Journal of the Fourth Army Corps
NOVEMBER 14, 1864-JANUARY 23, 1865.--Campaign in North Alabama and Middle Tennessee.
O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XLV/1 [S# 93]
November 14.--5 a.m., received dispatch from General Hatch, dated Taylor's Springs, November 13, 1864, 4 p.m., as follows:
The enemy moved up with infantry to Bough's Mills this morning, and after slight skirmish fell back on the bluffs and then went into camp. Our line remains the same on Shoal Creek. The enemy's pickets and our own stand in sight of each other the entire length of the line. Their movements this morning indicate an advance. I have ordered the roads near Shoal Creek and the Waynesborough and Florence road filled in with timber. If they do not advance this abatis will enable me to move safely by the right flank, should it be necessary for me to do so. Most of the road leading to Shoal Creek winds through deep ravines and can be obstructed with timber.
9 a.m., sent Colonel Capron's brigade of cavalry in the direction of Waynesborough, &c., to see what the enemy is doing. Major-General Schofield assumes command of the U.S. forces at this place this morning. This command includes the Fourth Corps, Twenty-third Corps, and the different cavalry detachments with General Hatch's command. 6 p.m., received dispatch from General Hatch, dated Taylor's Springs, November 14, 2 a.m. He says Croxton attacked the enemy and drove his advance posts back, capturing only one prisoner. From this prisoner he learned that two attempts have been made to cross the river by Lee's corps (rebel), but time bridge was broken down twice and that the bridge would be repaired on the night of the 13th (last night), when the whole rebel army would cross to this side. He also says that Beauregard made a speech to the army and told the troops that they were going forward--Hood to attack Nashville, and Forrest to lead a grand raid to the Ohio River. Forrest's cavalry is now coming up the Tennessee from below, to cross at Florence.
November 15.--Nothing of importance this morning. 2 p.m., received dispatch from General Hatch (sent to General Schofield) stating that some of his men report that a heavy force of the enemy's infantry and cavalry is at present advancing on the old military road, the road leading from Florence to Columbia. The defensive works of this place are now about completed.
November 16.--8 a.m., General Hatch reports to General Schofield that the movement of the enemy yesterday was only a reconnaissance, and that there is only one corps of the enemy now on this side of the river. Nothing further of interest to-day.
November 17.--10 a.m., General Schofield sends word that General Hatch reports that he attacked and drove back the enemy's pickets yesterday, taking a few prisoners. The prisoners report that another rebel corps has crossed to this side of the river; that the third and last corps was to cross last night (November 16), and that Forrest's cavalry, 10,000 strong, is also across and is near Florence. Nothing further of importance to-day. Rain commenced to fall on the 15th, and it has been raining ever since. The roads are in a miserable condition.
November 18.---5 p.m., nothing further of importance. General Hatch reports that there is no change in his front, and that the enemy is still trying to cross the river. Last night he sent two men down the river to cut the ropes of the enemy's pontoons. (They went down in canoes.) They succeeded, reached the bridge in the night, and cut some of the ropes while the enemy was crossing. The bridge has since been repaired. General H[atch] now says that there is but one brigade of Forrest s cavalry on this side of the river. Still raining.
November 19.--Nothing of importance or unusual to-day. Rain continued through the day until about 9 p.m., when it ceased.
November 20.--1 p.m., General Schofield sends word that General Hatch reports that Forrest's cavalry is moving north from Florence, on the old military road. His right brigade attacked Buford's division (of Forrest's cavalry) and drove it back, when Buford was largely re-en-forced, and compelled this brigade to fall back to this side of Shoal Creek. All of Hatch's cavalry is now on this side of Shoal Creek. It is probable that Forrest is marching for the railroad between this place and Columbia; and General Schofield directs General Stanley to send a division of infantry to Lynnville in the morning. Lynnville is about thirteen miles north of Pulaski, on the railroad. 2 p.m., General Wagner is directed to take his division to Lynnville to-morrow; to start early in the morning. It has been raining almost during the entire day.
November 21.--6 a.m., received instructions from Major-General Schofield not to send Wagner's division to Lynnville this morning. A dispatch was captured by General Hatch last night, stating that Forrest would move his cavalry, starting on Monday morning. The first snow-storm of the season this morning; growing quite cold. 6.45 p.m., received note from General Schofield, of which the following is a copy:
PULASKI, TENN., November 21.
General Hatch's report just received leaves no doubt of Hood's advance. He was last night about twenty miles from Florence--one corps on the Waynesborough road and one on the Lawrenceburg road; the third was only six miles out from Florence. Hood must be going to Columbia or west of that. We will have to move accordingly without delay. Have your quartermaster send all surplus stores to Columbia at once, and make all preparations to withdraw entirely from this place by Wednesday morning, the 23d. Let Wagner march to Lynnville to-morrow morning; Cox will precede him.
7 p.m., directed General Wagner to march his division to Lynnville to-morrow morning--Second Division, Fourth Corps. Very cold to-night; freezing.
November 22.--7 a.m., Wagner's division started for Lynnville. 9 a.m., General Schofield sent word that he had just received a dispatch from Colonel Capron, who has been to Lawrenceburg (went there front Mount Pleasant), and that he can hear nothing of Hood; does not think he is advancing. 4 p.m., General Hatch's report received from Lawrenceburg, stating that no force of the enemy has yet come near that place. Cold all day; freezing; very cold to-night.
November 23.---8 a.m., received dispatch from General Schofield, of which the following is a copy:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE OHIO,
Pulaski, Tenn., November 23, 1864--7.30 a.m.
Commanding Fourth Corps:
The general commanding directs me to inform you that he has information from General Hatch, dated 11 p.m. yesterday, which leaves little doubt that Hood in advancing, his infantry advance being in Lawrenceburg last night. Forrest is striking for the railroad, and may possibly reach it to-day. General Schofield will go to Lynnville this morning, and he desires you to have all the railroad trains loaded and started to the rear at as early an hour this a.m. as possible, and also to have your whole command in readiness to march to Lynnville this p.m. should it become necessary.
Very respectfully, &c.,
J. A. CAMPBELL,
Major and Assistant Adjutant-General.
8.30 a.m., sent directions to division commanders to be ready to move for Lynnville at noon. The railroad trains are being loaded as fast as possible. 2 p.m., the First and Second Divisions, Fourth Corps, start for Lynnville; also, all little detachments left at Pulaski, except Colonel Waters' brigade--Third Brigade, First Division--which will leave at 3 o'clock to-morrow morning, and will cover our trains, artillery, &c. 2.15 p.m., received a dispatch from General Hatch, who reports the enemy's infantry moving through Lawrenceburg toward Columbia. He has just heard from one of his spies, who has been in the enemy's camp, that Hood has 40,000 infantry strong and 15,000 cavalry. General Hatch will move for Columbia via Campbellsville, to cover our column on the march. 7 p.m., our head of column reaches Lynnville, twelve miles from Pulaski. The trains, artillery, and rear of the infantry column did not reach this place until 11 p.m. The troops here bivouac for the night. The enemy is now supposed to be nearer Columbia by one day's march than our column.
November 24.--1 a.m., Major-General Schofield, who is in Lynnville, sends word to General Stanley that he has just heard from Colonel Capron, commanding brigade cavalry, that the enemy's cavalry (and a small amount of infantry) has driven him back to and through Mount Pleasant toward Columbia. His dispatch dated about 9 p.m. Mount Pleasant is but twelve miles from Columbia, and there is a good turnpike between these places; Lynnville is eighteen miles from Columbia, and turnpike thence. 1 a.m., General Schofield directs the Fourth Corps to march for Columbia at 3 a. In. Cox's division, of the Twenty-third Corps (all of said corps now with Schofield), is in camp eleven miles from Lynnville and seven from Columbia. This division has also been directed to march for Columbia at 3 a.m. There is no force in Columbia but about 800 of our infantry, under command of General Ruger. The rest of General Ruger's division is scattered on the Tennessee River and Duck Creek. General R[uger] commands a division of the Twenty-third Corps (Schofield's). 3 a.m., the corps started for Columbia in order as follows: Second Division (which was in camp at Lynnville when we arrived there) leading; Third Division following; then the Artillery Brigade; then the trains; then the First Division. 9 a.m., head of column three miles from Columbia. Firing heard on the Mount Pleasant and Columbia pike, very near to Columbia. 10.05, head of column (Second Division)reaches Columbia. About the same time a regiment of the enemy's cavalry make an attempt to dash upon our artillery as it is moving along the road. It came from the direction of the Mount Pleasant pike over a cross-road leading therefrom to the road upon which our column is moving. General Wood sent out a regiment of infantry (Colonel Knefler's) and drove the enemy back, killing a few. General Cox's division crossed over to the Mount Pleasant pike early this morning by a cross-road three miles south of Columbia. He reached that pike just in time to save Colonel Capron's brigade of cavalry from annihilation, as it was being driven rapidly into Columbia by a largely superior force of cavalry. General Cox checked the enemy and drove them back a short distance. This also prevented the enemy from getting into Columbia before the Second Division, Fourth Corps-the head of our column. As fast as the divisions of the Fourth Corps arrive in Columbia they go into position in line of battle and throw up barricades and breast-works. 6 p.m., our line of battle as follows: The Second Division, General Wagner, on the right, connecting with the left of Cox's division (Cox's division about one mile west of the town, covering the Mount Pleasant pike, and its right resting on Duck River); the Third Division, General Wood, on the left of General Wagner's, its right connecting with General Wagner's left, on the Pulaski pike, and facing almost south; the First Division, General Whitaker, on Wood's left, the right of the division connecting with Wood s left and the left of the division resting near the river, east of the town, the division facing almost southeast; the artillery of the corps is planted on the rising ground and knolls along our line of battle. General Cox has been skirmishing a little with the enemy during the entire day. It is supposed that the enemy is now concentrating his infantry force at Mount Pleasant, or this side thereof, on the Mount Pleasant pike.
November 25.--Have been strengthening our lines to-day. 12.15 p.m., received instructions from General Schofield to send a reconnaissance out on the Pulaski pike. The enemy's cavalry are now skirmishing with General Cox's troops on the Mount Pleasant pike. 4 p.m., the forces sent as a reconnaissance on the Pulaski pike returned. The enemy's cavalry in force was met about one mile beyond our picket-line. After considerable skirmishing they returned. 4.30 p.m., the enemy's cavalry now is in front of the whole line of this army, and is nowhere more than two miles off. 5 p.m., received Special Field Orders, No. 64, headquarters Army of the Ohio, Columbia, Tenn., November 25, 1864, as follows. 5.15 p.m., directed General Whitaker and General Wagner to move their divisions to the interior line as soon as practicable after dark, and General Wood to occupy all of the old line, covering the Pulaski pike. 10 p.m., the new and interior line occupied by Whitaker's and Wagner's divisions (First and Second), and they are now working upon them.
November 26.--7 a.m., General Schofield received a telegram from General Thomas, dated Nashville, November 25, stating that he wished General S[chofield] to hold the north bank of Duck River if necessary to prevent Hood from crossing; to hold Hood on the south side of the river a few days until our forces can be concentrated, when we can take the offensive. He further states that General A. J. Smith's force ought to be at Nashville to-day (25th), and that he will at once send him to Murfreesborough if Hood moves toward the Chattanooga and Nashville Railroad. He has already ordered five of General R. S. Granger's regiments to that place, and will also order General Milroy to send all of his force (on railroad south of Murfreesborough) there. The enemy made a dash upon the right of General Wood's picket-line at daylight this morning and drove it back a short distance. There has been considerable skirmishing along our whole front this morning. The enemy up to this time (12 m.) has shown only dismounted cavalry. 12.30 p.m., the enemy is approaching on the Mount Pleasant pike, and deploying on the left of the pike about one mile in front of our outer line. 2 p.m., so far as can be discovered the enemy has only deployed about one division of infantry and a small force of cavalry on the Mount Pleasant pike. The enemy's action in deploying such a small force, and in the character of his skirmishing today, indicates that he is only making a demonstration in our front, while he may be endeavoring to cross Duck River or operate over toward the Chattanooga railroad. It has been raining hard all day and Duck River is rising. 2.30 p.m., received instructions from General Schofield to move all of our trains, artillery, &c., over the river this afternoon (to the north bank), and to be prepared to move the infantry over after dark. 3 p.m., directed division commanders to send all of their trains, except ten ambulances and five ammunition wagons, to the division over the river, at once, and to send the artillery at dusk; also, to be prepared to send the infantry over to-night-to move over the railroad and pontoon bridge, via the Hampshire road. 7 p.m., the rain that commenced this morning still continues. It is almost impossible for trains to move down the bank of the river to the pontoon bridge, and up the bank on the other side. The road on the other side for three miles is almost impassable. But very few wagons and only two or three caissons have crossed up to this hour. Owing to the miserable condition of the road it will be impossible for all of the trains and artillery on this side of the river to cross before noon to-morrow. 8 p.m., sent word to division commanders that it will be impossible to cross the river to-night, and that the movement of the infantry will be suspended until further orders. The artillery which has been taken out of our lines of works this evening has also been ordered back. 9 p.m., reports from the cavalry forces guarding the fords of Duck River above and below Columbia have been received by General Schofield this evening, to the effect that no movements of the enemy have been discovered; that he has appeared at none of the fords. 12 midnight, two of the boats of the pontoon bridge have sunk, and but one or two wagons have been able to get over since 7 p.m. Orders were sent at this hour by General Schofield not to attempt to cross over any more to-night, but to fix the bridge and cross them over to-morrow a.m. The rain that commenced this morning still continues. If General A. J. Smith's force has reached Nashville it may be sent to Columbia to-morrow; if it is so sent we will not cross to the north bank of the river, but, with these re enforcements, will be able to hold our advanced lines on the south side of the river, while a force of infantry can be left on the north side to prevent Hood from crossing.
November 27.--8 a.m., sent word to division commanders that they would not move to-day, but must be prepared to receive orders to cross the river to-night. Pioneers are working on the road at the river crossing at the pontoon bridge and on the other side of the river, and the trains will be worked over if possible this morning. The rain has now ceased. 1 p.m., in accordance with instructions received from Major-General Schofield, directed division commanders to send all wagons to the north bank of the river at once. 3 p.m., received Special Field Orders, of which the following is a copy. 3 p.m., sent orders to division commanders to move to-night across the river in the order--First, General Wood; second, General Kimball; third, General Wagner; and for General Wood to start at 6 p.m.; the pickets to be withdrawn to the outer line of works at 6.30 p.m., and to the inner line at 7.30 p.m., and from this latter line toward morning. General A. J. Smith has not yet been heard from. It is not yet known whether he has reached Nashville. The forces of this corps withdrew, in accordance with instructions, at the hours indicated, without being followed by the enemy. The last of the corps crossed the river at midnight. The rain has ceased; it has not rained since daylight. It is now decided by General Schofield to destroy the pontoon and railroad bridges across Duck River after the pickets have crossed to the north side, as it will be impossible to protect them and the fords both above and below Columbia. Deserters from the enemy, just in, report that the last of Hood's infantry arrived at Columbia this evening; that Hood now has 40,000 infantry strong and from 10,000 to 12,000 cavalry. Our force at present: Fourth Corps, about 15,000, and Schofield's (Army of the Ohio), about 10,000, with about 3,500 cavalry. Our forces are increasing rapidly each day by the addition of recruits arriving from the North, from 300 to 350 per day.
NEAR COLUMBIA, TENN., NORTH OF DUCK RIVER.
November 28.--5 a.m., the last of our pickets cross the railroad to the north side of Duck River. The pontoon boats are scuttled and the ends of the railroad bridge burned. 6.30 a.m., the enemy's skirmishers come down to the bank of the river at the railroad bridge and fords. 7 a.m., the Fourth Corps marches to the Franklin pike and go into line of battle on the north side of Duck River, about two miles and a half from Columbia, facing the town, General Wood on the left of the pike, General Kimball (commanding First Division, having relieved General Whitaker) on the right of the pike, his left resting on the pike, General Wagner's left connecting with General Kimball's right, and his right resting on Rutherford's Creek. Opposite General Wagner's right (that is, across Rutherford's Creek) rests General Ruger's left--Ruger's division, of the Army of the Ohio. General Ruger's division covers the crossing at the railroad bridge. Just in front of Wood's and Kimball's divisions is General Cox's division (Army of the Ohio), which covers the crossing of the river at the Franklin pike. The enemy opened [on] us with artillery fire from Columbia, but the distance is too great to do any damage. Cox's artillery replies. The enemy's infantry has been firing at our pickets across the river during the day, and our pickets have been returning the fire. 3 p.m., Colonel Capron reports to General Schofield that his brigade of cavalry was driven back from the ford eleven miles north of Columbia this afternoon, and that some of the enemy's infantry has crossed to the north side of the river at that point. 5.15 p.m., Colonel Streight (commanding General Wood's left, or reserve, brigade) reports that the enemy has succeeded in crossing two regiments of cavalry over the river a short distance beyond his left; that our cavalry pickets there stationed were driven back. Orders were at once sent to Colonel Streight to drive this cavalry back. 5.40 p.m., sent word to General Streight at once to attack and drive back the enemy's cavalry that has crossed above him. 5.45 p.m., directed General Kimball to send his reserve brigade to Rutherford's Creek, where it crosses the Franklin pike in our rear, at once, to cover our trains on the other side of the same, and for it to take position to the east of the pike. 6 p.m., General Thomas sends a telegram to General Schofield, stating that he thinks General A. J. Smith will be in Nashville in three days, and that if he cannot fight the enemy near Columbia--that is, prevent them from crossing Duck River--to fall back to the north bank of the Harpeth River, at Franklin, and that he will bring up all of his forces to that point, where and when he will be able to fight Hood. 8 p.m., received instructions from General Schofield to send a party a short distance up the river, from our left, to see whether anything can be seen of the enemy. General Wilson, commanding cavalry, reports that the enemy has crossed his cavalry at several fords above us--upstream. 9 p.m., it is too dark for General Wood to send Streight up the river to look for the cavalry that has crossed above us--the two regiments that Colonel Streight reports as having crossed--but General Wood has sent 150 men about one mile beyond his left flank, up the river, to observe the enemy.
November 29.--7.30 a.m., General Schofield sends word that it is reported by General Wilson that the enemy has laid a pontoon bridge over the river about five miles east of us, beyond our left flank, up the river, and he wishes General Stanley to send two divisions to Spring Hill, eight miles in our rear, on the Franklin pike, to check the enemy, if he approaches that point, until the force here can withdraw and move back toward Franklin; also, to send one brigade up the river to see whether the enemy is crossing, as reported by General Wilson, and if so, to check him and hold him there as long as possible. In accordance with the above, orders were at once given for the movement. 8.45 a.m., the Second Division and First Division start for Spring Hill, the Second leading. All of our trains will follow. General Wood's division will remain behind, and General W[ood] will report to General Schofield for orders until he joins the rest of the corps. Two batteries remain with Wood, the rest go to Spring Hill. 9 a.m., General Wood sends Colonel Post's brigade up the river, to ascertain whether the enemy is crossing his infantry, and to check him if he is. 11.30 a.m., received dispatch from General Schofield stating that General Wood has found the enemy's infantry on the north side of Duck River. It commenced to cross last night and is now crossing. 11.30 a.m., received a report from some cavalry soldiers, who state that Buford's division of the enemy's cavalry are approaching Spring Hill from the east, and that it is now near the town. Our head of column is now two miles and a half from Spring Hill. 12.30 p.m., our head of column reaches Spring Hill just in time to meet the enemy's advance. A regiment of infantry and a cavalry regiment that has been in line east of Spring Hill and covering the Franklin and Columbia pike is just being driven in. General Schofield has detained Kimball's division (First Division, Fourth Corps) at Rutherford's Creek. 1 p.m., General Wagner's flankers, acting as skirmishers, have just driven the advancing enemy back. A line of battle is formed as follows: Opdycke's brigade faces northeast, its left resting on the Franklin pike north of the town; Lane's brigade connects with Opdycke's and faces east; Bradley's brigade connects with Lane's, facing in an easterly direction and sweeping around toward the pike south of the town--the line of battle generally about one mile from town. 4 p.m., the last of the wagon train, which followed Wagner's division, is now coming into town. The enemy has been skirmishing with us ever since we took position, and has made several attacks upon our line, which were feeble and repulsed. 5 p.m., our right--Bradley's brigade--is just driven back, and it reforms in the outskirts of town. 5.30, skirmishing still continuing, but it is growing so dark that the enemy has ceased to press us much. It is now discovered that he has infantry as well as cavalry. 6.30 p.m., General Schofield arrives with part of General Ruger's division (Twenty-third Corps), and Whitaker's brigade following. He had considerable skirmishing along the right of the road as he approached town. He captured a few prisoners, among whom is Captain -------, assistant adjutant-general in Cleburne's division, Cheatham's corps. He, as well as other prisoners, report that Cleburne's division attacked us in part this evening. General Schofield reports that the enemy's infantry has been moving this way all day. Thompson's Station, three miles north of this place, on the Franklin pike, is in possession of the enemy. The troops of Kimball's, Wood's, and Cox's divisions will leave Columbia at about dusk. Take it all together, we are in a very bad situation. General Wilson's cavalry not heard from; it is supposed Forrest has driven him back. 9 p.m., General Schofield started from Spring Hill to force a passage, if possible, at Thompson's Station (three miles north of Spring Hill), if the enemy still holds that place. 11 p.m., General Cox arrived with his division from in front of Columbia. He has had hard work there, trying to keep the enemy on the south side of the river. He had his own and Wood's and Kimball's divisions. About 1,500 of the enemy succeeded In crossing and in laying a pontoon bridge. There was fighting at the river all day. 11.30 p.m., General Schofield returned from Thompson's Station. The enemy had withdrawn from there, leaving only pickets. General Ruger's brigade halted there. 11.40 p.m., General Schofield ordered General Cox to move his division for Franklin; Ruger's brigade to go with him from Thompson's Station; for the wagon train to follow Cox; Wood's and Kimball's divisions to follow the wagon train; and for Wagner's division to remain where it is, at Spring Hill, until everything has passed, then to move, covering the rear of the army. Cox is now moving, and Wood and Kimball following. We lost in Wagner's division about 250 men in killed and wounded to-day.
SPRING HILL, TENN.
November 30.--1 a.m., General Cox's division now out of the way, and our trains start for Franklin; have about 500 wagons in the train. General Wood's division also starts, moving along on the right of the road. As soon as the train reached a point two miles and a half north of Spring Hill it was attacked by the rebel cavalry. Repeated attacks were made upon the train at the same point and at a point half a mile farther north until toward daylight, when Generals Wood's and Kimball's skirmishers drove the attacking cavalry away. These attacks so delayed the train that the rear of it did not leave Spring Hill until nearly daylight. 2 a.m., General Kimball's division leaves Spring Hill. 4 a.m., General Wagner's division, covering our column, leaves, and his pickets were withdrawn at daylight. Colonel Opdycke's brigade, of Wagner's division, acted as skirmishers in falling back. The services rendered by it were of signal benefit. The enemy followed and made repeated attacks, but Colonel Opdycke repulsed each one handsomely. He also succeeded in bringing into Franklin the great number of broken-down soldiers and stragglers left on the road. For three or four nights and days the troops of this corps have been marching and digging, and they are now almost exhausted for want of rest. 9 a.m., the head of our column reaches Franklin. Our march has been much impeded by the wagon train and delayed by the skirmishing. 12 m., Colonel Opdycke reaches the high knoll two miles from Franklin; here he halts, and General Wagner is ordered to hold him in this position and support him with his other two brigades until he is seriously threatened by a superior force of infantry. 1 p.m., General Schofield sends word that the enemy is trying to cross Harpeth River, a few miles above the town, and that he has driven back Croxton's brigade of cavalry. He therefore wishes General Wood, who has just crossed to the north side of Harpeth, at Franklin, to watch the trains (which are on the same side of the river), and to drive back the enemy if he makes an attempt to get them. Harpeth River is fordable at almost every point. 1 p.m., General Wagner reports two large columns of the enemy's infantry approaching Colonel Opdycke's position, moving on the Lewisburg and Columbia pikes, and as he cannot successfully resist the forces, he is moving his division to within the bridgehead constructed by General Cox around the town of Franklin. 2.50 p.m., General Schofield sends word that the enemy's infantry is trying to force a crossing at Hughes' Mill, about three miles north of Franklin, and he wishes General Stanley to send a force of infantry to that point, to assist in retarding or preventing his crossing. 3 p.m., General Wood is directed to send a brigade of infantry at once to Hughes' Mill, to assist the command there in holding the enemy, preventing him from crossing to the north bank. General Beatty's brigade (Third), Third Division, is sent at 3.30 p.m. General Schofield received a telegram from General Thomas, stating that he had heard from General A. J. Smith, who was at Clarksville, and he expected him to arrive in Nashville last night. As the enemy is pressing us hard and endeavoring to cross the river in several places with his cavalry and infantry, we may be obliged to fall back to Nashville before General Smith can reach us; this to prevent the enemy from getting between us and Nashville. 3.45 p.m., reports come from the front that the enemy is forming for an assault. General Beatty is directed to post his brigade on the left flank of the fort, on the river, instead of going to Hughes' Mill. 4 p.m., the enemy makes a vigorous and strong assault along the entire front of the forces posted beyond the town, within the bridge-head. All of the troops here are posted, save Wood's division, Fourth Corps, as follows: On the right, Kimball's division, Fourth Corps; center, Cox's division, Twenty-third Corps; left, Ruger's brigade, of his division, Twenty-third Corps. Two brigades of Wagner's division, Fourth Corps, Lane's and Conrad's, are posted outside of the line of works, or bridge-head, on the Columbia pike, in advance of Cox's division. After the first assault of the enemy Wagner's two brigades were drawn back, and occupied part of the line held by Cox at first. As soon as Wagner's two brigades were drawn back to the main line a large number of Cox's men broke and ran. The enemy, driving hard after these two brigades, entered the lines at this point. Opdycke's brigade, of Wagner's division, being in reserve, was ordered up at this moment by General Stanley. The rebels were driven back and our line of works reoccupied. Here General Stanley was severely wounded. Why were these two brigades left out in such an exposed position, and why did not General Schofield order them in? The barricades thrown up stretch from the river on the east of the town to the river on the west. The line is about a mile and a half long, and commands the approaches via the Columbia pike, Carter's Creek pike, and Lewisburg pike. The enemy's assaults were made by columns, generally seven lines deep, battalion front, and covered by a line of battle. The general assaults were made by six or seven columns, one of which was cavalry dismounted. 7 p.m., the enemy has been steadily fighting up to this hour since 4 p.m. He has made not less than four vigorous and determined assaults, each one of which was handsomely repulsed. In addition to these, six or seven weak attempts were made. 7.30 p.m.. General Wilson reports to General Schofield that Jackson's division, of Forrest's cavalry, crossed the river at Hughes' Mill this afternoon, and that General Hatch whipped him badly and drove him back across the river. 8 p.m., our trains now moving to Nashville, save headquarters and ammunition trains, which will stop at Brentwood. In accordance with instructions from General Schofield, Wagner and Kimball are instructed to withdraw from the enemy's front and to cross to this side of the river at 12 midnight, and the pickets to be withdrawn at daylight. If we can withdraw the troops will march at once for Brentwood. The troops of the Twenty-third Corps will be withdrawn at the same time and follow the Fourth Corps in the march to B[rentwood]. It is very doubtful whether these troops can be withdrawn, as they are very close to the enemy, with whom they are keeping up a continual skirmish fire. The enemy also makes frequent feeble assaults, evidently with the view to prevent our withdrawal. The enemy's attacks to-day were made with at least 20,000 men; this development was shown--two corps of infantry. 9 p.m., pickets report that the enemy is relieving his troops that have been engaged to-day, and are substituting others for them. The skirmish firing, &c., still keeps up. 10 p.m., some houses set on fire in Franklin, supposed to have been done by the enemy in order to show them any attempt we might make to retreat. With difficulty the fire was put out by midnight. 12 midnight, the troops commenced to withdraw, according to order. Word sent to Brentwood to send all trains and material to Nashville. General Schofield received a dispatch from Major-General Thomas, stating that part of General A. J. Smith's troops and part of General Steedman's will be in Brentwood in the morning. Unless these troops get in position at Brentwood by 6 o'clock in the morning we will have to fall back to Nashville very probably.
The Fourth Corps lost in killed and wounded and a few prisoners, about 1,300 men to-day. The enemy lost at least 5,000. A rebel colonel, who was taken prisoner to-day, states that Hood told his men to-day that if they could force our lines of works at Franklin and drive us through the town, that their work was done, and there would not be anything to prevent them from going to the Ohio River. Hence the desperate assaults. He also said that there was a corps of rebel infantry and a division of cavalry at Spring Hill yesterday evening, and that the left flank of this infantry corps rested only about 600 yards from the turnpike along which the troops of this army (except Wagner's division, which fought the enemy in the afternoon, and which was in Spring Hill) passed. This was known to us at the time, and therefore great anxiety was felt as the troops marched past this point. An attack was constantly expected. Our whole march from Pulaski has been a race with the enemy and very perilous. For full particulars of battle of Franklin see official reports.
December 1.--12.30 a.m., the troops of this corps commenced to withdraw from the line in front of Franklin, Wagner's division (Second) first, then Kimball's division (First), and to cross the Harpeth River. Colonel Streight's brigade, of Wood's division (Third), which was north of the Harpeth, was posted on the north bank thereof to cover the crossing. It was the intention to withdraw the troops at 12 midnight or earlier, but some buildings were fired in the town (it is supposed by the enemy's sympathizers), which lighted the country for miles around, and thus prevented the withdrawal until the fires were put out. 2 a.m., the picket-line, which was left in the works, withdrew. 2.30 a.m., the picket-line reaches the north bank of the Harpeth, and the pontoon and railroad bridges are fired. As soon as the flames were discovered, the enemy opened his artillery upon Streight's brigade, on the north bank of the Harpeth, and our retreating pickets. The enemy did not follow us immediately; it is supposed he was too badly crippled in the action to-day to do so. 10 a.m., arrive at Nashville, and the troops go into line of battle and rest in position. On account of the great fatigue no work will be done to-day. 5 p.m., a small body of the enemy's cavalry approached our vedettes and was driven off. General Wilson's cavalry has now reached the vicinity of our position, south of Nashville. General Steedman with 5,000 men and General A. J. Smith's forces are at Nashville.
December 2.--9 a.m., the troops of Fourth Corps take a new position and go into line of battle on a series of ridges running north of west about a mile and a half from Nashville; the line faces about west of south; the troops are all in one line. On the left of the corps is the Twenty-third Corps; on the right is General A. J. Smith's command. The left of our line is a few hundred yards east of the Granny White pike--Kimball's division is on the left, then Wood's division, then Wagner's. Wilson's cavalry is crossing the Cumberland River to-day, to remain on the north bank, watch the enemy, and prevent him from crossing. There is also a fleet of iron-clad gun-boats now in the river, also watching to prevent the enemy from crossing. 2 p.m., General Stanley turns over to General Wood the command of the corps. His wound is very painful, and he starts North on account of it this evening. General Wood turns over to General Beatty (one of his brigade commanders) the command of his division. 2.30 p.m., the enemy's, infantry approach to within about a mile and a half of our present line, and can now be seen deploying in line of battle; about two divisions can be seen. We at once made preparations to receive an attack. 6 p.m., the enemy does not advance; has not advanced from the position where he was first seen. 6.30 p.m., orders have been given to division commanders to intrench our position, to throw up parapets to-night, and make epaulements for batteries.
December 3.--Last night the enemy made quite an advance, and constructed a line of breast-works in front of the entire line of this corps, and extending beyond the right and left of it. In front of Streight's brigade (Beatty's division, Third) the enemy got possession of a ridge about 600 yards from our works, and along the crest of it for about one regimental front they have thrown up strong breast-works. Their line on the right and left of this is there much refused, and runs in such directions that it is at least one mile from our extreme right and left. This ridge is about opposite our center, and Colonel Streight occupies the ridge opposite it, of about the same height. 6 a.m., batteries are placed on Colonel Streight's front (two batteries), and we opened fire upon the enemy's works opposite. The batteries along the front of the Third Division and part of the First Division are also directed to fire upon the enemy's works. Brigadier-General Elliott has been assigned to the Second Division of this corps, and he takes command of it to-day. General Wagner, who has been commanding it, resumes command of his brigade--Second Brigade of the same division. 2 p.m., the pickets in front of our left are driven in by the enemy, who makes quite a show of an advance, displaying several lines of battle. After considerable skirmishing he advances a very short distance, where he remains until nearly dark and then falls back. He may intend to attack us at daylight to-morrow. Our artillery has kept up quite a steady fire upon the enemy all day. The enemy has not yet replied with artillery.
December 4.--No change in the enemy's or our lines to-day. We have been firing at the enemy's lines with artillery during the day and he has not yet replied. It is supposed he has not much artillery ammunition with him.
December 5.--No change in the enemy's lines to-day, except that his works may not be quite so full of troops as they were yesterday. We still keep up our artillery firing, and have been making observations to see whether there is a point in the enemy's lines that we can attack with a chance of success. Major-General Couch was assigned to duty with this corps, in accordance with orders from headquarters Department of the Cumberland. He reported to-day. As he ranks General Wood he will command the corps, but he refuses to exercise command yet.
December 6.--Nothing of importance to-day. The enemy is still strengthening his works. We still keep up our artillery fire. The enemy replied with a few shots from two guns opposite the knoll held by Colonel Streight's brigade. Major-General Couch assigned to the Twenty-third Corps today; leaves General Wood in command of the Fourth Corps.
December 7.--The enemy is moving a force to his left, opposite General A. J. Smith's command, and he is constructing works extending in the same direction. 2 p.m., General Thomas directed General Wood to discover, by observation or pressing forward our picket-line, whether the enemy is yet in strength opposite us. Division commanders report that the enemy yet occupies the works opposite our front in the same strength as yesterday, if not in greater. This fact is reported to General Thomas. Observations have been made to-day to find some point in the enemy's line of works that we can assault. An assault will be made by the Fourth Corps as soon as the troops can get ready--within a few days.
December 8.--Last night the enemy extended his lines to his left, a short distance beyond the position he held at dark, and constructed there a line of breast-works. 12.15 p.m., the enemy force back the skirmish line of the Twenty-third Corps, just where it joins the skirmish line of the First Division of this corps. This caused part of our skirmish line on our left to fall back a short distance. The enemy's skirmishers followed up closely, but they were driven back and our original skirmish line re-established. 3 p.m., it has been decided to attack the enemy at daylight on the morning of the 10th instant. An assault will be made by the Second Division of this corps upon that part of the enemy's lines opposite Streight's brigade, Third Division, just northeast of the Hillsborough pike. The Second Division will be supported by the rest of the corps, save one brigade to be left in our works. General A. J. Smith's column will follow up the assault and cover our right flank, and the cavalry will follow up General Smith.
December 9.--9 a.m., heavy storm of rain, snow, and sleet. It has been impossible to observe the movements of the enemy this morning on account of the state of the atmosphere. 10 a.m., a deserter came into our lines; he reports that Hood is making preparations for a movement. 2 p.m., received a dispatch from General Thomas, of which the following is a copy:
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Nashville, Tenn., December 9, 1864.
Owing to the severity of the storm raging to-day it is found necessary to postpone the operations designed for to-morrow morning until the breaking up of the storm. I desire, however, that everything be put in condition to carry out the plan contemplated as soon as the weather will permit [it] to be done, so that we can act instantly when the storm clears away. Acknowledge receipt.
G. H. THOMAS,
Nothing of importance occurred along our lines to-day. There has been much picket-firing. The day has been quite cold.
December 10.--There is no apparent change in the enemy's lines this morning. The same force appears to be opposite us, and the enemy is still working on his parapets, strengthening them. The snow and sleet that fell yesterday is yet on the ground. It is almost impossible to move over it either on horseback or on foot. 2.50 p.m., received a note from General Thomas asking General Wood--
What is the condition of the ground between the enemy's line and your own? Is it practicable for men to move about on it with facility?
3 p.m., replied to General Thomas' note, stating that the ground is covered with a heavy sleet, which would make the handling of troops difficult, if not impracticable; from the condition of the ground an offensive movement would be feeble, &c. The enemy is working on a new and interior line of works this evening. The line appears to be almost parallel to the first line and about half a mile in the rear of it.
December 11.--10 a.m., there is a meeting of corps commanders at General Thomas' headquarters. It is decided that we cannot attack the enemy with any show of success until the weather moderates and the snow and sleet now on the ground thaws. The ground is yet covered with a cake of ice, and it is very difficult to move over it. The weather still continues very cold---below the freezing point. There is no change in the appearance of the enemy's lines--except that he is still working on his interior line--the new one he is constructing. Considerable picket-firing to-day; no artillery firing. General Grant has been insisting for several days that General Thomas must attack the enemy. This will be done as soon as the weather will permit. 10 p.m., received dispatch, of which the following is a copy:
Have your command put in readiness to-morrow for operations. I wish to see you at my headquarters at 3 p.m. to-morrow.
GEO. H. THOMAS,
It is very cold to-night and clear.
December 12.--The sun shines bright this morning, but it is yet very cold. The enemy is yet digging and throwing up works in our front, and is constructing an epaulement for batteries in front of General A. J. Smith's works and in rear of his (the enemy's) flank work. Batteries placed at this point will command the Hillsborough and, perhaps, the Hardin pikes. 3 p.m., at a meeting of corps commanders at General Thomas' headquarters it is decided that we cannot move to attack the enemy or to demonstrate until the ice and sleet that yet covers the ground thaws. Considerable picket-firing to-day. No change within the enemy's lines discovered.
December 13.--No change to-day. It is yet quite cold, but the wind is from the southeast. 5 p.m., growing quite warm, and the ice is thawing. Usual picket firing to-day. The enemy's second, or interior, line appeared better manned (more troops) than heretofore.
December 14.--7 a.m., the ice and sleet has all disappeared this morning. The ground is very muddy and there is a heavy fog. 11 a.m., owing to the heavy fog nothing can be seen of the enemy's lines this morning. 12.30 p.m., received a note from General Thomas, directing that preparations lye made for a move as per previous arrangements, and that General Wood meet him at his headquarters at 3 p.m. The following is a sketch of our lines (of the Fourth Corps) and the rebel lines as they appear. The usual picket-firing to-day. It has grown quite warm, and the ground is turning very muddy. Has been very foggy all day. The conference at General Thomas' headquarters resulted in the decision to attack the enemy to-morrow, if not too foggy. 6 p.m., received Special Orders, headquarters Department of the Cumberland, of which the following is a copy. 7 p.m., issued orders to division commanders to have everything in readiness to move at 6 a.m. to-morrow. General Elliott will form his division slightly in echelon with General A. J. Smith's left, and refuse his left; General Kimball will form on General Elliott's left, slightly in echelon, with his division refusing his left; and Brigadier-General Beatty will form his division on General Kimball's left, slightly in echelon, refusing his left, or, rather, resting his left on our present line of works near the position now occupied by Streight's brigade, opposite Montgomery Hill.
December 15.--6 a.m., very foggy; cannot well form the troops yet. 9 a.m., General Smith has a long distance to swing around before we can advance, and his troops are forming slowly. 12.30 p.m., our right is now moving slowly, conforming to General Smith's movement. 12.30 p.m., General Beatty ordered by General Wood to assault the works on Montgomery Hill. Colonel Post's brigade selected to make the assault. 1 p.m., Post assaults Montgomery Hill, and carried it handsomely. We captured quite a number of prisoners. Our loss in killed and wounded not large for the success. 1.30 p.m., General Thomas sent word that he has sent General Schofield to General Smith's right, to enable the cavalry to go around the enemy's left flank, and he wishes General Wood to mass his troops toward General Smith's left. Our reserves were at once massed in that direction. 2 p.m., visited General Smith on his line. Our whole line now swinging up toward the enemy's works. 2.30 p.m., General Smith carried the left of the enemy's works. At once word was sent to division commanders of Fourth Corps to push forward. 3.15 p.m., Generals Elliott and Kimball advance, skirmishing severely. 3.25 p.m., Generals Kimball and Elliott occupy high ground, now very near the enemy's solid works. 4 p.m., General Elliott ordered to advance and take the hill in his front, on which the enemy has a strong line of works and a battery that is annoying us very much. 4.30 p.m., General Elliott has not yet started, and he is again ordered to move forward. He said that he was waiting for General Smith to come up and connect with his right; he has advanced beyond General Smith's left. He was directed to move at once and cover his right with his reserve brigade. 4.30 p.m., General Kimball was ordered to take the same hill. He moved forward at once, assaulted vigorously, and captured the hill, with the enemy's works and a four-gun battery. General Elliott's division arrived upon the hill just as it was captured. General Kimball assaulted with his whole division. He captured quite a number of prisoners and four battle-flags. The enemy retreated in the direction of the Franklin pike, and formed a line along it, running at right angles to their old line of works, which they yet held from the Franklin pike to their extreme right. 5 p.m., received directions from General Thomas to move forward eastward, toward the Franklin pike, and to reach it if possible before dark, drive the enemy, and form the corps across the pike, facing south. 5.30 p.m., the troops have just been formed--it took some time to form them, owing to the confusion following the capture of the hill--and have started in lines of battle for the Franklin pike, two miles and a half off. 6. p.m., we have reached the Granny White pike, three-quarters of a mile from the Franklin pike, and it is so dark that the troops cannot move farther without confusion.The corps is formed parallel with the pike (on east side), our right connecting with General Smith and our left resting about half a mile from the first rebel works out front Nashville. The enemy has barricaded his front on the Nashville pike, and we are skirmishing with him. 8 p.m., call at General Thomas' headquarters. He directs that if the enemy has not gone from our front in the morning to attack him; if he has gone, to cross the Franklin pike, move down the east side of it, while Schofield moves on the pike, followed by General Smith's command. The cavalry will move to the right of General Smith, perhaps on the Granny White pike. 11.30 p.m., directed division commanders to move at daylight in the morning, in accordance with General Thomas' instructions; if the enemy has gone, General Elliott to lead, followed by Kimball, then Beatty; if the enemy has not gone, to attack him.
We have lost about 350 killed and wounded to-day (Fourth Corps); no prisoners. Have taken near 500 prisoners and 8 guns, besides a small amount of small-arms, &c., and carried the enemy's works in two places by assault. There has been very heavy firing all day since 1 p.m. It is reported to-night that the army captured 26 guns and 1,500 prisoners to-day.
December 16.--6 a.m., the enemy appears in our front in considerable force. Skirmishing commences. 6.30 a.m., we drive the enemy's skirmishers and advance toward the Franklin pike. 8 a.m., gain possession of the Franklin pike, driving the enemy's skirmishers. They retreat down the pike, southward. It is supposed the enemy has been retreating in this direction during the night--toward Brentwood. As soon as the dispositions indicated in orders last night were made General Elliott pushed his column ahead down the east side of the Franklin pike. He did not move more than half a mile when he met a strong line of the enemy's skirmishers. He at once deployed and tried to form connection on his right with General Smith. General Beatty formed on his left, deployed in two lines of battle, and General Kimball's division deployed in his rear. The enemy now occupies a strong line of steep hills that run across the pike, almost at right angles, four miles north of Brentwood. The pike runs through a gap in these hills. They have constructed a new and strong line of works covering this gap and quite a distance in front of it. On the left of the pike, facing south, the line of works runs over a high and strong ridge. This line also extends beyond our right and past General A.J. Smith's front. 10 a.m., General Smith does not reach within half a mile of our right, and General Kimball's division is put in to fill up the gap. 10.15 a.m., we advance about three-quarters of a mile, driving back the enemy's skirmishers, and we can advance no farther without assaulting the enemy's works. Our skirmishing now is very heavy and severe. 12.25 p.m., Major-General Steedman's command moves up and connects with us on our left. Generals Kimball and Elliott report the enemy moving from behind their works, past their fronts, toward our left. They must be massing on either side of the pike, and especially on the ridge on the left of the pike, looking south. 1 p.m., General Beatty is directed to reconnoiter and see whether this ridge or hill on the left of the pike, with the enemy's works, can be carried by assault. At 2 p.m. Colonel Post, who made a personal reconnaissance, said that he could take it with his brigade. He was at once ordered to do so. 2.45 p.m., Colonel Post assaults the hill (or ridge), supported by Colonel Streight's brigade of same division--Third. The assault was made with great vigor (General Steedman covered our left flank),but was unsuccessful. Part of the troops got into the enemy's works, but the fire was so heavy that they could not stay. The enemy had here massed the troops that he had drawn from his left, opposite General Smith. Colonel Post was badly wounded, perhaps mortally. Our loss in the assault, in killed and wounded, about 450. The troops were very successfully drawn back to the point from where they started; the enemy did not follow. 3.40 p.m., General Smith carried the works on the enemy's extreme left. This being observed, Generals Beatty, Elliott, and Kimball were at once ordered to move forward and assault the enemy's works in their fronts. They moved forward almost simultaneously--first, Kimball; second, Elliott; third, Beatty. They carried the enemy's works handsomely, capturing over 700 prisoners and 9 guns. Kimball captured 5 guns, Beatty, 4. Post's brigade, assisted by Knefler's (of Third Division), again assaulted the hill on the left of the pike (looking south), capturing the 4 guns and quite a number of prisoners. During the first assault these four guns did much execution, firing double-shotted canister at our men, close range. As soon as the works were taken we pushed forward in line of battle, driving the enemy's rear guard, and at dark reached a point about a mile from Brentwood. The enemy used his ammunition very freely today. His artillery firing was heavy and very accurate. The artillery firing of this corps was very heavy. We expended 2,400 rounds of ammunition, from eighteen guns. We have lost during the day about 700 killed and wounded; no prisoners. We have captured 979 prisoners and 11 guns. The army to day captured ---- guns and about ----prisoners. 12.30 p.m., received instructions from Major-General Thomas to move the Fourth Corps in the "present order," to-morrow, "in pursuit of the enemy. Your wagon trains will follow the troops in the order of precedence. Major-General Wilson's command of cavalry will be on the left of and cover your left flank."
December 17.--6 a.m., directed division commanders to move forward as soon as they can get ready (they will not be able to move before 8 a.m.), General Kimball to take the right, General Elliott the center, and General Beatty the left; the formation to be one brigade in each division deployed, followed by the rest of the troops in columns; if the enemy is met in force, to deploy another brigade in each division; to advance down the Franklin pike. 8 a.m., started in accordance with orders. Wilson's cavalry started ahead of us, on the Franklin pike, and drove the enemy's skirmishers before them. Our advance and movement was rapid. 1.20 p.m., we arrived at Franklin, on the north bank of the river, with the head of column. General Wilson's cavalry has just crossed. The stream is too much swollen to admit of the passage of infantry, and there are no bridges. 2 p.m., Colonel Suman, Ninth Indiana, with his regiment, is directed to bridge the river (Harpeth).. It is doubtful whether he will succeed in putting one up, as the river is rising rapidly. 4 p.m., General Wilson's cavalry is skirmishing heavily with the enemy, who is drawn up in line of battle about three miles beyond Franklin. 5 p.m., General Thomas directs General Wood to cross the river as soon as the pontoon bridge comes up and is laid across the river, or as soon as Suman builds his bridge, if it can be done. 7 p.m., Colonel Suman reports that the river is rising very rapidly, and he thinks he will not be able to build the bridge, but will continue work upon it. 8 p.m., General Wilson has just sent a report to General Thomas, stating that he has "bust up" Stevenson's division of infantry and one brigade of cavalry, capturing three guns, &c.; he said his cavalry made some splendid charges. 10 p.m., General Thomas directs that "the army will move in pursuit of the enemy, in the present order of the different commands, at as early an hour after daylight as possible to-morrow morning, December 18." He also states that the pontoon train will not be up before morning.
December 18.--7.30 a.m., Colonel Suman reports that he has been working all night, and has just finished the bridge; the river rose so fast that he could scarcely work, and his bridge was once washed out. 7.30 a.m., orders at once sent to division commanders to move at once-- Kimball to lead, followed by General Elliott, then Beatty; battery of artillery to follow each division, and the rest of artillery to follow the corps; then ammunition trains, then hospital train, and then headquarters trains and regimental baggage; the troops will march down the Franklin pike. 8 a.m., leave Franklin; head of our column just starting. 3 p.m., head of column reaches Spring Hill. The mud is very deep, and it has been raining hard up to this hour since 8 a.m.; rain now ceasing. General Wilson's cavalry has met the enemy's rear guard about two miles beyond Spring Hill and is now skirmishing with him. 3 p.m., received note from General Wilson, of which the following is a copy:
HDQRS. CAVALRY CORPS, MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Widow Sayers', December 18, 1864--2 p.m.
Brig. Gen. T. J. WOOD,
Commanding Fourth Army Corps:
GENERAL: I have halted my command at this place, about two miles from Spring Hill, to feed and issue rations, &c. I am informed that the enemy has two pontoon bridges across the Duck River, near the old wagon bridge. A little girl, who has just arrived from Tuscumbia, which place she left three days ago, says she saw no troops at that place or this side. Persons say that Hood cannot get across the Tennessee River, as our forces at Memphis had repaired the railroad as far as La Grange, and were marching out to attack him in flank.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. H. WILSON,
Brevet Major-General, Commanding.
At once sent back word to General Wilson that the Fourth Corps would move up at once, and the head of column is now at Spring Hill. 3.40 p.m., arrive with head of column at General Wilson's present headquarters, two miles from Spring Hill. General Wilson's command has here halted. He will leave the pike and move to the left from here. Our column halts here a few minutes. 4.15 p.m., we move on; will move about one mile farther, and then camp for the night. The enemy's rear guard but a short distance ahead; it ran rapidly whenever it was approached by the cavalry. 4.45 p.m. reach a point about three miles and a half from Rutherford's Creek and seven miles from Columbia. Here we go into camp in line of battle--the First Division on the right of the road, the Second Division on the left, facing south, and the Third Division massed in rear of the Second. 9 p.m., reported our position to General Thomas. 12 midnight, no orders have yet been received for to-morrow.
The enemy is very much demoralized. About one-third of what remains of Hood's army is without arms and as many are without shoes. Thus far we (the army) have taken from them over 60 pieces of artillery and a large number of prisoners, perhaps 9,000 up to date, including the captured in hospital. Hood's trains are two days ahead of him. He has but a very few pieces of artillery left. Forrest, it is supposed, joined him with one division of cavalry and two brigades of infantry that he has had at Murfreesborough, part of the same force General Rousseau whipped a few days ago. The rest of Forrest's cavalry is in our front. Wilson has been driving it to-day, together with Cheatham's corps that has been acting as rear guard to-day. We (the army) have captured four general officers up to date.
SEVEN MILES NORTH OF COLUMBIA, TENN.
December 19.--1 a.m., received instructions from Major-General Thomas to continue our pursuit of the enemy to-morrow and to start at about 8 a.m. 2 a.m., received a note from General Wilson, stating that General Thomas directs that Hatch's cavalry division precede us on the Columbia road, and that it will move out at 6 a.m., and will not be in our way. 8 a.m., start for Rutherford's Creek. General Hatch's cavalry is still passing and interferes much with the movements of our troops. The rain that commenced on the afternoon of the 16th still continues. It is raining very hard this morning. The ground is in such condition that a wagon cannot possibly move off of the pike, and it is almost impossible to march infantry off of it. 9.30 a.m., reach the north bank of Rutherford's Creek. The cavalry advance reaches the creek before us, and is now engaged in skirmishing with the enemy on the opposite bank. The bridge has been destroyed and the enemy holds a high and commanding line of hills on the south side, near to and running parallel with the creek. Here he has constructed earthworks. As soon as our advance appeared he opened from these works a four-gun battery. He has lined the bank with sharpshooters, and we cannot build a bridge at the turnpike crossing on account of them and the artillery. The rains have so swollen this creek that it is impossible to ford it, being fifteen feet deep in most places. The pontoon train has not yet come up and we can hear nothing of it. 10 a.m., parties are sent above and below the turnpike and the position held by the enemy to fell trees across the creek, so that we may cross skirmishers, then a working party to build infantry foot bridges. 2 p.m., there are no trees on the bank large enough to reach across, and those that have been cut have been swept around by the very swift current. We have not the tools to build a bridge that wagons can cross on. 3 p.m., General Elliott directed to try and build a foot bridge near the turnpike, after driving back the enemy's sharpshooters by a fire from this side, and to work after dark. Similar instructions given to General Kimball to build a bridge below and not far from the turnpike. The rain still continues to fall very fast and the creek is yet rising rapidly. 11.30 p.m., received a note from General Elliott saying that it will be impossible to build a bridge over the creek; the water is too deep and swift, and still continues to rise. 12 m., the rain has ceased now, and it is blowing up quite cold. At 12.30 p.m. an order was received from General Thomas saying that, owing to the inclemency of the weather, we need not move camp to-day. This note was dated 8.20 a.m., but we had reached Rutherford's Creek when we received it.
RUTHERFORD'S CREEK, TENN.
December 20.--1 a.m., General Kimball reports that General Grose cannot build the bridge below the turnpike; the stream is too deep and swift. He built two rafts and tried to cross men to the other bank, but both rafts were swamped by the swift current, and two men who were on them were drowned. 3 a.m., received a dispatch from General Thomas, dated December 19, 9 p.m., saying:
If at all possible you will push forward your command across Rutherford's Creek to-morrow morning and move directly against Forrest, who is said to be in camp between Rutherford's Creek and Duck River with about 7,000 cavalry. General Wilson will cross General Hatch's division of cavalry on the ruins of the railroad bridge and strike Forrest on the flank, whilst you attack him in front. Confer with General Wilson and arrange the relative time of starting the two columns. General Smith will co-operate with you by moving from Spring Hill, by a road crossing the headwaters of Rutherford's Creek and passing the school-house and church at A. Atkinson's and coming into the Columbia and Raleigh [Rally] Hill road near J. Caldwell's. Take no wagons with you except the necessary ammunition wagons and ambulances. Your supply train can be brought up afterward.
Inclosed in this order was a note from General Wilson, saying to General Wood:
I have taken the liberty of reading the inclosed instructions, based upon the first report sent in by Hatch to me this evening. He has subsequently moved back to the north side of Rutherford's, but reports that he thinks Forrest gone. I will direct General Hatch, however, to push out very early in the morning, and ascertain in time the true state of affairs to enable you to judge how strongly you ought to push. I don't think it necessary for Smith to leave the pike at all.
8.30 a.m., orders sent to division commanders to do everything possible to get over the river. 9 a.m., General Wilson has not yet sent word of Hatch's movements to headquarters, nor has he called to confer. General Wood, therefore, goes to his headquarters. 9.30 a.m., General Kimball reports that General Grose has a few men across the creek, and that he is crossing his brigade, and will soon have a bridge that infantry can cross. 11.30 a.m., General Kimball's foot bridge done, and he is just commencing to cross his division over. General Wilson is also now crossing his cavalry over the ruins of the railroad bridge. 12.30 p.m., General Elliott has just completed his foot bridge at the turnpike crossing, and is now commencing to cross his division. General Beatty will cross his division on General Kimball's bridge, following him. The pontoon train that General Thomas thought would be up last night has not yet come as far as Rutherford's Creek. 12.45 p.m., Kimball's division reaches the turnpike and moves toward Columbia. 1 p.m., General Elliott's division over the creek and following Kimball's. 1.30 p.m., Beatty's division over the creek and following Elliott. 2 p.m., our head of column reaches Duck River; part of the cavalry command is also there. The enemy has left Columbia; his infantry left, the last of it, last night. Forrest's cavalry is yet near Columbia. A few of his men, pickets, &c., can be seen on the other side of the river. The enemy took up his pontoon bridges over Duck River at daylight this morning. The river is very much swollen; it is too deep and swift to bridge with timber, and we will have to wait for the pontoon train to come up. As it will be impossible to cross Duck River to-day the corps will be put in camp on the bank of the river, in the timber on the left of the turnpike. The cavalry is going into camp on the right of the pike. 3 p.m., it ceased raining about midnight last night, and has not since rained until this hour, and it now commences to rain hard, with a prospect of raining all night. 3.50 p.m., the whole corps now in camp. Have just heard from General Thomas. He reports that the pontoon train will be up to-night. This corps has already been delayed thirty-four hours waiting for the pontoon train to cross the Harpeth River, Rutherford's Creek, and now Duck River. The enemy has, therefore, gained so many hours in his retreat. It was most difficult for us to bridge the Harpeth and Rutherford's Creek for the passage of infantry. 12 midnight, it is still raining hard. The roads off of the pike are impassable for wagons; they cannot be moved at all.
DUCK RIVER, NEAR COLUMBIA, TENN.
December 21.--7 a.m., snowing this morning; not very hard. 8 a.m., received instructions from Major-General Thomas, dated Rutherford's Creek, December 20, 1864, 8.30 p.m., as follows:
Major-General Schofield has been instructed to build a trestle bridge over Rutherford's Creek so that artillery and trains can cross. Major-General Smith will assist in getting the pontoon train over and hurry it forward to you as rapidly as possible, to enable you to throw bridges over Duck River early in the morning. It is the desire that the entire army be over the river before to-morrow night, in which case it is to be hoped that the greater part of Hood's army may be captured, as he cannot possibly get his teams and troops across the Tennessee River before we can overtake him.
The last of Forrest's command and Bate's rebel division of infantry arrived opposite Columbia, on the north bank of Duck River, from Murfreesborough, yesterday. If we could have had a pontoon train to enable [us] to cross Rutherford's Creek when we arrived there, we would have captured the most of this force. This part of the enemy's force was in such haste that it abandoned six pieces of artillery that were stuck in the mud near Columbia, on the Murfreesborough road. 12.30 p.m., received note from General Thomas, stating that the pontoon train will be up as soon as possible. It progresses with great difficulty. He wishes General Wood to gather two days' forage for the animals of the train (500). Orders were at once sent to division commanders to send parties out in the country and gather up forage. 1 p.m., the pontoon train is up as far as Rutherford's Creek, and part of it is now being laid over the stream to cross that part of it which is to be laid over Duck River. It will be dark before it is laid over the creek. 11 p.m., Colonel Streight, who has been directed to assist in laying the pontoon over Duck River, reports that only part of the train has arrived on this side of the river, and that it will be impracticable to commence laying the bridge before morning. He will commence work on it at 5 a.m.
We have collected over twelve wagon-loads of forage for the animals of the pontoon train. We have been delayed another day in the pursuit of the enemy on account of the pontoon train not being up with us. The following reason for the delay has been given: On the 17th instant General Thomas sent word for the train to leave Nashville at once, to push forward and join us. Captain Ramsey, assistant adjutant-general, wrote the order for the train and directed it to come out on the Murfreesborough pike instead of the Franklin pike. The train had moved out fifteen miles on the Murfreesborough pike when (the mistake having been discovered)it was reached by a messenger, and the officer having charge of it was ordered to move over to the Franklin pike. He crossed over on a country road which was almost impassable. Captain Ramsey says that when General Thomas gave him the order he had just awakened out of a deep sleep, and said "Murfreesborough pike," and not "Franklin pike." By this mistake we have been delayed about three days in the pursuit of the enemy, and have missed many splendid opportunities to inflict severe blows upon the enemy, perhaps to annihilate him.
December 22.--7 a.m., open fire upon the enemy's pickets across Duck River. After considerable firing we succeed in crossing the Fifty-first Indiana Infantry across the river in pontoon-boats. They soon drive back the enemy's skirmishers and capture a few prisoners. These skirmishers were left by the enemy as a party of observation. The Fifty-first Indiana behaved very well, and lost 1 man killed and 7 or 8 wounded. 8 a.m., the enemy having been driven from the south bank of the river, Colonel Streight (First Brigade, Third Division) commences to lay the pontoon bridge. There are but three pontoniers with the train, and the troops that are to lay the bridge know nothing about the work. It will, therefore, be necessarily slow. Some of the prisoners captured to-day report that five brigades of the enemy's troops left Columbia very early this morning for Pulaski, and that Hood intends to cross his army over the Tennessee at Decatur. 6.30 p.m., the pontoon bridge just completed. This corps will move over it at once; the cavalry will follow, and commence to cross at 5 a.m. to-morrow. General Thomas verbally directs that as soon as the cavalry gets over to-morrow we "press on" after the enemy; to move out the Pulaski pike, and the cavalry will move "on our flanks." 7 p.m., General Beatty's division commences to cross; General Kimball's will follow; then General Elliott's. 12 midnight, owing to delays the last of General Elliott's division is just crossing the pontoon. General Beatty's division bivouacs on the ridge just beyond our old picket-line--the one established when we first arrived at Columbia--General Kimball's division on the right of the Pulaski pike, inside of our old works, and General Elliott's on the left of the pike, inside of the same. The pontoon bridge is a very poor one, and may break down before all of our artillery and trains pass over it. The artillery is to follow directly after our troops, and our trains after the artillery. All must be over by 5 a.m. to-morrow to allow the cavalry to cross.
December 23.--5 a.m., the bridge is in such a bad condition and the descent and ascent of the banks so slippery that it is most difficult to get on and off of the bridge. Since midnight, when the last of General Elliott's division crossed, we have been able to cross but three batteries and a few wagons. The rest of our artillery and the greater part of our train is to cross, but the bridge must now be given up to the Cavalry Corps, which is just ready to cross.? a.m., directed division commanders to march (to move down the Pulaski pike) as soon as the cavalry passes. It will be at least 9 o'clock before all of the cavalry gets over the river, even if the bridge does not break or have to be repaired. It was very cold last night; this morning it is a little warmer. The roads off the turnpike are yet impassable. 2 p.m., the cavalry is very slow crossing the bridge. It is very probable that it will not all be over before dark, therefore orders are given to division commanders to march down the Pulaski pike about five or six miles and camp for the night. 2.30 p.m., commence to march, Kimball's division leading, followed by Beatty's, then Elliott's. 4 p.m., come up with the rear guard of the enemy, posted in a gorge through which the pike runs, five miles from Columbia. There are high hills on either side of this gorge, running almost at right angles to the road. 4.15 p.m., deploy two regiments as skirmishers and one as support, and then move forward to drive the enemy out of the gorge. A rifle battery is also brought to the front and opens fire. 4.45 p.m., the enemy runs. There was apparently one brigade of cavalry in the gorge; was not much firing. The casualties on both sides, so far as known, only one killed, a rebel captain of cavalry. 5 p.m., it is now too late to move any farther, and the troops are put in camp for the night. General Wilson says that all of his cavalry will be over the river by dark, and that he will move out at 5 o'clock in the morning. The cavalry will move in advance of this corps, and as soon as it passes by the corps will move. It has been very cold to-day.
FIVE MILES SOUTH OF COLUMBIA, TENN., PULASKI PIKE.
December 24.--7 a.m., the cavalry still passing by. Division commanders directed to march and follow it as soon as it has passed; General Elliott's division will lead, General Beatty's will follow, then General Kimball's. 11.50 a.m., the head of our column just starting on the march. The corps has been drawn out ever since 8 a.m., but could not march on account of the cavalry. The rear of the Cavalry column just starting. We will now be able to move rapidly. 1 p.m., received note from General Wilson, who states that he cannot move on the side of the turnpike, owing to the nature of the ground; that his progress has been slow, as he has been constantly skirmishing with the enemy. 5 p.m., reach a point two miles and a half south of Lynnville. The cavalry is about a mile and a half ahead, going into camp. The corps will camp at this point for the night. Since 11.50 a.m. the corps has marched sixteen miles and a half--that is, the head of column. The whole corps marched the same distance in five hours.
The force in our front, or in front of the cavalry, is the enemy's rear guard, and consists of seven brigades of infantry and Forrest's cavalry. The enemy's pontoon train camped on Wednesday night at Mr. Foster's, twelve miles south of Columbia, and left there early Thursday morning for Pulaski. All information obtained on the road goes to show that the enemy intends to cross the Tennessee River at Lamb's Ferry, that he will lay his pontoon at that point, and that he will not make a stand north of the river.
TWO MILES AND A HALF SOUTH OF LYNNVILLE, TENN. (COLUMBIA AND PULASKI TURNPIKE).
December 25.--7 a.m., directed division commanders to march as soon as the cavalry moves and we can get the road, General Beatty to lead, General Kimball to follow, then General Elliott. We have but one day's rations now in the haversacks of the men. Our supply train is on the other side of Duck River, and the pontoon bridge is constantly breaking. This fact was reported to General Thomas last night, and he was requested to allow our supply train to cross the river and come forward as soon as possible. 8 a.m., received a note from General Thomas, saying that he will hurry up our train as fast as he can. 9.10 a.m., the cavalry is now out of the way, and the head of our column starts for Pulaski. 1 p.m., head of column arrives at Pulaski, having marched eleven miles since 9.10 a.m. General Wilson drove the enemy's rear guard through Pulaski very rapidly, and his advance arrived at Richland Creek (in the outskirts of the town)just in time to save the bridge over the same on the Lamb's Ferry and Florence road. The enemy had set it on fire and it was burning, and the enemy just leaving it, when his advanced regiment reached it. It was important that this bridge should be saved, as the creek is not fordable, and we would have been delayed a long time to bridge it. Citizens of Pulaski report that the enemy's pontoon train passed through Pulaski on Friday last, and that General Hood intends to cross the Tennessee River at Lamb's Ferry or Florence. The Lamb's Ferry and Florence roads are the same for eighteen miles out from Pulaski, then they separate. It will not be possible to tell which road the enemy has taken until we reach the point where the roads separate. 1.15 p.m., General Wilson has crossed Richland Creek and is pushing on after the enemy. He meets with considerable resistance, but is driving the enemy before him. Our head of column is just beginning to cross the creek, and we will follow closely in support of the cavalry. We leave the turnpike at Richland Creek. The road from here is almost impassable for wagons and artillery. We will take with us from here but one battery for each division and one reserve battery, three rifle batteries and one 12-pounder Napoleon For these batteries we will double teams. We will also double teams for all wagons we take. Our rations are out to-night, and when we go into camp we will halt until we can get up three days' supplies. The road on the south side of Richland Creek is covered with broken down wagons, abandoned artillery, ammunition, &c., left by the enemy. He could not take them with him. Citizens say the mules were taken from these wagons to put to the enemy's pontoon train. 3.30 p.m. (two miles from Pulaski), received a dispatch from General Wilson, stating that the enemy has given him a check; that he is strongly posted, with his front covered with rail barricades; that Forrest's cavalry and eight brigades of infantry are in his front, and he wishes the assistance of our infantry. We push forward as rapidly as possible to General Wilson's assistance. 5.30 p.m., our head of column reaches the point where General Wilson was checked by the enemy, but he (the enemy) has fled, and General Wilson is now pushing on. General Wilson was pushing the enemy too fast, when he (the enemy) made a counter-charge and captured one gun, which now remains in his possession. We are now six miles from Pulaski, and halt for the night. General Wilson is informed that we can go no farther until we can get rations. 7 p.m., a train with three days' rations for us is now at Pulaski, and officers are sent forward to hurry it up as fast as possible. It cannot be up with the troops before 11 a.m. to-morrow, so bad is the condition of the roads. 10.15 p.m., received a note from General Thomas, direct ing us to issue three days' rations, and then push forward in support of the cavalry; that the cavalry train will follow our troops, and our train will follow the cavalry train. (This refers to a train of three days' rations that will be in Pulaski to-morrow morning for us, and our baggage train.) It has been raining since 1 p.m. to-day, and this will make the roads even worse.
LAMB'S FERRY (OR FLORENCE) ROAD, TENN., SIX MILES SOUTH OF PULASKI, TENN.
December 26.--8 a.m., the head of a supply train, containing three days' rations for our troops, is now three miles out from Pulaski, and is moving very slowly. 8 a.m., division commanders are directed to march as soon as the three days' rations are issued (and have been instructed to make the three days last five); General Kimball's division will lead, General Elliott's will follow, then General Beatty's. To facilitate our movement the only wagons that will move with the divisions will be five ammunition wagons and ten ambulances to each; all others, headquarters wagons, ammunition wagons, &c., will move in the rear of the troops, those of each division in the order in which the divisions march. 5 p.m., it has taken all day for the subsistence wagons to get out to the divisions of the corps and to issue rations. The troops have, therefore, remained in camp. General Wilson moved forward this morning. 5 p.m., issued orders of the day for the corps for to-morrow. General Kimball will lead, General Elliott will follow, then General Beatty. The head of column will start at 5.30 a.m., and the Second and Third Divisions will follow promptly. The orders issued at 8 a.m. to-day in reference to the trains will be observed to-morrow. 7 p.m., received a note from General Wilson, dated Sugar Creek, seventeen miles from Pulaski, 1 p.m., stating that the enemy made a short stand at Sugar Creek, but soon retreated; that he will stop there to feed his animals. He also states that as soon as he crosses the creek he will send a brigade to fell trees in the Tennessee River to float down and destroy the enemy's pontoon bridge.
December 27.--6 a.m., the corps marched, General Kimball leading, General Elliott following, then General Beatty. 10 a.m., thirteen miles and a half from Pulaski reached. Here the Lamb's Ferry and Lexington roads separate. The road to Florence is the one via Lexington. The Cavalry Corps has moved out the Lexington road, and as General Thomas directed the Fourth Corps to follow and support it, we move on the same road. Citizens report that the main body, or a large body, of the enemy took this road, and that his (the enemy's) pontoon train moved over it on Friday, or two or three days ago. 10.30 a.m., received note, of which the following is a copy:
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Pulaski, December 26, 1864.
Brig. Gen. T. J. WOOD,
Commanding Fourth Army Corps:
GENERAL: Yours of 4 p.m. to-day received. The major-general commanding has no orders for you except to push on and support the cavalry as fast as you can and drive the rebels into the Tennessee River. Send word back from time to time with information as to the state of your supplies, and your wagons will be sent forward as fast as possible.
WM. D. WHIPPLE,
12.15 p.m., General Wood and staff reach General Wilson's headquarters at Pinhook Town, about two miles beyond Sugar Creek. General Wilson states that he is unable to move farther, as he has not forage for his horses nor rations for his men. A little forage can be procured from the country, and the cavalry is now bringing it in. It is impossible to bring rations up from Pulaski (or rather, it is impracticable), as the road from that point is almost impassable. It will take twelve hours to haul a wagon six miles. General Wilson also reports that he believes that the enemy is now over the Tennessee River; that he crossed at Bainbridge, where he laid down his pontoon bridge. (Bainbridge is on the shoals between Lamb's Ferry and Florence.) 1.30 p.m., General Wood sent word to General Thomas that he has conferred with General Wilson, who is of the opinion that the bulk of the enemy's army is over the river, and he has sent parties out on various roads to ascertain certainly whether this supposition is correct. If he learns from these parties that the enemy has not crossed he will move on and we will follow and support the cavalry. If the enemy has crossed we will go no farther, but wait further orders in our present position. He also stated that the roads between here and Pulaski are intolerably bad, and suggests that arrangements be made to feed us from some other point, &c. 2 p.m., reached Sugar Creek (the whole corps), having marched twelve miles over the worst road that, perhaps, an army every marched. Our trains are up with us and are now going into camp. The cavalry is on the other side of Sugar Creek in camp, and we cannot go farther until it moves. 7 p.m., Major Goodspeed, our chief of artillery, reports that after to-morrow morning our artillery horses will have no forage; that we were only supplied with ten days' forage, six pounds per day per animal, when operations commenced at Nashville (thirteen days ago), and that the quartermaster's department has furnished none since, though a little has been gathered from the country. These facts are sent to General Thomas in a dispatch per courier, who starts at this hour. He is also informed that we can get no forage from the country hereabouts (the cavalry having gathered all), and if we go on to the river it will have to be done without artillery or ammunition. 8.30 p.m., received note from General Wilson, from which the following is an extract:
HDQRS. CHIEF OF CAVALRY, MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Pinhook Town, December 27, 1864--6 p.m.
Commanding Fourth Corps :
I have just received a dispatch from Colonel Spalding, at Lexington, 2 p.m. He says the rebel rear guard left there at 10 a.m. A lady from Florence informed him that on the evening of the 25th the rebels had not finished their bridge at Bainbridge. They were fortified to cover the crossing. The gun-boats were shelling Florence this morning. Spalding pushed on at once. I have written to General Thomas that I would press on with all my force early in the morning. The woman's testimony is in some degree corroborated by a rebel prisoner just in. At all events we had better push on as far and as fast as possible I shall move everything, beginning at 5 a.m., though Hatch has received no rations, and three days of Croxton's were taken by A. J. Smith.
8.30 p.m., sent word to General Thomas that as General Wilson is going on in the morning we will push on in support as fast as the condition of the road will allow. His (General Thomas') attention is again called to our condition and the necessity of pushing forward rations and forage to this command, and full instructions for the guidance of our movements when we reach the Tennessee River, should we get so far, are requested.
The fact that the enemy had not finished laying his pontoon bridge on the evening of the 25th (as reported by Colonel Spalding to General Wilson) is no evidence that the enemy, or the bulk of his army, is not now over the river. There is no reason to change the opinion that General Wilson advanced, i.e., that the bulk of the enemy is over the river. Knowing when the enemy's pontoon train left Pulaski, we must conclude that the enemy has done well to get his pontoon train to Bainbridge as soon as the 25th instant. General Wilson's proposed movement for to-morrow is not at all judicious, as the rear of the enemy will have crossed the river some time before he can reach it, even if they do not commence to cross until to-day, December 27. His horses will be without forage and his men without rations, and he is going into a barren country. Under orders from General Thomas we are obliged to follow up the cavalry closely and support it, and we are obliged to follow wherever Wilson leads. As soon as the cavalry moves out of the way to-morrow we will march.
EIGHTEEN MILES FROM PULASKI, TENN., LEXINGTON ROAD.
December 28.--6.30 a.m., issued orders for the corps to march at 8 a.m., provided the cavalry is out of the way; General Elliott will lead, General Beatty will follow, then General Kimball. The cavalry will start at 5 a.m. 10 a.m., the head of our column starts. The rear of the cavalry command is just moving out of the way. The road to-day is no better. The troops cannot move upon it at all, but pass through the thick undergrowth of timber and brush on either side. The country through which we are passing is barren and desolate; there are also many swamp fiats. 3.15 p.m., our advance reaches a point a mile and a half beyond Lexington, eleven miles and a half from our camp of last night. Here we halt and the command commences to go into camp. The cavalry has been in our way all day, and we now overlap the rear brigade of the same. Have not heard one word from General Wilson to-day, therefore it is supposed that he has had no trouble and does not need our assistance. 7 p.m., received a report from Captain Kaldenbaugh (five miles in the rear), who says that none of our trains (headquarters, ammunition, &c.) can get beyond that point to-night. They are stuck fast in the mud and cannot move, and the mules are exhausted. Received note from General Wilson, dated headquarters Cavalry Corps, Bull's Mills, December 27, 1864, 4.30 p.m., as follows:
General T. J. WOOD,
Commanding Fourth Corps:
GENERAL: I am directed to inform you that information has been received that the last of the enemy's forces crossed the Tennessee River last evening, and that the bridge was taken up this morning. General Wilson has sent a staff officer to General Thomas with this information and for orders.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. J. ALEXANDER,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Chief of Staff.
9.30 p.m., sent dispatch to General Thomas, stating that General Wilson has reported the enemy across the Tennessee River, and, as it is no use to move farther as a matter of pursuit, that we will wait here in our present camp for further orders from him. He is also informed of the condition of our transportation; that our ammunition trains, hospital train, &c., are in the rear, stuck in the mud, and cannot possibly reach us to-night. Very cold to-night; freezing hard.
December 29.--7 a.m., directed commanders of divisions and batteries to send out to a creek two miles east of Lexington, and to one four miles west, large foraging parties, to get whatever corn there may be in the country. Enough corn was found last night in the vicinity of Lexington to feed the horses of our batteries and of the rest of the command one day. No forage train has yet arrived from the rear, nor is there at present a prospect of one reaching us. The three days' rations that were started from Pulaski yesterday morning, or the morning of day before yesterday, will not reach Lexington before to-morrow morning. The men will have no rations in their haversacks by to-morrow night. At present we are remaining quietly in camp, awaiting orders from General Thomas, the pursuit of the enemy being over. 11 a.m., received a note from General Wilson, saying that he will remain in camp where he is to-day, that his command may obtain forage and to be where dispatches may reach him from General Thomas. 12 m., received dispatch from General Thomas, of which following is a copy:
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Pulaski, Tenn., December 28, 1864.
Brig. Gen. T. J. WOOD,
Commanding Fourth Army Corps:
GENERAL: Your dispatch, dated Pinhook, December 27, 12.30 p.m., is just received. The major-general commanding directs that you order your artillery back to this point to be supplied with forage from the post. He further directs that you hold your infantry where they now are for further orders, ready to move in whatever direction they may be required.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HENRY M. CIST,
2 p.m., sent the pioneers of this corps back to the rear to work on the road from this place to a point eight miles in the rear. 3 p.m., replied to General Thomas' note, received at 12 m., as follows:
Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: Your dispatch of the 28th instant, directing the artillery with me to be sent back and to retain the infantry where it was, was not received until 12 m. to-day. The commanding general was fully advised at 8.30 p.m. December 27 that I would move forward the next morning to support the cavalry, as General Wilson had determined to continue the pursuit farther toward the Tennessee River. As we have advanced one day's march farther south, it occurs to me that the commanding general may not possibly desire the artillery now with me to be sent back to Pulaski. I will, therefore, retain it here until to-morrow morning, by which time I trust I will receive an answer to my dispatch of yesterday evening, announcing that the enemy had crossed the river, and asking for orders. If I receive no further orders by to-morrow night I will send the artillery back to Pulaski and retain the infantry here to await further instructions. In the meantime I will try and get up my supply train from the rear to subsist the infantry. I repeat that I should be glad to have full instructions from the commanding general for our further movements.
Very respectfully, &c.,
TH. J. WOOD,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Fourth Corps.
3.45 p.m., received dispatch, of which the following is a copy:
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Pulaski, Tenn., December 28, 1864.
Brig. Gen. T. J. WOOD,
Commanding Fourth Army Corps:
General: Your two dispatches of 7 and 8.30 p.m. yesterday have been received. The major-general commanding directs me to say that it is not expected that you shall send any portion of your force farther than the Tennessee River, but as General Wilson has gone on with his command it is necessary that there should be an infantry force to support him and keep pushing until the enemy is driven across the river, when the commands will be placed in camp at such places that they can be supplied with forage and preparations made for a spring campaign. We cannot expect to have everything as we would wish it, but that bad roads and other difficulties must be looked for. It seems as though, with the railroad terminus at Spring Hill, that the chief quartermaster of your corps might have been able to keep the commands supplied with a limited quantity of forage by sending back the empty wagons to be reloaded.
Very respectfully, &c.,
WM. D. WHIPPLE,
5.30 p.m., replied to the above dispatch as follows:
Chief of Staff, Pulaski:
GENERAL: Your dispatch dated December 28, in reply to my dispatches dated 7 and 8.30 p.m. December 27, has just been received. I desire to state to the commanding general that my note in regard to the forage was by no means intended as a complaint, but was simply designed to communicate a fact and inform him of my situation with regard to forage and other supplies, as I was instructed to do. I have no reason to suppose that the chief quartermaster has been at all remiss in getting up forage from the railroad terminus, for the truth is that it has required the entire capacity of my train to get up subsistence for the men for so long a distance. I did not suppose that it was the general's intention to cross the Tennessee River immediately, but supposing that it would be done at an early day with a view to further operations, it occurred to me that it might facilitate them by our taking post on the river at the earliest possible moment at which subsistence could be obtained there. Hence the reference in my note of 12.30 p.m. of the 27th instant in regard to taking post on the Tennessee River for ulterior objects beyond the present pursuit.
Very respectfully, &c.,
TH. J. WOOD,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Fourth Corps.
We have gathered enough forage in the country around Lexington to supply this command for about two days. There is none left in it: we have taken all. No orders have yet been received from General Thomas in regard to future movements. 9 p.m., citizens report that there is a band of guerrillas near Wise's Mill (about six miles west of Lexington) 100 strong, and that they are mounted on the best horses in the country. Information of this fact is just sent to General Wilson, and he is informed that we will send an infantry force out to attack them to-morrow. General Wilson is also requested to send out a body of cavalry for the same purpose. Quite warm to-day. The ground froze last night and is now thawing out.
December 30.--8.30 a.m., directed General Beatty, commanding Third Division, to send a regiment to Wise's Mill, six miles west of Lexington, at once, to find and attack a band of guerrillas, about 100 in number, now near that place. The Forty-first Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Colonel Kimberly, is selected, and will start at 9 a.m. 11.15 a.m., received a note from General Wilson, stating that one of his staff officers, whom he had sent to Florence, has just returned, and that he states that our gun-boats have been up to that place on the Tennessee, but had returned before he got there; also, that citizens report that a raiding party from Memphis had torn up the railroad for fifteen miles, beginning seven miles beyond Tuscumbia, and destroying in the direction of Corinth; also, that the rebels have all disappeared from both sides of the river at Florence and Bainbridge. They had constructed several strong lines of works at Bainbridge as a bridge-head to protect their crossing. 1 p.m., received dispatch, of which following is a copy:
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Pulaski, Tenn., December 29, 1864.
Brig. Gen. T. J. WOOD,
Commanding Fourth Army Corps:
General: The last of the rebel army having been driven across the Tennessee River, the major-general commanding directs that the pursuit cease, and that you march with your corps to Huntsville, Athens, and vicinity, and there go into camp for the winter, and attend to the reorganizing of your command and fitting it generally for an early spring campaign. The Cavalry Corps, with the exception of one division, has also been ordered to Huntsville for the winter. Should you be unable, from badness of the roads or scarcity of forage, to march directly to Huntsville, you can come back to this point and march from here, or you can march direct and send your wagons by this route, via Elkton. The major-general commanding the forces in the field tenders his thanks to yourself, your officers and men, for the vigor, bravery, and willing endurance of privations and hardships displayed by your command during this long and toilsome pursuit of the retreating rebel army.
Very respectfully, &c.,
WM. D. WHIPPLE,
Brigadier-General and Chief of Staff.
1.30 p.m., the trains with three days' rations for this command have just arrived from Pulaski. Instructions have been sent to division commanders to issue them at once, with instructions that they are to last five days. 2.15 p.m.. sent dispatch to General Thomas, stating that we will march direct to Huntsville and Athens, and take with us the artillery and trains now here. It will be easier to do so than to send them back to Pulaski and thence to these places. 2.15 p.m., send a dispatch to Colonel Hayes, chief quartermaster of the corps, directing him to send all of the trains and property of the corps now in the rear to Huntsville and Athens, via the Elkton and Pulaski pike. 3 p.m., directed division commanders to send their ordnance officers to the rear at once, to turn over the ammunition in their trains at Pulaski and bring forward the empty trains to Huntsville and Athens. 4 p.m., General Wood wrote to General Thomas a letter, of which the following is a copy:
HEADQUARTERS FOURTH CORPS,
Lexington, Ala., December 30, 1864.
Assistant Adjutant-General and Chief of Staff:
General: Every particle of information, however derived, in regard to the condition of Hood's army attests the fact of its complete and perfect demoralization. I have made many inquiries of citizens living on the read we have followed in the pursuit, and have received universally the same answers, namely, that one-half of the retreating troops are unarmed, and that everything like organization is gone. Two escaped prisoners came in yesterday, and their statements fully corroborate the information derived from other sources. One of these prisoners marched, or rather went with Lee's corps (for he says there was nothing like marching among them), to within two miles of the Tennessee River, where he escaped. He says that not more than one-half of the corps was armed; that there was no organization at all in the corps; that he saw nothing like a company, regiment, or brigade, and that the men moved in squads, varying from six or eight to fifteen or twenty, and that these squads moved and halted at their own choice. He further states that from Pulaski to the point at which he escaped the rebels had nothing to eat but parched corn. The other escaped prisoner marched with Cheatham's corps from Pulaski toward the Tennessee River, by the old military road. He says that out of the whole corps only about a regiment could be got to guard about 140 prisoners, and that the remainder of the corps marched in small squads, these squads moving as they chose. He says that in these squads he saw occasionally a musket or two to shoot cattle, &c., along the line of retreat. Both of these men speak of the destitute condition of the rebels in regard to clothing; they are without blankets, a great number without shoes, and all imperfectly clad. I feel confident that Hood has not taken across the Tennessee River more than half the men he brought across it; that not more than onehalf of those taken out are armed; that he lost three-fourths of his artillery; and that, for rout, demoralization, even disintegration, the condition of his command is without a parallel in this war. Pain also confident that his command cannot be reorganized for service for some weeks, perhaps not before spring. At present, so far as Hood's command is concerned (and I know of no other force in that event that could oppose us), the whole country from the Tennessee River to Mobile is open to us. Should we not then improve the present opportunity for bringing Alabama, at present the best State for supplies the rebels have, under our control? I firmly believe we can, within the next few weeks, without much opposition, bring the whole State under our control.
The Tennessee River affords us a good line of communication, vastly superior to railroads. Let us establish a depot at or near the head of navigation, and, within the next ten days or two weeks, place in it, by numerous transports, abundant supplies of every kind, as we could, for the troops to be engaged in the expedition. I estimate that 40,000 infantry, 10,000 cavalry, and one battery of artillery to each division of infantry, with a reserve battery to each corps, would be an ample force for the expedition. To raise this force the whole country behind us if necessary, might be almost entirely stripped of troops, as I am confident our offensive movement would abundantly protect the rear. I am quite sure, after the late experience of Hood in Tennessee, that the rebels would not attempt to check us by a counter invasion. Starting with a force composed as above, and taking with us hard bread, sugar, coffee, and a double allowance of salt for forty days, one day's salt meat in seven, a small supply of forage for exigencies, driving as many cattle with us as could conveniently be done, and trusting to the country to supply the remainder of the meat ration and forage for daily use, I have no hesitation in saying that we could eat our oysters in Mobile in forty days from the date of departure. The distance to be traversed is about 300 miles, and an average of less than ten miles a day would carry us through in the period assigned. I would suggest the route from Tuscumbia, via Tuscaloosa, Selma, giving a side wipe as we passed at Montgomery and destroying the State archives, to Mobile. I have made many inquiries touching the country adjacent to the proposed route, and am sure the roads through it are entirely practicable for military purposes, and that it teems with supplies such as a military force would require. The troops would engage in such an expedition with great ardor, and would cheerfully endure all its hardships and privations. It' successful, and of this I have not the shadow of doubt, this movement would deal a blow unequaled in injurious consequences to the hated rebellion. I respectfully submit these views to the consideration of the commanding general of the forces, and request you will lay this communication before him at your earliest convenience. I do not here touch upon the co-operation we might-in fact, should--receive from our troops on the Mississippi and in the Department of the Gulf, as such co-operation would be matter of arrangement with other commanders; but it seems to me that the arrangements for such co-operation could be made by the time the main force would be ready to move from its base on the Tennessee River.
In conclusion I would say to the commanding general that the success of the expedition would be greatly facilitated by moving before Hood's command could be reorganized, armed, and equipped, and before a force could be concentrated from other quarters to oppose us.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
TH. J. WOOD,
5 p.m., issued orders of the day for to-morrow, December 31, stating that the corps will march for Athens and Huntsville, to start at 7 a.m. to-morrow; General Beatty's division will lead, General Kimball's will follow, then General Elliott's. Each division will take one battery and all of its trains, and send its pioneers in front to repair the roads and bridge small streams. The trains that belong to the divisions will move with them until we arrive at Athens and Huntsville, and not in the rear of the corps as heretofore. 10 p.m., very cold to-night; snowing a little and freezing quite hard.
December 31.--7 a.m., the corps started on the march, General Beatty's division leading, then General Kimball's following. General Elliott has not yet issued the three days' rations, that were to have arrived yesterday, to his division. His subsistence train has not yet arrived at Lexington, but will be here before noon. The other divisions were issued to yesterday. As soon as his division has been issued to General Elliott will march. The roads on to-day's march are much better than the one from Pulaski to Lexington. Our march is slow, though, to-day, owing to the fact that we have to bridge many small creeks that run across the road for the passage of infantry; the water and atmosphere are too cold for wading. 1.45 p.m., General Beatty's division arrives at Sugar Creek. The water is about three feet deep at the ford and the creek is about ninety feet wide. Halt here to build a bridge to cross over the infantry; the teams will ford. 3 p.m., the bridge now completed, and General Beatty is just commenced to cross, General Kimball following up close. General Elliott not yet reported. 4 p.m., head of column reaches a point two miles and a half beyond Sugar Creek and one mile beyond Mount Rozell, on the Lexington and Athens road. Here the corps will go into camp; Beatty's division (Third) now going in camp. 4 p.m., we have marched seventeen miles and a half, and bridged Sugar Creek and all of the small creeks running across the road on our line of march, since 7 a.m. It is not yet determined at what ford we will cross Elk River; it depends on the condition of the river--whether it is fordable. If the river cannot be forded, and we cannot build a bridge over it for the passage of infantry, artillery, and our trains, in less than three days, we will march to Huntsville, via Fayetteville, at which latter point is a good bridge over the Elk. By taking this route we must make quite a detour, going thirty-five miles out of the way. Colonel Greenwood, assistant inspec-tor-general of the corps, has gone to Grigsby's Ford to see whether the river is fordable at that point--this is, the lower ford. Buck Island Ford is the one on our direct road, and Legg's Ford is a few miles farther up the river. 8 p.m., Lieutenant-Colonel Greenwood has just returned, and reports that the river cannot be forded at Grigsby's; if not, it is not fordable at Buck Island. A reconnoitering party will be sent to Legg's Ford, at daylight in the morning, to examine it, and the corps will not move from camp until its report is received. If the corps moves to this ford and we there find we cannot cross it or bridge it within three days, it would have to march back to Sugar Creek to take the Fayetteville road. The day has been very bright, but cold; it has been freezing all day. 10 p.m., General Elliott has not yet reported the position of his division. It is not known at corps headquarters where he camps to-night.
MOUNT ROZELL, ALA., FIFTEEN MILES NORTHWEST OF ATHENS, ALA.
January 1, 1865.--6 a.m., Lieutenant-Colonel Greenwood and party starts to Legg's Ford to examine the condition of the river at that point. 9 a.m., General Elliott camped about five miles from Sugar Creek last night, and has just reached the creek. 10 a.m., Colonel Greenwood reports that none of the fords of Elk River can be crossed with wagons or artillery; that the water is not less that six feet deep. 10.30 a.m., ordered Colonel Suman and Major Watson (both of the First Division) to construct a good strong wagon bridge over the Elk at Buck Island Ford for the passage of the corps. All of the pioneers of the corps are instructed to report to them for duty in building the bridge. Colonel Suman says that he will build the bridge by noon on the 3d instant, and that it cannot possibly be built sooner. 11 a.m., ordered Generals Kimball and Beatty to move their divisions to the vicinity of Buck Island Ford, and for them to render Colonel Suman any assistance he may call for, and ordered General Elliott to move his division to Mount Rozell, about two miles this side of Sugar Creek. 12 m., division commanders directed to send foraging parties out from each brigade to forage the country for subsistence and to seize mills and grind corn for their troops. 3 p.m., Colonel Suman and Major Watson commence work on the bridge. There will be some difficulty in construct ing it, as the stream is too deep to ford, is very swift, no boats can be procured, and it is about 325 feet wide. The only tools that can be found to work with are axes, a few saws, and two or three augers: have no nails or spikes. It might be a saving of time to march to Huntsville, via Fayetteville, thirty-four miles out of the way, but too many of the men are barefooted or too nearly so to march such a long distance. There is a good stone bridge over the Elk at Fayetteville. We move headquarters to Elk River, near the bridge. The weather moderated much to-day and it is growing quite warm.
BUCK ISLAND FORD, ELK RIVER, ALA.
January 2.--The command is in camp to-day. As many men as can work at it are engaged in constructing the bridge over the river at this point. The work is being pushed forward quite rapidly, and Colonel Suman says he will have it done by 1 p.m. to-morrow. Colonel Suman has charge of the working parties, while Major Watson, who is a practical bridge-builder, directs the work. Foraging parties are doing well to-day, and the command is being well supplied. There is now no danger of being out of rations before we arrive at Huntsville, though but three days' full rations were issued the day before we left Lexington, Ala. Quite warm to-day and very clear, but it will rain before midnight to-day.
January 3.--8.30 a.m., published orders of march. The corps will march as soon as the bridge is completed, probably by noon; General Kimball's division will lead, General Beatty's will follow, then General Elliott's. Each division will in itself be a separate column, taking its trains, &c., as on the march from Lexington, Ala. The pioneers of the leading division will repair the roads, cut new roads, &c. (It commenced to rain at midnight last night, and yet continues to rain.) 11 a.m., the bridge just completed; no work was done after night; it was built in just twenty hours' working time; is very strong, and will admit of the passage of the heaviest trains. 11.30 a.m., General Kimball commences to cross the bridge, the other two divisions following. 3 p.m., General Wood and staff arrive at Athens. 3.15 p.m., received (at Athens) a telegram, of which the following is a copy:
PULASKI, January I, 1865.
Brig. Gen. T. J. WOOD:
Concentrate your whole corps at Huntsville and prepare for an early resumption of the winter campaign. Instructions by letter have been sent you. The Twenty-third Corps goes to Eastport.
WM. D. WHIPPLE,
Brigadier-General and Chief of Staff.
4 p.m., head of column arrives at Athens. The corps will encamp here for the night. The railroad from Huntsville to Athens has been repaired, and cars are running to this point from Nashville; they have been running for several days.
January 4.--Marched from Athens to-day. The corps arrived at a point within seven miles of Huntsville, and there went into camp for the night.
January 5.--10 a.m., the corps arrives in the vicinity, of Huntsville. The First Division goes into camp about one mile east of the town, the Second about three miles west, and the Third Division about four miles south.
January 6, 7, &c.--January 7, 11 a.m., received letter, of which the following is a copy:
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Pulaski, Tenn., January 1, 1865.
Brig. Gen. T. J. WOOD,
Commanding Fourth Army Corps:
GENERAL: Your communication of the 30th ultimo, suggesting plan for continued operations this winter, has been received. Probably some such plan will be adopted, as you will see by the inclosed copy of telegram from General Halleck that the lieutenant-general is not disposed to permit the army to rest long. The major-general commanding directs that Athens be not occupied by your troops, but that the entire corps be concentrated at Huntsville, and all returns made up to date, and full preparations made for the campaign at as early a date as possible.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. D. WHIPPLE,
Brigadier-General and Chief of Staff.
The following is the copy of the copy of the telegram referred to in the above letter:
WASHINGTON, December 31, 1864--11.30 a.m.
Maj. Gen. GEORGE H. THOMAS:
Lieutenant-General Grant directs all of your force not essential to hold your communication be collected on the Tennessee River, say at Eastport or Tuscumbia, and be made ready for such movements as may be ordered. It is supposed that a portion of the troops in Louisville and other parts of Kentucky and Tennessee can be available for active operation elsewhere. General Dodge wishes you to return to Saint Louis the Thirty-ninth Missouri Infantry, so that he may complete its organization. Please give us the earliest possible notice of Hood's line of retreat, so that orders may be given for a continuation of the campaign. Lieutenant-General Grant does not intend that your army shall go into winter quarters; it must be ready for active operations in the field.
H. W. HALLECK,
January 7 to February 1.--The whole corps remained in camp in the vicinity of the city.
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