9, Skirmish at Dobbin's Ferry near La Vergne
DECEMBER 9, 1862.--Skirmish at Dobbins' Ferry, near La Vergne, Tenn.
LIST OF REPORTS.
No. 1.--Maj.-Gen. Thomas L. Crittenden, U. S. Army.
No. 2.--Surg. M. C. Woodworth, Fifty-first Ohio Infantry.
Report of Maj.-Gen. Thomas L. Crittenden, U. S. Army.
HDQRS. LEFT WING, December 9, 1862.
COL.: I am this moment in receipt of a note from your headquarters, asking me if Gen. Stanley has come in yet. I presume this must refer to the foraging expedition of Col. Stanley Matthews. As soon as I arrived at camp I sent an order to Gen. Van Cleve to return to me a full report; but it has not yet been sent. As soon as it comes in it shall be forwarded. Eight wagons from my headquarters accompanied the party. They have all returned, well filled, but report that Col. Matthews had a sharp skirmish, having quite a number killed and wounded, but that the wagons were filled and none lost. Since your orderly arrived, the inclosed note from Col. Grose has been received through Gen. Smith. I declined to permit him to attack, for fear it might interfere with the proposed reconnaissances. Should you think differently, advise men, and I will yet direct the attack to be made.
A prisoner, taken by some of our troops and brought to me, reports that the attack was made by six regiments of cavalry, under Wheeler, who fought principally as infantry, being armed with Enfield rifles and navy revolvers; that the regiments are, however, greatly reduced, and do not number, all together, over about 1,500 men, and that this is the only force about La Vergne; also that Bragg left last week for Richmond; that Johnson is in command, and is camped some 4 miles this side of Murfreesborough; that his force numbers about 35,000 men. I will send him to you in the morning.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. L. CRITTENDEN, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.
Report of Surg. M. C. Woodworth, Fifty-first Ohio Infantry.
HDQRS. TWENTY-THIRD BRIGADE, December 12, 1862.
CAPT.: Pursuant to orders just received, I have the honor to report the result of my journey within the enemy's lines, under a flag of truce, to recover our wounded in the skirmish of the 9th. I left our outpost, accompanied by Drs. Russell and Mills, with an orderly and three ambulances, about 10 a.m., on the road passing from the Murfreesborough and to the Chicken pike, about 1 mile beyond the insane asylum.
I passed about 5 miles on the Chicken pike, in the direction of Stone's River, to a house where we had left one of the enemy's wounded-he being too severely wounded to move-which we left on the evening after the engagement. I found that a flag of truce had just removed his body to the enemy's lines. I left the Chicken pike just this side of the burned bridge crossing Stone's River, leaving the road to my left, and passed on about 1 1/2 miles, to a house where I had left 6 of our men, who were wounded when the enemy made their last attack on the rear of our train. I found that the enemy had buried one of our dead left upon the field, also one of our wounded, who had died from a wound of the abdomen. I sent the remaining five in two ambulance and passed on about 1 mile in the direction of La Vergne, where I came to the enemy's outposts. I here waited one-half hour for the arrival of a proper officer to receive the flag, when Lieut. Col. William S. Hawkins, of Gen. Wheeler's staff, came and escorted me to the house of Dr. Charlton, where I found one of our wounded, also one of the enemy's wounded, fatally.
They spoke of it as battle rather than a skirmish,* and admitted a loss of 8 killed upon the field. The picket at the outpost said they had carried away a large number of wounded, but would not state how many. I took our wounded man in the ambulance, and left their lines to return about 4 p.m. Col. Hawkins assured me they had but one of our men prisoner, a lieutenant of the Eighth Kentucky Volunteers, who was slightly wounded in the back, and that he had been well cared for by their surgeons, and would soon be sent to our lines. The wounded on the field were all from the Eighth Kentucky Volunteers, and had all been paroled the day previous. Col. Hawkins accompanied me about 2 miles from their lines on my return. I saw no force of the enemy this side of their outposts.
I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. C. WOODWORTH, Surgeon 51st Ohio Vols., Acting Medical Director 23d Brigade.
OR, Ser. I, Vol 20, pt. I, pp. 73-74.
*Ed. note - comments of this kind illustrate the difficulty in trying to catagorize the kinds of fights that took place during the Civil War. How a skirmish differed from a battle may seem at first obvious to twenty-first century readers, but was not a critical element in nineteenth century thinking. Thus, "they" thought differently about things than we do today.
9-13, Skirmishes at and near Bean's Station
RUTLEDGE, December 10, 1863--4.30 p.m.
GEN.: Maj. [William] Cutting reports from Bean's station at 2 p.m. that a portion of the brigade sent toward Morristown took the Russellville branch, and met the enemy at the river; found them in too great a force to dislodge, and remains facing the enemy at Moore's Ferry, about 10 miles from Bean's Station, guarding wagon trains. Two strong divisions of their infantry had left there the morning previous. One hundred of the enemy's cavalry have attacked a company of ours on river 6 miles from here. A number of small parties are reported on other side river. Gen. Shackelford is in communication with Willcox, at Tazewell; the road had not been obstructed by the enemy. Willcox is about forwarding supplies and repairing the telegraph.
JNO. G. PARKE, Maj.-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, p. 326.
TAZEWELL, December 9, 1863--6.40 p.m.
GEN.: Gen. Longstreet and staff passed Bean's Station yesterday morning about 10 o'clock. Some of his infantry is with infantry passed on the Bean's Station and Rogersville road. They retired from Clinch Mountain late last evening and this morning, leaving two pieces of artillery and one regiment of cavalry; pickets of the enemy are still in the gap. I have no doubt this information is substantially correct.
O. B. WILLCOX, Brig.-Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, p. 400.
HDQRS. CAVALRY CORPS, Bean's Station, December 9, 1863--12.30 p.m.
GEN.: I have just reached this place with my advance. We drove the rebel cavalry for 4 or 5 miles. We found them in position, with artillery planted, at this place, but they left in considerable haste at our approach. A large body of cavalry went down the mountain road. The infantry was passing this point on yesterday until 4 p.m., and from the best information I can get, Longstreet encamped last night near Rock Spring, 4 miles on the Rogersville road.
I have sent scouts out on all the roads, and will feed before moving any farther.
I am, general, yours, truly,
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, p. 411.
HDQRS. CAVALRY CORPS, Bean's Station, December 10, 1863--3 p.m.
GEN.: I have just received report from Col. Adams, commanding reconnaissance on Rogersville road. He had gone as far as Mooresburg, 3 Miles this side of Red Bridge, when he came up with the enemy In considerable force guarding wagon train. He was then skirmishing with them. He represents that the enemy was dismounted and in a gorge, and that he would withdraw soon, as he could not dislodge him. Col. Adams says that the last of the infantry left Mooresburg yesterday morning; that his cavalry encamped within 1 1/2 miles of the point at which they were skirmishing. His dispatch was sent at 2 p.m. No further news from reconnaissance on Morristown road since Maj. Cutting left.
I am, general, yours, &c.,
HDQRS. CAVALRY CORPS, Bean's Station, December 10, 1863--8.10 p.m.
GEN.: Your dispatch just received. Col. Adams, commanding reconnaissance on Rogersville road, has returned. Not a word from Col. Garrard, commanding reconnaissance on Morristown road, since Maj. Cutting left. Artillery firing reported in the direction of Morristown late this evening. I have just ordered 100 men to go out to forks of road, one-half mile of ford on Morristown road, and to send patrol to the ford to learn something from the reconnaissance. Col. Adams reports that the enemy in considerable force, after he withdrew, came out and occupied the ground he held during the skirmishing. A prisoner from this command, Fourteenth Illinois, who escaped from the enemy last night, says that he marched 21 miles day before yesterday and 9 miles yesterday; that he left the rear of the enemy's infantry last night 3 miles this side of Rogersville; that their train was in front and their cavalry in the rear; that their encampment extended 8 miles. Immediately on hearing from reconnaissance on Morristown road I will report.
I am, general, yours, &c.,
HDQRS. CAVALRY CORPS, Bean's Station, December 10, 1863.
GEN.: I have just received a report from the brigade sent out on the Morristown road under Col. Garrard. He found rebel brigade, under Gen. William E. Jones, at Morristown, occupying the fortifications built by our forces, engaged him, and drove him out of the works and out of the town. The brigade will come back and encamp at the river to-night. We lost several men, but the enemy's loss is reputed much heavier than ours.
I am, general, yours, truly,
HDQRS. CAVALRY CORPS, Bean's Station, December 11, 1863--9.25 a.m.
GEN.: The engagement of Col. Garrard's brigade with Jones at Morristown on last evening was a gallant affair. The enemy held every advantage in the ground, yet our men dashed into their midst and drove them from the fortifications and the town. Between 40 and 50 rebels are reported killed and wounded. Our loss, 6 wounded, none killed. It is thought that the rebels who went via Morristown will move on across the mountains into North Carolina. Col. Garrard had the pleasure of defeating the same or a part of the same command that defeated him at Rogersville. Nothing heard from the enemy this morning.
HDQRS. CAVALRY CORPS, Bean's Station, December 12, 1863--6.30 p.m.
GEN.: The reconnaissance under Col. Graham upon the Rogersville road came upon the enemy at Mooresburg, drove them back about 1 mile into a position from which he could not dislodge them without bringing on a general engagement. He withdrew his troops this side of Mooresboroug. A prisoner from Fifty-first Virginia Regiment states that he left the rebel infantry 8 miles beyond Rogersville last night; they had stopped and were foraging. He states that the principal part of the rebel cavalry were at Russellville. The reconnaissance to Morristown, under Col. Pennebaker, found no enemy at that place but found their pickets beyond town, on the Russellville road, and drove them in; came upon line of battle, and they retreated up the road.
I am, general, yours,
J. M. SHACKELFORD, Brig.-Gen.
HDQRS. CAVALRY CORPS, Bean's Station, December 13, 1863--6 p.m.
GEN.: I would have communicated with you before this to-day, but did not know where the communication would reach you.
In pursuance with your orders, I ordered 200 men to proceed to Morristown this morning, for the purpose of examining telegraph wire. They met enemy's pickets on this side of Morristown, and from statements of citizens in relation to there being rebels in the town and a heavy force at Cheek's Cross-Roads, the officer in command did not attempt to go to the town. Col. Garrard, WITH his brigade, was sent to Morristown on yesterday [12th], With orders to make Reconnaissance upon the Russellville road. He found no enemy at Morristown, but found the enemy in considerable force at Cheek's Cross-Roads. He says he saw In line 2,000 or 2,500 rebels; he had heavy skirmishing with them. Our loss 4 killed and number wounded. Col. Garrard says the enemy had 5,000 men at that point. It was Wheeler's command, under Martin. A prisoner captured from Third Alabama states that Wheeler's force was at that point. He gives their number at 5,000 or 6,000. I ordered a reconnaissance of 200 men up the Rogersville road this morning. They were attacked and driven in by the enemy, the enemy following up to our picket stand. Col. Wolford's command lost three or four wagons that were on that road foraging. We met them at the picket stand, and drove them back 4 1/2 miles.
Prisoners captured from the Fourth Kentucky (rebel) Cavalry stated that there were two rebel regiments, the Fourth and Tenth Kentucky. One of the prisoners stated that the Fourth Kentucky and one battalion of the Tenth were out there, making 600 men. One of the prisoners, who seemed to speak the truth, stated that Longstreet's command was at Red Bridge; that Longstreet's headquarters were 5 miles above Mooresburg; that Ransom's command had gone across the river at Rogersville, but that all of Longstreet's command was on this side of Rogersville. He also stated that all the cavalry, except that we were fighting this evening had gone this morning over to Cheek's Cross-Road; that they were sent down to feel our forces while that movement was being made. The statement in relation to Longstreet's headquarters is corroborated by a citizen who got through this evening, who lives 13 miles above this. Gen. Willcox states that 3 prisoners were brought into his headquarters on last night who belonged to a Georgia regiment--Hood's division. All 3 had written passes up to 2 o'clock yesterday. They stated that their command was 7 miles below Rogersville, and that Bushrod Johnson's command was in the rear. It may be that the enemy is concentrating his cavalry at Cheek's Cross-Roads with the view of attacking me at this point, as he could much more easily attack from that direction than from the road leading to Rogersville. His movements this evening in both directions seem to indicate some such purpose.
I have ordered the troops to stand at arms at 6 a.m. to-morrow. I would suggest that if the enemy was to throw a considerable force of his cavalry over Clinch Mountain, he could seriously damage the trains from Cumberland Gap. If you have leisure, I would ask for you to ride up early in the morning.
I am, general, yours, truly,
J. M. SHACKELFORD, Brig.-Gen.
P. S.--I have been quite sick for two or three days.
Since writing the above Col. Bond, who was in command of my advance, this evening reports that citizens who have come through since dark report that the cavalry on the Rogersville road was supported by infantry and artillery at Rock Spring, 5 1/2 miles from here.
Since writing the above, Col. Capron reports the rebels on the other bank of the river up and down; that his commissary and 6 of his men were at a mill on the other side of the river this evening; his men, except the commissary, were captured. I would suggest the propriety of an infantry force being moved up to-night to cover the road leading off to Turley's Ford, about 1 mile this side of Rutledge.
December 13, 1863--10 p.m. Gen. FORSTER, Knoxville:
GEN.: I have just arrived, and...I have ordered a force of infantry to march in the morning to the road indicated by Gen. Shackelford. Gen. Potter has pickets at Turley's Ford, at Turley's Mill, and on the road this side of there. The indications are that Longstreet has halted, and probably turned back a portion of his command, possibly all. To-morrow will probably develop his plans.
JNO. G. PARKE.
HDQRS., Bean's Station, December 14, 1863.
GEN.: Since my report on last night, there has been no demonstrations on the part of the enemy. Reconnaissance on Rogersville made before daylight this morning ascertained that the enemy had fallen back from the position he occupied where the skirmishing closed at dark last night. The glare of the enemy's camp fires could be seen 2 or 3 miles from the position he occupied at dark last evening. The patrols on the roads to the river saw nor heard nothing of the enemy.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, pp. 412-416.
9, "Howe's & Norton's Champion Circus."
We are happy to state for the information of the lovers of exhibitions of muscular energy and daring feats of horsemanship, that the interruption to their gratification has been removed; the famous trick horses having been returned, all in good order. The mammoth circus is again in full blast. Little Alice, the fairy equestrienne, is the wonder of the circle; ho one so young can accomplish so many daring feats with such evident coolness is the astonishment of all beholders; Madame Agnes'' performances on the slack wire is always well received; Master Charles Fish and James Madigan are unsurpassed as graceful and daring riders. Messrs. Lawlow, Aymar, and Davenport, keep the immense throng convulsed with laughter by their grotesque posturing and witty saying, and their jokes are not the stale abortions we were accustomed to hear, abut entirely original, and show that they are not only humorous, but educated and refined., Mr. TR. O. Howe, by his wonderful success in the training of that intelligent quadruped, Gen Grant, has proven himself to be the prince of trainers, and almost convinces us that horses have reason. But what shall we say of Lester, the contortionist, "are you man or demon?" We sincerely doubt whether it is possible for him to be burthened with the calcareous substance denominated bones; whalebone has been suggested, but even whalebone cannot be vent to a right angle without cracking; and comes the right single, isosceles, and all other angles triangle, circles, ovals, oblongs -- well, to Trotter's geometry for the balance of his shapes. Trick horse, comic and acting mules, are additional features. We cannot conclude without writing a few words in praise of the splendid cornet band, led by Prof. Peters, that adds so much to the magnificence of the entertainment. In short, if you want to study, go to the Circus; if you want to be astonished, go to the Circus; if you want to laugh, go to the Circus; if you want to -- well, go the Circus by all means.
Nashville Dispatch, December 9, 1864.