Tuesday, September 20, 2011

September 20 - Tennessee Civil War Notes

20-22, Expedition, Bolivar to Grand Junction & La Grange, and skirmish*
SEPTEMBER 20-22, 1862.--Expedition from Bolivar to Grand Junction and La Grange, Tenn., and skirmish
Brig. Gen. Jacob G. Lauman, U. S. Army, First Brigade, Fourth Division, District of West Tennessee
Bolivar, Tenn., September 22, 1862.
GEN.: We left our camp, 5 miles north of Grand Junction, on Sunday morning, between 7 and 8 o'clock, having previously sent forward the cavalry to Grand Junction and La Grange, and proceeded slowly until we arrived within 2 miles of the Junction, where I halted the column to let it close up. While resting here Maj. Mudd came in from La Grange with information that he saw there a large body of infantry and cavalry moving on the La Grange road toward our rear with the evident intention of cutting off our train. Having previously received information that a large force was at Davis' Mills, I without a moment's delay ordered the train to fall back, following it closely with my main column. We passed the railroad crossing where we encamped the previous night and where the road forks to Grand Junction and La Grange about twenty minutes before the rebel cavalry, closely followed, as I have since learned, by their infantry and artillery. They hung upon our rear until about 1 o'clock, when, arriving near the creek, about 2 miles north of Van Buren, where, finding it necessary to halt my train for rest and water, I placed my command in position so as fully to command the approaches and sent out a small force of cavalry to see whether the rebels were still on our track. They soon returned, with the rebel cavalry at their heels. Letting them approach to within easy range, Mann's battery (Lieut. Brotzmann commanding) opened on them and sent them flying back. My train by this time having rested and watered we continued our progress, and arrived in camp at dusk.
Our casualties were few, for which I refer you to the accompanying reports.
I have the honor to be, general, your most obedient servant,
J. G. LAUMAN, Brig.-Gen.
No. 2.
Report of Col. Silas Noble, Second Illinois Cavalry.
HDQRS. SECOND ILLINOIS CAVALRY, Bolivar, Tenn., September 22, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to report that in compliance with Orders, No. 200, I marched with 350 men of my command as the advance of the forces under command of Gen. Lauman, and entered Grand Junction about 5 p. m. of the 20th; found everything quiet at that place and but very few inhabitants left there. From all the information I could gather the force of the enemy near Davis' Mills was about 8,000. Having accomplished the reconnaissance of the place and vicinity I returned about 4 miles to the camp of Gen. Lauman and bivouacked for the night.
On the morning of the 21st, in accordance with orders from Gen. Lauman, I went again to Grand Junction, sending two companies, under command of Maj. Mudd, to La Grange, to examine that place and the country around it. At Grand Junction all was in the same condition in which I found it the evening previous. I was directed to hold this place until the arrival of Gen. Lauman with the main force. But, upon learning from Maj. Mudd that the enemy in large force was making a movement to pass to the rear of our army through La Grange, I at once retired and joined Gen. Lauman, and with him returned to this place, the cavalry under my command being employed as flankers and reconnoitering parties.
Maj. Mudd was active in ascertaining the position and force of the enemy. I have the honor to inclose his report.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. NOBLE, Col., Comdg. Second Illinois Cavalry.
No. 3.
Report of Maj. John J. Mudd, Second Illinois Cavalry.
BOLIVAR, TENN., September 22, 1862.
COL.: I have the honor to report the following as the part performed by the detachment of Second Illinois Cavalry, under my command, in the recent movement on Grand Junction and La Grange:
When on Saturday evening you moved forward from the main body I took command of the advance, being Company K, Capt. Jones, and 20 men of Company H, under Capt. Higgins, and moved rapidly to Grand Junction, dispersing a squad of rebel soldiers on our way. Finding no enemy at that place, I had just pressed a guide and started Capt. Jones with his company in direction of Davis' Mills when you arrived and recalled him.
On Sunday morning, in accordance with your order, I, with Companies H, Capt. Higgins; K, Capt. Jones; M, Orderly Sergeant Webb, commanding, and C, Capt. Fullerton, moved toward La Grange, arriving within half a mile of that place at 8 a. m. On the way we had noticed persons at distant points in several places across fields, but were not able to decide whether soldiers or citizens. We also arrested some citizens, but could gain no information from them. My extreme advance now reported a large body of cavalry half a mile in front of the head of our column. I ordered the fences pulled down and preparations made for battle, while with a few men I went forward to view their movements. I found it to be a large body of infantry moving to the north diagonally across the road occupied by me. They moved with celerity and paid no attention to us, except to place pickets on the road to watch us. A citizen brought in by pickets reported that the whole rebel army had been passing through La Grange for an hour and a half, and that their design was to fall on our rear and cut off our rain. This was evident from their movement, to which I was now a witness. I immediately dispatched couriers to notify Gen. Lauman and yourself of the state of affairs, called in my pickets and advance guard, and moved with haste to the main body of the army, being during the march watched but not disturbed by the rebel cavalry on our left. Under Gen. Lauman's direction I dispatched a squad of men from Company I to reconnoiter on the left. They soon reported the enemy's cavalry and artillery a little to the rear and a half mile to the left. Fearing they might be moving on our left on parallel roads with us, I, without orders (being without communication with yourself or Gen. Lauman), called out Companies H and K, and with them moved north 4 or 5 miles, until satisfied that none has passed. Returning, I had just got well into the road when I discovered the enemy in hailing distance on our last night's camp ground. I directed Capt. Higgins to move forward, while with a small squad of men from Companies I and K I kept the enemy at bay until my command had reached a safer position. Finding that no rear guard was following I assumed to perform that duty, and followed at a good distance from the army, keeping the enemy at bay and picking up and urging forward stragglers until I came up with Gen. Lauman, with his command in order of battle, 1 mile this side of Van Buren. At his suggestion I dispatched Capt. Vieregg with a squad of men to watch the movements about the village. He soon returned, followed by a large body of rebel cavalry, who followed within range of our artillery, when a few rounds from Capt. Mann's battery dispersed them.
When the column next moved I occupied the ground for half an hour after the whole train had passed out of sight, during which time we could see the rebel forces slowly advancing across the field to the southwest of the point of timber on our right flank when in line. Finding they had all passed into the timber, and deeming the position no longer safe, I withdrew my little force and again took my place in the rear of the column. After crossing Spring Creek, in obedience to orders from Gen. Lauman I dispatched Capt. Higgins, with 40 men, to reconnoiter to the left, and myself, with a small squad of men, watched the road at the edge of the timber. Capt. Higgins reported all clear for 2 miles west. I sent my company to a suitable point to feed, and remained in the rear for an hour and a half...seeing no signs of the enemy, when I received your orders to follow, which I did, bringing up the rear, and arriving in camp at 9 p. m. without the loss of a man.
To the admirable order preserved by the commanders of companies we are indebted for the safety of the men for so long a time in the immediate presence of an advancing enemy. No stragglers were out. With such officers straggling would go out of fashion, and to them I am much indebted for their promptness in carrying out my orders; also to my men for the cheerful alacrity with which every command was obeyed.
I have to report the loss of two horses by Company M; one killed by a fall and the other disabled and left.
I wish to report the carbine cartridges now furnished us as being of very poor quality. They shake to pieces in riding, and at the end of each day's march many of the men find instead of cartridges only a mixed mass of powder, ball, and paper.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
Your obedient servant,
JOHN J. MUDD, Maj., Second Illinois Cavalry.
OR, Ser. I. Vol. 17, pt. I, pp. 140-143.

* Ed. note - This skirmish illustrates the make up of a forage train and the power of artillery against cavalry.



20, A Yankee attends a Baptist service

….Today went to town to church for my first time in McMinnville – to the Baptist church – hand only a prayer meeting – a good deal of lamenting over their calamities, but not a word to say about their wicked rebellion. Grief for their fallen friends, none apparently for the course that led to their fall. I was almost angry at them, but I felt I ought to make a good deal of allowance for people who have suffered in the persons of these most dear to them.

Reports of rebel receiving reinforcements are becoming thicker and appear to be well authenticated. Rosecrans is said to be concentrating his troops rapidly. May the good Lord give him good success, and may confusion and defeat attend the footsteps of rebel enemies everywhere. Lord God defend the just cause for Jesus Christ's sake.[1]

Alley Diary
20, Skirmish between guerrillas and U. S. C. T. in Robertson county*
"Colored Troops After Guerrillas."
"Old Robertson" is famous for good whisky and bad guerrillas. On last Tuesday [20th] a party of five bushwhackers caught a young man near Springfield, and robbed him of all his valuables. Colonel Downey, of the United States Colored Troops, stationed at Springfield, heard of the robbery and immediately sent out a squad of his men, who came upon the guerrillas about ten miles from Springfield, towards the Kentucky line. The colored chivalry immediately opened fire on the rebels, and stiffened three of them as cold as a lump of ice. The other two, squealing with fright, looked over their shoulders, and with hair standing on end, eyes as wide as saucers, cheeks as pale as their dirty shirts, and chattering teeth, fled as if the everlasting devil was after them. The guerrillas made as good time as ever a Tennessee race-horse did. Of course the soldiers had to give up the chase, as there was no use trying to compete with Jeff. Davis's chivalry in a foot-race.
Nashville Daily Times and True Union, September 20, 1864.
[* Ed. note - this event is referenced neither in the OR, nor in Dyer's Index.]


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