wilson was not allowed to inform his aspect of the seize story. Clarke pleaded to be handled as a prisoner of conflict however was tried as a guerrilla as a substitute. On March 14, army authorities deliberate Clarke’s execution, despite the fact that the trial had not began. On the transient listening to, Clarke was mentioned to have “stood agency and spoke with good composure.” Clarke said that he was a daily Accomplice soldier and that the crimes he was being charged with he had not dedicated or that they had been dedicated by Quantrill. In the course of the three-hour trial Clarke was not allowed counsel or witnesses for his protection. Three days after his seize, Union authorities scheduled Clarke for public hanging.
On March 15, Rev. J.J. Talbott visited the 20-year-old Clarke in jail and notified him that he could be hanged that afternoon. Clarke knelt and prayed, asking Talbott to baptize him. With Clarke dictating, the minister wrote 4 letters for him: to Clarke’s aunt, his cousin, his brother John Thomas Clarke’s spouse, Elizabeth Lashbrook Clark and his fiancée Molly Thomas. Clarke’s final requests have been for his physique to be despatched to his aunt and stepmother in Franklin and to be buried in his Accomplice uniform, subsequent to his mother and father.
When the carriage arrived on the gallows, Clarke gave one final assertion to the group. He mentioned, “I’m a daily Accomplice soldier-not a guerrilla … I’ve served within the Military for almost 4 years … I fought beneath Basic Buckner at Fort Donelson and I belonged to Basic Morgan’s command once I entered Kentucky.” His final phrases have been: “I imagine in and die for the Accomplice trigger.” A number of thousand folks have been estimated to have attended Clarke’s execution, attracted by rumors that he was “Sue Mundy.” After authorities lower Clarke’s physique down from the scaffold, some witnesses lower off buttons from his coat and locks of hair as keepsakes. Police arrested three males for combating over his hat.
On Oct. 29, 1865, Union authorities additionally hanged Henry Magruder behind the partitions of the Louisville Navy Jail. He had been shot throughout that final raid and Clarke helped conceal his solely good friend. He was allowed to heal from his wounds earlier than being hanged. Earlier than his demise, Magruder wrote his memoir and declared he was the true “Sue Mundy.” Thus ended the careers of two well-known Kentucky guerrillas. Was Magruder making an attempt to guard his good friend or steal his glory? We are going to by no means know.
There isn’t any doubt that Clarke was Sue Mundy. I believe Magruder might have been jealous of Clarke’s notoriety in making the declare that he was the true Sue Mundy. Simply as probably, since he knew he was going to die, he needed to take away blame from Clarke. I additionally imagine that Clarke was right in saying a number of the fees in opposition to him have been the work of Quantrill’s raiders. I additionally assume a number of the fees leveled in opposition to him have been dedicated by Magruder and Clarke wouldn’t betray the person he referred to as his “solely good friend.”
Nothing has been written domestically concerning the man who fired the shot that hit the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Greeneville on the day Morgan was killed. Possibly nobody thought it vital. Marcellas Jerome Clarke is buried in Franklin, Kentucky, beneath a stone which identifies him by identify and that he was part of the “2nd KY Cavalry, Morgan’s Brigade, CSA.” His grave additionally has a footstone which identifies him as “Jerome Clarke (Sue Mundy), 1845-1865, Morgan’s Brigade CSA.” Close by is a historic marker that reads, “Grave of Sue Mundy.” There are at the least three different Kentucky historic markers, “Jerome Clark (Sue Mundy)” “Sue Mundy Right here” and “Sue Mundy Captured.” Capt. Marcellus Jerome Clarke, aka Sue Mundy, was right here in Greeneville and is one other piece of the cannonball thriller that’s now solved as we path the previous.