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Knipe's in reserve, struck Hood's left on Richland Creek, near Hardin's house. These troops were dismounted, and, in conjunction with a part of McArthur's infantry, struck vigorous blows, drove the foe from his position, and captured many prisoners and wagons. Pushing on, they captured a four-gun redoubt, and turned the artillery upon the Confederates; and a little farther on they carried a stronger redoubt, and captured four more guns and three hundred prisoners.
While these successful movements were occurring on the right, General Wood, commanding the center, had moved forward parallel with Smith's advancing column, and at one o'clock in the afternoon, the Third Brigade of Wagner's division, led by Colonel S. P. Post, of the Fifty-ninth Illinois, gallantly charged and carried Hood's works on Montgomery Hill, and took some prisoners. Then Thomas sent Schofield, who was held in reserve, rapidly to the right of Smith, by which the National cavalry was allowed to operate more freely in the Confederate rear. The whole line then moved forward. Wood carried the entire body of Confederate works on his front, captured several guns, and took five hundred prisoners, while Smith and Schofield, and the dismounted cavalry, pressed back the left flank of the Confederates several miles, to the foot of the Harpeth hills. But they still held their line of retreat along the Granny White and Franklin pikes. Steedman, meanwhile, had gained some advantage on Thomas's extreme left. Darkness closed the conflict, which resulted in the capture, by the Nationals, of twelve hundred prisoners and sixteen guns, forty wagons and many small-arms, and in forcing their enemy's strong defensive line from left to right.
Thomas now re-adjusted his lines. Wilson, with his cavalry, was placed on the extreme right, with Schofield at his left; Smith in the center, and Wood on the left. Steedman was on the extreme left, but less advanced. Such was the general disposition of the National forces on the morning of
the 16th,“ when, at six o clock, Wood advanced, forced back
Hood's skirmishers on the Franklin pike, and then inclining a little to the right, pressed on due south until confronted by Hood's new line of defenses on Overton's Hill, five miles from the city. Then Steedman moved out of Nashville by the Nolensville pike, and forming on the left of Wood, gave full security to his flank. Smith came in on Wood's right, when the new-formed line faced southward, while Schofield, holding the position he had taken the previous evening, faced eastward, and threatened the Confederate left. Wilson's cavalry, dismounted, formed on his right.
It was now determined to continue the movement against Hood's left, so successfully begun the day before. The whole National line moved to within six hundred yards of that of the Confederates, at all points. Wilson was soon upon the rear of their left flank; and at three o'clock in the afternoon, Thomas ordered two of Wood's brigades to assault the foe on Over'ton's Hill, in front, while Thompson's negro brigade, of Steedman's command, should assault them further to the National left. The attack was made, but with fearful loss to the assailants. The movement had been discovered in time for Hood to send re-enforcements to the point of attack, and a heavy storm of grape, canister, and musket-shot was opened upon the troops as they pressed over the abatis, and up the hill. They had nearly
BATTLE OF NASHVILLE.
gained the crest, when reserves opened murderous volleys upon them, and they recoiled in confusion. Wood immediately restored order as they fell back, and re-formed his line, while Smith and Schofield, charging with impetuosity on the works on their respective fronts, carried all before them with very little loss. Wilson's dismounted horsemen charged farther to the
right, and closed the way of retreat along the Granny White pike. These advantages were announced by shouts of victory. Wood and Steedman heard them, and again assailed the Confederates on Overton's Hill. They were met by a heavy fire; but they pressed forward, carried all before them, and drove the foe in such haste through the Brentwood Pass, where the Franklin pike goes through the hills, that they left behind them their dead, wounded, prisoners, and guns. It was a complete rout. During the two days in which THE BATTLE OF NASHVILLE was fought, Thomas captured from Hood four thousand four hundred and sixty-two prisoners, of whom two hundred and eighty-seven were officers. He had also captured fifty-three guns, and many small-arms. More important than these, he had broken the spirit of Hood's army beyond hope of recovery.
HOOD DRIVEN OUT OF TENNESSEE.
* Dec. 17,
Wilson instantly remounted the divisions of Knipe and Hatch, and sent them toward Franklin, down the Granny White pike, with the hope that they might reach that place ahead of the fugitives. A mile on their way, they came to a barricade across the road, and behind it were Chalmer's cavalry. The position was immediately charged and carried by Colonel Spaulding and his Twelfth Tennessee Cavalry, who scattered the Confederates and took some prisoners, among whom was General E. W. Rucker. This detention allowed the fugitives to escape. It was too late for the pursuers to reach Franklin that night: they lay down upon the field of their victory, and slept on their arms.
The chase was renewed the next morning.“ Knipe overtook the rear-guard of the Confederates at Hollow Tree Gap, four
miles north of Franklin, and captured four hundred and thirteen of them. Meanwhile, Wilson had pushed on toward Franklin, and there he found Hood confronting him at the passage of the Harpeth. Johnson had gone rapidly down the Hillsboro' pike, and now coming suddenly upon Hood's rear, caused him to resume his flight in great haste, leaving behind him in Franklin eighteen hundred of his own wounded, and two hundred of the maimed Nationals, whom he had taken prisoners. Four miles south of Franklin his rear-guard made another stand, when Wilson's body-guard (Fourth Regular Cavalry) dashed through its center, while Knipe and Hatch pressed its flanks. It was scattered in confusion and lost more guns. Night came on, and the Confederates escaped.
The pursuit continued several days, while rain fell copiously. The country was flooded, and the streams were filled to the brim. The fugitives destroyed the bridges behind them, and rendered a successful pursuit impossible, for Thomas's pontoons were with Sherman. Then the weather became bitter cold, and the frozen, cut-up roads were almost impassable. Finally, at Columbia, Forrest, who was away on a raid when Thomas sallied out upon Hood, joined the latter, and, with his cavalry and four thousand infantry as a rear-guard, covered the broken Confederate army most effectually. This guard struck back occasionally, but the pursuit was continued
to Lexington, in Alabama, where, on the 28th, it was suspended,
when it was known that Hood had escaped across the Tennessee at Bainbridge, evading the gun-boats which Admiral S. P. Lee had sent up the river, at Thomas's request, to intercept him.'
In the mean time Thomas had sento Steedman with his forces
across from Franklin to Murfreesboro', with directions to proceed around by railway to Decatur, in Alabama, and thus to threaten Hood's railroad communications west of Florence. He was instructed to send back
¢ Dec. 18.
1 While Hood was investing Nashville, he sent a cavalry force, under General Lyon, into Kentucky, to operate on the Louisville railroad. General Thomas detached General McCook's cavalry division, and sent it in pursuit of Lyon. McCook attacked and routed a part of Lyon's forces at Hopkinsville, when the latter commenced a hasty retreat. Colonel Lagrange's brigade came up with the fugitive near Greenburg, and attacked and routed him, when Lyon succeeded, making a circuit by the way of Elizabethtown and Glasgow, in crossing the Cumberland River at Burkesville, from whence he moved by way of McMinnville and Winchester, Tennessee, to Larkinsville, Alabama. On the 10th of January he attacked a little garrison at Scottsboro', and was repuised, but succeeded in crossing the Tennessee River with a remnant of his command, only about 200 in number. He w s still pursued, and at a place known as Red Hill, he was surprised by Colonel Palmer, and half his men were made prisoners, on the 14th of January. After surrendering, he escaped, by seizing a pistol, shooting a sentinel, and disappearing in the gloom of night.
END OF THOMAS'S CAMPAIGN.
the garrisons which General Granger had called to Stevenson,' to their former posts. He was joined by Granger at the latter place, and they reoccupied Decatur on the 27th, but too late to impede Hood's flight, for he had already crossed the Tennessee. But a cavalry force of six hundred men, under Colonel W. J. Palmer, was sent from Decatur in pursuit of Hood's train. Pressing back Roddy's cavalry near Leighton, Alabama, Palmer moved toward Columbus, Mississippi, and captured and destroyed Hood's pontoon train, ten miles from Russellville. Another force being reported in pursuit, under cover of darkness Palmer pushed for Moulton. Meeting the Confederates near Thorn Hill, he attacked and defeated them, and arrived safely at Decatur on the 6th of January.
On the 30th of December, General Thomas announced to the army the termination of the campaign,' and gave orders for the proper distribution of his troops in winter cantonments at Eastport, in Northern Mississippi, at Athens and Huntsville, in Alabama, and at Dalton, in Georgia. But General Grant and the War Department had decided that there should be no rest until the Rebellion should be crushed. Sherman had reached the sea, and was prepared for a march northward through the Carolinas into Virginia, and the siege of Petersburg and Richmond was to be prosecuted with vigor. Accordingly, orders were issued for Thomas to send Wood with the Fourth Corps to Huntsville, and to concentrate the troops of Smith, Schofield and Wilson, at Eastport, to await a renewal of the winter campaign in Mississippi and Alabama. Hood's army, as an organization, had almost disappeared, when, on the 23d of January, he was “relieved," as he said, “at his own request,” at Tupelo, in Mississippi.
It was during the active campaign in Middle Tennessee, just considered, that the stirring events in which Generals Gillem and Breckinridge were chief actors, occurred, as recorded on page 287. General Stoneman then took command in that region, and concentrated the forces of Gillem and Burbridge at Bean's Station. Thence he moved toward Bristol, when his advance struck a force under Basil Duke, one of Morgan's officers, opposite Kingsport, dispersed them, captured their train, and took eighty-four of them prisoners. Burbridge pushed on to Bristol and Abingdon, capturing both places, with nearly three hundred prisoners, and destroying five loaded railway trains, and large quantities of stores and munitions of war. At Abingdon, Gillem joined Burbridge, when Stoneman menaced the important salt-works at Saltville, in that vicinity.
By this rapid advance into Virginia, Vaughan, in command of the Confederate frontier cavalry, had been flanked, but he moved on a parallel line to Marion, where Gillem fell upon and routed him, and chased him thirty miles into Wytheville. That place Gillem captured
& Dec. 12,
• Dec, 15.
1 See page 419.
? Thomas estimated his entire loss during the campaign, in all the operations under his command, from the 7th of September, 1864, to the 20th of January, 1865, at about 10,000 men, or less than one-half the loss of his adversary. During that time he had captured 11.857 men, officers and privates, besides 1,332 who had been exchanged, making a total of about 13,000. He had administered the oath of amnesty and submission to 2,207 deserters from the Confederate service, and had captured 72 serviceable guns and 3,079 small-arms.
* See page 414.
VISIT TO THE NASHVILLE BATTLE-GROUND.
at dusk the same evening, with two hundred men, eight guns, and a valuable wagon-train. After destroying Wytheville, and stores there, and the railway for some distance, Gillem returned to Mount Airy, from which place Stoneman bad sent out a brigade under Colonel Buckley, to destroy lead mines in that region, which that officer accomplished, after driving off
Vaughan, who was there. Stoneman now started to destroy the great salt-works already mentioned. On the way, Burbridge,
in the advance, met and fought Breckinridge near Marion, nearly all one day. Gillem approached from another point to cut the foe off from the salt-works, when Breckinridge, taking counsel of prudence, withdrew and retired over the mountains into North Carolina. Saltville, where the works were situated, was thus abandoned to its fate, after being guarded with the greatest care. These important works were now utterly destroyed, while spoils, in the shape of cannon, ammunition, and railway rolling stock, fell into Stoneman's hands. The object of the expedition having been accomplished, General Burbridge returned to Kentucky, and General Stoneman, with Gillem's command, went back to Knoxville.
The writer visited Nashville, and the battle-field in its vicinity, at the beginning of May, 1866, after a voyage on the Cumberland to Fort Donelson and back,' and he was placed under many obligations to General Thomas, and members of his staff, and especially to Major Willard, for kind attentions, and for facilities for obtaining all necessary topographical and
historical information concerning the battle of the 15th and
16th of December, of which a description, in outline, is given in this chapter.
General Thomas took the writer, in his light carriage drawn by a span of beautiful dappled gray horses, to various points of interest, the most important of which, for the author's purpose, was the lofty hill between the Hardin and Granny White turnpikes, on which the commanding general stood, with the whole field of operations in view, and directed the battle on the 15th. With a large topographical map in his hand,” he pointed out every important locality and explained every movement, making the text of his official report perfectly luminous. Around us lay, upon bare hills once crowned with groves and forest, and across desolated vales once beautiful with the richest products of cultivation, the long lines of intrenchments, with forts and redoubts, cast up by both parties in the strife, and scarcely altered in feature since the day of battle. With these, and the ruins of houses battered by missiles or laid in ashes by fire, in full view, and with the clear and vivid descriptions of General Thomas, the chief actor in the events of that day, which consecrated every hill and valley, ravine and streamlet within the range of vision, it required but a small effort of the imagination, then and there, to reproduce the battle in all its awful grandeur and hideousness.
General Thomas kindly offered his carriage and a driver for the writer's use in revisiting for further study, and for sketching important points connected with the battle. In this way, accompanied by his traveling companions (Messrs. Dreer and Greble), who joined him at Nashville on the day
1 See page 226, volume II.
? See reduced copy on page 427.