Wednesday, March 4, 2015

3.04.2015 Tennessee Civil War Notes

        4, P.G.T. Beauregard's notes on Confederate strength in West Tennessee

JACKSON, TENN., March 4, 1862.

Beauregard's confidential notes of reference.

Provisions, grin, &c., in Western Tennessee to be collected as rap idly as possible and sent to Columbus and Grenada, keeping on hand provisions and forage as follows, viz.,:

At Union City, for 1,500 men, about three weeks.

At Humboldt, for 5,000 men, about three weeks.

At Jackson, for 900 infantry, about three weeks.

At Jackson, for 400 cavalry, about three weeks.

At Corinth, for 15,000 men, for four weeks.

At Henderson, for 800 men, for two weeks.

At Iuka, for 2,500 men, for two weeks.

At Grand Junction, for 10,000 men, for four weeks.

The regiment now at Trenton to be ordered forthwith by Gen. Polk to Fort Pillow via Memphis. Capt. Robertson's cavalry to remain at Henderson; the remainder of troops now there, viz.,: Lea's and Browder's regiments and stragglers collected, to be ordered by Gen. Polk to report to Gen. Ruggles at Corinth forthwith. The Seventh Mississippi Regiment, now at Jackson, Tenn., to be ordered by Gen. Bragg to Henderson.


Three or more regiments, or about 2,500 effective men, to a brigade; two brigades to a division; to each brigade one battery of six guns, either four smooth-bores and two howitzers, four rifles and two howitzers, or six rifle guns.

Each grand division should have a reserve battery as large as practicable. There should be a chief of artillery for light batteries on the general-in-chief's staff.


Depots to be established at Columbus and Grenada, Miss. Ammunition for distribution: 100 rounds per man for infantry and cavalry with each regiment; 200 rounds per piece with each company of artillery. The requisite amount in the same ration for an army of 35,000 men to be held in depot at Grand Junction ready for shipment at a moment's notice.


One chief of ordnance, Capt. Oladowski; ordnance officer at Columbus, Mr. W. R. Hunt.

Ordnance officer at Grenada, Capt. Gibbs.

Ordnance officer at Grand Junction, Mr. Tonneau.

Powder manufactory to be established at Meridian, and sulphur, &c., to be collected there.

Percussion-cap manufactory to be established at Columbus, and, if possible, at Grenada.

Prisoners of war now at Memphis to be removed to Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Troops to be prepared for active operations in the field; their baggage to be reduced to a minimum.

Transportation shall be from 10 to 15 wagons per regiment, if practicable.

Rear guards must, as they retire, destroy bridges behind them, especially on ordinary roads, by felling trees, &c., if practicable. For this purpose they must be provided with axes.

Each fort and light battery must be provided forthwith with an ample supply of rat-tail files. Gen. Polk will please issue necessary orders to that effect.

The Fourth Louisiana Regt. [sic] at Jackson will report to Maj.-Gen. Bragg for orders.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 7, pp. 919-920.

        4, Taking "Gnashville;" the letter of the Vanity Fair war correspondent

From N. Y. Vanity Fair. War Correspondence—Letter from M'Arone.

Gnashville, Tenn., March 4.

Dear Vanity:  Here all is serene.

I am happy.

It is a fine thing to be a great man.

Send me some money

In short, I have taken the town,

and it is a bully place.

here is maidens....

And jewelry stores....

The maidens smile, and the jewelry stores open rich,

forYours truly,


P.S.—Later.—I have just been taking a walk. I never go out, now, without a brass band to march ahead. My staff follow, the rear brought up by a young lieutenant of light quadroons, whom I have mentioned heretofore. He wears green gloves, and leads a black and tan terrier.

The pageant is imposing.

Now, I am willing to bet that you think the brass band is sent to march ahead in my honor.

You err.

I permit the musicians to play in front of me, in order to honor them.

And, seriously, they deserve it.

They have rendered me great assistance. They have assisted me in taking this place-----

And whoever renders McArone assistance, immortalizes himself.

It was on a mild but effulgent day in February. The sun shone humidly upon the icy mountains and shovels that leaned against the farm fences. Beautiful feathery frost work traceried the glasses of my telescope, and lovely icicles depended from the cows and sheep that ruminated upon a thousand hills.

I then marched on Gnashville with a single brigade, headed by this band.

The people welcomed us with coffee and cakes, and fruits. Every man who had anything to sell was enthusiastically loyal to the Union.

At Gnashville an old man came out. He was a faro pimp. Some relative of Floyd, I believe.

"Try not to pass," this old man said; "the sky grows gloomy overhead  The Southern fellers is mighty spry."

"Get out of this," was the reply.

I then entered the town. An enormous army of rebels had a strong position in a lager beer saloon. They were determined to conquer and to die. We advanced in circular squares with a hole in the middle—a new manoeuvre—and like all great modern military movements, an invention of my own.

As we neared the foe, I saw, at a glance—my perceptive organs are marvelous—that they were all educated and talented men—jeunes gens d'esprit, such as have rendered Tennessee famous---

So I directed the band to play. Music is impressive.

The band played. It played selections from Tannhauser.

Now, these rebel gentlemen could have stood fire and steel. They could have stood the roar of cannon and the rattle of musketry. They could have stood a storm of grape and cannister, host and shell.

But they couldn't stand the Tannhauser.

The "Music of the Future" was too much for them. It was worse to their ears than the Music of the Union.

They scattered and fled. Gnashville was ours!

All the brass instruments of the band were rifled, and they had a tremendous range. The foe were completely routed. Which made it bad for the foe.

I had just learned a lesson. I thought I knew too much for that; but I was mistaken....for the first time in my life.

For safety, I had imprisoned the rebel general, Bushrod Johnson, and some other prisoners of war, in an open lot near Fort Donelson . They were permitted to retain their horses, by way of courtesy. Now, would you believe it, they let down the bars one night, a week or so ago, and escaped!

This teaches me never to imprison men in an open lot again.

I learn from my agents that the rebels intend to make a powerful stand somewhere down South. At any rate, they are all taking steps, now, in that direction.

But we shall see.

There is one man on this continent, who can overcome all disorder and confusion. The man with eagle eye, the large heart, the firm brain and the steady hand....

To him the nation looks to day....

And he will not disappoint the nation's hopes.

Greater than all other, the Hero of Two Worlds towers, serene and far above the empyrean. His head is lifted to the white cloud phantoms that float in the zenith, and his spectral finger points darkly down the lurid sunset horizon of the South. A mighty army kneels at his feet. The American Eagle screams him a fierce welcome. The sun of liberty gilds his noble brow, and the murky shades of rebellion flit and fade to nothing as he comes....

You know him. His name is.... McArone

Daily Constitutionalist [AUGUSTA, GA], April 18, 1862.

        4, General Bushrod Johnston's [sic] Coat

The Coat of General Bushrod Johnston [sic].-In the panic incidental to the evacuation of Nashville, one of the merchants tailors of that city despatached a large quantity of goods to Messrs. Edgerton, Richard & Co, of this city. Among the goods is a magnificently finished military coat for General Bushrod W. Johnston [sic]. The collar is beautifully worked (by a lady of Nashville), and the coat is otherwise elegantly gotten up. It was to have been delivered to General Johnston [sic] the 17th ult. [February]-the day after the surrender took place.

Charleston Mercury, March 4, 1862. [1]

        4, An East Tennessee Woman Blames Northern Misinterpretation of the Bible as the Cause of the Civil War. An Extract from the Diary of Eliza Rhea Anderson Fain

~ ~ ~

Our servants (whom many have felt it was their duty to educate and train in the nurture and admonition of the Lord) have been neglected at the unceasing upbraiding of conscience. O how many tears have Christians of the South been caused to shed on account of this unjust interference. When we think that they have been instrumental in entailing upon the South slavery; we cannot refrain from giving vent to our feelings and exclaiming they know not what they do. Our Bible which is so precious has made the way clearer. Methinks had the Bible reader of the North not perverted his misunderstanding and conscience by the influences of a higher law we might this day have been the most prosperous nation upon the earth. The South was willing, yea anxious to have the slave granted the privileges of moral improvement and of moral elevation. Had the North cooperated with the South in this great work without trying to throw the firebrands of discontent and murder amongst us what a beautiful home of peace, industry and plenty would we today have shown to the world. May the will of our Father in heave be done-all is in his hands.

Fain Diary.

        4-June 10, 1862, Operations in Tennessee

Operations in Tennessee, March 4-June 10, 1862.


March 8, 1862.-Chattanooga, Tenn., occupied by the Confederate forces.

        8, 1862.-Morgan's operations near Nashville, Tenn.

        8, 1862.-Sherman's division embarks at Paducah, Ky., for the Tennessee River.

        9, 1862.-Maj.-Gen. E. Kirby Smith, C. S. Army, assumes command in East Tennessee.

        9, 1862.-Skirmish on Granny White's Pike, near Nashville, Tenn.

        9-14, 1862.-Expedition towards Purdy and operations about Crump's Landing, Tenn..

        11, 1862.-Skirmish near Paris, Tenn.

        13, 1862.-Maj.-Gen. Henry W. Halleck, U. S. Army, assumes command of the Department of the Mississippi.

        14, 1862.-Skirmish at Big Creek Gap and Jacksborough, Tenn.

        14-17, 1862.-Expedition from Savannah, Tenn., to Yellow Creek, Miss., and occupation of Pittsburg Landing, Tenn.

        15-18, 1862.-Morgan's operations about Gallatin, Tenn.

        16, 1862.-Skirmish near Pittsburg Landing, Tenn.

        21-23, 1862.-Reconnaissance to and skirmish at Cumberland Gap, Tenn.

        24, 1862.-Skirmish at Camp Jackson, Tenn.

        25, 1862.-Reconnaissance to Agnew's Ferry, Tenn.

        25-28, 1862.-Reconnaissance from Murfreesborough to Shelbyville, Tullahoma, Manchester, and McMinnville, Tenn.

        28, 1862.-Expedition into Scott and Morgan Counties, Tenn.

        28-June 18, 1862.-The Cumberland Gap Campaign.

        31, 1862.-Skirmish on the Purdy Road, near Adamsville, Tenn.

        31, 1862.-Capture of Union City, Tenn.

        31, 1862-April 2, 1862.-Expedition to Paris, Tenn.

April 1, 1862.-Expedition from Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., to Eastport, Miss. and Chickasaw, Ala.

        3, 1862.-Reconnaissance from Savannah, Tenn., to Eastport, Miss., and Chickasaw, Ala.

        3, 1862.-Skirmish near Monterey, Tenn.

        4, 1862.-Skirmish near Pittsburg Landing, Tenn.

        4, 1862.-Skirmish at Lawrenceburg, Tenn.

        6-7, 1862.-Battle of Pittsburg Landing, or Shiloh, Tenn.

        6-11, 1862.-Expedition from Greeneville, Tenn., into Laurel Valley, N. C.

        7-12, 1862.-Raid on Confederate line of communications between Chattanooga, Tenn., and Marietta, Ga.

        8, 1862.-Martial law proclaimed in East Tennessee.

        8, 1862.-Reconnaissance from Shiloh battle-field.

        11, 1862.-Skirmish at Wartrace, Tenn.

        13, 1862.-Reconnaissance Purdy, Tenn.

        15, 1862.-Skirmish at Pea Ridge, Tenn.

        17, 1862.-Capture of Union refugees near Woodson's Gap, Tenn.

        17, 1862.-Skirmish near Monterey, Tenn.

        24, 1862.-Skirmish at Lick Creek, Tenn.

        24, 1862.-Skirmish on the Shelbyville Road, Tenn.

        26, 1862.-Skirmish at Atkins' Mill, Tenn.

        26-29, 1862.-Scout on Forked Deer River, Tenn.

        27, 1862.-Skirmish at Pea Ridge, Tenn.

        28, 1862.-Skirmish near Monterey, Tenn.

        28-29, 1862.-Expedition to Purdy, Tenn.

        29, 1862.- Skirmish near Monterey, Tenn.

        29, 1862.-Raid on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, near Bethel Station, Tenn.

May 1, 1862.-Skirmish near Pulaski, Tenn.

        2-9, 1862.-Expedition from Trenton to Paris and Dresden, Tenn., and skirmish near Lockridge's Mill.

        4, 1862.-Skirmish at Pulaski, Tenn.

        5, 1862.-Action at Lebanon, Tenn.

        9, 1862.-Skirmish on Elk River, near Bethel, Tenn.

        10, 1862.-Naval engagement at Plum Point, near Fort Pillow, Tenn.

        11, 1862.-Skirmish at Pulaski, Tenn.

        14, 1862.-Skirmish at Fayetteville, Tenn.

        19-23, 1862.-Expedition down the Mississippi to Fort Pillow, Tenn.

        20, 1862.-Skirmish on Elk River, Tenn.

        22, 1862.-Skirmish at Winchester, Tenn.

        24, 1862.-Skirmish at Winchester, Tenn.

        3-5, 1862.-Fort Pillow, Tenn., evacuated by the Confederates and occupied by the Union forces.

        4, 1862.-Skirmish at Sweeden's Cove, near Jasper, Tenn.

        6, 1862.-Naval engagement off Memphis, Tenn., and occupation of that City by Union forces.

        7, 1862.-Skirmish at Readyville, Tenn.

        7, 1862.-Capture of Jackson, Tenn.

        7-8, 1862.-Attack on Chattanooga, Tenn.

        10, 1862.-Skirmish at Winchester, Tenn.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 10, pt. I, pp. 2-3.

        4, "A visit to the Murfreesborough Battle Ground."

On the 4th of March, 1863, we visited the battle ground of Murfreesborough, and in company with a Federal officer, traversed about five miles in extent, of the ground upon which the hostile armies contended-first in the fields and then in the woods, among the cedars and timbers where much of at the hard fighting was done. No man at a distance, who only reads the newspaper accounts of that hard fight, can form any idea of the number of dead horses and mules upon the ground. Their names were legions, estimated at fully 3,000. We found them often piled up one upon another-some shot through the body, some through the neck, others with heads and legs off. But all were in a wonderful state of preservation, lying on the field more than two months.

The trees were peppered with bullets for miles-the twigs cut off, and many trees were cut off by cannon balls, at points ranging from five to thirty feet from the ground. Large trees of size sufficient to make saw-logs, where the cannon balls struck them fairly they passed clear through, and we could see daylight through as we rode along. Even cannon balls were to be seen among the lines, and shells that failed to explode. In other instances we saw pieces of shell upon the ground and we handled them.

Now comes the sad and sorrowful part of our narrative. The graves of the slain in battle were to be seen in every direction, in untold numbers. The head-boards of single graves indicated who many of the tenants were, giving names, regiments and places of residence when living. Many of them were buried in the cotton-fields, and others in the opening in the woods where they were killed. In many instances ditches were dug, and our guides informed us that from one hundred to on hundred and fifty were crowded into a ditch. The dirt upon many of them was, of course, only a few inches deep, and in a few instances hands and feet were sticking out. The most fearful evidence of slaughter was to be seen in front of where General Rosecrans massed his artillery-say one hundred and twenty guns. There lay the horses and mules piled on each other, and in the distance and beyond them were the graves of dead rebels.

We could but feel sad as we passed over this terrible battle ground, and in the bitterness of our souls denounce the bad men of the South who had caused all its waste of life [sic] and treasure! We felt an unutterable degree of sympathy for the poor fellows that had been conscripted and forced into the war, but none for those who had volunteered [sic] and gone in for their own accord-looking upon their graves and the long trenches holding their bodies, we felt that these thousand of Southern rebels, in open and wicked rebellion against the United States, and villainously sought and mournful but justly found their rights-not in the "territories," [sic] but in the cotton-fields and cedar thickets of a State they had assisted in forcing out of the Union at the point of the bayonet and in opposition to the oft-repeated wishes of majority of the real people.

We gazed with wonder and astonishment upon the devastation and ruin of the surrounding country, and of a rich country, once in a high state of cultivation. Fences all gone; houses burned down; graves of number slain [sic]; live stock and grain all consumed; and the horrors of war looking one full in the face! We could but think of a new version of an old rhyme-

"Could we with ink the ocean fill;

Were the whole sky a parchment made,

Were every stock a quill,

And every man a scribe buy trade-

The sea of ink, the paper sky,

The scribes of old would not suffice

To write the Southern Rebel

Treason, murders and lies

Brownlow's Whig and Independent Journal

and Rebel Ventilator, January 16, 1864.

        4, Skirmish at Unionville [see also March 4-14, 1863, Expedition from Murfreesborough toward Columbia, Tennessee below]

MARCH 4, 1863.-Skirmish at Unionville, Tenn.

Report of Col. William F. Tucker, Forty-first Mississippi Infantry, commanding Chalmer's Brigade.

HDQRS. CHALMERS' BRIGADE, On Triune Pike, March 5, 1863.

MAJ.: A few minutes after 3 p. m. on yesterday I received a note from Col. [A. A.] Russell, commanding cavalry outpost (which I forwarded to you at once), informing me that the enemy were advancing in force on this and other roads, and asking that I would send forward a force of infantry and artillery to his support, and had barely time afterward to issue orders preparatory to a forward movement with my whole command, when a large number of Russell's cavalry dashed into my camp, closely pursued by the enemy's cavalry, who followed then to our picket lines with a force of about 50 men. So close was the pursuit that when they reached our lines the two parties were mingled together. One man came within range of my reserve pickets, who fired upon him, wounding his horse, but he managed to escape. The enemy then retreated. I immediately formed the brigade, and moving it forward to a place which I had selected to occupy in case of attack, formed them in line of battle, and rode forward to reconnoiter. Meeting Col. Russell with a portion of his command, he went forward with them, and I followed with my brigade to a point 1 mile beyond Unionville. As our cavalry advance passed through the town, it was fired upon the rear guard of the enemy, who were leaving it; but although I pressed forward at a double-quick for some distance, I was unable to come within sight of them. I sent forward our cavalry, with orders to attempt to force them to halt by firing upon them, but failing in this, and night having come on, I halted, and remained in position until Col. Russell reported that he had re-established his former line of pickets, when I returned to camp.

The enemy burned the academy at Unionville, which was occupied by Col. Russell as his headquarters, and the tents and camp equipage of his command, and carried off with them a number of his wagons and a small quantity of provisions. I regret to say that in the dash made by the enemy to our lines, 5 men who were on duty with my outer pickets allowed themselves to be captured. As the enemy were mingled with our cavalry, numbers of whom had already passed, the pickets probably mistook them for our own men, and incautiously allowed themselves to be surrounded and captured. The others who were on duty at the time at that post escaped. The reserve pickets had already been drawn up in line in readiness for action, but, owing to the nature of the ground, were unable to see what was going on at the advance post.

I may be transcending the line of my duty, but as it is a matter of considerable interest to the forces picketing on this road, I would respectfully call your attention to the fact that a large portion (almost half) of Col. Russell's command are without arms, and that in case of an attack they are only an incumbrance and calculated to demoralize the others.

I am, major, &c., your obedient servant,


Cmdg. Brigade.

P. S.-While I write, cannonading is heard in the direction of Franklin; supposed to be there.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, pp. 125-126.

        4 Skirmish at Rover [see March 4-14, 1863, Expedition from Murfreesborough toward Columbia, Tennessee below]

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpt from the Itinerary of the cavalry Department of the Cumberland, Maj. Gen. David S. Stanley, U. S. Army, commanding, March 4-25, 1863, relative to the skirmish at Rover on March 4, 1863.


March 4, moved toward Rover, 863 strong, with about 300 men of the Seventh Pennsylvania and Fourth Michigan. Attacked and drove the enemy, 400 strong. Followed them up closely to Unionville, 3 miles south, where we found an encampment of 600 more. The Seventh Pennsylvania charged them with the saber, and followed them to within 5 miles of Shelbyville, where they ran into the infantry pickets and captured 9. We captured the entire camp, camp equipage, and transportation of [A. A.] Russell's brigade (First and Fourth Alabama), together with 52 prisoners. Loss, 1 man slightly wounded.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, pp. 134-135.

        4, Reconnaissance from Franklin to Springfield

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpt from the Report of Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck, Gen.-in-Chief, U. S. Army, of operations in the Departments of the Ohio and of the Cumberland, February 3-July 26, 1863 relative to reconnaissance from Franklin to Springfield, March 4, 1863.

* * * *

On the 4th of March, Col. Coburn, with 1,845 men, attempted a reconnaissance from Franklin toward Springfield, encountering in his way Van Dorn's rebel column, estimated at 7,500. The enemy retreated, drawing Col. Coburn into a gorge, where he was surrounded, and nearly all his force captured. Our loss was 1,406; that of the enemy 150 killed and 450 wounded.

* * * *

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, p. 7.

        4, Rumor of Van Dorn's reconnaissance toward Franklin

There was a rumor in the city yesterday that Van Dorn, who is reported to have arrived at Columbia a few days since with eight thousand cavalry, has since advanced to Spring Hill, in Maury county, eight miles south of Franklin; and that on Monday, with two thousand cavalry and a battery, he made a reconnoissance toward Franklin, and drove in the pickets at that place. After getting two of his men captured, he retired.

Nashville Dispatch, March 4, 1863.

        4, Doubts expressed by General J. E. Johnston about food supplies for the Army of Tennessee

CHATTANOOGA, March 4, 1863.


Secretary of War:

SIR: Your letter of the 23d ultimo, with the Commissary-Gen.'s indorsement of the 24th, has just been delivered to me by Maj. Cummings. That officer had Col. Northrop's orders to endeavor to supply Gen. Bragg's troops by purchasing in Middle Tennessee, but is very far from being confident of success. He is about to obey his orders, however, with the promise from me of all the aid that Gen. Bragg's army can properly give him. He says that in expressing to Col. Northrop the opinion that Middle Tennessee contained supplies, and sufficient, for Gen. Bragg's army, he referred to the state of things then existing, our army being at Murfreesborough. The most productive portion of the district to which he referred is no longer within our reach, so that he is uncertain if he can procure any valuable quantity of subsistence stores. I write this to the Commissary-Gen.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,


OR Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, p.660.

        4, The day soldiers dislike the most; marching 11 miles in Middle Tennessee

Wed. March 4th: Weather cold and stormy. Received marching orders about one o'clock last night. We left our tents and knapsacks only took our rubber blankets and one woolen with three days rations in haversacks. Took the Salem pike eight miles then turned to the left -- marched to Versailles 3 miles from the Salem road. All of our division did not move until 4 o'clock PM when we turned into a cedar forest over the worst roads I ever saw. Marched until dark, camped in an open field. Our cavalry took a Secesh camp baggage and all 47 prisoners.

Follett Diary.

        4, Brass bands and Confederate rhetoric in Knoxville

.-Gen. Humphrey Marshall was serenaded by the brass band, accompanied by a large gathering of citizens, on Wednesday [4th] night, in from of the Lamar House.[2] At the repeated calls of the crowd, Col. Crozier introduced General Marshall, who responded in a few remarks to the compliment paid him. He said that he was satisfied that Knoxville is a safe locality, a very safe place, from the appearance and size of the crowd before him. Whit it is well enough to be secure, it would be better if most of you would go out about Tullahoma, where there is likely to be something to do. I have been in the fastnesses of your mountains so long they feel like home to me. I have tried to perform my duty the best I could, but with all the watchfulness I could bestow, the enemy sometimes burn bridges  right under my nose. But all will be well if we do our duty. I have got out of the habit of speech making and you must excuse me. Good night.

The hints and hits of this short speech were received with loud cheering. It would be wrong to wish that this shadow may never grow less, but we do with him a long and prospers career.

Knoxville Register, 6 [Friday]

Macon Daily Telegraph, March 14, 1863.

        4, Reconnaissance and Cavalry Fight at Petersburg[3]

Special Correspondence of the Inquirer.

Concord Church, Tenn., March 5, 1863

A Reconnaissance.

For some time past squads of Rebel Cavalry have been quite troublesome in the vicinity of Franklin, nineteen miles from Nashville, and about fifteen miles from this placed. Indeed, so much mischief have they done, that on Monday last [March 2nd] it was determined to send a force against the, and accordingly the second Minnesota Infantry,  Smith's battery of Regulars, with about two hundreds of the First East Tennessee Cavalry, were yesterday [4th] morning thrown on what is known as the Nolinsville pike. After proceeding on the road for some six or seven miles they struck to the right, crossing to the Franklin Pike, near a small town, or rather a small collection of exceedingly dilapidated log cabins. At this point they were informed by a "reliable contraband," that quite a force of Rebel cavalry were encamped near another small town, called Petersburg, some three miles distant.

A Cavalry Fight.

It was then though advisable to throw the cavalry in the advance, to guard against an ambuscade of surprise; and under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Brownlow, the two hundred Tenneseeans pushed ahead nearly two miles in advance of the battery and infantry. Coming near the town of Petersburg, which is composed of from six to ten miserable hovels, located in a sort of hollow, walled in on all sides by high hills, they saw at a distance of a few hundred yards some four hundred mounted Butternuts coming towards them, and from their movements there could be no doubt but that they were apprised of the advance upon them of our cavalry. Quickly showing their position, our boys were soon prepared for the advancing foe, who were now fairly sweeping down upon them, but one well-directed volley from the revolving cartridges in the hands of the gallant two hundred checked, for the time, the onset; it was, however, soon renewed, when, for fifteen or twenty minutes, a brisk hand to hand conflict ensued. At the end of this time, the Rebels began to think discretion the better part of valor, and upon the approach of the infantry "skedaddled" in the most approved style; not fast enough, however, to entirely escape their pursuers who followed up their advantage with a will, chasing the flying Rebels four miles. During the fight there were twelve of the enemy killed and nearly double that number so severely wounded as to render their escape impossible; and these, with about fifty more were taken prisoners and yesterday evening sent under guard to Nashville. There are one or two men who deserve especial praise for their conduct in this affair. One is Lieutenant Bowman, who, becoming for a time detached from his company, was surrounded by Rebels and forced to fight his way from their midst, using first his revolver, killing one and wounding two of his assailants; then being had pressed by the fourth he drew his sword and after a brief struggle succeeded in nearly severing the Rebel's head from his soldiers, dropping instantly dead from his horse.

Private Thomas Lee also deserved a full med of praise for his daring conduct and sill on the field. The prisoners taken claim to be conscripts from Alabama, but as they were under command of the Rebel Colonel Sterns, whose residence was near the scene of conflict, it is doubtful if they were not recreant Tennesseeans.

The balance of the brigade was started yesterday evening to join the troops already out, and as there are about six thousand rebels reported in that quarter, some sharp work may be expected before they return.

Philadelphia Inquirer, March 12, 1863.

        March 4, 1863- March 5, 1863.-Skirmish (4th) near Franklin, Tenn., and engagement (5th) at Thompson's Station, or Spring Hill, Tenn. [4]

Report of Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, U. S.

Army, commanding Department of the Cumberland. MURFREESBOROUGH, TENN., March 6, 1863--11.20 a. m.

Gen. Gilbert was ordered to send a brigade from Franklin, to reconnoiter toward Spring Hill, in connection with a movement via Eagleville. I have received the following from Gen. Granger:

FRANKLIN, March 5, 1863.

The expedition ordered from this point on the 3d was, I fear, drawn into a trap while passing a defile near Thompson's Station, and some 1,800 men, have fallen into the hands of the enemy, including killed, wounded, and prisoners. I have reason to believe that the enemy has suffered severely. Van Dorn commanded. Gen. Sheridan made a reconnaissance on the 4th to Unionville, near Duck River, and the cavalry routed two rebel camps, capturing 70 prisoners, among whom were 5 commissioned officers, 21 wagons, and a considerable quantity of camp equipage and stores. Brig.-Gen. Steedman, on the same day, routed a rebel force at Chapel Hill, and captured 100 prisoners. The expedition has not yet returned.

W. S. ROSECRANS, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, p. 73.


HDQRS. POLK'S CORPS, ARMY OF TENNESSEE, Shelbyville, Tenn., March 6, 1863.

Maj.-Gen. VAN DORN:

GEN.: Your gratifying dispatch, giving account of your brilliant affair of yesterday (the capture of five regiments of the enemy's infantry, in a fight on the Franklin road), has just been received, and will be immediately forwarded to army headquarters.

* * * *

I remain, general, respectfully, yours,

[L. POLK,], Lieut.-Gen., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, p. 665.


HDQRS. NINTH PENNSYLVANIA CAVALRY, Franklin, Tenn., March 6, 1863.

SIR: As the senior officer remaining of the expedition to Spring Hill, as directed by Special Orders, No. 15, from the headquarters of Brig.-Gen. Gilbert, commanding at Franklin, Tenn., I beg leave to report that the expedition-consisting of Col. Coburn's brigade, and 600 cavalry, detached from the Ninth Pennsylvania, the Fourth Kentucky, and the Second Michigan, under my command, and the Eighteenth Ohio Battery, Capt. Aleshire, all under the command of Col. Coburn, of the Thirty-third Indiana Infantry-left Franklin about 9 o'clock on the morning of March 4, their line of march being on the direct road toward Spring Hill and Columbia. The regiments marched with but 4 wagons each, and a train of 80 wagons brought up the rear for foraging purposes. The expedition was ordered to march in a body to Spring Hill, 13 miles distant, at which point a part of the cavalry was to be detached to march upon Raleigh Springs, on the Lewisburg road, to meet certain United States forces from the direction of Murfreesborough.

About 4 miles from Franklin, and about 10.30 a. m., the advanced guard of our forces came in contact with the advance forces of the enemy, marching, it is said, to attack our position at Franklin. Lines of battle were at once formed, the enemy occupying a range of hills crossing the turnpike at right angles, while we took post on a knoll to the left of the road, our right extending over the undulating ground toward the railroad and our left to some wooded hills and ravines in the direction of the Lewisburg road. Our battery was at once brought forward and placed on the hill to the left, while that of the enemy was placed in a corresponding position upon their right, with one piece on a large hill to the left of their position. The first shell was fired from our guns at 10.40 a. m., and in a moment afterward a corresponding messenger came from the enemy. The lines of the enemy's cavalry were drawn up in full view on the face of the hills, within half-mile range and to the right and left of their batteries. A few rounds from our guns caused the enemy to withdraw behind the hills to their rear, but I noticed large bodies of their cavalry filing to the right and left from the turnpike in the rear of their batteries, and taking position under the cover of the hills. The batteries continued for about an hour and a half to thunder their compliments to each other, when I discovered a position to our right from which a ravine in which they had massed large bodies of their forces could be shelled. I at once ordered up one piece to the position, and a few shells cleared the enemy of their support to their battery on our left, and it was at once withdrawn. The enemy then retreated, leaving some 15 killed and carrying away a large number of wounded.

During the battle our skirmishers were hotly engaged on the left in the hills and ravines, and at every point drove the enemy from their position.

Our loss in this action was but 2 men wounded, both slightly. I have no doubt but that the force the enemy was from 3,000 to 4,000 cavalry, with four pieces of artillery, one of which lost a wheel in the action, which was knocked to pieces by one of our shells. I also saw five or six (though I was informed there were more) horses that were killed by our shells. Just as the action ceased, Col. Coburn was informed that a large body of the enemy's cavalry was approaching Franklin by the Lewisburg road, and I immediately directed my cavalry upon its flank, upon which it retired. We encamped that night upon the position held by the enemy in the morning.

On the morning of the 5th, soon after daylight, our column was again in motion, in the direction of Spring Hill. By order of Col. Coburn, I directed the Fourth Kentucky Cavalry, under my command, to observe the Carter Creek turnpike on our right and the Lewisburg road on our left, to see that no flanking force should gain our rear, and, with the Ninth Pennsylvania and Second Michigan Cavalry deployed as flankers and skirmishers, moved cautiously on Spring Hill. About 1 mile from camp our skirmishers drove in the pickets of the enemy, who, after a few rounds, retired, but so slowly as to keep up a continual skirmish till the battle opened. At the range of hills overlooking Thompson's Station, about 9 miles from Franklin, the skirmishers of the enemy made a very determined resistance, but we charged them, and they retired over the intervening valley and to the opposite hills. While this was going on, I halted the head of the column, but Col. Coburn rode up and ordered it to advance, remarking that the enemy were in small force, and that we had nothing to fear. At this point the road turns sharply to the left and south (the previous direction for about 3 miles had been south of west), and for about three-quarters of a mile is perfectly straight, leading to the hills that bound Thompson's Station on the south.

The column had proceeded on this straight road some 500 or 600 yards, and was just entering the jaws of the pass between the hills that we afterward occupied as our position, when we were opened upon by a battery of the enemy, placed close on the right side of the road at about half-mile range. This was an 18-pounder, and the shell, passing close over the head of the column, struck in the ditch on the left of the road about 150 yards in the rear, and within a few feet of the side of the column, exploding and plowing up the dirt and stones, but, by some wonderful interposition of Providence, without killing or wounding any one. A 6-pounder also opened at the same moment, but the shell fell a few yards to the left in the field, doing no damage. The new troops were at once deployed to the right and left under the hills, to protect them from the shell that were now literally rained upon them, and our artillery brought forward and placed in position three guns upon the hill to the left and two upon the hill to the right of the road, and in a few moments were hotly engaged. In a moment a battery of the enemy of four guns (which had heretofore been masked) opened upon our left flank, completely covering the ground upon which our infantry and cavalry were placed, making it necessary to change their position, and also completely flanking our guns, and a battery to our right had previously opened upon our skirmishers in the valley, near Thompson's Station. This battery Col. Coburn determined to charge and take, hoping to throw back the left wing of the enemy upon their center and force the position. This was the culminating point in the battle.

The column was formed, and moved from its position behind the guns over the crest of the hill and down into the valley below, prepared to charge the battery, while the enemy's guns thundered their shell upon it from front and flank. It bravely withstood the shock, and moved steadily forward, though its track through the fields could be plainly marked by the human mile-stones left in its rear. All at once the artillery on the side of the enemy ceased playing, and a dense mass of infantry began to show itself on the hills in our front. Col. Coburn at once saw that all would be lost unless the column could be again retired behind our guns, and sent an officer to order it to fall back. But it was then too late; the avalanche had been started, and came sweeping down upon it, while from behind a stone fence near the railroad a perfect storm of lead was thrown upon it. Seeing that all was lost, I was ordered by Col. Coburn to call in my cavalry and form it in such position as to cover his retreat.

I at once proceeded to execute the movement necessary to prepare for retreat, and formed my cavalry behind a small strip of woods about a fourth of a mile to the rear of the battery and directly skirting the Franklin road, at the point where the road turns to the east; and, seeing the infantry of the enemy moving from the hill occupied by their flanking battery, with the intention of cutting off our retreat and capturing the battery and wagon train, I at once ordered Maj.'s [L. S.] Scranton, of the Second Michigan, and [G.] Jones, of the Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry, to dismount such part of my command as might be necessary, and take advantage of the fences and inequalities of the ground, and, if possible, drive them off till I could withdraw the battery and be joined by Col. Coburn's infantry. I at once ordered the battery to withdraw from the hill to the left of our position, as a swarm of rebel infantry was about to inclose it, and then dashed off to a hill on the right and withdrew the two pieces stationed there, and just in time, as the rebel line was within 60 yards of them and they entirely unprotected, the infantry, under Col. Coburn, having retreated through the hills to the right of our position and in a directly opposite direction from the point I was holding to cover its retreat. After getting the guns under my protection, I waited (though my whole line was engaged with the enemy) at least fifteen minutes, hoping that Col. Coburn would still come toward me, when, finding that the firing on my right was receding, while that on my left was approaching, and that nothing but stubborn resistance could save my flank, I ordered the retreat to begin.

For 2 miles my men sustained, with unflinching bravery, the repeated assaults of more than three times their number, while others could be seen at double-quick still farther toward my rear. As I withdrew my men from one position, I had at once to place them in new ones to repel fresh attacks.

To Maj. Scranton, in my extreme front and flank, and Maj. Jones, in my extreme rear, and the heroic bravery of the Second Michigan and Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry, is due the safety of my retreat. After about 2 ½ miles the enemy's infantry withdrew, finding that they were foiled in cutting off my retreat. Their cavalry often came in sight, but never participated for a moment in the engagement. About 3 o'clock the firing ceased, and my retreat was no further interrupted.

Had Col. Coburn retreated by the Franklin road, not a man would have been lost. My column never moved a step till long after he was out of sight on the hills to my right. After passing the West Harpeth Creek, I for the first time heard that there was a regiment of infantry retreating from the field of battle without firing a gun, and that it was in front of the wagon train. Maj. Scranton was the first to make the discovery, and galloped forward to stop it till the artillery could be brought up. By whose order it was marched away in retreat I have no knowledge. I know Col. Coburn never issued such an order to it, and I did not know that it was in existence to give it an order. Had it remained upon the ground or sent to me for orders, I could not only have safely covered the retreat, but have given the enemy such a chastisement as would have made him more cautious in the future.

The enemy report our killed at 65 and wounded at 250, while they, on their part, acknowledge a loss of 160 killed, with a very large proportion of wounded.

I cannot speak too highly of the steadiness, discipline, and bravery of the troops under my command. Officers and men did their duty nobly. The Eighteenth Ohio Battery, of long-range Rodman guns, acquitted themselves most nobly, and, though subjected to a cross-fire from the artillery of the enemy, never for a moment became excited, but stood to their guns, delivering their fire with regularity and precision. The battery when withdrawn had but sixty-two shells on hand for the whole five guns. Col. Coburn behaved with the greatest bravery, and was under fire during the whole battle. Capt. Edmund McKinney, of the Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry, rendered most essential service. During the retreat he remained with the rear guard, and by his coolness and bravery during a most critical moment, when hundreds of the enemy were thrown upon a handful, contributed largely to the safety of my command. Capt. Charles A. Appel, Company F, Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry, with his own and parts of Companies A, G, H, and L, with a few of the Second Michigan Cavalry, constituted the rear guard. Capt.'s [D. H.] Kimmel, [W. H.] Longsdorf, and [G.] Waters, and Lieut.'s [E. A.] Hancock and [B. G.] Heistand, of the Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry, behaved with marked coolness and bravery.

The loss on the part of the Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry was 1 killed, 6 wounded, 1 mortally (who died during the night), and 6 taken prisoners. On the part of the Second Michigan, 2 men killed and 11 wounded. Of the Eighteenth Ohio Battery, 1 man is missing.

Respectfully submitted.

THOS. J. JORDAN, Col. Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, pp. 79-83.


Report of Lieut. Col. James M. Henderson, Thirty-third Indiana Infantry.

CAPT.: I have the honor to hand you the following report of the part taken by the Thirty-third Regt. [sic] Indiana Volunteers on the march from Franklin, Tenn., to and including the battle at Thompson's Station, on March 4 and 5 last: In pursuance of Special Orders, No.__, from brigade headquarters, dated March, 1863, I left camp, near Franklin, Tenn., with the Thirty-third Regt. [sic] Indiana Volunteers, in company with the First Brigade, Third Division, Army of Kentucky, of which it then formed a part, and moved south, toward Spring Hill. When about 4 miles out from camp, we suddenly came upon a force of rebel cavalry drawn up ready to receive us. The Thirty-third was stationed on the right of the pike, with the left resting thereon, where it remained most of the day. Once we moved forward to attack the enemy, but he having hastily left the field, we came back by your order to our original position, and there remained until 5 p. m., when we moved forward, and went into camp on the ground previously occupied by the enemy. Heavy pickets with thrown out on my front, and right, to prevent any surprise from that quarter. The night passed quietly away, and at 4 a. m. on the 5th I had my men under arms.

At 7.30 o'clock I was ordered to move my regiment forward on the pike toward Spring Hill. Skirmishing being heard in front about 9 o'clock, close watch was kept up on our flanks, and at 10.30 I took post on a hill north of Thompson's Station, supporting the right of the Eighteenth Ohio Battery. Very little firing was going on in our immediate front, except artillery, till about 11.30 o'clock.

The enemy having stationed his sharpshooters in the buildings around the depot, and a line of skirmishers along the railroad, I sent three companies, viz.,: Company A, Capt. [C.] Seaton; Company F, Lieut. [J. T.] Fleming, and Company D, Lieut. [J. C.] Maze, the whole in command of Capt. Seaton, to dislodge them. They moved promptly forward, driving the enemy from his cover and back to the position occupied by the main body of his force, though exposed to a murderous cross-fire from two batteries and the enemy's infantry on his right. In this position matters rested for some half an hour, though a brisk fire was kept up by the enemy's artillery. I then received your ordered to move the remaining seven companies of my regiment forward, join the three previously sent, and charge a battery giving us some annoyance on my right. The command was no sooner given than, with a cheer, my men moved forward to the attack. Never on drill or parade have I seen them move with a galling fire from two brigades of infantry stationed immediately in my front, completely masked by a stone fence. The unequalness of numbers and great advantage of position caused me to shelter my men under the embankment of the railroad. Here we remained but a few moments, when your order to return and occupy our original position was received. To retrace our steps brought us in fine range of the enemy's grape and canister, which he did not fail to use. Some confusion was thus caused, but the coolness and promptness of my officers gave new confidence to the men, who were rallied in time to meet the enemy as he left his stronghold and charged upon us, and drive him back in disorder.

The position assigned me was held by my regiment until 4 p. m., repelling with great slaughter three successive charges of the enemy. Once a feint was made to flank us on our right, but Companies A and F, being sent to occupy a hill on that flank, drove them back. At 4 o'clock it was reported to me that men's cartridge-boxes were empty, and an immediate detail of three men from a company was made and sent back for a supply from the train. Only a few of them ever returned, they being captured and cut off from the regiment by the enemy on the left. Those who did return reported that the train was not to be found.

Your order to file to the rear was then received. I ordered bayonets fixed, and formed my regiment in column by division, preparatory to charge the enemy, break through his line, and make good our escape. There was a question whether to sacrifice or save the lives of my men-whether it would justify me in making the attempt to cut our way through and run the risk of losing my whole command, or surrender and save their lives. The latter course was at this moment taken, and was, no doubt, the best that could have been done.

I cannot speak too highly of the conduct of both men and officers. Wherever I placed a man, there I invariably found him. Adjutant [C. H.] Pickering rendered good service in transmitting orders. Maj.[L. T.] Miller was constantly at his post, as were all of the company officers, cheering and encouraging the men to do their best. Many personal acts of daring were done, but where all did their duty so well it would be injustice to particularize. I will, however, say that when the order to surrender was given to the men, that a large portion of them broke their arms, and so damaged their accouterments as to render them worthless.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAMES M. HENDERSON, Lieut. Col., Cmdg. Thirty-third Regt. [sic] Indiana Volunteers.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, pp. 100-102.


Report of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, C. S. Army.

CHATTANOOGA, March 6, 1863.

GEN.: Maj.-Gen. Van Dorn was attacked by the enemy at Thompson's Station yesterday, between Columbia and Franklin. He repulsed them handsomely, taking 2,200 prisoners.


Report of Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn, C. S. Army, commanding Confederate forces, with congratulatory orders of Gen. Bragg.

HDQRS. FIRST CAVALRY, CORPS, Spring Hill, Tenn., April 3, 1863.

COL.: I have the honor to submit the following report of the action in which my command was recently engaged with the enemy near Thompson's Station, on the Alabama and Tennessee Railroad, the successful result of which was announced by me to the general commanding immediately after the affair: On March 4 last, while engaged in making a forced reconnaissance toward Franklin with one division of my command (Brig. Gen. William H. Jackson's), I encountered a large body of the enemy with a long baggage train, and after forcing them to deploy, by a show of force and a few shots from Capt. [Houston] King's Second Missouri Battery, I withdrew my troops to a position this side of Thompson's Station, and there awaited the approach of the enemy. During the night my scouts reported the enemy to be a brigade of infantry, two regiments of cavalry and a battery of artillery, and I determined to give them battle.

On the morning of the 5th, our pickets were driven in, and my command was drawn up (dismounted) in the position previously selected; the two brigades composing Gen. Jackson's division on a range of hills crossing the Franklin pike; Gen. [F. C.] Armstrong on the right; Col. [J. W.] Whitfield on the left, and Gen. [N. B.] Forrest's' brigade on the same line of battle, stretching out into the open fields. On the extreme right, Capt. King's battery was posted so as to command the valley, which spread out in front of the position for half a mile.

About 10 o'clock the enemy made his appearance on the crest of the hills lying over against us, and made immediate dispositions for attack. He drew up his line in front of our center and left, and with his main force advanced, through a well-directed fire from King's battery, on our extreme left. Col. Whitfield's Texas brigade, stationed at this point under cover of a stone wall, was immediately strengthened by the Third Arkansas Regt. [sic] (Col. [S. G.] Earle commanding), from Gen. Armstrong's brigade, and the affair was commenced. The enemy advanced to within about 200 yards of our lines, when our troops, without waiting for an attack, charged them in fine style, put them to fight, and pursued them across the valley to their original position on the opposite hill. Behind this hill the Federal forces were rallied, and upon Col. Whitfield's arrival at the summit he was charged and driven back down the hill his men having no bayonets with which to meet the enemy. Here his men made a stand behind the depot and buildings of Thompson's Station, and, with the assistance of two pieces of King's battery, the enemy were again completed to retire beyond the hill.

In the mean time, while these events were occurring on the left, Gen. Forrest, on the extreme right, had pushed forward Capt. [S. L.] Freeman's battery (of his brigade) to a hill in advance of his original position, and completely commanding the enemy's left. The enemy's battery, which had been stationed on the turnpike, was withdrawn from the cross-fire of this and King's battery, and did not return to the field. And now Gen. Forrest was ordered to take the enemy in the rear. Gen. Jackson was ordered to advance Gen. Armstrong's brigade upon their left flank, and we closed in upon them. The Federal cavalry, with one regiment of infantry, after offering some resistance to Gen. Forrest, taking their battery and baggage train with them, precipitately left the field. Gen. Armstrong came up upon a line with Col. Whitfield. Two pieces of King's battery were placed upon the hill from which the enemy had been driven before. Forrest and Armstrong, and Gen. Jackson with his entire division, charged in the most gallant manner upon the enemy, who were strongly posted on the hill from which they had formerly repulsed the Texas brigade. After a fierce struggle for the crest of the hill, our troops were again driven down it, and with considerable loss. Here the enemy's successful advance was checked by King's battery, which, with grape and canister, drove them back with great slaughter over the hill.

In this charge fell the lamented Col. S. G. Earle, while gallantly leading on his men, and who is universally regretted as one of the bravest and best officers of our service. In this charge also fell the loved and gallant [W. T.] Watson, assistant adjutant-general to Gen. Armstrong, in the very front of the battle. At the same time was killed Rev. Mr. [B. T.] Crouch, chaplain in the army, acting aide-de-camp to Gen. Jackson. In him the country lost a brave soldier and a good man. Capt. L. E. Hill and Private Robert W. Fennie, of Company A, both of [E. J.] Sanders' battalion, were killed while behaving, in the words of their commander, with the most distinguished bravery.

Once more and for the last time our brave troops, under command of Gen.'s Jackson and Armstrong and Col. Whitfield, rushed up the now blood-stained eminence which had been so long and obstinately contested, and at this time the enemy retired before them. King's battery was advanced to the top, and opened fire upon their retreating line. Gen. Forrest with two regiments had now gained the enemy's rear and charged them, when, after firing a few volleys, they threw down their arms and surrendered.

I should also state in this connection that Gen. Martin, with one of his brigades (Gen. [G. B.] Cosby's), had just arrived on the field and taken position on the enemy's right flank, preparing for a charge and cutting off their only way of escape, when they surrendered. In the final charge by Gen. Forrest (deciding the fate of the day), Lieut.-Col. [E. B.] Trezevant, of [N. N.] Cox's Tennessee regiment; Capt. Montgomery Little, of Gen. Forrest's escorts, and Capt. [A. A.] Dysart, of the Third Tennessee Regt. [sic], were mortally wounded while gallantly leading their respective commands. This severely contested affairs resulted in the capture of about 1,300 men and officers, with their arms and equipments, two stand of colors, and a loss to the enemy of about 500 killed and wounded. Our own loss was 349 killed, wounded, missing.

* * * *

Very respectfully, colonel, I am, your obedient servant,


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, pp. 115-118.


GENERAL ORDERS, No. 68. HDQRS. ARMY OF TENNESSEE, Tullahoma, March 31, 1863.

The general commanding announces with pride and gratification to the troops of his command two brilliant and successful affairs, recently achieved by the forces of the cavalry of Maj.-Gen. Van Dorn.

On the 5th instant, Maj.-Gen. Van Dorn made a gallant charge upon a large force of the enemy at Thompson's Station. He utterly routed them, killing and wounding a large number, capturing 1,221 prisoners, including 73 commissioned officers and many arms.

On the 25th instant, Brig.-Gen. Forrest, with the troops of his command, daringly assailed the enemy at Brentwood, who could not withstand the vigor and energy of the attack, and surrendered. The results of this successful expedition were the capture of 750 prisoners and 35 commissioned officers, with all the arms, accouterments, and ammunition, and 16 wagons and teams. The troops here captured constituted the remainder of the brigade so successfully attacked by Maj.-Gen. Van Dorn on the 5th instant.

The skillful manner in which these generals achieved their success exhibits clearly the judgment, discipline, and good conduct of the brave troops of that commands. Such signal examples of duty the general commanding takes pleasure in commending. They are worthy of imitation by all commanders, and deserve the applause and gratitude of their comrades in arms and their country.

By command of Gen. Bragg:

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, p. 119.


Report of Brig. Gen. Nathan B. Forrest, C. S. Army, commanding Cavalry Brigade.

BRIGADE HDQRS., Near Spring Hill, March--,[1863.] GEN.:

On the morning of the 5th instant, I was ordered to place my brigade in line of battle on the right of Gen. Jackson's division, which I did, dismounting and placing Col. [J. H.] Edmondson on the left of my line and Col. [J. W.] Starnes on the right, parallel with the line of battle already formed by forces under Gen. Jackson. I also caused the regiments of Col.'s [J. B.] Biffle and [N. N.] Cox to form upon my extreme right near the Lewisburg pike, with ample pickets and vedettes upon that pike, to give timely notice of the approach of the enemy from that quarter. By the time this disposition of my force was made, the firing began from the enemy's artillery, and, finding I had no position bearing upon the enemy with my artillery, I ordered Capt. [S. L.] Freeman forward with his battery to a high hill, which placed it advantageously for operating on the enemy's left flank. As it was full half a mile in advance of my first position, I ordered up all the regiments of my brigade on foot to a line parallel with that hill and nearly at right angles with the pike. I found two regiments of infantry and a regiment of the Federal cavalry posted behind a stone fence to the left of their artillery. A few shells from my guns drove them from their position to the right of their battery and into the pike. I then ordered a fire opened upon their battery, and, after about 20 rounds, drove it from its position, retreating by the pike toward Franklin. At this time I was ordered to move forward, and, if possible, get in the rear of the enemy. This was done with as little delay as possible, but the two regiments of Biffle and Cox (the latter commanded by Lieut.-Col. [E. B.] Trezevant) were ordered up, but did not arrive as soon as desired, from the fact that they were 2 miles off, and dismounted, and a half a mile in advance of their horses. Pending this movement, Col.'s [sic] Edmondson and Starnes were ordered to move forward, which they did in gallant style, driving the enemy from the cedar hill, and attacking them across the railroad in conjunction with Gen.'s Armstrong's and Whitfield's brigades. The engagement there lasted for about an hour, which gave time for Biffle's and Cox's regiments to get up. They attacked vigorously, and dispersed that portion of the enemy's force moving on the pike, and formed in the field beyond King's house, on the right of the pike. The main force of the enemy was posted on the hill in front of Thompson's Station and to the left of the pike, and had driven back several times the forces under Gen.'s Armstrong and Whitfield and my two regiments under Col.'s Starnes and Edmondson. I moved Biffle's and Cox's regiments rapidly across the pike in the rear of the enemy; found they had fallen back from the first hill on the left of the pike, where they had successfully resisted the advance of our forces, and had taken a strong position, and were ready to receive us. As soon as the two regiments were formed, I ordered a charge, which was gallantly lee by Col. Biffle and Lieut.-Col. Trezevant, commanding Cox's regiment. The enemy opened a heavy fire upon us, the first volley mortally wounding Lieut.-Col. Trezevant and Capt. Montgomery Little, who commanded my escort. The men seeing those officers fall, raised a shout, and continued the charge to within 20 feet of the Federal line of battle. The enemy then threw down their arms and surrendered.

The two regiments, with my escort, numbered about 650 men; balance of effective strength holding horses. They captured from 1,200 to 1,500 Federal officers and privates, with their colors, &c.

No one can regret more than I do the loss of Lieut.-Col. Trezevant, commanding Cox's regiment of cavalry, Capt. M. Little, of my escort, and Capt. [A. A.] Dysart, of the Third Tennessee Cavalry. They were gallant men, and fell with their faces to the foe.

I cannot speak in too high terms of the conduct of my whole command. The colonels commanding led their regiments in person, and it affords me much pleasure to say that officers and men performed their duty well. I discerned no straggling or shirking from duty on the field. Every order was promptly obeyed, and the bravery of the troops alike creditable to them and gratifying to their commanders.

I herewith forward you a statement of my loss, which shows 9 killed, 58 wounded, and 2 missing. I also beg leave to transmit you herewith the reports of regimental commandeers of this action.

All of which is very respectfully submitted.

N. B. FORREST, Brig.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, pp. 120-121.


Excerpts from a Michigan cavalryman's letter home with an account of the Spring Hill engagement

Near Franklin

Sunday Mar 8th 1863

Dear Father

….If I live to come home again you will see me a tough man. This the fifth day out. We started from Murfreesboro last Wednesday morning with a brigade of infantry….I was promoted to 2nd Lieut.….My pay is $129 per month, out of that pay $16 per month for forage for horse. Have to hire a darkey [sic] and find myself in everything….

*  *  *  *

Now I must tell you about our scout. The first day out we surprised about 600 graybacks, made a charge on them and captured about 50 of them. A capt. and 2 lieuts. The 7th Penn was ahead with their sabres. They won't stand the sabres. They all know the 7th . They call them the fighting 7th and hate them accordingly. We go out in such numbers that unless there is a large force of them they won't stand. I have not had a chance to fire my pistol since the big battle. Our Brigade has captured about 400 since then. I should judge. Now I must tell you some bad news. We had 1500 men captured last Friday [6th]. Infantry, Col Gilbert of the 19th Mich was com'd'g [sic] the brigade. He is a new officer and too fast. He was out Thursday and attacked and drove the rebs [sic]. The next day flushed with victory, attacked them. They run as usual. He followed them on and on until from each side and behind a swarm of the enemy came out and they were cut off. Fighting was useless and they were captured, the most of them. The Col got away, I believe. A smart man is needed to lead men successfully. Van Dorn is encamped 5 miles from here and Wheeler's Cavalry. They are reported 15,000 strong and are saucy. There will be another big battle before long, I think. 30,000 men are here, so said. But I doubt it we will probably move in the morning and maybe will have a battle, can't tell….

Potter Correspondence.

The Fight Near Franklin, Tenn.

Repulse of Our Troops – Black Rebel Regiments in the Fight.

*  *  *  *

General Gilbert sent out three regiments of infantry and a battery, on a certain expedition, with instructions not to bring on a fight, but to keep up skirmishing if they encountered the enemy. The design was we believe, to effect a junction with another force. A few miles out they fell in with a small force of rebel cavalry, and attacking them, drove them back in the vicinity of the Columbia pike, near West Harpeth, some four miles from Franklin, when they were suddenly flanked by an overwhelming force of Van Dorn's cavalry, with mounted infantry and artillery. A fierce engagement ensued during which our forces, being assailed by at least four times their own number, were driven back. During the fight the battery in charge of the 86th Indiana, was attacked by two rebel negro regiments[5]. Our artillerists double-shotted their guns and cut the black rebels to pieces, and brought their battery safely off.

The fight began with skirmishing at about nine o'clock in the morning, and lasted until three in the afternoon. Our forced retreated into Franklin, with a reported loss of five hundred killed, wounded, and missing; another informant reduces the loss to three hundred, and it is likely that even this is an exaggeration. It is said that the Colonel in command of the expedition was killed. We have heard no statement at the rebel loss. The firing was distinctly heard at Franklin during the day. Why re-enforcements were not sent out from the large force stationed at Franklin, we are unable to imagine. It appears passing strangers that an army which could have crushed the rebel force to pieces was kept idle while the thunder of a battle raging not four miles of, was sounding, for six hours in their ears.

*  *  *  *

Memphis Bulletin, March 11, 1863.[6]

Report of Lieut. Col. D. W. Jones, Ninth Texas Cavalry [C. S.].


On Franklin Road, March 7, 1863.

COL.: About 8 o'clock on the morning of the 5th instant, in obedience to orders, I formed my regiment in line of battle, and ordered the men to dismount, leaving the horses in charge of the unarmed men. I moved up and formed on the left of our brigade, which was forming on foot near the top of the hill in front of our encampment. As I was moving up, I was called upon to send two companies to the front as skirmishers. Companies A and H, commanded by Capt. Thomas G. Berry and Lieut. S. A. Griffith, respectively, were ordered out and posted some 250 yards in front of the regiment.

About 9 o'clock I received orders to move my regiment and the position behind a stone fence running north and south some 200 yards from the railroad. I moved up directly behind a church which stood near the fence, and ordered the men to file off one at a time and take their positions, causing them to stoop down when they left the church to avoid being seen by the enemy's skirmishers, who were then visible in front. I threw our skirmishers in front, and let them remain there until two Federal regiments came down and drove them in.

In the mean time one of our guns, which had been planted near my left, opened fire upon the enemy, which caused several shot and shell to be thrown by them near my line, but without doing and damage. The Federals formed a line of battle behind the depot and other houses, and remained there a short time, when they attempted to cross the railroad. When they were close enough to be within range of our guns, I ordered my men to fire upon them. They fell back in disorder, and again formed behind the houses. I soon after received orders when the regiment on my left charged to charge with them. When they commenced the charge I ordered my regiment forward and joined them. Capt. Berry and Lieut. Griffith, seeing the regiment advancing, moved forward and joined it. With other regiments of the brigade, I crossed the railroad, advanced through a field, and approached the top of the hill, where we found the enemy strongly re-enforced, and were forced to fall back. We fell back as far as the railroad, reformed the regiment, and advanced up the hill again. Finding the Federals posted as before, we were again forced to retire in tolerably good orders. We halted in rear of one of our batteries, and remained there until the announcement of the surrender of the enemy.

Respectfully submitted.

D W. JONES, Lieut.-Col., Cmdg. Ninth Texas Cavalry.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, p. 215.


HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Murfreesborough, March 5, 1863.

Brig.-Gen. SHERIDAN, Third Division, Twentieth Corps:

GEN.: A brigade of Gen. Gilbert's division, while making a reconnaissance near Spring Hill, on the Franklin and Columbia pike, were driven back with some loss. He reports the enemy in his front with 10,000, mostly infantry, and five pieces of artillery. This is, no doubt, exaggerated. The enemy appeared to be en route to attack Franklin, and that part of his force which ours repulsed yesterday proved to be only the advance guard of the enemy. It may be necessary for you to send your forage train back and move across to Raleigh Spring [Hill], on the Lewisburg pike to come in behind the enemy should he move on Franklin. We have not hear from Gen. Steedman yet, and fear he has not joined you. Communicate with him, if you can, and unite his force with yours. Send us the news.

J. A. GARFIELD, Brig.-Gen. and Chief of Staff.

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Murfreesborough, March 5, 1863.

Brig.-Gen. SHERIDAN:

GEN.: The general commanding directs me to say that he has a telegram from Franklin, saying that Coburn's brigade, which was sent down to Spring Hill, has been repulsed; lost no artillery, but some infantry. It will be necessary to look after Steedman, and cover him, as it may be advisable for him to return to his old position, or it may be best to keep him with you. If the enemy have nothing but cavalry, it will be all right. Will send you further news as soon as it is received.

Respectfully, &c.,

H. THRALL, Aide-de-Camp.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, p. 110.

        4-14, Expedition from Murfreesborough toward Columbia, Tennessee, including skirmishes (4th) at Rover and Unionville, (5th) at Chapel Hill, (9th) at Thompson's Station, and (10th-11th) at Rutherford Creek

MARCH 4-14, 1863.-Expedition from Murfreesborough toward Columbia, Tenn., including skirmishes (4th) at Rover and Unionville, (5th) at Chapel Hill, (9th) at Thompson's Station, and (10th-11th) at Rutherford Creek.


No. 1.-Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, U. S. Army, commanding Department of the Cumberland.

No. 2.-Brig. Gen. James B. Steedman, U. S. Army, commanding Third Division, Fourteenth Army Corps.

No. 3.-Brig. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, U. S. Army, commanding Third Division, Twentieth Army Corps.

No. 4.-Col. Robert H. G. Minty, Fourth Michigan Cavalry, commanding Cavalry Brigade.

No. 5.-Capt. William M. Flanagan, Third Ohio Cavalry.

No. 6.-Maj. Peter Mathews, Fourth Ohio Cavalry.

No. 7.-Itinerary of the Cavalry, Department of the Cumberland, Maj. Gen. David S. Stanely, U. S. Army, commanding, March 4-25.

No. 1.

Report of Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, U. S. Army, commanding Department of the Cumberland.

MURFREESBOROUGH, TENN., March 16, 1863--11 p. m.

I have the pleasure to report the gallant conduct of our cavalry, under the brave Col. Minty. They drove the rebel cavalry wherever they met them, captured one of their camps, 17 wagons, 42 mules, and 64 prisoners. They used the saber where the carbine would delay.

W. S. ROSECRANS, Maj.-Gen.

No. 2.

Report of Brig. Gen. James B. Steedman, U. S. Army, commanding Third Division, Fourteenth Army Corps.

TRIUNE, March 6, 1863.

GEN.: My command is at this point, occupying the junction of the Nolensville pike and Franklin roads, with my outpost 1 ½ miles toward Franklin. Gen. Sheridan's command is in front of me, at junction of the Nolensville and Shelbyville pikes. No enemy in force in that direction. I made a successful reconnaissance to the rebel camp, 2 miles beyond Chapel Hill, routing and driving Roddey's cavalry (two regiments) all across Duck River. We wounded 7 of the enemy, captured 60, with their horses and equipments, and returned to this point at 6 o'clock this morning, without loss or Injury.

Bad news from Franklin; our loss heavy.


No. 3.

Reports of Brig. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, U. S. Army, commanding Third Division, Twentieth Army Corps.


GEN.: Col. Minty surprised the enemy at Rover and Unionville this afternoon, capturing two of their camps, taking 45 prisoners, 12 wagons, and the camp and garrison equipage; also a large number of guns. He succeeded in carrying off all that was valuable, and burned the balance.

The Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry charged with the saber splendidly; they had no casualties. I advanced my division to within 3 miles of Rover while this was being done, then turned on an obscure road parallel to the Eagleville and Shelbyville pike, and a short distance from it, directing him to encamp at Eagleville to-night. Should they follow him, I will swing in on their rear. I also left one brigade at Versailles, to threaten Rover and watch the Middleton road. I heard some artillery firing in the direction of Triune to-day. I think Chapel Hill the point where the enemy have their strongest cavalry force. Minty captured 6 infantry pickets. The prisoners captured and wounded have all saber wounds.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

P. H. SHERIDAN, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.


GEN.: I have the honor to inclose a note just received from Col. Minty, which makes his success still greater than heretofore reported to you. I am in camp about 1 ½ miles from him. He was not aware when he wrote the note that I was so near at hand. I will join him at Eagleville to-morrow morning at 4 o'clock.

I have not learned anything of Gen. Steedman. If the artillery firing which I heard to-day was his, I may probably do some injury to the force which is resisting him. I have ordered the brigade which I left at Versailles to join me at Eagleville to-morrow morning at daybreak.

Your obedient servant, P. H. SHERIDAN, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.

HDQRS. THIRD DIVISION, TWENTIETH ARMY CORPS, Camp at Eagleville, March 5, 1863.

COL.: I am in receipt of a dispatch from the general commanding, dated this evening.

Gen. Steedman drove the enemy from Chapel Hill to-day. I am sorry he did not open communication with me before he went on, as I could have thrown a brigade and the cavalry to Gidionville, and intercepted the force he was driving, said to be 2,500 men (cavalry). I have directed Gen. Steedman to take position at Triune at 6 o'clock to-morrow morning, and will myself take position at the junction of the Chapel Hill pike and this pike (about 4 miles south of Triune). I can thus operate in the direction of Franklin, or in this direction, and be entirely secure if any infantry advance was made on me. This is a strong place, but there is no particular reason that it should be held.

I cannot make anything by a second dash on Rover at present, but can threaten the enemy in their attack on Franklin, which it is said they intend to make.

From all I can learn, no troops have left Shelbyville for Tullahoma. Col. Long was sent out to-day, as soon as I found from the scouts what had become of Steedman. Long was too late to intercept the enemy.

The enemy have again occupied Rover, in strong force, infantry, it is said.

Perhaps it is safest to send communications to me by Franklin road, via Triune.

Very respectfully,

P. H. SHERIDAN, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.

No. 4.

Reports of Col. Robert H. G. Minty, Fourth Michigan Cavalry, commanding Cavalry Brigade.

EAGLEVILLE, TENN., March 4, 1863.

GEN.: I met the enemy, about 400 strong, at Rover, and tried to cut off their retreat to Unionville; but finding that they were falling back, I ordered the Seventh Pennsylvania to charge, and supported them with the Fourth Michigan and Fourth [U. S.] Cavalry. We drove them at a gallop through Unionville. Part of the Seventh Pennsylvania penetrated to the infantry pickets, 6 miles from Shelbyville, capturing 4 infantrymen.

At Unionville I found another camp with about 400 men. These were driven in the same manner. I have captured 52 prisoners, with horses, arms, &c., 17 wagons, 1 ambulance, 42 mules, &c. Five of the wagons I had to leave; the other 12 I have here, loaded with tents, provisions, &c. I sent an orderly to you from Unionville, but I fear he has been captured.

Riley [?], Starnes, and Roddey are reported to be within a short march of here, on the Chapel Hill road. I fully expected to find you here.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBT. H. G. MINTY, Col., Cmdg. Cavalry.

HDQRS. FIRST CAVALRY BRIGADE, Camp near Murfreesborough, March 14, 1863.

SIR: On the morning of the 4th instant, I reported to Gen. Sheridan, on the Salem pike, with 863 men, being parts of the First Second, and Third Cavalry Brigades, two companies of the Fourth Regular Cavalry, and Lieut. Newell's section of artillery. The general ordered me to drive the enemy out of Rover. A mile and a half from that place I met their pickets, and drove them in sharply. At Rover I found about 400 men, who appeared determined to make a stand. I detached the Fourth Michigan Cavalry, with orders to gain the [Shelbyville] pike, between them and Unionville. The enemy, perceiving my design, commenced a retreat. I followed closely with the Seventh Pennsylvania and Fourth U. S. Cavalry, and, finding that the Fourth Michigan had failed in cutting them off, I gave the order to draw sabers and charge.

At Unionville I found a regular camp, and about 600 rebel cavalry, whom we drove before us at a gallop to within 5 miles of Shelbyville, where we ran into the infantry pickets, 5 of whom were captured.

The Seventh Pennsylvania had the good fortune to be in the advance, and were the only men engaged, with the exception of a few of the Fourth Michigan. We captured 51 prisoners (13 of whom were severely wounded, having received saber cuts about their heads), 17 wagons, 42 mules, 31 Sibley tents, 2 wagon-loads of bacon, meal, &c. Our only casualty was 1 man of the Seventh Pennsylvania slightly wounded in the foot.

I fell back to Eagleville, taking the captured property with me, and was there joined by Gen. Sheridan next morning.

March 5, heavy firing was heard south of Franklin all day. I sent Col. Long, with the Third Ohio and Seventh Pennsylvania, toward Chapel Hill, to open communication with Gen. Steedman, and smaller scouts in various directions, to gain information of the whereabouts of the enemy.

March 6, moved to within a few miles of Triune.

March 7, marched toward Unionville for the purpose of feeling the enemy. When 4 miles beyond Eagleville, I received orders from Gen. Sheridan to return to Triune forthwith. On my arrival there, the general ordered me to proceed to Franklin, without unnecessary delay. I camped within 9 miles of Franklin same night.

March 8, marched to Franklin and reported to Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger.

March 9, under orders from Gen. Granger, marched at daybreak on Carter Creek pike, to make a circuit through the country and form a junction with Gen. Green Clay Smith, at Thompson's Station, he having marched for that place the previous night. Six miles out I met the enemy's pickets, which were rapidly driven by the Fourth Cavalry.

A mile and a half from Thompson's Station I found a force of about 600 rebel cavalry (Armstrong's brigade) in position. My column was at this time very much scattered by a rapid march over a bad dirt road. After some delay in forming my men, I advanced toward the enemy, who declined fight by retreating rapidly. They were closely pressed by the Fourth Cavalry, to whose support I sent a part of the Seventh Pennsylvania. At Thompson's Station the rebels (Twenty-eighth Mississippi or Third [Fourth] Mississippi Cavalry) were re-enforced by Starnes' regiment (Third [Fourth] Tennessee Cavalry); but, after a short and sharp skirmish, the whole brigade (Armstrong's) was driven from the field by two companies of the Fourth Cavalry and about 50 men of the Seventh Pennsylvania, with a loss of 5 killed and 13 taken prisoners; but I regret to say that 3 gallant fellows of the Fourth Cavalry were killed and 1 wounded.

I sent a courier to Gen. Smith, who was about 3 miles from Thompson's Station toward Franklin, and awaited his arrival. Camped at Spring Hill shortly before dark.

March 10, about 9 a. m., advanced toward Columbia. Found Gen. Smith's command halted about 1 mile north of Rutherford Creek, the bridge over which had been destroyed. Was ordered by Gen. Sheridan to try if the ford 1½ miles above was practicable. Found the water very deep and rapid. While making the examination we were under fire of a rebel force posted behind stone walls, close to the bank of the creek. The Fourth Indiana had 2 men killed and 3 severely wounded. Camped at Moore's Ford, 1 mile higher up the creek.

March 11, Gen. Forrest, with 500 men, advanced to the opposite side of the creek, when a sharp fire was opened on him by the Fourth Michigan, causing him some loss.

Having about this time received orders to cross the creek, if I found the ford practicable, Lieut. Newell opened on them with his guns, and soon drove them to the woods. I then crossed the creek the Fourth Michigan in advance. As I formed on the south bank, the enemy appeared in line in the distance, and, dismounting, advanced on foot, with their battle-flag flying. I sent the Fourth Michigan to the right, and requested Gen. Smith, who was now crossing his force, to send a regiment to the left, for the purpose of getting in the enemy's rear. Perceiving our object, they remounted and fell back. I pursued them about 5 miles in the direction of the Lewisburg pike, and then marched for the Columbia pike, followed by Gen. Smith. When 1 ½ miles from Columbia, I halted, it being now after dark, and sent Col. Long, with the Third Ohio, to feel for the enemy's pickets. He arrived at Duck River without having met them, and there found that the entire force of Van Dorn's army had crossed during the day on a pontoon bridge and by the ferry-boat. I returned to our camp of the previous night.

March 12, returned to Franklin.

March 13, camped 2 miles west of Triune.

March 14, returned to Murfreesborough, arriving in camp at 3.30 p. m. I must call the attention of the general commanding to the gallant manner in which Capt. [C. C.] Davis, Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry, led the charge of his regiment on the 4th instant. He was well supported by both officers and men.

I have also to call the attention of the general commanding to the great gallantry displayed by Lieut.'s [E. G.] Roys and [J.] Rendlebrock, of the Fourth Cavalry, and their brave men at Thompson's Station on the 8th instant. Inclosed herewith I hand you return of casualties.

I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBT. H. G. MINTY, Col., Cmdg. Brigade

Return of Casualties in cavalry expedition to Unionville and Columbia, March 4-13, 1863.

Command. EMK    EMW    A

7th Pennsylvania.... . 1       1

4th United States... 3      1       4

Total............ 5      5      10

EMK=Enlisted men killed. EMW=Enlisted men wounded. A=Aggregate.


Report of Capt. William M. Flanagan, Third Ohio Cavalry.

HDQRS. THIRD OHIO VOLUNTEER CAVALRY, Camp Stanley, March 15, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the recent scout of the Third Ohio Volunteer Cavalry: Pursuant to orders, we marched on the morning of the 4th instant, at daylight, under command of Col. Eli Long, of the Fourth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, commanding Second Cavalry Brigade. Taking the Salem pike, we marched about 10 miles in the direction of Unionville, a small village located on the Nashville and Shelbyville turnpike. On arriving within 2 miles of the village, we encountered the enemy's pickets, driving them in and following close upon their rear.

The enemy, occupying that place in force, fled in haste on hearing of our approach. They did not escape in time, however, to prevent a loss of 50 prisoners and their camp and garrison equipage, consisting of tents, cooking utensils, wagon, &c. Not being prepared to carry any of our captured property with us we remained in camp just long enough to destroy the same. Thence we were ordered toward Eagleville, on the Nashville and Shelbyville pike, where we bivouacked for the night, our horses under saddle, as we anticipated the enemy might follow in our rear; but they were judicious enough to approach and reconnoiter in small squads, which sufficed, however, to keep us on the alert, with our arms by our side, during the night.

We were called up quietly the next morning at 4 o'clock, and went as silently as possible about our respective duties. After we had breakfasted we fell into line, and, learning the enemy were occupying Chapel Hill, we marched for that point at 12 m.

We reached Chapel Hill about 4 p. m., but only to find vacated camps, as Gen. Steedman, with his brave and hardly soldiers, had routed the enemy, killing and capturing a large number. Weary and disappointed, we then fell into line, and, learning the enemy were occupying Chapel Hill, we marched for that point at 12 m.

We reached Chapel Hill about 4 p. m., but only to find vacated camps, as Gen. Steedman, with his brave and hardly soldiers, had routed the enemy, killing and capturing a large number. Weary and disappointed, we then fell back to our encampment at Eagleville.

On the following morning we took up our line of march for Camp Stanley, but when 4 miles out were ordered to countermarch and proceed to Triune. From Triune we marched in the direction of Franklin, and, notwithstanding the roads were in bad condition from recent rains, we made a very expeditious march, encamping at night about 9 miles from Franklin. Resuming our march early next day, we reached Franklin about 12 m., where we encamped and remained over night.

Early next morning, with the First Brigade, we took the Maury County pike, and, traveling about 6 miles, turned to the left up a road leading up a narrow valley to Thompson's Station, expecting there to find the enemy in force; but, being disappointed in this, we marched 5 miles farther on, making a junction at Columbia pike with a heavy column of troops under command of Gen. Granger. Taking the advance of the whole column, with the First Cavalry Brigade immediately in our rear, we started for Columbia, passing through Spring Hill, a point which the enemy's cavalry had just left, retiring toward Columbia. He pressed them closely, skirmishing with them along the way without any casualties on our part. On arriving near Spring Creek we found the enemy strongly posted, guarding every ford and disputing with spirit and energy our passage. After skirmishing for several hours with the enemy across the stream, we returned to camp for the night, the enemy still holding his position.

On the following day we were ordered to drive the enemy from his position on the opposite side of the stream. The Third Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, by order of the colonel commanding, was dismounted and ordered to dislodge the enemy at the upper ford. I proceeded with my command to a point within 600 or 700 yards of the ford. I divided my command into three parts. I sent one-third, under Lieut. [N.] Brewster, to the right of the road; one-third, under Capt. [J. B.] Luckey, to the left, and the remaining one-third I placed under command of Lieut. [E. A.] Haines near the road, under protection of a fence and a piece of woods, to cover the retreat of the right and left flanks in case a retreat should be necessary. I then ordered both flanks to advance cautiously, taking advantage of any natural cover that might be presented them.

On arriving within 100 yards of the ford, my right and left flanks were greeted with a brisk fire from the enemy, posted strongly on the opposite side of the stream, but the brave men of the Third did not falter, but returned the fire with energy and spirit, and finally drove him from his position and gained complete possession of the ford. Finding the ford impracticable, we returned and report accordingly.

On learning that the enemy had been forced from his position, we were ordered to seek a more practicable fording, which we found a short distance below, and, crossing over, we consolidated with the remounted cavalry under Gen. Granger's command, numbering about 3,500, and, being placed in the advance, we marched toward Columbia over a dirt road leading from our place of fording to the Columbia pike. After reaching the pike, one company, under command of Sergeant [James M.] Hipkins, was sent to ascertain the practicability of fording Spring Creek in our rear, at the pike crossing, which he reported practicable.

When within 1½ miles of Columbia the main column was halted, and the Third Ohio was ordered to proceed cautiously forward under cover of nightfall and ascertain, if possible, whether the enemy still remained in force this side of Duck River. We found the enemy had withdrawn his whole force across Duck River, taking the ferry-boats and his pontoons with him, and had planted has artillery on the opposite side of the stream. After waiting in silence to discover, if possible, any movements the enemy might be making, and finding all within his camp quiet, we returned and joined the main column. We then led, in the advance of the column, in countermarch to a point this side of Spring Creek, where we went into camp about midnight.

At dawn on the following day we took up line of march for Franklin, where we arrived at 2 p. m., and encamped for the night, and prepared ourselves with rations for [a march] to Camp Stanley.

On the morning of the 13th, we left camp and marched to a point within 2 miles of Triune, a distance of about 11 miles, and again encamped for the night.

We resumed our march next morning before daylight, taking in our course the Nashville and Shelbyville turnpike until we reaching Eagleville, when we turned to the left, following a dirt road until we reached the Salem and Eagleville pike, leading to Murfreesborough.

We arrived at Camp Stanley about 4 p. m. on the 14th instant, without any casualties or disasters of any character.

I am proud to say that the officers and men of the Third bravely and heroically endured the toils, fatigues, and dangers of the expedition without the least murmur or complaint.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

W. M. FLANAGAN, Capt., Cmdg. Regt. [sic]

No. 6.

Report of Maj. Peter Mathews, Fourth Ohio Cavalry.

HDQRS. FOURTH OHIO VOLUNTEER CAVALRY, Camp Stanley, Tenn., March 16, 1863.

SIR: On the evening of March 3, I received orders from Col. Long to have the Fourth Regt. [sic] in readiness to move at daylight on the 4th instant.

Early on the 4th, Col. Long assumed command of the Second Cavalry Brigade, and I took command of the regiment. In the afternoon we took part in the skirmish at Unionville, and, after leaving that place, encamped at Eagleville for the night.

During the 5th, parts of the regiment, under command of Capt. [M. B.] Chamberlain and Lieut. [J. A.] Harris, were sent out to reconnoiter.

On the 6th, moved to Eagleville, but, receiving orders, countermarched in the direction of Franklin.

On the afternoon of the 8th, we reached Franklin and encamped.

Left Franklin at daylight on the 9th, marching on a mud road to the Franklin and Columbia pike. For some time before reaching the junction the cavalry were driving the enemy's pickets before them, and when we arrived at Thompson's Station, near the junction of the roads, part of the Fourth U. S. Cavalry had a severe skirmish, losing 3 men killed and several badly wounded. The enemy was dislodged by them, and we pushed on, encamping at Spring Hill for the night. In the morning we marched to Rutherford Creek, which was found to be impassable, on account of high stage of water. In the afternoon the Second Brigade was sent to reconnoiter a ford on the creek, and the Fourth Indiana Cavalry, being in advance, were fired upon from behind a stone wall and 2 of their number killed.

On the afternoon of the 11th, we crossed the creek, and, after skirmishing the ground in front, moved to the turnpike and toward Columbia, and kept moving in that direction until ordered to countermarch.

The next day we arrived at Franklin and encamped for the night.

On the 13th, we marched to within 1 mile of Triune, and on the 14th reached camp, passing through Eagleville, having been absent eleven days.

As my command only formed part of the brigade, I cannot particularize. There were no casualties in the regiment during the trip, and men and horses returned in good condition.

The above statement I respectfully submit as my report.

Respectfully, yours,

P. MATHEWS, Maj. Fourth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry.

No. 7.

Itinerary of the cavalry Department of the Cumberland, Maj. Gen. David S. Stanley, U. S. Army, commanding, March 4-25.


March 4, moved toward Rover, 863 strong, with about 300 men of the Seventh Pennsylvania and Fourth Michigan. Attacked and drove the enemy, 400 strong. Followed them up closely to Unionville, 3 miles south, where we found an encampment of 600 more. The Seventh Pennsylvania charged them with the saber, and followed them to within 5 miles of Shelbyville, where they ran into the infantry pickets and captured 9. We captured the entire camp, camp equipage, and transportation of [A. A.] Russell's brigade (First and Fourth Alabama), together with 52 prisoners. Loss, 1 man slightly wounded.

March 9, advanced from Franklin via Carter Creek pike. Lieut.'s Roys' and Rendlebrock's company, Fourth U. S. Cavalry, in the advance, drove the Third [Fourth] Mississippi Cavalry to Thompson's Station, where they were re-enforced by Starnes' regiment, Third [Fourth] Tennessee, all under Gen. Armstrong. Attacked them with two companies Fourth U. S. Cavalry and 60 men Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry. Drove them with a loss of 5 killed and 13 taken prisoners. Our loss, 3 killed and 1 wounded.

March 10, in examining a ford on Rutherford Creek, was fired upon from and ambuscade across the creek, killing 2 and wounding 3 of the Fourth Indiana Cavalry.

March 11, crossed Rutherford Creek at Moore's Ford In the face of Forrest's forces, under Forrest In person, driving him from the field. Followed Van Dorn to Columbia. Found that he had crossed Duck River and destroyed the bridge.

March 20, proceeded to Milton, to assist Col. Hall, One hundred and fifth Ohio, whose brigade was surrounded by Morgan's forces. Followed the rebels to Prosperity Church, taking 2 prisoners.

During the month picketed the Manchester, Wartrace, and Bradyville roads, and lately the Shelbyville and Middletown, the enemy constantly skirmishing with the pickets.


March 4, the brigade (two regiments) went scouting to Franklin, Rover, &c. Had various encounters with rebel cavalry, routing their forces each time.

March 14, Saturday, returned to camp after an absence of eleven days.

March 17, review of all the cavalry in the department by Maj.-Gen. Rosecrans.

March 26, the Fourth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry sent out to Bradyville on reconnaissance; returned the following morning.


March 22, engaged in a skirmish with the enemy, repulsing them. Our loss, 2 privates killed and 2 wounded.

During the month of March the brigade had done heavy work. Made a scout to Rutherford Creek during the first of the month. Loss, 7 men killed, wounded, and prisoners. Scouted all the month.

March 25, had a hard and bloody fight with Forrest, Starnes, Wharton, and Biffle.

During the month the brigade has captured over 100 prisoners, killed and wounded not less than from 400 to 600 rebels, and captured near 150 mules and horses. Have lost about 50 killed, wounded, and prisoners. Health of the brigade excellent.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, pp. 126-135.


From Murfreesboro.

Cavalry Reconnoisance [sic] and Skirmishing in front of Rosecran's Lines.

Murfreesboro, Tenn., March 15,

Via Nashville, Mach 15,

Telegraphic correspondence Daily Commercial.

An expedition of cavalry, which went out on the 4th instant, under command of Colonel Robert H. G. Minty, returned last evening, having made a brilliant and successful scout through the enemy's country, of eleven days' duration. Colonel Minty's forced consisted of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd brigades of cavalry, two companies of the 4th Regulars, and Lieutenant Newell's section of artillery. The expedition was accompanied by Major General Sherridan's [sic] division of infantry on the first day out. Colonel Minty was instructed to dislodge the enemy from Rover, a small town on the Salem Pike, fifteen miles from Murfreesboro. About four hundred rebel cavalry were posted there, but fled on our approach, followed closely by the 2nd Pennsylvania and 4th Regulars. Finding that [a] portion of his forces had failed to cut off the enemy's retreat, Colonel Minty gallantly leading the column, ordered his men to draw sabers and charge upon the rebels. The latter broke and fled in confusion. They were pursued through the town of Unionville, and thence beyond to within five miles of Shelbyville, where our cavalry penetrated the enemy's infantry pickets five of whom were captured at Unionville. There had been a company of about six hundred men, who, it was subsequently ascertained, had retired on our approach abandoning camp, equipage, horses, wagons, &c. We took fifty-one prisoners, seventeen wagons, forty-two mules, thirty-one tents, two wagons of bacon and bread. The only casualty was one man of the 7th Pennsylvania, slightly wounded in the foot. Thursday's expedition heard heavy firing from the south of Franklin, and moved to the support of General Steadman's brigade at Nolensville. On Saturday, Colonel Minty determined to proceed to Franklin, and at Sunday, under orders from Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, marched at daybreak on the Carter Creek Pike for the purpose of affecting a junction, at Thompson's Station, with Gen. G. C. Smith, who had proceeded thither on Saturday. About one mile from the Station seven hundred rebel cavalry were found drawn up in readiness for a fight. Col. Minty at once advanced on the enemy and drove them to the station were [sic] two more rebel regiments were. After considerable sharp skirmishing our cavalry formed for a charge and again dispersed the enemy. We lost in this action five killed and thirteen wounded.

On Tuesday Colonel Minty proceeded toward Columbia, advancing as far as Rutherford Creek Bridge, which was destroyed. General Sherridan [sic] ordered the cavalry to ford the stream a mile and a half above. The enemy being in sight, our advances moved up quietly, closely, followed by the 4th Indian Cavalry. Colonel Minty did not perceive that part of his force were crowing upon the advance, till the [reserve under his?] command had also come up while our force, being then massed to a column of fours, were attempting to cross, a galling fire of musketry was opened from a party of rebels concealed behind a stone wall on the opposite site of the stream. Two men killed and three severely wounded. The horse of Colonel Minty was shot from under him.

It being impossible to ford the stream on account of the swollen condition, the expedition camped at Moore's Ford. Next morning Forest [sic] with about 800 men, advanced to the opposite bank. The 4th Michigan opened fire, and Lieutenant Newell trained his artillery to bear upon the guerrillas [sic]. The combined fire drove them to the woods, and our cavalry immediately crossed the stream, the 4th Michigan Battery taking the advance. The rebels were pursued about five miles without being overtaken. Colonel Minty then marched his forces toward Columbia.

It was found Van Dorn had crossed the river twelve hours previous by a pontoon. The river was high and Colonel Minty was obliged to return to the camp on the night previous. Next day (Thursday) the expedition started for Murfreesboro, reaching here late last evening.

The expedition too our four days' cooked rations and was absent eleven days, [during] which time the men were obliged to forage for their subsistence.

Memphis Bulletin, March 19, 1863.

        4, Skirmish near Murfreesborough

No circumstantial reports filed.

        4, Taking the oath

A number of rebels come to Nashville daily and take the oath of amnesty. Some of them take it with 'wry faces.' The fact is, they are like the fellow that, on a wager, eat [sic] the crow. They can 'eat crow' but d____d if they have a hankering for it!

Nashville Daily Union, March 4, 1864.

        4, Confederate bushwhackers attack Federal ambulance

No circumstantial reports filed.

CAMP ON MOSSY CREEK, TENN., March 5, 1864.

Gen. J. D. COX, Acting Chief of Staff, &c.:


* * * *

A party of bushwhackers of 8, 2 of whom are known by name and live near Panther Springs, captured 2 men sent by Gen. Judah for a broken-down ambulance, taking their horses from them. One of the men escaped. I send a party to capture the bushwhackers, but have not as yet heard from them. Two small scouting parties of the enemy were in Morristown yesterday, but left just before our men entered. I suppose Gen. Parke reports everything to you that transpires in his front.

Respectfully, &c.,


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. III, p. 21.

        4, Two Confederate scouting parties near Morristown [see March 4, 1864, Confederate bushwhackers attack Federal ambulance above]

        4, Isolation and loneliness, a page from Belle Edmondson's diary

March, Friday 4, 1864

I do wish Nonconnah [creek] would fall, and let a visitor from Memphis return home, for I am always in an ill humor when she is about. Tate and Helen went over to see Missie Morgan this evening. I have been in Tate's room all day busy sewing-almost finished my dress-

Mr. Hildebrand was here today, bro't [sic] nothing later from Dixie-nor have we heard anything today. I wish one of the scouts would come, and bring us some news. It has been very cloudy and disagreeable all day, this evening we had quite a storm. I received today another batch of letters from Dixie, to be mailed in Memphis for Yankee land. Decatur told us Gen. Armstrong had been ordered to Miss. he has taken Mariah to Mobile to be confined, poor girl I pity her, no Mother or relation to be with her. Laura as usual nodding, and I feel all alone. Beulah and Tippie Dora also enjoying their nap. I feel real sick tonight-oh! I am so lonely-what is to be my fate-oh! God shield me, have I not suffered enough-make my future bright.

Diary of Belle Edmondson[7]

        4, Confederate Conscription and the Refugees' Plight

Letter from the 12th Army Corps.

Camp 13th New Jersey Volunteers

Duck River Bridge, Tenn., March 4th, 1864.

The conscription is working fearfully for the citizens of the Southern States; whole families are compelled to leave their homes on account of non-subscribing to the will of Jeff. Davis. A party of fifty came through here yesterday, direct from Georgia; they were driven from their homes on account of their loyalty. Among the number were several children, all without shoes, and many sick, occasioned by the cold weather and unremitting exposure. Their last camping ground is only a few miles from here, and a visit to it would convince any one of the barbarity of the enemy. Beside one of the shelter tents, made of rails and brush, are three graves, about two feet long, where some heartbroken women have been compelled to lay the remains of their dear children, who had frozen to death the night previous. Many are yet sick, and but few will live until they arrive at Nashville. Terrible will be the retribution for such acts, and soon will come the day of execution.

Nashville Daily Union, March 8, 1864.[8]

4, Admonition to Potential Officers of African-American Soldiers in the Volunteer State

The Colored Troops in Tennessee. Captain R. D. Mussey, commissioner for the organization of colored troops in East and Middle Tennessee, issued a circular from Nashville on the 15th ultimo, the concluding section of which is as follows:

"X. No person is wanted as an officer in a colored regiment who 'feels that he is making a sacrifice in accepting a position in a colored regiment,' or who desires the places simply for higher rank and pay. It is the aim of those having this organization in charge to make colored troops equal, if not superior, to the best of white troops in drill, discipline and officers. It is more than possible that colored troops will hereafter form no inconsiderable portion of the permanent army of the United States, and it should be the aim of every officer of colored troops to make himself and his men fit for such an honorable position.

"It can be no 'sacrifice' to any man to command in a service which gives liberty to slaves, and manhood to chattels, as well as soldiers to the Union."

Another message in this circular declares that "should incompetent or bad men find their way accidentally into one of thee regiments, they will be weeded out immediately.

The Liberator (Boston, MA) March 4, 1864. [9]

        4, Letter expressing support for Home Guard units in Coffee County

Maj Gen Thomas

Having received an information that an order was about to be issued disbanding the Home Guards in this country organized by the order of Maj Gen Milroy we the undersigned citizens of the County and members of Home Guard Companies beg to respectfully petition you in behalf of the further continuance of said organization, and to request that no order be issued at this time interfering therewith Coffee County 7th and part of 11[the] districts.

Since the organization of this company our neighborhood has been remarkably quiet. Bushwhackers and Robbers have almost entirely disappeared and People feel a degree of security they have not felt before in three years. We therefore request that we be allowed to continue our organization until the militia of the State shall have been organized believing such a policy the best that can be pursued for our community at the present time.

[One hundred forty seven names are signed to this petition.]

Blood and Fire, p. 114.


[1] As cited in PQCW.

[2] An antebellum residential suburb was developed north of Knoxville in the 1850s by a consortium of New York City capitalists led by Gazaway Lamar. Knoxvillians were so satisfied with the project they renamed the city's leading hotel the Lamar House. See: Lucille Deaderick, ed., Heart of the Valley: A History of Knoxville, Tennessee,(East Tennessee Historical Society: Knoxville), p. 20

[3] This event is not refernced in the OR.

[4] There are 23 lengthy OR reports on this engagement; only a sampling is presented here.

[5] If this was true it is bizarre, to say the least. The OR makes no mention of black Confederate troops (at either the company or regimental levels) in this engagement or at any time in the history of the Confederacy.

[6] The story was cited from the Nashville Union of March 10, 1863.

[7] As cited in:

[8] As cited in:

[9] TSL&A, 19th CN


James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-770-1090 ext. 123456

(615)-532-1549  FAX


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