17-28, Confederate withdrawal from Murfreesboro and Middle Tennessee
HDQRS. WESTERN DEPARTMENT,
Edgefield, February [17, 1862].
Maj.-Gen. CRITTENDEN, Cmdg. Chestnut Mound:
Gen. Johnston directs you to move your command to Murfreesborough (instead of Nashville) without delay. Press all the wagons you need. Fort Donelson has fallen, and Gen. Floyd's army is captured after a gallant defense.
W. W. MACKALL.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 7, p. 889.
MURFREESBOROUGH, [February] 24, 1862.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS:
My movements have been delayed by a storm on the 22d washing away pike and railroad bridge at this place. Floyd, 2,500 strong, will march for Chattanooga to-morrow to defend the central line. This army will move on 26th, by Decatur, for the valley of Mississippi; is in good condition and increasing in numbers.
A. S. JOHNSTON, Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 7, p. 905
SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 39. HDQRS. WESTERN DEPARTMENT, Murfreesborough, February 27, 1862.
* * * *[sic]
2. The army will move to-morrow morning at sunrise for Shelbyville.
3. The order of march and the marches will be as follows:
1st. Wood's brigade, snappers and miners, 15 miles on Shelbyville road.
2d. Wood's brigade, snappers and miners, 15 miles on Shelbyville road.
3d. Crittenden's division, 12 miles on the same road.
4th. Breckinridge and Texas Rangers, 7 miles to Hindman's first encampment.
5th. Hardee, with Bowen's brigade, will cross the bridge over Stone's Creek.
6th. All unattached companies, battalions, or regiments will be put in march by Maj.-Gen. Hardee in advance of Bowen.
7th. The colonels of regiments will place all spare wagons at the disposal of the chief quartermaster.
8th. The brigadiers and colonels will restrict their officers and men to the smallest possible amount of baggage, and turn over surplus transportation to the chief quartermaster.
9th. Maj.-Gen. Hardee will assume command of all the cavalry in rear of the army, prescribe the time and manner of their movement, and direct them to destroy all the bridges after they pass over.
10th. The chief quartermaster will turn over all surplus transportation to Maj.-Gen. Hardee.
[By command of Gen. Johnston:
W. W. MACKALL, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.]
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 7, p. 911.
CIRCULAR.] HDQRS. WESTERN DEPARTMENT,
Murfreesborough, February 28, 1862.
The columns will resume the march to-morrow morning in the same order, and continue it from day to day by Shelbyville and Fayetteville to Decatur.
The marches will be so arranged as to make about 15 miles a day so long as the roads permit.
By command of Gen. Johnston:
W. W. MACKALL, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 7, p. 912.
17-21, Anti-guerrilla expedition from Lexington to Clifton
No. 1.--Col. John K. Mizner, Third Michigan Cavalry, Chief of Cavalry, District of Jackson.
No. 2.--Capt. Frederick C. Adamson, Third Michigan Cavalry.
Report of Col. John K. Mizner, Third Michigan Cavalry, Chief of Cavalry, District of Jackson.
JACKSON, TENN., February 22, 1863.
CAPT.: To add to the pleasurable remembrances of the anniversary we have to-day celebrated, I have the honor to report, for the information of the general commanding, that the cavalry I sent toward the Tennessee River have succeeded in capturing Col. [J. F.] Newsom, with 7 of his officers and 60 men, besides all their horses, arms, accouterments, &c., together with a large amount of supplies. This splendid achievement was accomplished by Capt. Cicero Newell, of the Third Michigan Cavalry, who, with 60 picked men, crossed the Tennessee River on the night of the 19th instant, and surprised and captured Newsom and his whole party at Clifton. He recrossed to this side with all his prisoners, when our gunboats came in sight, and gave them valuable assistance in discovering boats and small craft which the enemy had concealed and had continually used in crossing the river. Capt. Adamson, Third Michigan Cavalry, was second in command, and he, as well as all of the officers and men, deserve the highest praise for capturing a force of the enemy exactly equal to their own.
I regret to inform you that Capt. Newell was wounded in the action at Clifton.
I inclose Capt. Adamson's report, which gives a full account of the affair.
The prisoners were turned over to Lieut. Fitch, commanding gunboat fleet. Capt. Newell, being disabled, was also taken on board the gunboat.
I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. K. MIZNER. Col. and Chief of Cavalry.
Report of Capt. Frederick C. Adamson, Third Michigan Cavalry.
LEXINGTON, TENN., February 21, 1863.
SIR: on behalf of Capt. Newell, I would respectfully submit the following report of the operations of the detachment of cavalry under his command from the 17th instant until the present date:
On the 17th instant he started for Clifton, with 23 men of Company A, under Sergeant [Thomas] Dean; 14 men of Company L, under command of Lieut. Leonardson; 24 men of Company K, under command of Lieut. McIntyre; 23 of Company B, commanded by Capt. Adamson (all of the above of the Third Michigan Cavalry), and 14 men of the Second Tennessee, commanded by Sergeant Mize.
We reached Johnson's house, 8 miles from Clifton, about sundown, without any adventure worth noting, having scouted the country thoroughly for some miles on either side of the road. At midnight our pickets sent in two Confederate soldiers, who had just crossed from Clifton, from whom we gained some valuable information in relation to the force at Clifton.
At daylight we started for the river, leaving a small party at Johnson's. We struck the enemy's pickets on the river bank, 2 miles from the point opposite Clifton. We then dashed down, hoping to capture the ferry. The pickets had evidently signaled their confederates on the opposite shore, as they greeted us with a volley. We got our horses under cover immediately, and, dismounting the men, led part of [Companies] A and K to the bank and returned their fire. The firing was continued on both sides for a short time, resulting in no damage to men, but wounding two of Company B's horses, which, we supposed, had been placed entirely out of danger. Capt. Newell left his company to watch the enemy and cover our retreat. We then returned to Johnson's, where we found a conscript who had come in to surrender himself. From the information given by him, Capt. Newell went with his company to Turnbull's Creek, leaving orders with me to proceed with the remainder of the command to Decaturville, and secure quarters for the men, &c.
The captain's scout resulted in the discovery of an old flat-boat, some 40 feet long and 10 wide. He immediately conceived the idea of crossing the river and making an attack on Clifton, and left Sergeant [Henry C.] Vowles and 6 men, with orders to make a pair of oars, bail out the boat, and take her down the river, under cover of the night, to point 4 miles above Clifton, and there await our coming. He then joined me at Decaturville, where we decided, from the information collected, upon a plan of attack to be carried into effect that night. Information of the discovery of the boat having reached the citizens, through the indiscretion of some of Company K's men, we feared they might guess at our intention and prepare the rebels for our coming, so we announced our departure for Lexington, and started off on that road (leaving at 2 p.m.).
Getting out some 4 miles, we struck into the woods, under the guidance of Mr. Dow White; remained concealed in the woods until night, when we started for our boat, some 10 miles off; found everything all right. The river was very high and full of drift-wood, which the strong current drove along at fearful speed. It was now 12 m. We could not take all the men at once, and we knew, in the state of the river, that we could not take all the men at once, and we knew, in the state of the river, that we could not make a second trip; in time to carry out our plans. So we told off 60 men--22 from A, 10 from L, 14 from K, and 14 from B--under command of their respective officers, as before noted (Lieut.'s Bingham and Drew accompanying their companies). We left the reminder of the men, under command of a sergeant, to take charge of our horses. We got our living freight aboard our crazy craft, the boat's gun wale being just 6 inches above water-mark, made the men lie flat in the bottom, crossed over, and drifted down about 2 miles; then landed, after considerable difficulty and danger, and wended our way through the woods for town. After marching some 2 miles through the brush along the river bank, we encountered a serious obstacle to our farther progress, in the shape of an extensive bayou, which we could not cross in any direction. Not being discouraged at our failure, we marched back to the boat, shoved off, and drifted down within half a mile of town, again landed, reconnoitered cautiously, marched within sight of town, found everything quiet, lay down on the ground, and sent our guide to a house to ascertain with exact certainty the strength and position of the enemy; found it just as we expected and no more. We waited some two hours anxiously for the proper moment to arrive. The night was very dark and cold. Our men suffered considerably, having left their overcoats in the boat, but they bore it in silence, as not a murmur was heard among them.
Day [19th? 20th?] just breaking, we crept cautiously into town, Company B in advance. Their only guard now espied us, and, calling "treason" at the top of his voice, started for the quarters. We soon secured him, sent a couple of men to their ferry, surrounded the houses, which we knew contained the men, dashing in the doors and windows, thrusting in our guns, and pointing them at the heads of the astonished, half-awake, and undressed occupants, demanding with loud shouts their instant surrender. Considerable resistance was shown in some of the buildings, but we bore down everything before us. Some thirty shots were fired; the second one, I am sorry to say, disabled Capt. Newell, stricken him in the leg, under the knee, making a painful, but not dangerous, flesh wound. Col. Newsom had his right arm fearfully shattered and Lieut. Shelby was struck in the shoulder, which were all the known casualties that occurred on both sides.
The command now devolving upon me, and the town being fully in our possession, I instantly mounted a few men, and [sent] them on the different roads to pick up runaways, and turned my immediate attention to getting the prisoners on the other side of the river, as I had reliable information that there was an Alabama regiment of cavalry camped at Ague Creek, only 7 miles east, and a strong force at Waynesborough, 17 miles distant. Some of our men left with the horses now made their appearance on the opposite bank, according to instructions, so I sent 50 over (in the ferry just captured) with a strong guard, commanded by Lieut. Bigham, putting Capt. Newell in the same boat; signaled our own boat, which the guard immediately brought down; loaded her with the rest of the prisoners, a party of our men, the captured saddles, guns, &c.
We plied both boats briskly for some time, carrying from four to six horses a trip. It was severe work, as the current would carry the boats a long distance down stream; consequently we had to haul them up along shore, so that they might reach the landing on the opposite side. In the mean time I had crossed over; and fearing the co-operation of the prisoners in case of an attack, I directed Lieut. Drew to move them to Hughes' house, 2 miles distant. We were about getting over our last load of horses when we were most agreeably surprised by the appearance of a fleet of five gunboats. The Lexington, in advance, put out her guns, intending to shell us, bet a cheer from this side and a white flag from the other checked her intention. Lieut. Fitch, flag-officer of the fleet, gave our tired men a capital dinner, which they much needed, having eaten nothing since noon of the day before.
Before the arrival of the boats, I had ordered the firing of the buildings that had been occupied by the enemy, as they were well filled up; with bunks, &c., and the hotel in which we found over 30 men contained a quantity of commissary stores, which I could not transport, so was compelled to destroy.
Our raid was entirely successful. The result was the capture of 8 commissioned officers and some 60 enlisted men, 40 splendid horses, some saddles, about 40 stand of arms, principally old shot-guns, many of which we threw in the river, some Sharps' and Smith's carbines (four of the latter), a few Enfield rifles, several old muskets, flint-locks, &c., and a few Colt's pistols (how many I cannot ascertain, as the property has not yet been collected from the men). I regret to say that many of the old guns were carried off by the officers and men of the gunboats during my absence, as their men were all allowed to come ashore.
Capt. Fitch offered to take the prisoner off our hands, and, upon consulting with Capt. Newell, who had been moved to Hughes', he decided it would be best to get rid of them, as several were unable to ride, and I could not mount them all. I fear that I have erred in this matter, but did it for the best. The horses are distributed among the companies, subject to the order of the colonel commanding.
Having had information that Wright's Island contained several horses belonging to the Confederates, I took a small party on the gunboat and searched the island. The horses had been removed several days before, but we found two boats, one of which we destroyed; the other was one of Francis' metallic life-boats, which I also turned over to Capt. Fitch. It was now dusk, so we crossed in our old boat, which we had towed up, entirely destroyed it, and marched on foot to Johnson's, to which place I had ordered the command.
Early on the 21st, I started for Lexington, through a drenching rain; reached there at 3 p.m., and reported to Maj. [Thomas] Saylor, whom I found in command.
I am thoroughly satisfied that there is no force anywhere in this vicinity, on this side of the Tennessee River. Van Dorn is at Columbia; parties of his cavalry are stationed at different points, close to the river, and it seems to be the impression that it is his intention to attempt to hold the river at these points.
I inclose a list of the prisoners and Capt. Fitch's receipt for 54; one of the slips containing their names was mislaid, which accounts for the difference between the list and receipt, and 4 were released on parole. I must apologize for the length of this report, but in justice to the men and officers, who all, without exception, conducted themselves bravely on our rather dangerous expedition, I could not do less than tell the whole story.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
F. C. ADAMSON, Capt. Third Michigan Cavalry.
P. S.--Net result of expedition: Prisoners, 61; horses, 40; saddles, about 40; stand of arms,. 40; flat-boats destroyed, 2; yawls destroyed, 2; skiffs destroyed, 2; life-boat found, 1; 4 barrels flour, 3 barrels salt, 10,000 ponds pork and bacon, a quantity of corn-meal, beans, &c., burned.
Col. Newsom and Lieut. [M. T.] Shelby were dangerously wounded and paroled.
I neglected to state that captain Newell went on the gunboat Fairplay, as, owing to the state of the roads and the lack of transportation, we could not [take] him to a suitable place.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 24, pt. I, pp. 356-360.