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THE OPPOSING ARMIES IN TENNESSEE.
CAMPAIGN OF THE ARMY OF THE CUMBERLAND FROM MURFREESBORO' TO
E left General Rosecrans and the Army of the Cumberland at Murfreesboro', after the Battle of Stone's River, at the beginning of 1863, where he established a fortified depot of supplies. General Bragg, his opponent, had taken a strong position. north of the Duck River,' his infantry extending from Shelbyville to Wartrace, his cavalry on his right stretched out to McMinnville, and on his left to Columbia and Spring Hill, on the railway between Nashville and Decatur. General Polk's corps was at Shelbyville. Hardee's head-quarters were at Wartrace, and his troops were holding Hoover's, Liberty, and Bellbuckle Gaps. Bragg's main base of supplies was at Chattanooga, on the Tennessee River, with a large depot at Tullahoma.
In nearly these repective positions the two armies lay for almost six months, but not in idleness. Although Rosecrans had the most men, Bragg was his superior in cavalry, and this gave the latter a vast advantage, because of the relation of that arm of the service to his adversary's supplies. These were chiefly drawn from far-distant Louisville, over a single line of railway, through a country whereof a majority of the inhabitants were hostile to the Government. For that reason, Rosecrans was compelled to keep heavy guards at bridges, trestle-work, and
A. MCDOWELL MCCOOK.
1 Bragg's army was in three divisions, one of which was cavalry, under the command of General J. H.
CAVALRY OPERATIONS NEAR THE CUMBERLAND.
Crittenden, and a reserve and cavalry corps.' The winter floods in the Cumberland favored him, and as rapidly as possible he collected large stores at Nashville by the river steamers, and made Murfreesboro' a depot for ample supplies. Finally, he obtained a sufficient number of horses and mules to warrant him in moving southward. Before considering that important act, which took place late in June, let us take a brief survey of the doings of the cavalry and mounted infantry of the two armies during the suspension of operations in full force.
At the beginning of February, General Wheeler, Bragg's chief of cavalry, with four thousand five hundred mounted men, and having General Wharton and Colonel N. B. Forrest as brigadiers, concentrated his forces at Franklin, a little below Nashville, on the road between that city and Decatur, for the purpose of attempting the recapture of Fort Donelson, which, it was known, had not been repaired since it was taken by Grant. It had not even been occupied, for it was of little account, excepting as a defense against gun-boats coming up the river. The little village of Dover, near by, had been partially fortified; and when Wheeler approached, the garrison, under Colonel A. C. Harding, consisted of only about six hundred effective men, mostly of the Eighty-third Illinois, with a section of Flood's battery (four guns) and a 32-pound siege-gun mounted upon a turn-table, and commanded by N. Grant Abbey, then a private in the Eighty-third Illinois.3
The chief object of the Confederates at this time was to interrupt the navigation of the Cumberland, and thus seriously interfere with the transportation of supplies for Rosecrans's army to Nashville, by way of the river. Forrest had been at Palmyra for the same purpose; and now, at a little past noon on the 3d of February," he demanded the surrender of Fort Donelson and the garrison. Harding was weak in numbers, but strong in heart. He defied his foe; and when the Confederates moved up to attack, he sent out skirmishers to impede their progress as much as possible, while a horseman was hastening to Fort Henry for aid, and a little steamer was speeding down the river, to summon to his assistance some gun-boats then convoying a fleet of transports up the stream. The skirmishers fell back, and when Wheeler and his men were within cannon-range, Harding opened upon them his 32-pounder and four smaller guns with great effect. From that time until after dark, Harding maintained a gallant fight with his foe, losing forty-five of his sixty artillery
Wheeler. The First Corps was commanded by Lieutenant-General Leonidas Polk, with Generals B. F. Cheatham, J. M. Withers, and S. B. Buckner as division commanders; and the Second by Lieutenant-General W. J. Hardee, whose division commanders were Generals P. R. Cleburne and A. P. Stewart. The cavalry division commanders were Generals J. A. Wharton and W. Martin.
1 The division commanders were as follows:-Fourteenth Army Corps-First Division, General J. C. Starkweather; Second Division, General J. S. Negley, Third Division, General J. M. Brannon; Fourth Division, General J. J. Reynolds. Twentieth Army Corps-First Division, General J. C. Davis; Second Division, General R. W. Johnson; Third Division, General P. H. Sheridan. Twenty-first Army Corps-First Division, General T. J. Wood; Second Division, General C. Cruft; Third Division, General H. P. Van Cleve. There was a reserve corps under General Gordon Granger, with General W. C. Whittaker commanding the First Division, General G. W. Morgan the Second, and General R. S. Granger the Third. The cavalry corps was commanded by General D. S. Stanley. The First Division was led by General R. B. Mitchell and the Second by General J. B. Turchin. 2 See page 220, volume II.
3 This brave soldier was highly complimented by Colonel Harding for his skill and bravery on that occasion, and he made him a present of a very fine revolver. He was promoted to sergeant. In May, 1865, he was mortally wounded in an encounter with guerrillas in Kentucky.
BATTLE NEAR FRANKLIN.
horses in the struggle. Finally, at eight o'clock in the evening, the gun-boat Fair Play, Lieutenant-commanding Fitch, came up, and gave the astonished Confederates a raking fire that dismayed them. They fled precipitately, and well for them they did, for other gun-boats were soon there. In this engagement Harding lost one hundred and twenty-six men, of whom fifty were made prisoners. Wheeler's loss was estimated at nearly six hundred. He left one hundred and fifty men dead on the field, and an equal number as prisoners. He withdrew to Franklin, and did not again attempt to capture Fort Donelson.
• Jan. 31, 1863.
While Wheeler was upon the Cumberland, General J. C. Davis, with two brigades of cavalry under Colonel Minty, and a division of infantry, was operating in his rear. Davis went westward from Murfreesboro"," and in the course of thirteen days his force swept over a considerable space, in detachments, and returned to camp without having engaged in any serious encounter. The fruit of the expedition was the capture of one hundred and forty-one of Wheeler's men, including two colonels and several officers of lower rank.
Both armies were now quiet for awhile. At length it was ascertained that General Van Dorn, with a considerable force of cavalry and mounted infantry, was hovering in the vicinity of Franklin; and Colonel John Colburn, of the Thirty-third Indiana, stationed at the latter place, and General Sheridan at Murfreesboro', were ordered to move in the direction of this menacing force. They marched simultaneously. Colburn's command consisted of nearly twenty-seven hundred men, of whom six hundred were cavalry.' He was directed to move on Spring Hill, twelve miles south of Franklin. He had marched but a little way when he fell in with a party of Confederates, with whom he skirmished. They were repulsed, and he moved on; but toward cvening they again appeared, with an additional force, and boldly confronted him. Colburn halted and encamped for the night, and soon after moving forward the next morning, he • March 5. was attacked by a greatly superior number of men, under Van Dorn and Forrest. After fighting until his ammunition was exhausted, Colburn was compelled to surrender about thirteen hundred of his infantry. The remainder of his infantry, and the cavalry and artillery not engaged in the fight, escaped. Van Dorn's force consisted of six brigades of mounted men. Sheridan, with his division, and about eighteen hundred cavalry, under Colonel Minty, first swept down toward Shelbyville, and then around toward Franklin, skirmishing in several places with detachments of Van Dorn's and Forrest's men. In a sharp fight at Thompson's Station, he captured some of the force which encountered Colburn. He finally drove Van Dorn beyond the Duck River, and then returned to Murfreesboro', with a loss during his ten days' ride and skirmishing of only five men killed and five wounded. His gain was nearly one hundred prisoners.
d March 14.
On the 18th of March, Colonel A. S. Hall, with a little over fourteen
1 A part of the Thirty-third and Eighty-fifth Indiana, Twenty-second Wisconsin, Nineteenth Michigan, and One Hundred and Twenty-fourth Ohio. The cavalry consisted of detachments from the Second Michigan, Ninth Pennsylvania and Fourth Kentucky, under Colonel Jordan. A battery of six guns composed the artillery.
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 men, of whom only six were killed.
Early in April, General Gordon Granger, then in command at Franklin, with nearly five thousand troops, was satisfied that a heavy force under Van Dorn was about to attack him. 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 Harpeth River, about fifty feet above that stream, and completely commanded the approaches tʊ Franklin. Granger's infantry and artillery were under the immediate command of General's Baird and Gilbert, and his cavalry was led by Generals 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,a Van Dorn, with an estimated force of nine thousand mounted men April, 1868. 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 men. 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.
1 The One Hundred and Fifth Ohio, Eightieth, and One Hundred and Twenty-third Illinois, a section of Harris's Nineteenth Indiana Battery, and one company of Tennessee cavalry.
2 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 criminal 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. He refused to give the satisfaction demanded, and ordered the injured husband to leave the room. The latter drew a revolver, shot the criminal dead, sprang out 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. Wine and women had ruined him." The correspondent of the Richmond Enquirer wrote from Chattanooga, on
STREIGHT'S RAID BELOW THE TENNESSEE.
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 McMinn• April 20, ville, then occupied by about seven hundred of Morgan's men. 1868. 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 hundred 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 Nashville 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."
1 See page 203, volume IL