September 17 -
October 3, U. S. Evacuation of Cumberland Gap
Including march of garrison to Greensburg, KY (Brigadier-General George W. Morgan). Report of Brig. Gen. W. Morgan, U. S. Army, including operations August 16-October 3.
HDQRS. UNITED STATES FORCES,
Greenupsburg, Ky., October 3, 1862.
GEN.: On the night of the 17th of September, with the army of Stevenson 3 miles in my front, with Bragg and Marshall on my flanks, and Kirby Smith in my rear, my command marched from Cumberland Gap mid the explosion of mines* and magazines and lighted by the blaze of the store-houses of the commissary and quartermaster. The sight was grand. Stevenson was taken completely by surprise. At 5 o'clock p.m. on the 17th instant I sent him three Official letters. The officers of our respective flags remained together in friendly chat for an hour. I have brought away all the guns but four 30-pounders, which were destroyed by knocking off the trunnions. During our march we were constantly enveloped by the enemy's cavalry, first by the Stevenson and since by the Morgan brigade. Throughout I maintained the offensive, and on one day marched twenty hours and on three successive nights drove Morgan's men from their supper. Morgan first assailed us in the rear and then passed to our front, blockading the road and destroying subsistence. For three successive days we were limited to the water of stagnant pools and that in small quantities. We expected to meet Humphrey Marshall at this place, but have been disappointed. Unless otherwise ordered I will proceed with my column to Camp Dennison to rest and refit.
With high respect,
GEORGE W. MORGAN, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. I, p. 990.
Report of Capt. Jacob T. Foster, First Battery Wisconsin Light Artillery, Chief of Artillery.HEADQUARTERS ARTILLERY, U.S. FORCES, Portland, Ohio, October 14, 1862.
DEAR SIR: I have the honor of submitting to you the following report of the march of the artillery force from Cumberland Gap, Tenn., to this place:
This force consisted of five batteries, to wit: Foster's First Wisconsin Battery, of six 10-pounder rifle guns; Wetmore's Ninth Ohio Battery, of six guns--two 10 and two 12 pounder guns, and two 12-pounder howitzers; Lanphere's Michigan battery, of six 10-pounder rifle guns; Webster's siege battery, of six 20-pounder Parrott guns, and Clingan's battery, of four 6-pounder guns--twenty-eight pieces in all. Lanphere's battery was ordered to accompany De Courcy's brigade to Manchester, Ky., on the 8th day of September, where it arrived on the 11th of September, and remained there until the 21st, when it marched with the balance of the division. On the 16th the Ninth Ohio Battery reported to Col. Coburn, Thirty-third Indiana Regiment, and marched with the same to Manchester, where they arrived on the 19th. On the 17th of September Foster's Wisconsin battery and Clingan's battery reported to Gen. Spears, and the siege battery to Gen. Carter, for orders, the latter battery marching at 11 p. m., Foster's and Clingan's batteries bringing up the rear about 1 a. m. of the 18th of September. On or about the 22d day of August all of the artillery horses that were fit for service, except enough for one section, were delivered to Col. Garrard, of the Third Kentucky Regiment, and taken to Manchester, Ky.; consequently it was necessary to use mules to transport the batteries. There were, however, about 100 horses which had been condemned as unfit for service but a short time before, which were assigned to the siege battery. The batteries all arrived at Manchester in good order, experiencing but little difficulty on the way. Here the siege battery received fifteen new horses, which strengthened the team very considerably. On the 21st of September the siege battery, with Gen. Baird's brigade, marched at 4 p. m.; Foster's and Clingan's batteries, with Gen. Spears' brigade, at 5 p. m.; the Ninth Ohio Battery, with Gen. Carter's brigade, at 9.30 p. m., and Lauphere's battery, with De Courcy's brigade, at 10 p. m. The roads were the roughest we had yet seen, but we experienced but little difficulty in passing over them. The advance halted at Clark's, about eleven miles from Manchester, at 11 p. m., and rested for the night. About 4 a. m. of the 22d a gun Carriage to the Ninth Ohio Battery was overturned, breaking an arm of one of the drivers. The ammunition in the limber-chest, from some cause--supposed to be by the ignition of a friction-primer--exploded, dangerously wounding two men and demolishing the limber-chest and wheels. At Proctor, Baird's brigade, with the siege battery, and Carter's brigade, with the Ninth Ohio Battery, left the traveled road to take a nearer route over an old road which had not been used for several years, and were to rejoin the brigades of Spears and De Courcy and the other batteries at Hazel Green, a distance of twenty-five miles. This road was in many places totally washed away, in others it had slidden [sic] into streams, and in others was filled with fallen trees and rocks. Wherever it led across a stream the last vestige of a bridge had been washed away, and the banks were considered by the inhabitants of the country as impassable. At the North Fork of the Kentucky River was a breach that would have caused anything less than men of iron wills to have given up in despair. The banks of the river on either side, being sandy, were washed by the floods until no vestige of a road could be seen other than the old road, which was upward of fifty feet above low-water mark. But Capt. Patterson, with his company of sappers and miners, assisted by Capt. Tidd, of the telegraph, and Capt. Douglas, of the Engineer Corps, and their commands, soon constructed a passable road, and within six hours from the time of our arrival at the river the whole train had passed over safely.
The march from Proctor to Hazel Green was made in three days over very rough roads which needed repairs more than half the distance. Water by this route was plenty, but not of a very excellent quality, being found in stagnant pools mostly. The batteries that went the traveled road suffered more for want of water, as they were obliged to march nearly the whole distance without a drop of water only as they could carry it with them. On Saturday, the 27th of September, the advance was fired into by bushwhackers and Morgan's cavalry. Lanphere's battery threw from thirty to forty shells into the woods at them, but with what effect is not known. On the 29th Carter's brigade, being in the advance, was fired into by a party of rebels from a point of woods. The siege battery was called forward and threw twenty-two shells into the woods from whence came the firing, the result of which was a skedaddle of rebels. Again in the evening of the 30th a squad of the Second Tennessee Regiment were after water and were fired upon by rebels and one captain wounded. Seven more shells were thrown by the siege battery, the result of which was skedaddle number two. On the same date, the 30th, the First Wisconsin Artillery shelled the rebels out of a piece of woods and captured 1,000 pounds of rebel bacon. From West Liberty to Grayson our way was frequently barricaded and front harassed by the notorious J. H. Morgan, but his barricades were taken out much faster than he could put them in, and he was crowded so closely that at Grayson he left us, saying:
“Tis no use trying to stop that d__d Yankee Morgan, for he can march over fallen trees faster than I can in good roads, and can take artillery where the d____ [sic] l can't go.”
From Grayson to the Ohio River, twenty-five miles, the roads were much better than we had seen since leaving Manchester, and we arrived at Greenupsburg, Ky., on the 3d day of October, safe and in good condition, with all the artillery with which we left Cumberland Gap, except the ammunition chest of the Ninth Ohio Battery, which exploded, and one caisson abandoned at Grayson by Capt. Lanphere, with a broken stock. October 4 we crossed the Ohio River by ferrying the ammunition chests and fording with the Carriages, and camped in Haverhill, Ohio, before midnight.
Sunday, the 5th instant, left Haverhill about 9 a. m. for this place, where we arrived at noon on the 7th instant. Thus ended a march of upward of 200 miles through a region of country considered impracticable for an army, where water was very scarce, and subsistence, other than green corn and a few potatoes, was not to be had. Not a pound of flour was used by several of the batteries during the whole march, all their bred being made from "gritted" corn. Many of the men were barefooted and all were poorly clad, yet these men would march almost day and night with very little complaining, showing a degree of courage and fortitude worthy of emulation. Too much praise cannot be bestowed upon Capt. Patterson and his command for the prompt and efficient manner in which he removed all obstacles to our safe and speedy progress.
J. T. FOSTER, Capt. and Chief of Artillery.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pt. I, pp. 49-51.
CUMBERLAND GAP EVACUATED. The Federals commenced burning their army stores last night at 8 o'clock. They blew up their magazines after midnight, and marched out before day. We advanced this morning and occupied the Gap, and found a great quantity of property destroyed, and some not destroyed. The enemy had spiked the guns in the forts on the mountain peaks, and they left a great number of sick in the Gap. We will move on in pursuit of them.
Diary of William E. Sloan, September 18, 1862.
*Ed. note - This official report by Brigadier-General George W. Morgan (U.S.) gives a condensation of that evacuation, or withdrawal, or retreat, as a very harried affair. It is singular in that it refers to exploding mines, presumably “land mines,” the presence of which have not been heralded by Civil War ordnance enthusiasts.