The Historical Art of John Paul Strain
John Paul Strain - Historical Artist
Historical Paintings


Murfreesboro, Tennessee
December 14, 1862
Morgan’s Wedding

Shortly after General John Hunt Morgan's great victory at Hartsville, Tennessee, the President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, passed through Murfreesboro on his tour of the Western Theater of operations. He took the opportunity to give Morgan his full commission as a brigadier-general, which dated from December 11, 1862. A passage from General Basil W. Duke's book, A History of Morgan's Cavalry, alludes to one of the more famous and romantic events of the Civil War. "

On the 14 of December, an event occurred which was thought by many to have materially affected General Morgan's temper, and subsequent fortunes. He was married to Miss Ready of Murfreesboro, a lady to whom he was devotedly attached, and who certainly deserved to exercise over him the great influence which she was thought to have possessed." The wedding was the social event of the Christmas season, and all members of the Confederate high command within riding distance would be in attendance. The marriage ceremony gave not only those who participated a welcome reprieve, but also much of the army had a respite from the harsh realities of war.

The wedding took place at the home of the bride, daughter of former U.S. Congressman Charles Ready. Performing the wedding ceremony was one of the leaders of the Confederate Army, Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk, who was also an Episcopal Bishop. The home was beautifully decorated in the Christmas spirit with holly and winter berries, and the evening ceremony was performed in the romantic glow of lamp light and candles. Outside the home, in the streets were hundreds of soldiers celebrating the wedding of General Morgan and his bride with songs and bonfires.

Artist's Comments:

For this painting I spent many hours of research on the uniforms, dresses, clothes, furniture, curtains, and every detail right down to the wall paper. Guests were positioned as they would have been during the ceremony. Shown in attendance, starting from the left in the painting: Major General Benjamin Cheatham, Alice Ready (the bride's sister), Martha Ready (the bride's mother), Charles Ready (the father of the bride), Mattie Ready, Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan, Colonel Basil Duke, Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk, Lieutenant General William J. Hardee, Mary Breckenridge, (wife of General Breckenridge), Major General John C. Breckenridge, and Brigadier General Roger W. Hanson.

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Historical Paintings