Page images

and General Reynolds' division had advanced on the heights toward Fairfield, but did not attack the enemy, who appeared to show a disposition to contest our advance by that route. At Liberty Gap the enemy tried to regain possession, but finally retreated, leaving our pickets in position. “On the 26th, most of the movements ordered for the 25th were completed, amid continuous rains. Generals Rousseau, Reynolds, and Brannan's divisions co-operated in a gallant advance on the enemy, who, after a short resistance, fled toward Fairfield, near to which place our pickets were advanced, while Reynolds' division and the baggage moved forward during the night toward Manchester, Wilder's brigade having seized Matt's Hollow early in the afternoon, and thus secured the passage. “June 27th, headquarters reached Manchester, where General Reynolds' and part of Negley's division had already arrived. The remainder of Thomas' corps came in during the night. It was now manifest that the enemy must leave his intrenched position at Shelbyville, and that we must expect him at Tullahoma, only twelve miles distant. It was therefore necessary to close up our columns on Manchester, distribute our rations, and prepare for the contest. “While this was progressing, I determined to cut, if possible, the railroad in Bragg's rear. Wilder's brigade was sent to burn Elk River bridge, and destroy the railroad between Decherd and Cowan, and Brigadier-General John Beatty, with a brigade of infantry, to

Hillsboro’, to cover and support his movements. “General Sheridan's division came in June 28th, and all McCook's arrived before the night of the 29th, troops and animals much jaded. “The terrible rains and desperate roads so delayed Crittenden, who on the 26th got orders to march to Manchester with all speed, that it was not until the 29th that his last division arrived, badly worn. The column being now closed up, and having divisions of the fourteenth and twentieth corps at Crumpton's Creek, orders were given for the fourteenth corps to occupy the centre at Concord church and Bobo cross roads, with a division in reserve. The twentieth corps to take the right on Crumpton's Creek, two divisions in echelon retired, one in reserve. The twenty-first corps to come up on the left, near Hall's Chapel, one division front and one division in reserve. “It rained almost incessantly during the 30th, but the troops, by dint of labor and perseverance, had dragged their artillery and themselves through the mud into position. It is a singular characteristic of the soil on the ‘barrens' that it becomes so soft and spongy that wagons cut into it as if it were a swamp, and even horses cannot pass over it without similar results. The terrible effects of the rains on the passage of our troops may be inferred from the single fact, that General Crittenden required four days of incessant labor to advance the distance of twenty-one “While the troops were thus moving into position, General Thomas sent Steadman's brigade of Brannan's division, two regiments of Reynolds' division, and two regiments of Negley's division on separate roads to reconnoitre the enemy's position, while General Sheridan sent Bradley's brigade of his own division on another for the same purpose. These reconnoissances all returned, and reported having found the enemy in force on all the roads except the one leading to Estill Springs. Scouts all confirmed this, with the fact that it was the general belief that Bragg would fight us in his intrenchments at Tullahoma.


“Wilder returned from his expedition, reporting that he found the enemy at Elk Bridge with a brigade of infantry and a battery, which prevented him from destroying that bridge, but that he had damaged the road considerably at Decherd, where his appearance with his mountain howitzers created great consternation, and within three hours brought down some heavy trains of infantry.

“Meanwhile we had information from Stanley's cavalry; supported by MajorGeneral Granger's infantry, and acting under his general directions, it had attacked the enemy's cavalry and artillery at Guy's Gap, on the Murfreesboro' and Shelbyville pike, and driven them from stand to stand, killing, wounding, and capturing as they went, until the enemy reached their intrenchments, by which they were soon driven by flanking and a direct charge, where

in the cavalry captured three pieces of artillery, some with loads in but not rammed down. “From their intrenchments the rebels fled to town, when they made another stand, but in vain. Our cavalry came down with resistless sweep and drove them in confusion into the river. Many were killed and drowned, and Shelbyville, with a large number of prisoners, a quantity of arms and commissary stores, were the crowning results of the cavalry operations that day. It was worthy of note that the waving of flags and cheers of welcome from the inhabitants of this unconquerable stronghold of loyalty doubtless gave added vigor and energy to the advance of our troops. The reports from this cavalry battle showed also the enemy's withdrawal on Tullahoma, and the general expectation that he would fight there. “June 30. Orders having been given General Morton to ascertain the practicability of moving by column in mass in line of battle from our position to gain the rear of the rebel position at Tullahoma, and he having reported favorably thereon, preparations were completed, and Crittenden's second division was moved into position. “July 1. I received a dispatch from General Thomas, that the enemy had retreated from Tullahoma during the night. “Brannan's, Negley's, and Sheridan's divisions entered Tullahoma, where the infantry arrived about noon. Negley's and Rousseau's divisions pushed on by Spring Creek and overtook the rear guard of the enemy late in the afternoon at Bethpage Bridge, two miles above the railroad crossing, where they had a sharp skirmish with the rebels occupying the heights on the south side of the river, and commanding the brigade by artillery, which they had placed behind epaulments. “July 2. Having brought forward the ammunition, McCook, with two divisions, pursued on the roads west of the railroad. Arriving at Rock Creek Ford, General Sheridan found the Elk so swollen as to be barely fordable for cavalry, and the rebel cavalry on the south bank to resist a crossing; but he soon drove them away and occupied the ford. General Thomas found equal difficulties in crossing, for the enemy during the night burned the bridge and retired before morning. General Turchin, with a small brigade of cavalry, had pushed forward from Hillsboro’, on the Decherd road, and found the enemy's cavalry at the fords of Elk, near Morris Ferry; engaged them coming up, and reinforced by the arrival of General Mitchell, they forced the passage of the river after a sharp conflict. Night closed the pursuit. “July 3. General Sheridan succeeded in crossing Elk River, and supported by General J. C. Davis' division, pursued the enemy to Cowan, where he learned the enemy had crossed the mountains with his artillery and infantry by University and Swedine's Cove, and that the cavalry only would be found covering their rear. General Thomas got over his troops the same day, Negley's division moving on the Brake

field Point road toward University. Sheridan sent some cavalry from his position, and Stanley some from the main column, now in pursuit, but they only developed the fact that the enemy was gone ; and as our troops were out of provisions, and the roads worn wellnigh impracticable from rain and travel, they were obliged to halt till their supplies could be brought forward from Murfreesboro’, to which point the wagons had been sent for that purpose. “Thus ended a nine days' campaign, which drove the enemy from two fortified positions and gave us possession of Middle Tennessee, conducted in one of the most extraordinary rains ever known in Tennessee at that period of the year, over a soil that becomes almost a quicksand. Our operations were retarded thirty-six hours at Hoover's Gap, and sixty hours at and in front of Manchester, which alone prevented us from getting possession of the enemy's communications and forcing him to a very disastrous battle. These results were far more successful than was anticipated, and could only have been obtained by a surprise as to the direction and force of our movement.” General Rosecrans concludes his report with a statement of his gains and losses. “The reports of the corps commanders show that our total loss dur

ing these operations was: Killed. Wounded. Missing.

Officers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 26
Non-commissioned officers
and privates........... 71 436 13
Total. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 462 13

“We captured many stand of smallarms, three field pieces, six caissons, three limbers, three rifled siege pieces without carriages, besides arms destroyed by the cavalry; quartermasters' stores, eighty-nine tents, eighty-nine flies, 3,500 sacks corn and corn-meal. “The total number of officers taken is 59 commissioned officers, and 1,575 noncommissioned officers and privates.” In the mean time, while General Rosecrans was preparing for this successful movement narrated in his report, the enemy's detached parties were actively occupied in efforts to interrupt his communications and perplex his plans of advance. General Van Dorn, now acting more appropriately as a guerrilla chief than as a leader of armies, was especially enterprising. With a force of cavalry and flying artillery he hovered about the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, doing much damage to the Union gun-boats and transports navigating them, and ventured occasionally to attack the Federal posts on Rosecrans' line of communications in his rear. On the 10th of April, Van Dorn, emboldened by some minor successes, assaulted Franklin, situated on the railroad south of Nashville. “Van Dorn made his promised attack to-day,” reported, on the 10th of April, General Granger, the Union commander at Franklin, “at one o'clock, directly in front and on the town. The infantry regiments on guard in town, with the cavalry pickets, held him at bay until their ammunition was exhausted. The dense smoke and atmosphere favored

their operations, enabling them to approach very near without our being able to observe them. Our siege guns and our light batteries opened upon them with murderous effect, literally strewing the ground with men and horses. I had halted Stanley four miles out on the Murfreesboro' road. He at once crossed his forces over at Height's Mills, vigorously attacking Forrest's divisions, moving down on the Lewisburg pike, capturing six pieces of artillery and some two hundred prisoners; but, owing to the unfavorable nature of the country, was unable to hold them, being attacked by greatly superior numbers, outflanked and nearly surrounded. Our loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners is less than one hundred, while the enemy's cannot be less than three times that number. They were repulsed on all sides, and driven until darkness prevented the pursuit. Captain McIntyre, of the Fourth Regulars, took the battery and prisoners, bringing off thirty odd of the latter.” General Morgan, too, whose bold raids have been so often recorded in this chronicle, was again pursuing his career of mischief, but not always with his usual good fortune. While marauding in the rear of General Rosecrans, he was overtaken by General Stanley at Snow Hill, near Smithville, about April sixty-one miles east of Nashville, 2. and routed. “General Stanley,” reported General Rosecrans, “has returned from his scout, bringing in some forty or fifty prisoners and 300 serviceable horses and mules.

He drove Morgan's cavalry from the peninsula, whipping them from their stronghold, Snow Hill, north of Smithville, and, but for their precipitate retreat and the difficult nature of the country, would have had a force in their rear and captured their artillery and animals. “The enemy left quite a number of their dead, and fled toward McMinnville, leaving many horses, saddles, and guns.” Various other successes were accomplished by the Union cavalry detachments. Woodward, which had been captured by the enemy's guerrilla parties, was retaken (April 8), with its stores and some prisoners; and an expedition under Colonel Wilder, about the same time, in the direction of Snow Hill, destroyed five thousand bushels of wheat, much corn and bacon, and “a part of the village known as Saulsbury, containing the dwelling of a notorious guerrilla.” On the other hand, the enemy were making their boasts of mischief. “I divided my command into two parties,” officially stated General Wheeler, on the 11th of April, “and made a raid upon the Louisville and Nashville, and Nashville and Murfreesboro' railroads, capturing a large train on each and many officers and men.” Again, in the middle of April, General Wheeler boasted the destruction of two gun-boats and three transports on the Cumberland River, to which the Unionists, about the same time reported, as more than an offset: “The Munfordsville (Ky.) expedition

to Celina returned to Glasgow, having destroyed the town of Celina, 100,000 pounds of bacon, 20,000 bushels of wheat and corn, 100 barrels of whisky and flour, a considerable quantity of sugar, tea, coffee, salt, and other stores, and forty boats used by the rebels for transporting supplies. “The rebels admit a loss of ninety killed. Colonel Graham thinks their loss greater. The Union loss was one killed and one missing.” On the 22d of April, the Union cavalry took McMinnville by surprise. On this occasion, “Colonel Longworth, of the Ohio Cavalry, struck the railroad, destroyed the telegraph and bridges between Morrison and Manchester, and burned a train of cars and locomotive, together with other spare cars at various places, and vast quantities of meat.” “While at McMinnville, Colonel Wilder destroyed the bridges, 600 blankets, 30,000 pounds of bacon, two hogsheads of sugar, three hogsheads of rice, eight barrels of whisky, 200 bales of cotton, one large cotton factory, one large mill and one small one, one camp at Charley's Creek, and subsequently one at Liberty, and took 300 prisoners, among them Dick McCann, who subsequently escaped.” Mrs. General John Morgan was also captured, but her adventurous husband succeeded in making off with most of his troops. To the success at McMinnville were added the capture of Tuscumbia and a dash upon the camp, at Spring Hill, of the Texas legion of

« PreviousContinue »