11, U.S Army courier service impeded, Confederates fire into wagon train near Chattanooga
SECOND COURIER STATION, October 11, 1863.
Lieut. M. J. KELLY, Chief of Couriers, Chattanooga, Tenn.:
LIEUT.: It is impossible to send any more dispatches through until the rebels are driven from the river banks. They are all along the river for about 1 1/2 miles. Dispatch will have to lie over until dark.
JOHN W. FORRESTER, Capt., Comdg. Courier-Line.
STATION No. 3, Walden's Ridge, October 11, 1863.
The rebels are firing from the opposite side of the river into our train. They number about 300.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 30, pt. IV, p. 281
WALDEN'S RIDGE, October 11, 1863-11.50 a. m.
The train is forced to stop. They have killed a large number of our mules.
BERRY, Acting Signal Officer.
HDQRS., October 11, 1863-1. 05 p. m.
Where is the train stopped?
MERRILL, Capt., &c.
WALDEN'S RIDGE, October 11, 1863-1.30 p. m.
Train stopped in the road at Big Suck. Firing continues.
BERRY, Lieut. and Acting Signal Officer.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 30, pt. IV, p. 282.
11, Skirmish at Henderson's Mill
Report of Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside, U. S. Army, commanding Department of the Ohio.
KNOXVILLE, TENN., October 17, 1863-10 p. m.
On Saturday, the 10th, advanced a cavalry brigade to Blue Springs, where they found the enemy strongly posted and offering a stubborn resistance. Skirmishing continued till the arrival of the infantry, about 5 p. m., when I sent in a division of infantry, who charged and cleared the woods gallantly, and drove the enemy in confusion till dark. During the night the enemy retreated precipitately, leaving their dead on the field and most of their wounded in our hands. We pursued in the morning with infantry with infantry and cavalry. The intercepting force met them at Henderson's [Mill] but, owing to some misunderstanding, withdrew and allowed them to pass with only a slight check. The pursuit was continued until evening.....
* * * *
A. E. BURNSIDE, Maj.-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 30, pt. II, p. 547.
A Confederate staff officer's account of the skirmish at Henderson's Mill
When several miles beyond Greenville [sic] on the road to Jonesboro' Genl Jackson's advance (Genl. Jackson Brigade [sic] of 500) constituted our advance Guard, was fired upon just at daylight. It was within two miles of Hendersons [sic] mill - where we were going to Camp [sic], and I was going to the front by order of Genl. Williams to halt the column there. The beautiful morning star, harbinger of coming day, was shining like a diadem on the brow of night -- & we were peacefully, tho' regretfully pursuing our way -- when all at once a volley of musketry into the head of the column woke up to the feast of death.
One of Genl Jackson's Staff was captured & perhaps a few of his men killed. It was too dark to see more than 100 yards in the heavy timber in which the Enemy were concealed.
I had just reached Genl. Jackson who was again advancing his column of infantry to drive them from the woods - supposing they were East Tennessee Bushwhackers -- when a furious volley was against poured into us from behind the trees not 75 yards in front. To prevent being shot from my horse, as Yankees generally shoot too high, I dismounted in an instant, but soon found myself left alone in the road under a heavy fire all the others having sought the generous protection of the neighboring trees. My horse was wild with excitement -- so that I could not mount him until Rufus Todd held him for me --
As soon as our men got shelter they opened briskly upon the Enemy [sic], & soon our artillery came up & shelled the woods. It was not y et good light. Genl. Williams immediately coming up ordered Jackson forward with Thomas Legion - (Infantry) and Carter to charge with his brigade of Cavalry --
The boys went in with a shout charging gallantly, driving the Yankees from one position to another. The General was in the front cheering the men onward -- as he appreciated the critical position in which we were placed. The Enemy confidently expecting us to remain at Blue Springs, had thrown a heavy cavalry force under Col Carter (4 reg'ts [sic] of 2500 men -- the same who went to Bristol and burnt Blountville,) in our rear to hold us in check until the forces on the other side could come up; therefore we must fight out or be captured: "horse, foot & dragoon," artillery & transportation, & all. Our men I say went in gallantly -- drove the Enemy back, & only once gave up any ground & then a batt'n [sic] of Mounted men were driven from the woods, but were soon rallied - (the Genl. assisting) & returned to the fight. The Enemy used their artillery at first, but when we once got them started they never got time to unlimber again. The fight lasted until about 71/2 A.M. - & ended by the flight of the Enemy before the impetuous charges of our boys, who never stopped but kept on , never giving the Yankees time to rally & form.
We drove them some three miles when they left the main road at double quick -- taking a road to the left towards Kingsport, leaving our way open to pursue our falling back. So we were delivered from a Yankee trap.
Thank God for the gallantry of our troops! They losses we sustained I cannot determine....
* * * *
Our boys were very much elated with their success, & the way the Yankees "skedaddled." Thus ended the battle of Henderson's Mill - fought between Greenville [sic] & Rheatown, Tenn., on the morning of Sunday the 11th.
Diary of Edward O. Guerrant, September 10,* 1863.
*Ed. note - Although the fight at Henderson's Mill took place on the 11th, Guerrant's account is in the entry for the 10th.
11, Skirmish near Fort Donelson(U.S.C.T.)
OCTOBER 11, 1864.--Skirmish near Fort Donelson, Tenn.
Report of Lieut. Col. Thomas R. Weaver, One hundred and nineteenth U. S. Colored Infantry.
FORT DONELSON, TENN., October 12, 1864.
I have the honor to report that on yesterday morning at 4 o'clock I left Pine Bluff with a recruiting party of eighty-five men of the Fourth Colored Artillery (Heavy), and when near the house of Doctor Williams, within about five miles of this place, I discovered a force of rebel cavalry in our front, which I have since learned was composed of parts of three regiments under command of Col. Chenoweth. My advance commenced firing as soon as they discovered them, which threw them into some confusion. I immediately moved the main body forward a short distance to a slightly elevated position and formed line near the house of Mr. Sexton, where we were immediately attacked, the rebel cavalry charging up the hill in good style until within fifty yards of our line, when they were met by a volley which sent them back in confusion. They reformed and charged again, but were again driven back. They then began moving a force on both flanks, as the same time keeping up a vigorous attack in front, when, finding that we were being surrounded, I directed my men to occupy the log dwellings and outhouses of Mr. Sexton, which they succeeded in doing, after driving the rebels away from them, but in doing so Mr. Sexton, a peaceable citizen, was killed, my men supposing him to be one of the rebels, as he attempted to escape. The rebels, having dismounted their force, continued the attack on the houses, but were met by a well-directed fire, which soon compelled them to withdraw into the woods. Finding it impossible to dislodge us they attempted to send in a flag of truce, which was instantly fired on, and although the act was a violation of the usages of civilized warfare we believed we were justifiable in doing so, as we had no favors to ask nor none to grant, and knowing the treatment which officers and men of colored regiments have generally received at their hands we believe we will not be censured for firing on their flag of truce. The rebels shortly after disappeared, leaving their dead and severely wounded in our possession. Shortly after we occupied and houses I sent two men to Capt. Flood, commanding at this post, for assistance, which arrived shortly after the rebels withdrew.
Our thanks are due Capt. Flood, his officers and men, for the promptness with which they came to our assistance. The rebels left Lieut.-Col. Sorey, Capt. [Maj.] Garr, and 1 enlisted man dead, 3 men mortally and 4 severely wounded, in our hands, and Doctor Williams informs me that they took at least 7 wounded off with them. We have had 4 of their wounded brought in; the others will die. Our loss is Lieut. Johnston, Company I, Fourth Colored Artillery (Heavy), and 3 enlisted men killed, and 9 enlisted men wounded. The entire command lament the loss of Lieut. Johnston, as he was a most excellent officer and possessing the entire confidence of his men. Our success must be attributed in a great measure to his exertions.
As for the colored soldiers they behaved nobly. There was not a single instance in which they did not surpass my expectations of them.
We brought all our killed and wounded in with us. The wounded are in hospital and are doing well.
Their wounded say they crossed the Tennessee River in the morning with 250 men, and admit a loss of 20 men.
Lieut. Upham, commanding Company D, Fourth Colored Artillery (Heavy), Lieut.'s Wright, Russell O'Healy, and Hill, of the One hundred and nineteenth Colored Infantry, who accompanied the expedition, were conspicuous during the entire fight, and did their whole duty.
Our guide, Mr. Joice, was also mortally wounded and has since died.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. R. WEAVER, Lieut.-Col. 119th Colored Infantry, Cmdg.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 39, pt. I, pp. 857-858.