October is the month of spooks and other things that go bump in the dark, at least according to Halloween traditions.
However, real ghost stories are not limited to October. The one I am going to share began over 150 years ago on Jake’s Fork of Puncheon Creek. On June 6th, 1864 a battle took place on the Jake Fork of Puncheon Creek Kentucky just six weeks after the famous Battle of Puncheon/Half Mountain between Union Home Guard and Morgan’s Raiders. This fray was joined by the 45th and 38th Kentucky Union Mounted Infantry leading to a total thrashing of Morgan’s Raiders. Andrew Pancake gave an eyewitness account of the event. “I enlisted in the 45th Ky, Calvary in November 1863. I was only 16 years old then. I guess I got my share of it anyhow. I remember a scout in 1864, on the headwaters of Licking River. It was a bitter and rough experience. We swam streams, and galloped our horses for days. One day we got into a valley, near an old log barn and were drawn up in line. Our Captain then told us, we were surrounded by the rebels, with no chance to get out, but if we would abandon our horses and take to the brush, we might escape. The Captain was pretty well scared; he could hardly talk. Then our friend Jack Matney, stepped to the front, told the Captain to get to the rear and to consider himself under arrest. Then Jack ordered the company to follow him single file, which they did in full lope. We went through a sugar camp, across a ditch, into an open field, where we met a body of Rebs, which we charged and routed, capturing three horses, a sack of home-made sugar and a box of jewelry. We divided the spoils, Jack getting the best horse for his share, and he earned it too.” Andrew served in Co. G of the 45th Kentucky Mounted Infantry.
On the nights of June the 6th if one cares to sit quietly on an old cemetery overlooking the battle site you just might hear the thundering hooves of Morgan’s horses as their riders desperately flee for their very lives. Don’t be surprised if you feel a presence close behind you. Could it be one of Morgan’s dead? In the stillness you might find yourself witness to history for a fleeting second as history loops over the present.