Raiding with Morgan

Written by Jim R. Woolard
Review by Bryan Dumas

Ty Mattson is a young Kentuckian who longs to know who his father is. When he learns that his father is riding with General John Hunt Morgan in Indiana, Ty sets out to join the infamous Raiders. Ty’s time with his father is brief. They are often separated on the battlefield and in the final battle of the Raiders, Ty watches his father die by an assassin’s bullet. Wounded himself, Ty convalesces at the home of a prominent Ohio magistrate and his daughter who has fallen for the young “secesh”. Moved to a deplorable prison camp in Chicago, Ty vows to survive at all costs so he can avenge his father’s murder, and reunite himself with his true love.

Though the back cover would lead the reader to believe that this will be a sweeping saga following the exploits of John Morgan and his Raiders through Indiana and Ohio, it is more the story of young Ty Mattson and his time with the Raiders both on the battlefield and in prison. In fact, the last third of the novel is set at Camp Douglas in Chicago, far from the battlefields of the Civil War. Though Jim Woolard’s story of Ty Mattson and the lessons he learns from his father and fellow riders in the forty-six days riding though the North is done well, I wished for more saga surrounding Morgan’s Raiders. If you are looking for a book about Morgan’s exploits explicitly, this one may not be for you. If you are looking for a coming-of-age tale set during the Civil War, this book will satisfy that desire.