« PreviousContinue »
Tuesday, December 27.
Waded bayou at four A. M., and marched down on north side of Tennessee, nearly opposite mouth of Flint river, and awaited orders. The enemy shelled the transports sent to convey my command over, but no casualties resulted therefrom. Signalled General Steedman information of the enemy's strength, etc., at Decatur, obtained from Colonel Prosser and one of my staff officers. Crossed the river and lagoon beyond, and halted to receive rations from the transports at four P. M., as directed by Major-General Steedman. Soon received orders from him to move up to support Colonel Thompson's division, which had been advanced towards Decatur, and had been engaged during the afternoon in skirmishing with the enemy. The command was brought up as rapidly as possible, and formed in line on Colonel Thompson's right. The enemy opened fire with two pieces of artillery. Some of the shots fell near my line, but without damage. An advance was ordered, and both divisions moved rapidly on the town. The enemy ran away before we reached it, taking his two pieces of artillery, and our troops occupied the place. Marched to the woodland near Decatur, and encamped for the night.
Wednesday, December 28. Marched at five P. M. on Courtland road to Moseley's farm, say three miles west of Decatur, and bivouacked.
Thursday, December 29.
a half P. M.), with instructions to get over Paint Rock Creek in some manner, and reach Larkinsville by march, patrol the country thoroughly, and engage Lyon, if he could be found. Colonel Mitchell used every possible effort to carry out his instructions. He reached Larkinsville on the morning of the seventh, and made an extensive patrol of the surrounding country, and reported that he could hear nothing of Lyon.
Saturday, January 7.
General Wood advised, at an interview during the morning, that I should personally go to Larkinsville with all the troops for which transportation could be had. The condition of the troops, and the orders of General Steedman, etc., were explained to General Wood. In the emergency, however, I followed his advice. There could be but one train made up at Huntsville. On this Colonel Harrison's brigade was loaded at twelve M., and the train run to Paint Rock station. Here the railway managers kept the troops, until, say two A. M., waiting on westward bound trains, and for repairs of the bridge. A telegraphic instrument was put in operation, and communication had with Brigadier-General Wood and Major-General Steedman. Here an order from General Wood reached me by telegraph, based upon instructions from the Department Commander, "to stop the return of MajorGeneral Steedman's troops." The telegraphic message directed me to disembark the forces that are on the cars immediately, scour the
Marched thirteen and a half miles to Snope's country thoroughly, and find out, if possible, place, and bivouacked.
Thursday, January 5.
Marched at dawn of day; made thirteen and a half miles, and encamped at Moseley's. Here orders were received from Major-General Steedman, advising of his departure by transports with the artillery, and turning over the entire infantry command to me.
Friday, January 6. Crossed the Tennessee at the Decatur pontoon, and sent forward one division to Huntsville, which arrived about dark; the transportation doubling back for the other. It was designed to remain at Huntsville until one P. M. of the next day, to bring up the residue of the command, and to await transportation and the completion of the Paint Rock bridge, which had been destroyed by the enemy. At an interview with Brigadier-General Wood, commanding Fourth corps, then at Huntsville, he requested me strongly to press forward a brigade to Larkinsville, apprehending that the rebel General Lyon might be in the vicinity. Colonel Mitchell's brigade was sent forthwith (at eleven and
where Lyon is, and get in pursuit of him. He must be found, and either captured or driven across the Tennessee river. General Thomas' orders on this subject are emphatic, and he says: "you must not go on your way until this work is finished."
Here intelligence was received, that all the troops on trains following me-Colonels Thompson's, Morgan's, and Salm's brigades-had been from Brigadier-General Wood; that a portion of stopped and unloaded at Brownsboro, by orders these were ordered to New Market by his direction, and that the arrangements for shipping Colonel Malloy's troops had not been carried out. The men were out of rations; the weather now cold, rainy, and disagreeable, and the roads well nigh impassable for infantry. On reaching Larkinsville, a telegraphic message was sent to Colonel Krizzanowski, commanding at Stevenson, asking a supply of rations. He promptly promised them. Owing to delays on the railway, however, they did not reach the troops in time.
The garrison at Larkinsville consisted of company M, Eleventh Indiana cavalry (Captain Given, commanding), numbering probably sixty men, and a sort of amateur gathering of mounted men, who styled themselves "Alabama Scouts," under Captain Sparks, say thirty or forty in number. At seven A. M. all the cavalry and the anomalous scouts were sent to patrol the roads in the direction of Winchester and New Nashville, Robinson's farm, &c., with instructions to keep
sent back one of his sections, with one of the
a strong vidette post at Colonel Province's. In
loy joined this during the afternoon. Pursuit
made to have rations at Gunter's landing by transport, and a message was received from Major-General Steedman, announcing their shipment. Tuesday, January 10. Colonels Mitchell, Malloy, Salm and Thompson were in motion at 4:30 A. M., continuing the pursuit. I reached the column of Colonel Mitchell soon after dawn of day. Colonel Thompson's command was thrown off to the left to Lawe's Landing. About eight miles from Guntersville the head of Colonel Mitchell's column struck quite a force of the enemy-probably a hundred were in sight. Two battalions were thrown into line, and, with the small cavalry force which was taken from Larkinsville, was pushed for them. They broke to small squads and ran away to the hills and woods on each side, and down the road in great confusion. But few shots were fired. The gun-boats on the river were at this time shelling the woods on the north side, near Gunter's Landing, and below. The enemy could be seen running about in small detachments, in almost every direction and without any order, but being well mounted, kept beyond musket range. The column was pressed steadily towards Gunter's Landing, with patrol parties in every direction on the flanks, and the enemy chased in towards the river. They all, however, that were on the left of the road, crossed it in advance of the columns, and, with those on the right, left rapidly by the roads running down the river. Some were driven into the river bank, but, being mounted, could swim the lagoons in the bottom that could not be waded by infantry. Here they encountered the gun-boats; a few abandoned their horses, and they were captured by the boats. General Lyon had reached Clayville, opposite Gunter's Landing, the evening before, with the greater portion of his command and the piece of artillery. Citizens reported that he had abandoned his command during the night, and had crossed the river by a scow, with the piece of artillery and a portion of his staff. It is probable that about two hundred of his command crossed during the night at Lawe's Landing, and at a point about one and a half miles above Claysville, in canoes and by swimming their horses. The rest of his command at Claysville was collected at the head of the island, above, on the eleventh, attempting to cross, and was alarmed by the coming down of a gun-boat, and dispersed. A portion of the command, under Colonel Chenoweth, left Claysville about twelve M., in direction of Deposit. My advance reached Claysville at two P. M. Colonel Salm leaving his men who were barefooted, was sent on immediately towards Deposit, with instructions to make that point, or the creek, and beyond, if possible by daylight. He marched his command vigorously, pursuing the enemy retreating as squads, and making the points ordered. The ambulance, wagon and artillery harness, which General Lyon had with him, were captured, as well as those wounded at Scottsboro, viz.: one captain and
three (3) soldiers. Patrol parties were sent from Colonels Mitchell's, Malloy's and Thompson's commands, to scour the woods along the river, and to watch the various ferrying places in the vicinity. Lieutenant-Colonel O'Brien's battalion of the Fourteenth corps detachment was placed opposite Gunter's Landing. The few cattle and sheep the country afforded were collected by the commissary, and distributed to the command. The gun-boats on the river had no cooperation with me. I was able to get on board but one of them, the "U. S. Grant," I think. The commanding officer was informed of the nature of my dispositions, and all the intelligence that had been obtained. By some mistake, one of the gun-boats, as Colonel Thompson reported, threw some shells into his camp at Law's Landing, fortunately without hurting anybody. The rebels were much alarmed by the shells of the gun-boats, but there were no casualties from them that could be heard of. Being satisfied that none of the rebel squads had gone up the river, Colonel Harrison was ordered to march to the railway at the nearest point, and load his command for Chattanooga.
Wednesday, January 11.
No rations arriving by river, Colonel Malloy's and Colonel Thompson's commands were or dered back to the railway at Larkinsville by the country. Colonel Mitchell remained at Claysdifferent routes, with instructions to subsist on ville, patrolling the country in the vicinity. Colonel Salm pushed his march towards mouth of Paint Rock Creek. On arriving at Honey Comb Creek, it was found to be impassable. The few mounted men of the Eleventh Indiana with the command, swam the creek and patrolled the country to Paint Rock during the day. It was impossible, however, to catch the small parties of rebels to be seen without a cavalry force. The high waters, and impossibility of procuring rations, rendered it out of the question to push forward infantry further. The pursuit was abandoned, therefore, towards nightfall-confirming the experience of all time, that troops of the line cannot run down" cavalry.
Thursday, January 12.
Orders were issued to Colonel Salm, to march to the railway at Woodville, by Honey Comb Valley, and to Colonel Mitchell to make the same point by the mountain road from Claysville. They reached Woodville at dark, obtained rations sent there for them, and were shipped in the night to their former camps at Bridgeport and Chattanooga. One captain (Murray) and two soldiers were captured, in addition to those mentioned heretofore, making a total of two captains and five soldiers.
Friday, January 13.
The residue of the troops along the railway were rationed, provided with transportation, and returned to the places indicated in MajorGeneral Steedman's orders.
The total casualties of the division in battle
Among the officers killed, was Captain E. Grosvenor, Eighteenth Ohio volunteers, and First Lieutenant Samuel W. Thomas, Eighteenth Ohio volunteers. They fell, gallantly leading their commands, on the fifteenth of December, in the assault upon the enemy's works. They held high character in the service for manly and soldierly qualities. A lieutenant of the Second battalion, Fourteenth corps, was also killed, whose name and regiment has not yet been obtained. Among the officers wounded were Captains Benedict, Eighteenth Ohio volunteers; Henderson, One Hundred and Twentyfirst Ohio volunteers; Brown, Twenty-seventh Ohio volunteers, and J. B. Emery, Eighteenth Ohio volunteers.
The number of men who were left at Nashville, by direction of the surgeons, and from various points sent to hospitals in rear, was large, owing to the material of the commandreached eleven hundred during the campaign. Those left at Nashville were reported at five hundred. The number sent back by trains from Limestone Creek reached four hundred, and those from Decatur, by transports, say two hundred. Several officers were sent back also from these points (and among them some of the best officers in the command), suffering from disease and former wounds. In addition to these, a few men were left upon the march, at houses, sick, and unable to be moved. These men were as well cared for as possible, and measures have since been taken to bring them up. The number of deaths from disease among the men since leaving Chattanooga is reported at eleven (11).
In closing this sketch of the late campaign, it is due to the officers and troops of my command, to bear unequivocal testimony to the patience, cheerfulness and pluck with which they endured the fatigues of forty-six days' con
tinued field service in mid-winter. The command was hastily thrown together. It consisted of detachments from more than two hundred regiments. It was rapidly armed, and from its very composition could be but illy provided with the ordinary appliances which render field service endurable. About one-fourth of the command consisted of soldiers recently from hospital, scarcely convalescent; another fourth, of soldiers returned from furlough, and the remaining half of raw recruits of every nationality, without drill or experience of any kind, but earnest and worthy men. The officers, as a class, were good, and perhaps superior to the average of the army; but they were separated from their regular commands, without their personal baggage, camp furniture, servants, change of clothing, stationery, etc., and many of them without money, or time to procure any supply of these necessities. The command left without ambulances or wagons. The medical department had not adequate supplies. Measles, small-pox, and camp disorders were constantly appearing among the new men, and often at points beyond the reach of hospitals. The weather was bitterly cold at times, and during the coldest days there was much suffering by transportation on the railroad. In spite of all such difficulties, however, the division performed its share of military and fatigue duty during the campaign. It built its share of defences at Nashville, and not only held them, but participated to some extent in the general assault. It moved by rail four hundred and fifty-one miles, and marched one hundred and fifty-five miles, wading streams and laboring through mud and rain. It was, from necessity, out of rations sometimes for days. These sufferings are incident to a soldier's life; but they are much lessened by experience and thorough organization, neither of which this division had.
It is simple justice to both the soldiers and officers of this provisional division, that the services they have rendered should be thor, oughly understood, and that their individual reputations shall not suffer in their commands, with charges of idleness or "shirking" during their absence. The officers necessarily were compelled to become responsible for arms, equipments, ordnance stores, clothing, etc., and to issue them irregularly, in the exigency, to men of all regiments, and many who did not know their assignments. A liberal course of settlement should be adopted by the supervising authorities of the various departments, with regard to these officers.
Hereto are appended the reports of Colonels Harrison, Mitchell, Malloy and Grosvenor, commanding brigades of this division: also that of Colonel Salm, covering his services in pursuit of Lyon, marked respectively A, B, C, D and E. Reports from the other brigade commanders of the part taken by their brigades in the "tramp" after Lyon, have not been as yet received.
General commanding is directed particularly to them.
The cheerful manner in which Captain Given (Company M, Eleventh Indiana cavalry), commanding garrison at Larkinsville, responded to all orders from my headquarters, and the valuable service which his command rendered, from thorough knowledge of the surrounding country, is entitled to creditable mention.
My staff consisted of the following officers, viz.: Captain John A. Wright, Assistant Adjutant-General; Captain G. W. Marshall, Assistant Quartermaster; Captain A. C. Ford (Thirty-first Indiana), Acting Commissary of Subsistence; Captain A. Vallander (One Hundred and Twentyfifth Ohio volunteer infantry), Acting Assistant Inspector-General; Captain L. S. Windle (One Hundred and Thirteenth Ohio volunteer infantry), Ordnance Officer; Surgeon J. D. Cotton (Ninetysecond Ohio volunteer infantry), Medical Director; First Lieutenant J. M. Leonard (Ninth Indiana volunteers), Acting Aide-de-Camp.
Each of these officers merits my thanks for the satisfactory manner in which he discharged his duties, and they are all worthy of higher positions than they hold.
With my regards to the Major-General commanding district,
I am, very respectfully,
It affords me pleasure to say of Colonels Harrison, Seventieth Indiana volunteers; Mitchell, One Hundred and Thirteenth Ohio volunteer infantry, and Malloy, Seventeenth Wisconsin volunteers, who commanded each one of the brigades of the division, that throughout the campaign, they performed their duties and handled their commands in a creditable and soldierly manner. They are brigade commanders of much experience and reputation in the S. B. MOE, army, and deserve well for long and faithful services, and for their management of their respective commands on the recent campaign.
Colonel Felix Prince Salm (commanding Sixty-eighth New York), who served with me in command of a temporary brigade, after leaving Decatur, is an officer of experience in European armies, and is commended for the zeal, energy, and good sense which he brings to the service of the Government.
Lieutenant-Colonel Banning, One Hundred and Twenty-first Ohio, and Grosvener, of the Eighteenth Ohio, each commanded for a short while a brigade of the division. They are good officers, and rendered the country service which should be remembered.
Colonel Thompson, Twelfth United States colored infantry, and Morgan, Fourteenth United States colored infantry, commanded brigades of colored soldiers for a short while with me. Their troops were disciplined, and behaved uniformly well. These officers are entitled to the consideration of the Government for their personal efforts in the late campaign, and for the good results following from their labors in demonstration of the problem that colored men can be made soldiers.
It is impossible to note all the deserving officers in command of battalions or companies of the division. The reports of the brigade commanders contain general and special notices of these officers, and the attention of the Major
VOL. XI.-Doc. 7.
Brigadier-General United States Volunteers,
Major and Assistant Adjutant-General.
*COLONEL JOHNSON'S REPORT,
HEADQUARTERS FORTY-FOURTH UNITED STATES COLORED INFANTRY, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, December 4, 1864. LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to submit the following report of the affair which occurred on the second and third instant, at Stockade No. 2, on Mill Creek (C. and N. R. R.), between the troops temporarily under my command, and the enemy under General Forrest.
At eight A. M. the train containing the Fortyfourth United States colored infantry, and Companies A and D of the Fourteenth United States colored infantry, left Murfreesboro, and arrived at the bridge over Mill Creek guarded by Blockhouse No. 2, at almost eleven A. M., when suddenly a battery opened upon the train, nearly all of which was upon the trestle bridge. The locomotive and first car were struck, and several of the men injured. I immediately got my command off the train, and moved it up to the Stockade, which I supposed was evacuated, but on my arrival found it occupied by a detachment of the One Hundred and Fifteenth Ohio volunteers, commanded by Lieutenant Harter; as the Blockhouse was full, and three batteries were shelling us terribly, and a heavy musketry fire commenced from all sides, I formed my men around the house, and then pushed a portion up a hill on the east side of the fort, which entirely commanded it, and from where the