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118

VAN DORN'S ATTACK ON FRANKLIN.

hundred men,' moved eastward from Murfreesboro’ to surprise a Confederate camp at Gainesville.

He was unexpectedly met by some of Morgan's cavalry, when he fell back to Milton, twelve miles northeast of Murfreesboro', and took a strong position on Vaught's Hill. There he was attacked by two thousand men, led by Morgan in person. With the aid of Harris's battery skillfully worked, Hall repulsed the foe after a struggle of about three hours, Morgan lost between three and four hundred men killed and wounded. Among the latter was himself. Hall's loss was fifty-five mon, of whom only six were killed.

Early in April, General Gordon Grar.ger, then in command at Franklin, with nearly five thousand troops, was satisfied that a heavy force undur Van Dorn was about to attack tim. He was then constructing a fort (which afterward bore his name), but only two siege-guns and two rifled cannon, belonging to an Ohio battery, were mounted upon it. The fort was on a commanding hill on the northern side of the ilarpeth River, about fifty feet above that stream, and completely commanded the approaches tu Franklin. Granger's infantry and artillery were under the immediate command of General's Baird and Gilbert, and his cavalry was led by Genera's G. C. Smith and Stanley. Every precaution was taken to be ready for the foe, from whatever point he might approach. Baird was directed to oppose his crossing at the fords below Franklin, and Gilbert was placed so as to meet an attack in front, or to re-enforce either flank. Stanley's cavalry was pushed out four miles on the road toward Murfreesboro', and Smith’s was held in reserve to assist him, if necessary. Such was the disposition of Granger's troops when, on the 10th, Van

Dorn, with an estimated force of nine thousand mounted men * April, 1863.

and two regiments of foot, pressed rapidly forward along the Columbia and Lewisburg turnpikes, and fell upon Granger's front. The guns from the fort opened destructively upon the assailants, and their attack was manfully met by Granger's troops. Van Dorn soon found himself in a perilous situation, for Stanley came up and struck him a heavy blow on the flank Smith was ordered forward to support Stanley, and Baird's troops were thrown across the river to engage in the fight.

The Confederates were routed at all points on Granger's front, with a heavy loss in killed and wounded, and about five hundred prisoners. Van Dorn then turned his whole force upon Stanley before Smith reached him, and with his overwhelming numbers pushed him back and recovered most of the captured

By this means Van Dorn extricated himself from his perilous position, and, abandoning his attempt to capture Franklin, he retired to Spring Hill, with a loss of about three hundred men in killed, wounded, and prisoners. The Union loss was about thirty-seven killed, wounded, and missing.?

men.

1 The One IIundred and Fifth Ohio, Eightieth, and One Hurdred and Twenty-third Illinois, a section of Harris's Nineteenth Indiana Battery, and one company of Tennessee cavalry.

? Van Dorn's earthly career was closed soon after this event by a bullet sent by a husband (Doctor Peters) with whose wife the former had formed a criininal intimacy. When Peters was assured of the dishonor, he walked into Van Dorn's head-quarters and demanded satisfaction. Van Dorn was at his writing-table, surrounded by his staff. Ile refused to give the satisfaction demanded, and ordered the injured husband to leave the room. The latter drew a revolver, shot the criininal dead, sprang ont of the room and on to his horse, and escaped immediate pursuit. Then he had his long hair and whiskers cropped short, changed his dress, and, thus disguised, made his way to the Union lines at Nashville. " Van Dorn was a brilliant, fascinating bad man. Winc and women had ruined hin." The correspondeut of the Richmond Enquirer wrote from Chattanooga, on

STREIGHT'S RAID BELOW THE TENNESSEE.

119

1903.

Ten days after the affair at Franklin, General J. J. Reynolds, with his division, Colonel Wilder's mounted brigade, and seventeen hundred cavalry under Colonel Minty, moved from Murfreesboro'• upon Me Minnville, then occupied by about seven hundred of Morgan's men.

April 20, The guerrilla's troopers were driven out and dispersed, and a Confederate wagon-train, which had just left for Chattanooga, was pursued, and some of the wagons were destroyed. The Nationals burned a Confederate cotton factory and other public property at McMinnville, destroyed the railway, its buildings, trestle-work, and bridges, and returned to Murfreesboro'without accident, their triumph graced by one hun

► April 26. dred and thirty captives. Other smaller expeditions were sent out at about this time, and the Confederate raiders were taught to be very circumspect.

Toward the middle of April, a more ambitious expedition than any yet sent out by Rosecrans, started from Nashville, upon the important service of sweeping around to the rear of Bragg's army, cutting all the railways in Northern Georgia, destroying depots of supplies, manufactories of arms and clothing, and in every possible way to cripple the Confederate army, upon which Rosecrans was exceedingly anxious to move. The expedition consisted of the Fifty-first Indiana, Eightieth Illinois, and a part of two Ohio regiments, numbering in all about eighteen hundred men, commanded by Colonel A. D. Streight, of the first-named regiment. His force was called, by General Garfield, Rosecrans's chief of staff, who gave the leader his instructions, “an independent provisional brigade,” created for "temporary purposes." In accordance with his instructions, he left Nash . ville with his command on the 11th of April, in steamers, and, landing at Dover, marched across the country to Fort Henry, on the Tennessee River, where he remained until the boats went around to the Ohio and came up to that point. Then he went up the Tennessee to Eastport, where he debarked, and, marching southward, joined the forces of General Dodge, then moving on Tuscumbia, on the Memphis and Charleston railway, in Northern Alabama. This was to mask the real intention of the expedition, Streight being instructed to march long enough with Dodge to give the impression that his was a part of that leader's force, and then to strike off from Tuscumbia southward to Russellville or Moulton.

Streight's troops were not mounted when they left Nashville. They were directed to gather up horses and mules on the way; so they scouted for them over the region they passed through, yet when they joined Dodge one half of the command was on foot. They marched with him to the capture of Tuscumbia, and then, after receiving a supply of horses and mules, they started for Russellville, with only about three hundred men on

• April 27. foot. There they turned eastward, their chief objective being the important cities of Rome and Atlanta, in Northern Georgia. The former was the seat of extensive Confederate iron-works, and the latter the focus of -several railway lines. At the same time Dodge also struck off southward in Alabama, and sweeping around into Mississippi, striking Confederate detach

the 12th of May: “ He always sacrificed his business to his pleasure. He was either tied to a woman's apron strings or heated with wine."

'Scepa. 203. volume II.

120

CAPTURE OF STREIGHT AND HIS MEN.

ments here and there, and destroying public property, returned to the railway at Corinth, from which he departed on his expedition against Tuscumbia.

When the Confederates were informed of Streight's independent move ment, the cavalry of Forrest and Roddy, who had been watching the Unionists, started in pursuit of them, and overtook them not far from Moulton, in Lawrence County, Alabama. After nearly a whole day's fight, at Driver's. Gap of the Sand Mountain, they commenced a running fight, which continued over a space of about one hundred miles, along a wide curve, through several counties in Alabama, across the head-waters of the Tombigbee and Great Warrior rivers, to the Coosa. On their way, Streight's men, marching in detachments, destroyed a large quantity of Confederate property, and were pushing on toward Rome, in Georgia, when a large part of their jaded animals gave out, and their supply of ammunition failed. A detachment, sent. forward to seize and hold Rome, was compelled to fall back upon the main. column. Then the whole body pressed on, and destroyed the Round Mountain iron-works between Gadsden and Rome, where cannon, shot, and shell were made for the Confederates. On they pressed toward Rome, and when within about fifteen miles of that town, the pursuers, four thousand strong, under Forrest, fell upon Sugght's rear. He was so exhausted every way

that he was compelled to surrender." His loss during the raid was « May 3, about one hundred men, including Colonel Hathaway. The num

ber surrendered was thirteen hundred and sixty-five. The captives were all sent to Richmond, and thrown into Libby Prison, from which the leader and over one hundred officers confined in that loathsome jail escaped early in February, 1864, by digging under the foundation walls of the building. They were treated not as prisoners of war, but as common felons, in compliance with a demand of the Governor of Georgia, on the soil of whose State they were taken, and who charged them with the violation of a law of that State, which made the inciting of slaves to insurrection to be a high crime—a charge wholly unfounded. This unusual treatment of prisoners of war caused the Government to suspend the exchange of captives for awhile, and also the confinement of Morgan and his raiders in felon's cells in the Ohio Penitentiary, as already mentioned.'

May passed by without any important movements of the armies of Rosecrans and Bragg. The former still lay at Murfreesboro' and vicinity, and

1863.

i See page 96.

2 Forrest, with a large force, continued to menace Franklin, and early in June he invested it and cut off communication with Nashville. At that time, when an attack upon Franklin was hourly expected, two young men rode up to the quarters of Colonel J. P Baird, and represented themselves as Colonel Autun and Major Dunlap. They were well inounted, neatly attired in the National uniform of the rank of each, but had neither orderlies nor baggage with them. They represented themselves as oflicers of Rosecrans's army, detailed for special duty by the War Department, and said they had narrowly escaped capture by rebels, who seized their orderlies and buggage. They showed proper papers from the Adjutant-General (Thomas) and General Garfield, then Rosecrans's chief of stuff, and asked Colonel Baird to loan them $50, to enable them to go to Nashville to refit. The money and a pass was handed them, and they started off on a full gallop. They were instantly suspected of being spies, and Colonel Watkias was sent after them. He overtook them before they passed the lines, and took them back to Baird, who telegraphed to Rosecrans, and ascertained that there were no such officers in his department. They were closely examined, and on the sword of Autun the letters * C. S. A." were found. This confirmed the suspicions of Baird and Watkins, and when the fact was communicated to Rosecrans by telegraph, he directed them to be tried by a court-martial as spies, and, if found guilty, to be instantly kning. They made a full confession. At past midnight the court found them guilty, and between nine and ten o'clock next morning they were hanged on a gallows attached to a wild cherry-tree, on the slope of the hill on which Fort Granger stood, three-fourths of a mile from Franklin.

The spies were young men, and were relations, by marriage, of General Lee, the chief of the Confederate

ROSECRANS READY TO ADVANCE.

121

the latter stretched along the general line of the Duck River, as we have observed,' with the mountain passes well fortified. Bragg's position was a very strong one for defense, and few outside of the Army of the Cumberland could comprehend the necessity for the wise caution that governed its commander. As June wore away the public became impatient because of his delay, and the Government, considering the facts that Grant and Porter were then closely investing Vicksburg; Banks and Farragut were encircling Port. Hudson with armed men; Lee was moving in force toward the Upper Potomac, and rumor declared that Bragg was sending, re-enforcements to Johnston, in Grant's rear,' thought it a favorable time for Rosecrans to advance. against his antagonist, push him across the Tennessee into Georgia, relieve East Tennessee, and drive a fatal wedge into the heart of the Confederacy. Orders were accordingly given. Rosecrans was ready, for his cavalry was then in fair condition, and his supplies were abundant. He issued orders on the 23d of June for a forward movement, his grand objective being the pos. session of Chattanooga, with its many advantages in a military point of view. It was begun the next day. General Burnside was ordered to co-operate with Rosecrans by moving from Kentucky, through the mountain passes, into East Tennessee, where General Buckner was in command of a

[graphic]

armies. " Autun" was Colonel Orton Williams, about twenty-three years of age, son of a gallant officer of the National army and graduate of West Point, who was killed in the war with Mexico. “Dunlap was Lieutenant W. G. Peter. Young Williams was, at that time, on the staff of General Bragg, and Peter on that of General Wheeler. Williams resigned a lieutenancy of cavalry in 1861, and joined the rebels. He is represented as an excellent

yonng man, but, influenced by the example of his kinsman, General Lee, he took sides with the enemies of his country, and lost his life in trying to serve them. He had lately married a young widow, formerly Miss Hamilton, of South Carolina. Over his act we may draw the veil of Christian charity, and forgive him, for young, ardent, and impressible, he was the victim of his more wicked elders, who taught. him to sin against his country.

The execution of Williams and Peter made a deep impression because of their family and official connections. The Confederate authorities at Richmond were exasperated, and sought an opportunity for retaliation in kind. It was offered a few months later, when a young man from Northern New York, named Spencer Kellogg Brown, only twenty-one years of age, was brought to Richmond from the Mississippi. He had been in the naval service under Commodore Porter, as a common sailor, and had charge of a gun on the Essexx when the ram Arkansas (see page 529, volume II.) was destroyed. He was sent in an armed boat to burn a Confederate ferryboat near Port Hudson. He had accomplished the work, and was returning alone to his boat, along the shore, when he was seized by three guerrillas. He was taken to Jackson, and then to Castle Thunder, in Richmond, charged with being caught as a spy within the Confederate lines. He was subjected to a mock trial, under the direction of the notorious Winder, and on the 25th of September, 1863, was hung as a spy " in the presence of all Richmond.” The circumstances of his capture had none of the conditions of a spy; and his execution, judged by the laws and ethics of civilized warfare, was simply a savage murder. Brown was a very promising young Inan, He was enthusiastic as a patriot, and was a sincere, manly, religious soldier. Congress made provision (June, 1864) for his young widow, in the form of a pension. 1 See page 115.

? See page 620, volume II.

CASTLE THUNDER,

* This was one of the noted prisons of Richmond. It was a large brick building used as a tobacco warehouse by Mr. Grainer befure the rebellion. It was on the corner of Carey and Nineteenth streets. It was used chiefly for the confinement of civilians, and was to the offenders against Confederate authority, by citizens under their rule, what Fort Lafayette or Fort Warren was to like offenders against the Government.

122

ROSECRANS MOVES UPON BRAGG.

June, 1863.

Confederate force, then holding the country between Knoxville and Chattanooga. The latter was to be the rallying point of the Confederates in Tennessee, should Bragg not be able' to withstand Rosecrans.

At that time Bragg's left wing, eighteen thousand strong, under General (Bishop) Polk, lay at Shelbyville, the terminus of a short railway from the main track at Wartrace. His troops were behind formidable intrenchments, about five miles in length, cast up by several thousand slaves drawn from Georgia and Alabama. General Hardee, with twelve thousand men, was at Wartrace, covering the railway, and holding the front of rugged hills admirably adapted for defense, behind which was a strongly intrenched camp at Tullahoma. Bragg now had about forty thousand men, and Rosecrans about sixty thousand.

It was known that Bragg's position was a very strong one, and Rosecrans determined to maneuver him out of it, if possible, before giving him battle. For this purpose he planned deceptive movements. These were to be a seeming advance from Murfreesboro' by the main army, directly on Bragg's center, at the same time threatening his left, and giving the real blow or chief attack on his right, and, if successful, march upon Tullahoma, and compel him to fall back, in order to secure his lines of communication

with Georgia. Accordingly, on the morning of the 23d of June,

the forward movement began, and on the 24th,' while rain was falling copiously, the whole army moved forward, McCook on the right, Thomas in the center, and Crittenden on the left. McCook moved toward Shelbyville, Thomas toward Manchester, and Crittenden in the direction of McMinnville. The latter was to march much later than the other two, with Turchin's brigade of cavalry, while the remainder of Stanley's horsemen were thrown out on the right. General Gordon Granger's reserve corps, which had advanced to Triune, now moved forward in support of the corps of McCook and Thomas. Rosecrans's plans were quickly and successfully executed. McCook moved

early in the morning toward Shelbyville, with Sheridan's division

in advance, preceded by one half of the Thirtieth Indiana mounted infantry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Jones. The divisions of Johnson and Davis followed Sheridan a few miles, and then turned off to the left toward Liberty Gap, eastward of the railway, which was fortified. At the same time Colonel Wilder's mounted infantry were moving toward Manchester, followed by General Reynolds and the remainder of his division, the Fourth of Thomas's corps. The latter was followed a few hours later by the divisions of Negley and Rousseau, of the same corps.

Wilder was instructed to halt at Hoover's Gap until the infantry should come up, but finding it unoccupied he marched into it, captured a wagon-train and a drove of beeves passing through, and was pushing to the other extremity of it, when he was met by a heavy force of Confederates and pushed back. He held the Gap, however, until Reynolds came up and secured it. Meanwhile, McCook's troops, that turned toward Liberty Gap, with Willich's brigade in advance, soon encountered the Confederates. These were driven, their tents, baggage, and supplies, were captured, and the Gap was seized and held, against attempts to repossess it.

While Rosecrans was securing these important mountain passes, other

) June 24.

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