29, Excerpt from a Letter to Mrs. U. G. Owen
Augt the 29th 61
Mrs. U. G. Owen.
Dear Beloved Wife,
* * * *
Next Saturday will be the last day of Sept & two years will have expired since we joined out Right hands in the holy bonds of Wedlock. My love your married life is now & has been a miserable one. Poor unfortunate little woman it seems that the fates have consigned you to a very unhappy life, but should I ever live to get back with you again I will do everything on earth I can to comfort my sweet lovely wife. God knows that it is not flattery for me to say that she is my sweet lovely wife for she is the dearest, the most lovely creature on earth to me.
Laura I have seen a solder drove off out of the Regiment today. He was a bad case--would not do right, &c. & we drove him off. Made him pull off his shoes, Roll up his breeches & covered his head with tar & feathers, put him in front of a guard, made him walk through town. No news to write this time....
Please write to me
Dr. U. G. Owen, 20th Tennessee, to his wife, Laura, August 29, 1861.
29-30, Skirmishes at Short Mountain Cross-Roads (29th) and Little Pond (30th), near McMinnville, Tenn.
No. 1.--Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Wood, U. S. Army, of skirmish at Little Pond.
No. 2.--Capt. Henry R. Miller, Eighteenth Ohio Infantry, of skirmish at Short Mountain Cross-Roads.
No. 3.--Col. Edward P. Fyffe, Twenty-sixth Ohio Infantry, of skirmish at Little Pond.
No. 4.--Col. George P. Buell, Fifty-eighth Indiana Infantry, of skirmish at Little Pond.
[There are no Confederate reports concerning these combat events.]
Reports of Brig. Gen. . Thomas J. Wood,
U. S. Army, of skirmish at Little Pond.
HDQRS. SIXTH DIVISION, In Camp, near McMinnville, Tenn., August 31, 1862.
MAJ.: Immediately after my return to camp yesterday from the mountain expedition, on which I had been absent two days, I heard that Forrest's command was crossing the railroad 3 miles west of my camp, going northward. I at once sent out three regiments of infantry and four pieces of artillery, under Col. Fyffe, Twenty-sixth Ohio, to cross to the north side of Barren Fork, near to my camp, move out to the Murfreesborough road, take the road to that place, and try to cut Forrest off. By a very rapid forced march (part of it at the double-quick) of 9 miles Col. Fyffe reached the junction of the cross-road by which Forrest was moving and the Murfreesborough road just as about one half of the enemy had got onto the latter road. Col. Fyffe deployed a part of his command, immediately ordered up the artillery, and opened a fire of shell and musketry. He divided the enemy, forced a portion back on the cross-road, and utterly routed and scattered him in all directions. The pursuit was continued for 1 1/2 miles, till it was too dark to see.
Col. Fyffe captured a number of horses, mules, shot-guns, sabers, revolvers, carbines, saddles, bridles, cartridge-boxes, &c. He captured Gen. Forrest's light spring wagon, riding-horse, and the riding-horse and body servant of Capt. Forrest, brother to the general.
The rebels fled in the utmost consternation and confusion. Forrest's forces numbered between 1,400 and 1,500.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
TH. J. WOOD, Brig.-Gen. of Volunteers, Cmdg.
P. S.--A cavalry scout, sent out by me early this morning, reports, from information received of citizens, that several of Forrest's command were killed and wounded.
HDQRS. SIXTH DIVISION, August 31, 1862.
MAJ.: My people captured last evening a very intelligent negro who belonged to a Texan Ranger who was killed in the attack on the stockade on the 29th. This negro gives a very intelligent account of Gen. Forrest's movements for the last two weeks. He says Forrest left his train at Decatur, in Meigs County, on the Tennessee River, two weeks ago, since which time he has been roaming around, hunting for small parties and trains to capture, and subsisting on the country; that when he came down on the 29th he was on his way back to Decatur to his train, intending to cross the mountains by the way of Altamont; that after the repulse at the stockade he moved on toward the foot of the mountains and halted for the night. There he learned that our forces were at Altamont. He probably learned also that troops were moving to Hillsborough (Crittenden's), though the negro does not say so. But he says Forrest made a speech to his men yesterday, telling them they were surrounded and would be caught if they did not get out of the trap at once. Hence the rapid movement northward, across the railroad, yesterday afternoon. Doubtless Forrest will try to make his way around by Sparta or Rock Island, crossing, to get into the valley, and make his way down to Pikeville, Washington, &c., or from Pikeville, beyond Spencer, to cut him off? I think it might be done. The negro says Forrest was repulsed in an attack on a train at Woodbury a few days since.
TH. J. WOOD, Brig.-Gen. Volunteers, Cmdg.
HDQRS. SIXTH DIVISION, August 31, 1862.
MAJ.: The more information I obtain the more certain I am that an attempt ought to be made to cut up, capture, or at all events prevent Forrest from joining Bragg. I am still more certain that the object of Forrest's movement down this way was to cross the mountains and effect a junction with Bragg, and having been disappointed in this movement, he will attempt to effect the same purpose by the way of Sparta and down the Sequatchie Valley. The junction should by all means be prevented, as Forrest's command would be of the greatest advantage to Bragg in his advance. That the advance will be made sooner or later I am quite certain. The attempt will be made to sweep everything to Nashville, retake it, and then invade Kentucky. I have got hold of some information to-day on this point. I think Gen. Thomas is mistaken in not believing Bragg to be on this side of the Tennessee River. I am satisfied the advance will be made by one of two roads--by the road by which I went out the other day, the Hills' Truce road to Dunlap, or up the valley and around by Sparta, or perhaps by both roads at once. The general, I think, ought to have both roads watched clear to the other side of the mountains.
I sent out a party of cavalry this morning beyond where my people encountered Forrest yesterday evening, which has just returned, with information that as late as 11 o'clock to-day Forrest, with he bulk of his command, was near to Short Mountain. I understanding Short Mountain is near and a little to the right of the McMinnville and Lebanon road. Cannot the general sent out a force there to rout him out? He probably halted there to collect his scattered forces.
TH. J. WOOD, Cmdg.
Reports of Capt. Henry R. Miller, Eighteenth Ohio Infantry, of skirmish at Short Mountain Cross-Roads.
HDQRS. DETACHMENTS 18TH OHIO AND 9TH MICH. REGTS., August 30, 1862.
Yesterday at 1 p.m. we were attacked in our position, 8 miles west, on the Manchester and McMinnville Railroad, by Gen. Forrest's rebel cavalry, consisting of one regiment Texas Rangers, Col. Wharton; one battalion Alabama Cavalry, Capt. Bacot; one battalion Tennessee Cavalry, Maj. Smith, and one battalion Kentucky Cavalry. We repulsed the enemy, with a loss of 9 killed and 40 wounded, several mortally. Among the killed, Capt. Houston; among the mortally wounded, Lieut. Butler, who died this morning. Our loss, 9 wounded, 5 severely. The rout complete, the rebels throwing away arms and fleeing, leaving on the field their dead and several of their wounded. They set on fire a small trestle between us and Manchester, half a mile distant from us, which we put out, and have now repaired the damage. The enemy have gone in the direction of Sparta.
H. R. MILLER, Capt., Cmdg.
SHORT MOUNTAIN CROSS-ROADS, TENN., August 30, 1862.
COL.: On Friday, August 29, the troops under my command, numbering 100 effective men, of Company A, Eighteenth Ohio Volunteers; Company I, Eighteenth Ohio Volunteers, Capt. Charles C. Ross, and Company D, Ninth Michigan Volunteers, Lieut. Wallace, had just completed the inclosure of a stockade at this place 30 by 40 feet square, of round timber, 12 feet high. The men were eating dinner at about 1 o'clock p.m. in a grove, distant from the stockade about 100 yards, and in which also we had the ammunition belonging to the command, except such as was in boxes, when the enemy, 1,500 strong, made his appearance, formed in line of battle along the skirt of woods extending from the railroad along the south side of the stockade at the distance of about 200 yards, and rapidly extended his line on east and west sides. My men ran rapidly to the stockade, and at the same time the enemy, with a terrific yell, fired a volley and rushed to cut us off from the stockade. The attacking force consisted of 900 dismounted cavalry, commanded by Gen. Forrest, and led to the charge by him. My men kept up a sharp running fire on the way to the stockade, checking the impetuosity of the enemy, and all but some 10 of Company I and the men on picket got inside the fort before the enemy. The men cut off kept up a constant fire from the railroad and woods during the engagement and got in safety. The race to the stockade was a desperate one. On getting within the stockade I at once sent three parties of 6 men each, one from each company, to bring in the ammunition. These squads were commanded by Sergeant [Edward] McLaren, Company A; Sergeant [James K.] Williams, Company I, and I regret that I do not know who from Ninth Michigan company. They ran to the thicket under a terrible fire from the enemy's skirmishers and succeeded in bringing in the ammunition.
The enemy now made an attack from three directions with great desperation, approaching within 50 feet of the stockade. I kept up a constant and well-directed fire upon him for ten minutes, when, finding it impossible to dislodge us or seriously injure our men and his own falling rapidly around, he made a rapid retreat to the woods in great confusion. His men ran in every direction before our fire, throwing down their arms, and immediately fell back out of range. Soon after an attempt was made to destroy the railroad above us. I went out with a party and drove then away.
I at once sent messengers to Manchester and McMinnville on foot through the enemy's lines with information. To do this dangerous duty I called for volunteers, and from those offering to go I sent Clinton L. Lee, private Company A, to McMinnville, and Henry F. Thayer, private Company D, Ninth Michigan, to Manchester. They both got safely through and gave information of our situation.
The enemy's forces consisted of Col. Wharton's Texas Rangers; one battalion Alabama Cavalry, Capt. Bacot's; one battalion Tennessee Cavalry, Maj. Smith, and one battalion Kentucky Cavalry, numbering, as I learn from Dr. Houston, surgeon Texas Cavalry, 1,500 strong. I have also the same information from Lieut. Butler and other prisoners.
We buried 12 of the enemy left dead and dying on the field, and have 41 of his wounded in our hands and scattered among the houses of citizens in the vicinity. Among the dead are Capt. W. Y. Houston and Lieut. Butler, Texas Rangers. Our loss is 9 wounded, to wit: Seven of Company I, Eighteenth Ohio Volunteers; 1 of Company A, Eighteenth Ohio Volunteers, and 1 of Company D, Ninth Michigan Volunteers. Two are wounded dangerously and the others slightly. I send list of wounded.
Drs. Johnson and Mills, surgeons Eighteenth Ohio Volunteers, arrived at midnight and at once proceeded to give all possible attention to the wounded. At daylight Drs. Stimmel and Sabine, Twenty-sixth Ohio Volunteers, arrived from McMinnville, and assisted in attentions to the wounded and suffering. To all the gentlemen my thanks are due for their promptness, industry, and skill in ministering to the wounded.
We captured 8 horses, 3 saddles, and 30 guns.
The conduct of all the officers and men of the command was such as to compel my administration. They fought from the first with great coolness, bravery, and determination. The enemy outnumbered us as nine to one.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
H. R. MILLER, Capt. Eighteenth Ohio Volunteers, Cmdg.
Report of Col. Edward P. Fyffe, Twenty-sixth Ohio Infantry, of skirmish at Little Pond.
HDQRS. FIFTEENTH BRIGADE, Near McMinnville, Tenn., August 31, 1862.
SIR: In pursuance to orders from Brig.-Gen. Wood to cut off Gen. Forrest and his command, who was passing to the westward and within 2 miles of this camp, making his way northward, and upon five minutes' notice, after procuring a guide, I marched in a circuitous route through the woods to the Murfreesborough and McMinnville road, a distance of 6 miles from camp. I pushed forward in the direction of Murfreesborough in quick-time until I came to an open country, where at some distance across the fields I discovered the column of Gen. Forrest, consisting entirely of cavalry.
The enemy having become aware of my presence at this time there commenced an exciting race between his command of cavalry and my column of infantry for the intersection of the two roads. I ordered my command forward at a double-quick, which they obeyed cheerfully, although they had marched several miles at quick-time without water. I discovered when about 400 or 500 yards distant from the junction of the roads that Gen. Forrest had formed his command in line of battle to receive my attack. I immediately ordered Lieut. Estep, commanding Eighth Indiana Battery, to take up a position on an elevated piece of ground in the field to the left of the road, with instructions to commence firing, and the advance guard (Companies A and F, Capt.'s James and Peatman, of the Twenty-sixth Ohio), under Maj. Degenfeld, to deploy in front of the artillery on the low ground, advance, and commence firing. In the mean time Lieut.-Col. Young, commanding the Twenty-sixth Ohio Regiment, agreeably to instructions, formed his regiment in rear of the advance guard and followed it closely in line of battle. After firing a few rounds the enemy's lines gave way in the center. His right wing (the Texan Rangers and some Alabama troops) were forced to take the back track to our left, while Gen. Forrest, with his left wing, scampered off in the direction of Murfreesborough. I ordered Lieut. Jervis forward on the main road with one section of artillery to fire on Gen. Forrest's detachment, and gave instructions to Lieut.-Col. Gorman, commanding Seventeenth Indiana, to support him with his regiment. I then ordered Lieut. Voris, with the other section, supported by the Fifty-eighth Indiana, Col. Buell commanding, to follow up and to fire on the Texan Rangers, leaving the Twenty-sixth Ohio to occupy the center.
In a very short time the enemy were entirely dispersed in every direction; so much so that it was with were entirely difficulty I could determine on which road it would be must profitable to pursue him. I immediately concluded to follow him on the Murfreesborough road, but it had grown so dark that I was enabled to pursue him but about 2 miles, when I was forced to abandon the chase in consequence of the men and animals suffering for water. I returned to camp the same night, arriving about 11 o'clock.
The ground over which we fought presented every indication of the utmost confusion and consternation on the part of the enemy, the woods and roads being strewn with arms, wearing apparel, &c. Accompanying this I have the honor to present a list of the property that fell into our hands.
The actual loss of the enemy I had no means of ascertaining, but from the statements of citizens subsequently received and from his own admissions his loss must have been from 18 to 20 in killed and wounded.
It is with pleasure that I inform you that these fine regiments of your division never came into line in better order at their battalion drills than they did upon this occasion. The artillery, commanded by Lieut. Estep, was well handled, quickly got into position, fired rapidly and with precision.
The command of that portion of the brigade that accompanied the expedition devolved upon me in consequence of the severe illness of Brig.-Gen. Hascall, who was at the time confined to his room.
It is proper to state that the Third Kentucky Regt. did not participate, in consequence of just having returned from a severe march of two days' duration, thus entirely incapacitating them for further immediate service.
I cannot speak too highly in praise of the members of the general staff. Capt. Ed. R. Kerstetter, assistant adjutant-general, and Lieuts. James R. Hume, Jules J. Montagnier, and Charles H. Bruce, aides-de-camp, were active in conveying my commands to every part of the field. I would respectfully commend them to your favorable notice.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, you obedient servant,
E. P. FYFFE, Col. Twenty-sixth Ohio Volunteers, Cmdg.
Report of Col. George P. Buell, Fifty-eighth Indiana Infantry, of skirmish at Little Pond.
ON THE ROAD, August 31, 1862--11 a.m.
This armed body was commanded in person by Gen. Forrest. He has passed north, via Sparta, to avoid our troops, and thus join Bragg on the other side of the mountains. He also expects to join Morgan soon, who will also join Bragg. Can they not be cut off somewhere northeast of McMinnville? He went toward Short Mountain from here, thence via Sparta. If we had deployed along this road last night it would have been better. We entirely cut off 500 Texas Rangers, who fell back into the woods, and after we left they went on north.
GEO. P. BUELL, Col., Cmdg.
P. S.--I start immediately. The wagons captured at Murfreesborough are at Pikeville, and very little force there-two pieces of artillery and a little cavalry.
OR, Ser. I. Vol. 16, pt. I, pp. 901-906.
HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, ARMY OF THE OHIO, McMinnville, Tenn., August 30, 1862.
Capt. HENRY R. MILLER, Cmdg. Eighteenth Ohio Volunteers:
Maj.-Gen. Thomas, commanding the United States forces at this place, takes pleasure in commending your gallantry and the heroism of the men under your command in so nobly repulsing the superior force of the enemy brought against you yesterday.
Examples like Capt. Attkisson's at the Edgafield Junction and the brilliant achievement from your stockade on the 29th day of August, 1862, gives inspiration to our troops and fresh confidence in their leaders. The example so nobly set is commended for imitation.
[GEO. E. FLYNT,] Assistant Adjutant-Gen., Chief of Staff.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. II, p. 454.
1864, in Smithville after marching from Sparta during Wheeler's raid, Commissary Sergeant John Coffee Williamson, with Company E, 5th Tennessee Cavalry (C.S.A.), wrote in his diary that the women of Sparta were "very glad to see us." Most of them cheered in the true lady like style. Most of Sparta has been burnt by the Yanks." Sergeant Williamson and his company got to Smithville at nightfall and camped on the Lebanon Road. The Sergeant commented in part in his journal: "I have been very sick all day, and a night I was perfectly worn out. We got up no rations. I took a dose of morphine and slept soundly."