On July 4, 1863, about 250 men of Michigan’s 25th Infantry were about 90 miles South of Louisville, Ky. It was halfway through the American Civil War.
Under the command of Orlando Moore, from Schoolcraft, the Michigan troops were approached by a Confederate army 10 times its size in the number of troops, said Michigan State University history professor Roger Rosentreter.
Knowing his advantage, Confederate commander John Hunt Morgan sent a query to Moore: the Union troops from Michigan might as well surrender, there’s no way they can survive, they are outnumbered.
Moore, a West Point graduate, would not consider surrender. “I’m an American. On the Fourth of July is no day for me to entertain such a proposition,” Moore said. “I must therefore decline.”
Moore knew he had a strong position and could ward off some of the rebel troops. In the course of the short battle, 35 Confederate troops were killed, compared to six Union men.
The confederate commander became frustrated: Moore wouldn’t surrender and couldn’t easily be captured. So they decided to move on. However, he didn’t leave without letting Moore know how he appreciated his bravery and “promoted” him to the rank of Brigadier General.
While Morgan couldn’t actually promote a man in a different army, the act showed how the Confederate commander admired Moore’s resolve, Rosentreter said.
Known as the Battle of Tebbs Bend, it took place the day after Gettysburg ended and the same day as the Siege of Vicksburg ended.
For the full article, see Fritz Klug, “150 years ago today, outnumbered Michigan commander said ‘Fourth of July is no day’ to surrender”, MLive, July 8, 2013.