MARCH 8, 1863.-Capture of forage train near Carthage, Tenn.
Report of Brig. Gen. George Crook, U. S. Army, Carthage, March 15, 1863.
GEN.: I have awaited the return of the prisoners before making my detailed report of the capture of my forage train on the 8th instant, in order that I might get at the full particulars.
The forage train, consisting of 18 wagons, was guarded by two companies of the Eleventh Regt. [sic] Ohio Volunteer Infantry, commanded by Capt. George Johnson, of the same regiment. The escort numbered 55 men, making, with 18 teamsters, 73 men.
From the best information I can get, the circumstances of the capture were about these: The train was in a lane, near its destination, when the enemy's cavalry were first discovered. The captain got his men together, crossed over one of the fences into an open field, and drew them up in line. After the cavalry had surrounded him and commenced advancing, the captain gave the command to aim twice and then recover arms. The last time the enemy fired, and in return a few of his men fired without orders. The enemy then closed in and took them without further resistance.
Three of our men were slightly wounded, and 1 had his leg broken. There was a cover of woods a short distance in rear of our men, which they could have reached after they saw the enemy, and before the attack was made, from all accounts. The enemy were counted by several persons to be 140. The 3 commissioned officers and a few men were not paroled.
I have been in the habit of sending two companies as escort to my forage trains, and only two days previous one of my expeditions, from the direction of Rome and Alexandria, returned reporting no enemy. But, unfortunately, on the morning of the 8th, I was sick. Two companies from this regiment were ordered to escort this train. By some mistake two of the smallest companies in the regiment were sent, and, in addition, my quartermaster ordered the train some 1 ½ miles farther than it had been in the habit of foraging.
I would again report, for the information of the general commanding, my utter failure to accomplish any result here without cavalry. I have sent out several expeditions over this country without accomplishing anything. They could get reliable information of nothing only what they saw, and could only see a few scouts on distant hills.
All the suitable [stock] has been taken out of this country, so it is impossible to mount my men.
I have the honor to remain, your most obedient servant,
GEORGE CROOK, Brig.-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, pp. 140-141.
CARTHAGE, March 10, 1863.
Col. C. GODDARD, Asst. Adjt. Gen. and Chief of Staff, Army of the Cumberland:
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Sunday morning [8th] I had 18 wagons, with a guard of two companies of the Eleventh Ohio Volunteers Infantry, captured by 140 guerrillas, cavalry, just outside of my pickets. The commander of the escort, from all accounts, offered no resistance. He was a good officer, but think he must have become flurried. Owing to the on-arrival of the cavalry and gunboats, and much sickness in my camp, I shall move across the Cumberland, at least for the present, for my better safety. I can do nothing on this side without cavalry.