The stockade at Nolin surrendered to me without a fight. The commandant agreed to surrender if I would show him a certain number of pieces of artillery. They were shown him, but when I pressed him to comply with his part of the bargain, he hesitated, and said he would return and consult his officers. I think that (as two of the pieces shown him were the little howitzers, which I happened to have temporarily) he thought he could hold out for a while, and gild his surrender with a fight. He was permitted to return, but not until, in his presence, the artillery was planted close to the work, and the riflemen posted to command, as well as possible, the loop-holes. He came to us again, in a few minutes, with a surrender. The Nolin bridge was at once destroyed, and also several culverts and cow-gaps within three or four miles of that point.
The division encamped that night within six miles of Elizabethtown. On the morning of the 27th, the division moved upon Elizabethtown. This place was held by about six hundred men, under a Lieutenant Colonel Smith. As we neared the town, a note was brought to General Morgan, from Colonel Smith, who stated that he accurately knew his (Morgan's) strength, had him surrounded, and could compel his surrender, and that he (Smith) trusted that a prompt capitulation would spare him the disagreeable necessity of using force. The missive containing this proposal—the most sublimely audacious I ever knew to emanate from a Federal officer, who, as a class, rarely trusted to audacity and bluff, but to odds and the concours of force—this admirable document was brought by a Dutch Corporal, who spoke very uncertain English, but was positive on the point of surrender. General Morgan admired the spirit which dictated this bold effort at bluffing, but returned for answer an assurance that he knew exactly the strength of the Federal force in the town, and that Lieutenant Colonel Smith was in error, in supposing that he (Smith) had him (Morgan) surrounded; that, on the contrary, he had the honor to state, the position of the respective forces was exactly the reverse. He concluded by demanding him to surrender. Colonel Smith replied that it was "the business of an United States officer to fight, and not to surrender." During the parley, the troops had been placed in position. Breckinridge was given the left of the road, and the first brigade the right. I dismounted Cluke's regiment, and moved it upon the town, with its left flank keeping close to the road. I threw several companies, mounted, to the extreme right of my line, and the rear of the town. Breckinridge deployed his own regiment, under Lieutenant Colonel Stoner, immediately on the left of the road, stretching mounted companies also to his left, and around the town.
The bulk of both brigades was held in reserve. The Parrot gun was placed in the pike; it was opened as soon as the last message from Colonel Smith was received; and, as suddenly as if its flash had ignited them, Palmer's four guns roared out from the hill on the left of the road, about six hundred yards from the town, where General Morgan himself was superintending their fire. Cluke moved warily, as two or three stockades were just in his front, which were thought to be occupied. When he entered the town, he had little fighting to do, and that on the extreme right. Stoner dashed in on the left with the Ninth Kentucky, at a swift run. He burst into the houses occupied by the enemy at the edge of the town, and with slight loss, compelled the inmates to surrender. The enemy had no artillery, and ours was battering the bricks about their heads in fine style. Palmer, who was a capital officer—cool and clearheaded—concentrated his fire upon the building where the flag floated, and the enemy seemed thickest, and moved his six pounders into the very edge of the town. I sent for one of the howitzers, and when it came under Lieutenant Corbett, it was posted upon the railroad embankment, where it crossed the road. Here it played like a fire engine upon the headquarters building. Breckinridge posted Company A, of his regiment, to protect the howitzer, making the men lie down behind the embankment.
The enemy could not well fire upon the gunners from the windows, on account of the situation of the piece, but after each discharge would rush out into the street and open upon them. Then the company lying behind the embankment would retaliate on the enemy in a style which took away their appetite for the game. It happened, however, that a staff officer of General Morgan, passed that way, and conceiving that this company was doing no good, ordered it, with more zeal than discretion, to charge. The men instinctively obeyed. As they ran forward, they came within fair view of the windows, and a heavy volley was opened upon them, fortunately doing little damage. Their officers, knowing that the man who gave the order, had no right to give it, called them back, and they returned in some confusion, the enemy seized the moment, and flocking out of the houses poured a sweeping fire down the street. The gunners were driven away from the howitzers, and two or three hit. Lieutenant Corbett, however, maintained his place, seated on the carriage, while the bullets were actually hopping from the reinforce of the piece. He soon called his men back, and resumed his fire.
It was as fine an exhibition of courage as I ever saw. Shortly after this, there seemed to be a commotion among the garrison, and the white flag was shown from one of the houses. Major Llewellyn, Division Quartermaster, immediately galloped into the town, reckless of the firing, waving a white handkerchief. Colonel Smith was not ready to surrender, but his men did not wait on him and poured out of the houses and threw down their arms. Among the fruits of this victory, were, six hundred fine rifles, more than enough to arm all of our men who were without guns. The entire garrison was captured. Some valuable stores were also taken. On the next day, the 28th, the command moved leisurely along the railroad, destroying it thoroughly. The principal objects of the expedition, were the great trestle works at Muldraugh's hill, only a short distance apart. The second brigade captured the garrison defending the lower trestle six hundred strong; the first brigade captured the garrison of the upper trestle two hundred strong. Both of the immense structures were destroyed and hours were required to thoroughly burn them. These trestles were, respectively, eighty or ninety feet high—and each, five hundred feet long.
Cane Run bridge, within twenty-eight miles of Louisville, was destroyed by a scouting party. Two bridges on the Lebanon branch, recently reconstructed, were also burned. Altogether, General Morgan destroyed on this expedition, two thousand two hundred and fifty feet of bridging, three depots, three water stations, and a number of culverts and cattle-guards. The impression which prevails in some quarters, that General Morgan left the road on account of the pursuit of Colonel Harlan, is entirely erroneous. With the destruction of the great trestles at Muldraugh's hill, his contract with the road expired and he prepared to return. He would have liked to have paid the region about Lexington another visit, but General Bragg had urged him not to delay his return. Harlan was moving slowly after us; but for the delay consequent upon the destruction of the road, he would never have gotten near us and, but for an accident, he would never have caught up with any portion of the column, after we had quitted work on the railroad.
On the night of the 28th, the division had encamped on the southern bank of the Rolling fork. On the morning of the 29th, it commenced crossing that stream, which was much swollen. The bulk of the troops and the artillery were crossed at a ford a mile or two above the point at which the road from Elizabethtown to Bardstown along which we had been encamped, crosses the Rolling fork. The pickets, rear-guard, and some detachments, left in the rear for various purposes, in all about three hundred men, were collected to cross at two fords—deep and difficult to approach and to emerge from. Cluke's regiment, with two pieces of artillery, had been sent under Major Bullock to burn the railroad bridge over the Rolling fork, five miles below the point where we were. A court-martial had been in session for several days, trying Lieutenant Colonel Huffman, for alleged violations of the terms granted by General Morgan to the prisoners at the surrender of the Bacon creek stockade.
Both brigade commanders, and three regimental commanders, Cluke, Hutchinson, and Stoner, were officers or members of this court. Just after the court had finally adjourned, acquitting Colonel Huffman, and we were leaving a brick house, on the southern side of the river and about six hundred yards from its bank, where our last session had been held, the bursting of a shell a mile or two in the rear caught our ears. A few videttes had been left there until every thing should have gotten fairly across. Some of them were captured; others brought the information that the enemy was approaching. This was about eleven A.M. We knew that a force of infantry and cavalry was cautiously following us, but did not know that it was so near. It was at once decided to throw into line the men who had not yet crossed, and hold the fords, if possible, until Cluke's regiment could be brought back. If we crossed the river leaving that regiment on the southern side, and it did not succeed in crossing, or if it crossed immediately and yet the enemy pressed on vigorously after us, beating it to Bardstown—in either event it would be cut off from us, and its capture even would be probable. No one knew whether there was a ford lower down at which it could cross, and all feared that if we retreated promptly the enemy would closely follow us. I, therefore, sent a message to General Morgan, informing him of what was decided upon, and also sent a courier to Major Bullock, directing him to return with the regiment as soon as possible.
The ground on which we were posted was favorable to the kind of game we were going to play. Upon each flank were thick woods extending for more than a mile back from the river. Between these woods was a large meadow, some three hundred yards wide, and stretching from the river bank for six or eight hundred yards to a woods again in the back ground, and which almost united the other two. In this meadow and some two hundred yards from the river was a singular and sudden depression like a terrace, running straight across it. Behind this the men who were posted in the meadow were as well protected as if they had been behind an earthwork. On the left the ground was so rugged as well as so wooded that the position there was almost impregnable. There was, however, no adequate protection for the horses afforded at any point of the line except the extreme left.
The Federal force advancing upon us consisted of nearly five thousand infantry, two thousand cavalry, and several pieces of artillery. This force, which, if handled vigorously and skillfully, if its march had even been steadily kept up, would have, in spite of every effort we could have made, swept us into the turbid river at our backs, approached cautiously and very slowly. Fortunate as this was for us—indeed, it was all that saved us—the suspense yet became so sickening, as their long line tediously crept upon us and all around us, that I would almost have preferred, after an hour of it had elapsed, that Harlan had made a fierce attack.
We were not idle during this advance, but the skirmishers were keeping busy in the edges of the woods on our flanks, and the men in the meadow were showing themselves with the most careful regard to an exaggerated idea being formed of their numbers. When the enemy reached the edge of the woods which fringed the southern extremity of the meadow, and had pressed our skirmishers out of it and away from the brick-house and its out-buildings, the artillery was brought up and four or five guns were opened upon us. Just after this fire commenced, the six-pounders sent with Bullock galloped upon the ground, and a defiant yell a short distance to the right told that Cluke's regiment, "The war-dogs," were near at hand. I was disinclined to use the six-pounders after they came, because I know that they could not effectively answer the fire of the enemy's Parrots, and I wished to avoid every thing which might warm the affair up into a hot fight, feeling pretty certain that when that occurred, we would all, guns and men, "go up" together. Major Austin, Captain Logan, and Captain Pendleton, commanding respectively detachments from the Ninth, Third, and Eighth Kentucky, had conducted the operations of our line up to this time with admirable coolness and method.
The guns were sent across the meadow rapidly, purposely attracting the attention of the enemy as much as possible, to the upper ford. A road was cut through the rough ground for them, and they were crossed with all possible expedition. Cluke threw five companies of his regiment into line; the rest were sent over the river. We now wished to cross with the entire force that was on the southern side, but this was likely to prove a hazardous undertaking with an enemy so greatly out-numbering us lying just in our front. A courier arrived just about that time from General Morgan with an order to me to withdraw. In common with quite a number of others, I devoutly wished I could. The enemy's guns—the best served of any, I think, that I ever saw in action—were playing havoc with the horses (four were killed by one shell), and actually bursting shells in the lower ford with such frequency as to render the crossing at it by a column out of the question.
Our line was strengthened by Cluke's five companies to nearly eight hundred men, but when the enemy moved upon us again, his infantry deployed in a long line, strongly supported, with a skirmish line in front, all coming on with bayonets glistening, the guns redoubling their fire, and the cavalry column on the right flank (of their line) apparently ready to pounce on us too, and then the river surging at our backs, my blood, I confess, ran cold.
The final moment seemed at hand when that gallant rear-guard must give way and be driven into the stream, or be bayoneted on its banks. But not one fear or doubt seemed to trouble for a moment our splendid fellows. They welcomed the coming attack with a glad and defiant cheer and could scarcely be restrained from rushing to meet it. But we were saved by the action of the enemy.
The advancing line was withdrawn (unaccountably to us) as soon as it had come under our fire. It did not recoil—it perhaps had not lost a man. It was at once decided that a show of attack, upon our part, should be made on the center, and I ordered Captain Pendleton to charge upon our left, with three companies, and silence a battery which was annoying us very greatly; under cover of these demonstrations we had determined to withdraw. Just after this arrangement was made, I was wounded in the head by the explosion of a shell, which burst in a group of us true to its aim. The horse of my acting Aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Moreland, was killed by a fragment of it. Colonel Breckinridge at once assumed command, and energetically and skillfully effected the safe withdrawal of the entire force. Pendleton accomplished by his charge all that was expected. He killed several cannoneers and drove all from the guns, silencing them for a quarter of an hour. He, himself, was badly wounded by the fragment of a shell which burst short.
Aided by this diversion and the one made upon the front, every thing was suddenly thrown into columns and dashed across the river, leaving the army on the other side cheated of its prey which it ought to have secured. The troops were gotten across the more readily because of the discovery of a third ford in the rear of Cluke's position. It was accidentally found at the last moment. Our loss was very slight, except in horses. The enemy did not attempt pursuit. No eulogium could do justice to the conduct of the men engaged in this affair—nothing but their perfect steadiness would have enabled any skill to have rescued them from the danger. Captains Pendleton, Logan, Page, and Hines, and Major Austin, deserved the warmest praise. Cluke acted, as he did always where courage and soldierly conduct were required, in a manner that added to his reputation. Breckinridge's skill and vigor, however, were the chief themes of conversation and praise.
On that night the division encamped at Bardstown. Colonel Chenault, on the same day, destroyed the stockade at Boston, and marched on after the division at Bardstown.
Leaving that place on the 30th, the column reached Springfield at 3 P.M. "Adam Johnson had been ordered to move rapidly in advance, and attack the pickets in front of Lebanon; which he had executed with such vigor as to make Colonel Hoskins believe he intended to attack him, and he called in a regiment of cavalry stationed near New Market, thereby opening the way for us to get out without a fight."
At Springfield General Morgan learned that his situation was hazardous, and one that would elicit all of his great powers of strategy and audacity. The enemy had withdrawn the bulk of his troops from the Southern part of the State, and had concentrated them at Lebanon, only eight miles distant from his then position, and right in his path. This force was nearly eight thousand strong and well supplied with artillery. He had also received intelligence that a large force was marching from Glasgow to intercept him at Columbia, should he succeed in evading the force at Lebanon. Harlan was not so far in his rear that he could afford to dally. "In this emergency," he said, "I determined to make a detour to the right of Lebanon, and by a night march to conceal my movements from the enemy, outstrip the column moving from Glasgow to Columbia, and cross the Cumberland before it came within striking distance." Shortly before midnight, therefore, on the night of the 30th, the column moved from Springfield, turning off from the pike on to a little, rarely traveled, by-road, which passes between Lebanon and St. Mary's. Numerous fires were built in front of Lebanon, and kept up all night to induce the belief that the division was encamped there and would attack in the morning. The night was intensely dark and bitterly cold, the guides were inefficient, and the column floundered along blindly; the men worn out and half frozen, the horses stumbling at every step—nothing preserved organization and carried the column along but the will of the great Captain in the front and the unerring sagacity which guided him. It is common to hear men who served in Morgan's cavalry through all of its career of trial and hardship, refer to the night march around Lebanon as the most trying scene of their entire experience.
Morning found the column only eight miles from Springfield, and two and a half from Lebanon. At that place, however, the garrison were drawn up, confidently expecting attack from another direction. By 1 P.M., of the 31st, the column reached the top of Muldraugh's hill, on the Lebanon and Columbia road, and soon after nightfall was in Campbellsville.
Just after the column had crossed the hill, a hand-to-hand fight occurred between Captain Alexander Treble and Lieutenant George Eastin, on the one side, and Colonel Halisey, of the Federal cavalry, and one of the latter's Lieutenants, on the other. Treble and Eastin had, for some purpose, fallen behind the rear-guard and were chased by Halisey's regiment, which was following us to pick up stragglers. Being both well mounted, they easily kept ahead of their pursuers, until, looking back as they cantered down a long straight stretch in the road, they saw within three hundred yards, perhaps, of them, four men who were far in advance of the rest of the pursuers.
Treble and Eastin were both high-strung men and they did not like to continue to run from that number of enemies. So as soon as they reached a point in the road where it suddenly turned, they halted a few yards from the turn. They expected to shoot two of the enemy as soon as they came in sight and thought that they would then have little trouble with the others. But it so happened that only two, Halisey and his Lieutenant, made their appearance; the other two, for some reason, halted; and what was stranger, Treble and Eastin, although both practiced shots, missed their men. Their antagonists dashed at them and several shots were fired without effect. The combatants soon grappled, man to man, and fell from their horses. Treble forced the head of his man into a pool of water just by the side of the road and, having half drowned him, accepted his surrender. Eastin mastered Halisey and, putting his pistol to his head, bade him surrender. Halisey did so, but, still retaining his pistol, as Eastin let him arise, he fired, grazing the latter's cheek, who immediately killed him. Eastin brought off his saber, which he kept as a trophy.
In Campbellsville, luckily, there was a large supply of commissary stores, which were immediately issued to the division. Leaving early on the next morning, the 1st of January, 1863, the column reached Columbia at three P.M. All that day the roaring of artillery was distinctly heard by many men in the column. There was no cannonading going on—at least, in the volume which they declared that they heard—except at Murfreesboro', far distant, where the battle between the armies of Bragg and Rosecrans was raging; but it seems incredible that even heavy guns could have been heard at that distance.
Just before night fall, the column moved from Columbia and marched all night—a dark, bitter night and a terrible march—to Burkesville. The Cumberland was crossed on the 2nd and the danger was over. The division then moved leisurely along, through Livingston, crossing Caney Fork at Sligo Ferry, and reached Smithville on the 5th. Here it halted for several days to rest and recruit men and horses, both terribly used up by the raid.
The results of this expedition were the destruction of the railroads which has been described, the capture of eighteen hundred and seventy-seven prisoners, of a large number of stores, arms, and government property of every description. Our loss was only twenty-six in killed and wounded (only two killed), and sixty-four missing.
During our absence, the sanguinary battle of Murfreesboro' was fought, ending in the withdrawal of Bragg to Tullahoma, much, it is claimed, to the surprise of his adversary. General Bragg had sent officers to Morgan (who never reached him until it was too late) with instructions to him to hasten back, and attack the enemy in the rear. It was unfortunate that these orders were not received. To do General Bragg justice, he managed better than almost any commander of the Confederate armies to usefully employ his cavalry, both in campaigns and battles. In the battle of Murfreesboro', he made excellent use of the cavalry on the field. Wharton and Buford, under command of Wheeler, three times made the circuit of the Federal army and were splendidly efficient; at one time Wheeler was master of all between the immediate rear of Rosecrans and Nashville.
Perhaps Morgan's raid was delayed a little too long, as well as that of Forrest into Western Tennessee (undertaken about the same time, and in prisoners, captures of all sorts, and interruption of the enemy's communications, as successful as Morgan's); but these expeditions drew off and kept employed a large number of troops whose presence in the great battle would have vastly aided Rosecrans.
The Confederate Congress thought this expedition worthy of recognition and compliment, and passed a joint resolution of thanks, as follows:
"Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America: That the thanks of Congress are due, and are hereby tendered to Gen. John H. Morgan, and the officers and men of his command, for their varied, heroic, and invaluable services in Tennessee and Kentucky, immediately preceding the battle before Murfreesboro'—services which have conferred upon their authors fame as enduring as the records of the struggle which they have so brilliantly illustrated. Approved May 17, 1863."
After the battle of Murfreesboro', and the retreat of the arms to Tullahoma, at which place General Bragg's headquarters were established, the infantry went into winter quarters, and General Bragg protected the front and flanks of his army with the fine cavalry corps of Van Dorn and Wheeler. The former was assigned to the left, making headquarters at Columbia, and guarding the lines far to the west, while Wheeler had the right. This latter corps was composed of the divisions of Morgan, Wharton, and Martin.
Although the armies were idle for months after this disposition was made, the cavalry was never so. General Wheeler had been placed in command of his corps by General Bragg, probably more on account of the dislike entertained by the latter to certain other officers, than because of the partiality he felt for him. The reputation of this officer, although deservedly high, hardly entitled him to command some of the men who were ordered to report to him. He became subsequently a much abler commander than he was at the time of his preferment, but he always exhibited some very high qualities. He was vigilant and energetic, thoroughly instructed in the duties of his profession, and perfectly conversant with the elaborate details of organization and military business. While he did not display the originality and the instinctive strategical sagacity which characterized Morgan and Forrest, he was perhaps better fitted than either for the duties which devolve upon the commander of large bodies of cavalry, permanently attached to the army and required to conform, in all respects, to its movements and necessities.
Thus, it was often said of him, that "he is not a good raider, but there is no better man to watch the front of the army." General Wheeler possessed in an eminent degree, all of the attributes of the gentleman. He was brave as a Paladin, just, high-toned, and exceedingly courteous. He was full of fire and enterprise, but, while thoroughly impressed with the necessity of order and discipline, was singularly unfortunate in maintaining them—perhaps, because he did not keep strict enough rule with his officers immediately next him in rank. He labored under great disadvantages, on account of the violent and unjust prejudices excited against him by General Bragg's preference for him and his rapid promotion. General Morgan said to him, when first ordered to report to him, that he (Morgan), had wished to be left free, acting independently of all orders except from the Commander-in-Chief, but that since he was to be subordinate to a corps commander, he would prefer him to any other. General Morgan always entertained this opinion, and I have reason to believe that General Wheeler reluctantly assumed command of his division.
The history of the command, for the winter of 1863, properly commences at the date of the return from the raid into Kentucky, described in the last chapter. The entire division reached Smithville upon the 4th of January, and remained in the vicinity of that little town and at Sligo ferry until the 14th. Upon the 14th, the division was marched to McMinnville, and encamped around that place—where General Morgan's headquarters were then established. The first brigade lay between McMinnville and Woodbury, at which latter point Lieutenant Colonel Hutchinson was stationed with the Second Kentucky. The weather was intensely cold, and all of the men who were unprovided with the means of adequately sheltering themselves, suffered severely. Their ingenuity was taxed to the utmost to supply the lack of cooking utensils, and it frequently happened that they had very little to cook.
Fortunately, a great many blankets had been obtained upon the last raid, and almost every man had gotten a gum cloth. These latter were stretched over the rail shanties which each mess would put up; and thus covered the sloping, shed-like structures (built of the fence rails), made very tolerable substitutes for tents, and with the help of the rousing fires, which were built at the front of them, were by no means uncomfortable. Very little system was observed in the "laying out" of the encampment—men and horses were all huddled together, for the men did not fancy any arrangement which separated them by the slightest distance from their horses, and the latter were always tied close to the lairs of their masters.
Notwithstanding the lack of method and the apparently inextricable confusion of these camps, their inmates could be gotten under arms and formed in line of battle, with a celerity that would have appeared marvelous to the uninitiated.
Colonel Chenault was ordered, in the latter part of January, to Clinton county, Kentucky, to picket against a dash of the enemy from that direction. On the 23rd of January, Colonel Breckinridge was ordered to move to Liberty, eleven miles from Smithville and about thirty from McMinnville, with three regiments—the Third Kentucky, under Lieutenant Colonel Huffman, the Ninth Kentucky, under Lieutenant Colonel Stoner, and the Ninth Tennessee, under Colonel Ward, who had come to the command of it after Colonel Bennett's death, Colonel Adam R. Johnson was already in the vicinity of that place with his regiment, the Tenth Kentucky. Captain Quirk preceded these regiments with his company, and shortly after his arrival at Liberty and before he could be supported, he, was driven away by the enemy. He returned next morning, the enemy having retreated. The three regiments, under Colonel Breckinridge, occupied the country immediately in front of Liberty, picketing all of the roads thoroughly. The enemy were in the habit of sending out strong foraging parties from Readyville toward Woodbury, and frequent skirmishes occurred between them and Hutchinson's scouts.
Upon one occasion, Hutchinson, with less than one hundred men, attacked one of these parties, defeating it with smart loss, and taking nearly two hundred prisoners and forty or fifty wagons. For this he was complimented in general orders from army headquarters. It led, however, in all probability, to disastrous consequences, by inducing the enemy to employ many more troops in that quarter than he would otherwise have sent there. This affair occurred a short time previously to the occupation of Liberty by the force under Colonel Breckinridge, and a much brisker condition of affairs began to prevail all along the line. Rosecrans was determined to make his superior numbers tell, at least, in the immediate vicinity of his army. He inaugurated a system, about this time, which resulted in the decided improvement of his cavalry. He would send out a body of cavalry, stronger than any thing it was likely to encounter, and that it might never be demoralized by a complete whipping, he would back it by an infantry force, never far in the rear, and always ready to finish the fight which the cavalry begun. This method benefited the latter greatly. On the 24th, the Second Kentucky was attacked at Woodbury by a heavy force of the enemy, and a gallant fight ensued, ending by an unhappy loss for us, in the death of Lieutenant Colonel Hutchinson.
From various causes the regiment had become much depleted, and on this day it was reduced (by the sending off of detachments for necessary duties), to less than four hundred men. The enemy advanced, over three thousand strong, principally infantry, but Hutchinson determined not to give up his position without a hard fight. He posted his men advantageously upon the brow of a hill in front of the village, sheltering a portion of his line behind a stone wall. The enemy preceded his attack with a smart fire of artillery, to which Hutchinson could make no reply, but was forced to take it patiently. But when the infantry moved up and came within range of our riflemen, the tables were (for a little while) completely turned, and they fell fast under a fire that rarely failed to do deadly execution. The unequal contest lasted more than an hour; during that time the stone wall was carried by the enemy, but was retaken by Captain Treble and Lieutenant Lea, charging at the head of their gallant companies. Much as he needed men, Hutchinson kept one of his companies idle and out of the fight, but, nevertheless, producing an effect upon the enemy. He caused Captain Cooper to show the head of his company, just upon the brow of the hill, so that the enemy could see it but could not judge correctly of its strength, and might possibly think it a strong reserve.
Constantly exposed to the fire of artillery and small arms throughout the fight, this company never flinched, nor moved from its position until it was ordered to cover the retreat. Then it filed to the left, as if moving to take the enemy in flank, and when the column had passed, wheeled into the rear, under cover of the hill. Colonel Hutchinson, at length, yielded to the conviction that he could not hold his ground against such odds. The arrival of a fresh company enabled him to retreat with greater security, and he ordered the line to retire. A portion of it was pressed hard as it did so, and he rode to the point of danger to encourage the men by his presence. He had exposed himself during the action with even more than his usual recklessness, but with impunity. Just as all seemed over, however, and he was laughing gleefully at his successful withdrawal, a ball struck him upon the temple, and he fell dead from his horse. Lieutenant Charles Allen, the gallant acting Adjutant of the regiment, and Charles Haddox (his orderly), threw his body upon his horse and carried it off under the hot fire.
Captain Castleman at once assumed command, and successfully conducted the retreat. The supply of ammunition entirely gave out just after the retreat was commenced.
Lieutenant Colonel Hutchinson was, beyond all comparison, the best field officer in Morgan's division, and indeed that I ever saw. Had he lived and been placed in situations favorable to the development of his talent, he would, I firmly believe, have become competent to any command. He had more natural military aptitude, was more instinctively the soldier; than any man I have ever known. He did not exhibit a marked partiality and gift for a particular class of military duties, so much as a capacity and fitness for all. He could make himself thorough in every thing which the service required. All that a soldier ought to know, he seemed to learn easily—all the proper feelings of a soldier seemed his natural impulses. General Morgan felt a warm and manly admiration for him, and reposed an implicit confidence in his character and ability. His brother officers loved to enhance his reputation, his men idolized him. Hutchinson had the frank generous temper, and straight forward, although shrewd, disposition which wins popularity with soldiers. While watchful and strict in his discipline, he was kind to his men, careful of their wants, and invariably shared their fare, whatever it might be. He was born to be a soldier and to rank high among soldiers. He loved the excitement of the game of war. He loved honor, as a western man loves the free air of the prairies—it was his natural element. It may seem to the general reader that I have extravagantly eulogized him, but his old-comrades will, perhaps, think that I have said too little. When killed he was barely twenty-four, but the effects of exposure and the thoughtful expression of his eye made him appear several years older. His great size and erect, soldierly bearing made him a conspicuous figure at all times, and in battle he was superb. Taller than all around him, his form, of immense muscular power, dilated with stern excitement—always in the van—he looked, as he sat upon his colossal gray charger, like some champion of an age when one man could stay the march of armies. There was some thing in his look which told his daring nature. His aquiline features, dark glittering eye, close cropped black hair, and head like a hawk's, erect and alert, indicated intense energy and invincible courage. Hutchinson's death cast a deep gloom over his regiment and (as Major Bowles, who then became Lieutenant Colonel, was absent when it occurred) an unfortunate quarrel broke out between two of the officers respecting seniority and the right to command it. This quarrel was espoused by their respective friends, and a state of feeling was induced which greatly impaired the efficiency of the regiment, until it was settled by the appointment of Captain Webber to the Majority. Webber had nothing to do with the dispute, but a committee appointed by General Morgan to investigate and decide the claims of all the Captains to seniority, pronounced him senior to both the contestants.
On the 14th of February, Colonel Cluke was sent into Eastern and Central Kentucky, for purposes which will be explained in the account which will be given of his operations. He took with him his own regiment, two companies under Major Steele—Company A, of the Second, and Companies C and I of the Third Kentucky—and about seventy men of the Ninth Kentucky under Lieutenant Colonel Stoner.
These detachments weakened the effective strength of the command at a time when it was engaged in service which tasked its energies to the utmost. That portion of "the front" which General Morgan was expected to protect, may be described as extending from Woodbury, in Tennessee, to Wayne county, in Kentucky, in an irregular curved line more than one hundred and twenty miles in length. It was exceedingly important that this entire line should be well picketed and closely watched, but it was necessary to give especial attention to that section of it in Tennessee (which was immediately confronted by formidable numbers of the enemy) and here, consequently, the greater part of the division was employed.
While it was necessary to keep strict ward at Woodbury, upon the left flank of this line, and a force adequate to the thorough picketing and scouting of that region was always kept there—the chief interest centered at Liberty, for here the efforts of the enemy to break the line and drive back the forces guarding it, were most frequently and energetically directed. This little hamlet is situated twenty-nine miles from Murfreesboro', by the turnpike, and almost due Northeast of it. A line drawn from Carthage to Woodbury would pass through Liberty, and the latter is distant some eighteen miles from each. Carthage is a little east of north, Woodbury a little west of south, from Liberty. About twenty-one or two miles from Liberty, and west of south, is Readyville—where was stationed at the time of which I write, a strong Federal force. Readyville is ten miles from Murfreesboro', and about the same distance northwest of Woodbury. Lebanon, twenty-six miles from Liberty by the turnpike which runs through Alexandria, and northwest of it, was at this time, permanently occupied by neither side, but both Federal and Confederate troops occasionally held it. Carthage, far upon the flank and virtually in the rear of the forces at Liberty, was occupied by a Federal garrison, which varied in strength, as the plans of the Federal Generals required. It could be reinforced and supplied from Nashville by the river, upon which it is situated, and it was well fortified.
A direct advance upon Liberty from Murfreesboro' promised nothing to the attacking-party but a fight in which superior numbers might enable it to dislodge the Confederates, and force them to retreat to Smithville; thence, if pressed, to McMinnville or Sparta. If such a movement were seconded by a cooperative one from Carthage, the effect would be only to hasten the retreat, for the country between Carthage and Smithville is too rugged for troops to traverse it with ease and dispatch, and they would necessarily have to march directly to Liberty, or to a point but a very short distance to the east of it. It may be stated generally that the result would be the same were an advance made upon Liberty by any or all of the routes coming in upon the front, and the enemy at Carthage was dangerous only when the Confederates exposed their rear by an imprudent advance. A rapid march through Woodbury upon McMinnville might bring the enemy at any time entirely between Liberty and the army at Tullahoma, or if he turned and marched through Mechanicsville, dash and celerity might enable him to cut off the force at Liberty entirely.
When it is remembered that about the only point of importance outside of Murfreesboro' and Nashville, and short of the line I have described (with the exception of Lebanon), whether north or south of the river, was occupied by a Federal garrison large enough to undertake the offensive, and that the country was traced in every direction by innumerable practicable roads, it will be clear that sleepless vigilance and the soundest judgment were necessary to the protection of the Confederate forces stationed in it. The three regiments encamped in the vicinity of Liberty numbered about one thousand effectives, and the other regiments under Colonel Gano, including all which were not detached in Kentucky, under Colonels Cluke and Chenault, were posted in the neighborhood of Woodbury and McMinnville, and were about the same aggregate strength.
During the latter part of January and in February and March, the entire command was kept constantly and busily employed. Scouts and expeditions of all kinds—dashes at the enemy and fights between reconnoitering parties were of almost daily occurrence, and when Colonels Gano and Breckinridge were not harassing the enemy, they were recipients of like attention from him. Perhaps no period in the history of Morgan's cavalry of equal duration can be cited, in which more exciting and arduous service was performed. I regret that my absence from it at that time, and consequent want of familiarity with these events, renders it impossible that I shall describe them with the minuteness and accuracy which belong only to the personal observer. It has been said, in allusion to this period and the action then of Morgan's command, "If all the events of that winter could be told, it would form a book of daring personal adventures, of patient endurance, of great and continued hardship, and heroic resistance against fearful odds." The narration of these scenes in the simple language of the men who were actors in them, the description by the private soldiers of what they dared then, and endured, the recital of men (unconsciously telling their own heroism) would be the proper record of these stirring and memorable months. They could tell how, worn out with days and nights of toil, the brief repose was at length welcome with so much joy. Frequently the rain and sleet would beat in their faces as they slept, and the ice would thicken in their very beds. Happy were the men who had blankets in which to wrap their limbs, other than those which protected their horses' backs from the saddle. Thrice lucky those who could find something to eat when they lay down, and another meal when they arose. It oftenest happened that before the chill, bleak winter's day had broken, the bugle aroused them from comfortless bivouacs, to mount, half frozen and shivering, upon their stiff and tired horses and, faint and hungry, ride miles to attack a foe, or contest against ten-fold odds every foot of his advance.
Some of the personal adventures, so frequent at that time, will perhaps be found interesting. An expedition undertaken by General Morgan himself, but, unlike most of those in which he personally commanded, unsuccessful, is thus related: "Upon January 29th, General Morgan, accompanied by Major Steele, Captain Cassell, and a few men, came to Liberty to execute a dangerous plan. It was to take fifty picked men, dressed in blue coats, into Nashville, burn the commissary stores there, and in the confusion of the fire, make their escape. He had an order written, purporting to be from General Rosecrans, to Captain Johnson, Fifth Kentucky cavalry, to proceed from Murfreesboro' to Lebanon, thence to Nashville, arrest all stragglers, make all discoveries, etc. I can not recollect now from what commands the fifty men were selected, but know that Steele, Cassell, and Quirk went along. The plan was frustrated by an accident. As General Morgan rode up to Stewart's ferry, over Stone river, a Captain of a Michigan regiment, with some twenty men, rode up to the other side. Morgan immediately advanced a few feet in front of his command, touched his hat, and said, "Captain, what is the news in Nashville?"
Federal Captain—"Who are you?"
"Captain Johnson, Fifth Kentucky Cavalry, just from Murfreesboro', via Lebanon, going to Nashville by General Rosecrans' order—what is your regiment?" "—— Michigan." Morgan then asked: "Are you going further?"—"No." "Have you any news of Morgan?" With perfect self possession Morgan answered: "His cavalry are at Liberty—none closer." He then said to Quirk: "Sergeant, carry as many men over at a load as possible, and we will swim the horses. It is too late to attempt to ferry them over."
"The Michigan Captain started to move on when Morgan asked him to wait and they would ride to Nashville together. When he consented, most of his men got down and tried to warm themselves by walking, jumping, etc. Quirk pushed across with about a dozen men, reached the bank, and started the boat back; unfortunately, as his men climbed the bank, their gray pants showed, the Michiganders became alarmed, and Quirk had to attack forthwith. The Captain and some fifteen men surrendered immediately; the remainder escaped and ran to Nashville, giving the alarm. Morgan declared that if he had succeeded in capturing them all, he would have gone immediately into Nashville. Those who knew him best, will most readily believe it."
A short time after the fight at Woodbury, Lieutenant Colonel Bowles, with the greater part of the Second Kentucky, and supported by a battalion under Lieutenant Colonel Malone (Alabama), engaged a large force of the enemy at Bradyville. Attacking the advance-guard of this force (before he became aware of the strength of the main body), Colonel Bowles drove it in confusion and rout, into the town, and even forced back for some distance (so impetuous was his charge), the regiments sent to its support.
In reckless, crushing attack, Colonel Bowles had no superior among the officers of the division. His dauntless and rash bravery gave great weight to a charge, but, unluckily, he was perfectly indifferent about the strength of the enemy whom he charged. On this occasion greatly superior forces closed in on both flanks of his command, and a part of the enemy driving away Malone's battalion, gained his rear before he could disentangle himself. Quick fighting and fast running alone saved the regiment, but it was a "hard party" to capture, and it got away with a very slight loss in prisoners. Several men in the extreme rear were sabered, but, of course, not killed. One man of Company K, who had an axe strapped on his back, was collared by a Federal Captain, who struck him on the head with his saber. The "old regular" deliberately unstrapped his axe, and with one fierce blow shivered his assailant's skull.
The sloughs and mud holes were frequent and deep. Some of the men declared that they would "dive out of sight at one end of them and come up at the other." Lieutenant Colonels Huffman and Martin were especially enterprising during the early part of February, in the favorite feat of wagon catching, and each attacked with success and profit large foraging parties of the enemy. They some times ran into more difficult situations than they had bargained for, and it must be recorded that each had, on more than one occasion, to beat a hasty and not altogether orderly retreat. But these mishaps, invariably repaired by increased vigor and daring, served only to show that officers and men possessed one of the rarest of soldierly qualities, the capacity to receive a beating and suffer no demoralization from it. I have heard an incident of one of these dashes of Martin, related and vouched for by reliable men who witnessed it, which ought to be preserved. Martin had penetrated with a small force into the neighborhood of Murfreesboro', and upon his return was forced to cut his way through a body of the enemy's cavalry. He charged vigorously, and a melee ensued, in which the combatants were mixed all together. In this confused hand-to-hand fight, Captain Bennett (a dashing young officer, whose coolness, great strength and quickness had made him very successful and celebrated in such encounters), was confronted by an opponent who leveled a pistol at his head, and at the same time Bennett saw one of the men of his company just about to be shot or sabered by another one of the enemy. Bending low in his saddle to avoid the shot aimed at himself, Captain Bennett first shot the assailant of his follower and then killed his own foe. Upon one occasion, Captain Quirk in one of his many daring scouts got into a "tight place," which is thus briefly narrated by one familiar with the affair:
"On the same day, Captains Quirk and Davis (the latter of South Carolina), Colonel Breckinridge's aide, started for a sort of fancy trip toward Black's shop. Below Auburn they met Federal cavalry and charged; the enemy had prepared an ambuscade, which Quirk's men saw in time to avoid—but not so Quirk, Davis and Tom Murphy, who being splendidly mounted, were ahead. Into it, through it they went. Quirk unhurt—Davis wounded and captured, and Tom Murphy escaping with what he described 'a hell of a jolt,' with the butt of a musket in the stomach. Davis some how managed to escape, and reached our lines in safety, but with a severe flesh wound in the thigh." Captain Davis became afterward Assistant Adjutant General of the first brigade.
The following report of what was justly entitled "one of the most dashing and brilliant scouts of the war," will give an idea of how this force, so small and so constantly pressed, yet managed to assume the offensive, and of how far it would strike:
REPORT OF CAPTAIN T.H. HINES,
Liberty, Tennessee, March 3, 1863.
Colonel William C.P. Breckinridge, commanding 2nd Brigade, General Morgan's Division, Sir: Having been detailed with a detachment of thirteen men and one Lieutenant, J.M. Porter, of my company, to proceed to Kentucky, south of Barren river, for the purpose of destroying the Federal transports from plying between Bowlinggreen, Kentucky, and Evansville, Indiana, I have the honor of submitting my report. The detachment left this point at twelve o'clock, February 7th; on the evening of the 8th, crossed the Cumberland river at Granville, Tennessee. The night of the 11th, reached the vicinity of Bowlinggreen, but unfortunately our presence, force and design becoming known to the Federal authorities by the capture of Doctor Samuel Garvin, who had volunteered to accompany us, we were under the necessity of altering materially the plan of operations. We disbanded to meet on the night of the 20th, twelve miles south of Bowlinggreen. On the morning of the 21st, we burned the depot and three cars at South Union, on the Louisville and Memphis railroad, all stored with Federal property. At 12 o'clock, P.M., on the 25th, captured the steamer "Hettie Gilmore," in the employ of the Federal Government, and heavily laden with stores for the Army of the Cumberland, all of which we destroyed, paroling the boat. Made a circuit of forty miles, destroyed a train of twenty-one cars and an engine at Woodburn, on the Louisville and Nashville railroad, at 6 o'clock, P.M., February 26th. The whole amount of Federal property destroyed on the 21st, 25th and 26th, inclusive, can not fall short of half a million of dollars. In conclusion, Colonel, we have been twenty-one days, one hundred and fifty miles within the enemy's lines, traveled in thirty-six hours one hundred miles, injured the Federal Government half a million dollars, caused him to collect troops at points heretofore unprotected, thereby weakening his force in front of our army. After destroying the train at Woodburn, and being closely pursued by the enemy, we swam an angry little stream known as Drake's creek, in which attempt Corporal L.H. McKinney was washed from his horse and drowned. He was indeed a gallant soldier and much beloved by his comrades. Too much praise can not be given to Lieutenant Porter and the brave, true men who accompanied me on this trip, bearing all the fatigue and danger incident to such a scout without a murmur. I have the honor to be with great respect, Your obedient servant,
T. HENRY HINES, Capt. Comd'g Scouts.
* * * * *
Sometime during February two fine regiments, the Fifth and Sixth Kentucky were added to the division. These regiments were commanded respectively, by Colonels D.H. Smith and Warren Grigsby. They had been recruited while General Bragg occupied Kentucky, for Buford's brigade, but upon the dissolution of that organization they were assigned at the request of their Colonels, to General Morgan's command. The material composing them was of the first order and their officers were zealous and efficient.
Sometime in the same month an order was issued from army headquarters, regularly brigading Morgan's command. The Second, Fifth, Sixth and Ninth Kentucky and Ninth Tennessee, were placed in one brigade, the first. The Third, Eighth, Eleventh and Tenth Kentucky, composed the second brigade. Colonels Smith and Grigsby were both the seniors of the other Colonels of the first brigade, but each refused to take command, on account of their recent attachment to the command, and Colonel Breckinridge was assigned to the temporary command of it. Colonel Adam Johnson was senior Colonel of the division, but was absent during the greater part of the winter, and Colonel Gano took command of the second brigade. The regiments, however, were so disposed and scattered, that the brigades were not practically organized for some time after the order was issued.
The history of the Ninth Tennessee regiment illustrates how much can be done by the efforts of an intelligent, zealous and firm officer, however discouraging may appear the prospect when he undertakes reforms. The men of this regiment, recruited principally in Sumner and Smith counties of Middle Tennessee, were capable, as the result showed, of being made excellent soldiers, but their training had commenced under the most inauspicious circumstances. They were collected together (as has been previously related) in August, 1862, in a camp at Hartsville, and their organization was partially effected in the neighborhood of a strong enemy, while they were entirely without arms or any support and protecting force. Several times during this period, they were attacked by the enemy and scattered in all directions—the fact that they always reassembled promptly demonstrating their excellent character.
When General Morgan returned from Kentucky, this regiment joined him at Gallatin. Its commander, Colonel Bennett, was deservedly popular for many genial and noble qualities. He was high minded, brave and generous, but neglected to enforce discipline among his men, and his regiment was utterly without it. Upon his death, Colonel William Ward succeeded to the command, and a marked change and improvement was at once perceptible. He instituted a far stricter discipline, and enforced it rigidly; he constantly drilled and instructed his men, and requiring a higher standard of efficiency in the officers, greatly improved them. At the same time he exercised the utmost care and industry in providing for all the wants of his regiment. In a very short time, the Ninth became, in all respects, the equal of any regiment in Morgan's division.
Colonel Ward's first exploit, with his regiment thus reformed, was to attack and completely defeat a foraging party, capturing several wagons and seventy-five prisoners. He then performed, with great ability, a very important duty, that of harassing General Crook's command, which had been stationed opposite Carthage, on the south side of the Cumberland. Colonel Ward, avoiding close battle, annoyed and skirmished with this force so constantly, that it never did any damage, and finally recrossed the river. From this time, the Ninth Tennessee did its fair share of dashing and successful service.
But some account should be given of the operations of Colonel Chenault, in Clinton and Wayne counties, Kentucky, and of Colonel Cluke, in the interior of the State. I can best describe the service of the first named of these commands by copying, verbatim, from the diary of a gallant field officer of the regiment. He says: "The regiment started" (January 15th) "in a pelting rain for Albany, Kentucky—we marched through mud, rain and snow for five days, swimming both Collins and Obie rivers, and reached Albany on the morning of the 22nd of January, 1863, all much exhausted, and many men dismounted. We find Albany a deserted village. It was once a flourishing village of five hundred inhabitants, and is the county seat of Clinton county. It is now tenantless and deserted, store houses, hotel, lawyers' offices, churches, dwelling houses and court house unoccupied and going to decay. Where was once joy, peace, prosperity and busy bustling trade, wicked war has left nought but desolation, ruin and solitude. We camped in the town, and were surrounded with a country teeming with good rations and abundance of forage.
"January 24th. With one hundred men I went on a scout to Monticello, distant twenty-five miles from Albany, drove a Yankee company, commanded by Captain Hare, out of Monticello and across the Cumberland river—captured two prisoners. From this date until the 15th February, we scouted and picketed the roads in every direction, and had good rations and forage, with comfortable quarters, but heavy duty, the whole regiment being on duty every two days. 'Tinker Dave' annoyed us so much that we had to establish a chain picket every night around the entire town. Colonel Jacob's Yankee regiment is at Creelsboro', twelve miles distant, and Woolford's brigade is at Burkesville, fourteen miles distant. Our little regiment is one hundred and twenty miles from support, and it is only by vigilance and activity that we can save ourselves. An order was received yesterday from the War Department forever fixing our destiny with Morgan.
"Learning from newspapers, that our Scouts brought in, that Woolford would make a speech in Burkesville on the 12th day of February, I started from Albany, with two companies, early that morning, and forming my men behind a hill, I watched from the bushes near the river the assembling of the crowd at the court house. At 1 o'clock the bell rang. A short time before that, the guard at the ferry, in four hundred yards of the court house, composed almost entirely of soldiers, and after speaking commenced I charged on foot to a school house immediately on the banks of the river, and from there drove the pickets, that had dismounted, away from their horses, and also broke up the speaking in tremendous disorder. We killed a number of horses, and the killed and wounded among the Yankees were seven. The boys christened the school house Fort McCreary, but it did not last long, for the night after we left the Yankees crossed the river and burned it.
"February 19th. Colonel Cluke passed within a few miles of us, and sent an order from General Morgan for two companies. Companies D and E, Captains Dickens and Terrill, were sent him.
"March 4th. By order of General Morgan I moved with three companies from Albany to Monticello to-day; am camping in the town. The citizens are hospitable and polite. Woolford, with a very large force, is around Somerset. I am kept very busy picketing and scouting; it is General Morgan's object to occupy all the country this side of the Cumberland until Cluke's return from Kentucky.
"March 10th. To-day the balance of the regiment under Colonel Chenault arrived at Monticello. We have raised one company of new recruits since coming to Kentucky.
"March 20th. I crossed Cumberland river with twenty-six men last night in a horse trough, and then marched on foot two miles to capture a Yankee picket. The force at the picket base fled, but I captured two videttes stationed at the river. The trip was very severe. I lost one man.
"April 1st. General Pegram's brigade arrived to-day en route for Kentucky on a raid. The brain fever has killed seventeen of our regiment up to this date, among them Captain Sparr and Lieutenant Covington.
"April 11th. Pegram captured Somerset, and moved on to Danville, and thence commenced his retreat; was compelled to fight at Somerset and was defeated; Colonel Chenault moved our regiment to the river and helped him to cross. His forces were much scattered, and many were captured.
"April 8th. Cluke returned to-day from Kentucky; the two companies that went from this regiment were much injured. What is left reported to-day. Captain Terrill and Lieutenant Maupin both severely wounded at the Mt. Sterling fight, and left behind.
"April 29th. River being fordable, the enemy crossed in heavy force both at Mill Springs and mouth of Greasy Creek. Tucker met them on Mill Spring road, and I met them on Greasy Creek road; Chenault with part of the regiment remained at Monticello. The enemy was in large force, and we were compelled to evacuate Monticello at eleven o'clock to-night, and fell back in the direction of Travisville. Finding on the 1st day of May that the enemy was not pressing us, we returned to Monticello, and skirmished heavily with him; reinforcements to the enemy having arrived, we were compelled to fall back to the Obie River."
The "brain fever," to which the writer alluded, was a very singular disease. The patient attacked with it suffered with a terrible pain in the back of the head and along the spine; the extremities soon became cold, and the patient sank into torpor. It was generally fatal in a few hours. I recollect to have heard of no recovery from it.
As has already been mentioned, Colonel Cluke was dispatched to Central Kentucky on the 4th of February. The force under his command, in all seven hundred and fifty effectives, was his own regiment, the Eighth Kentucky, under the immediate command of Major Robert S. Bullock, seventy-eight men of the Ninth Kentucky and two companies of the Eleventh, under command of Lieut. Colonel Robert G. Stoner—entitled the First Battalion; and two Companies C and I, of the Third Kentucky, and Company A, of the Second Kentucky, under command of Major Theophilus Steele—styled the Second Battalion. The two mountain howitzers ("Bull Pups") were also attached to his command, under charge of Lieutenant C.C. Corbett. This force was ably officered, every company having excellent commanders. Colonel Cluke was supplied also with an efficient staff, Captains C.C. and C.H. Morgan (of the General's own staff) accompanied him. Lieutenant Moreland (a staff officer of the first brigade) attended him as aide, and was eminently fitted (on account of his earnest and serious turn of mind) to act as adviser in an expedition wherein so many delicate and difficult questions might arise for solution, although his extreme gravity of temper and taciturn manner made the younger and more mercurial officers of the staff somewhat impatient of his society.
Colonel Cluke had no officer regularly detailed as A.A.A. General. Sergeant Lawrence Dickerson, clerk of the Adjutant's office of the first brigade, and thoroughly competent, performed all the duties of one.
The advance guard was commanded by Lieutenant Shuck of the Eighth Kentucky, and the scouts were commanded by Lieutenant Hopkins, of the Second, and Lieutenant S.P. Cunningham, of the Eighth. One hundred rounds of ammunition and six days' rations were issued to the men upon the morning that the command marched. The weather was inclement and intensely cold, when this expedition was commenced. A march through sleet, rain, and snow, and over terrible roads, brought Colonel Cluke to the Cumberland river on the evening of the 18th. Lieut.-Colonel Stoner and Lieutenant Hopkins crossed the river, with a few men, in a canoe, surprised and captured the Federal pickets posted to guard the ferry, at which Colonel Cluke wished to cross, and brought over flatboats and a coal barge, by means of which the entire command was crossed, the horses being made to swim. So bitter was the cold that eight horses chilled to death immediately upon emerging from the stream.
On the 19th the column reached Somerset. A strong force of the enemy had been stationed there, but fell back to Danville on learning of Colonel Cluke's approach. The greater part of the stores collected there fell into Cluke's hands. Pressing on, Cluke compelled the surrender of a detachment of Federal troops at Mt. Vernon, and did not halt until within fifteen miles of Richmond. Wretched roads and a blinding snow storm rendered this march harassing and tedious. The scouts moved to within ten miles of Richmond, and Lieutenant Hopkins halting with a portion of them, Lieutenant Cunningham went on three miles further with eight men. He found a picket post of the enemy, where four videttes were stationed. He answered their challenge by declaring himself and party friends, and, advancing to the post, persuaded the Federals that they were an advance party of Woolford's regiment, which they represented to be returning from Tennessee to Kentucky to assist in repelling an anticipated raid. Lieutenant Cunningham stated that all the various Federal forces in that region were to be immediately concentrated at Lexington, as certain information had been obtained that General Breckinridge had entered the State at the head of ten thousand infantry. The sergeant of the post then gave Lieutenant Cunningham a statement of the location and strength of all the Federal commands in the vicinity, and invited him to go to a house a short distance off, where the picket detail to which he belonged made base. Cunningham, finding this detail twenty-four strong, made an excuse to send back two of his own men and one of the Federals, thus calling Hopkins to his aid, who, in an hour or two, arrived with the other eight men of the scouts.
A skirmish immediately ensued between the parties. One Federal was killed and two wounded—the rest were made prisoners. They were completely deceived and surprised. The whole affair was as clever a piece of strategy as can be found in the annals of partisan service. Learning that two hundred and fifty of the enemy were at Richmond, Cluke broke camp at an early hour and marched rapidly in hopes to capture them. They started to Lexington, however, before he got to Richmond. The rumor (which had been industriously circulated) that Breckinridge had entered the State, was accomplishing its work. Major Steele was immediately dispatched, with three companies under his command. He overtook the rear-guard at Comb's ferry, and drove it in upon the column—a brisk skirmish and chase ensuing—Steele driving them into Lexington. He came very near being killed shortly afterward. Leaving his command halted, he rode to a picket post some distance off, with one or two men, and essayed to capture the videttes. One of them (after signifying that he would surrender) suddenly placed his rifle to the Major's breast and fired. A thick Mexican blanket wrapped tightly in many folds about his body, saved his life; yet the bullet pierced the blanket and entered his breast, breaking a rib. This wound disabled him, at a time when his services were most needed, for several days.
On the same night, Captain C.H. Morgan and Lieutenant Corbett, while reconnoitering near Lexington and seeking highly important information, were captured. Colonel Cluke moved on the night of the 22nd (crossing the Kentucky river at Boonsboro') to Winchester, reaching that place on the 23rd. He then sent detachments in various directions to excite and bewilder the enemy as thoroughly as possible. Major Bullock advancing toward Lexington, Lieutenant Colonel Stoner was sent to Mt. Sterling, and Lieutenant Cunningham was sent toward Paris. The most intense excitement prevailed and reports were rife and believed that rebels were flocking into the State from all directions. Cluke finding that he had reduced the enemy to inaction, and could do so safely, permitted men who lived in the neighboring counties to visit their homes and thus gave greater currency to these rumors. This had been one of the objects of the expedition. The other ends had in view, in undertaking it, to-wit: to obtain and keep a thorough understanding of the condition of affairs in Kentucky during the winter, and to enable the men to procure horses and clothing, were perfectly accomplished. Lieutenant Cunningham demonstrated successfully in the direction of Paris, confining the troops there to the town. Lieut. Colonel Stoner moved rapidly on Mt. Sterling and found the enemy, which had been stationed there under Colonel Wadsworth, just evacuating the town. Stoner immediately attacked and completely routed his enemy. The road by which the latter retreated, was strewn for miles with overcoats, guns, wrecked wagons, and all the debris of routed and fleeing troops. Stoner captured many prisoners and several wagons.
On the 24th, the entire command was concentrated at Mt. Sterling, and the day was spent in collecting and distributing horses, equipments, etc. The enemy at Lexington having recovered by this time from the fright given them on the 21st, by Major Steele, and learning the falsity of the rumors of a heavy Confederate advance, now came out in search of Cluke. On the morning of the 25th, a brigade dashed into Mt. Sterling. The command was much weakened, not only by the detachments which had again been sent out, but by furloughs allowed men who lived in the immediate vicinity. It was at once driven out of the town but retreated, unpursued, only a short distance. It has been said that the men came in so quickly, that the command was increased from two hundred to six hundred, before "the echoes of the enemy's artillery had died away." This brigade which had driven out Cluke, established itself at Mt. Sterling. Cluke now successfully inaugurated a strategy which has been greatly and justly admired by his comrades. Lieutenant Cunningham was sent with a few picked men to the vicinity of Lexington and directed to spy thoroughly upon the officials there. Ascertaining enough to make the project feasible, the Lieutenant sent a shrewd fellow (disguised in Federal uniform) to the headquarters of the officer commanding, upon some pretended business which enabled him to hang about the office. While there this man purloined some printed blanks and brought them out with him. One of these was filled up with an order (purporting to come from Lexington to the officer in command at Mt. Sterling), instructing him to march at once to Paris to repel a raid threatening the Kentucky Central railroad. He was directed to leave his baggage under a small garrison at Mt. Sterling. A courier properly dressed bore this order to Mt. Sterling, and dashed in with horse reeking with sweat and every indication of excited haste. He played his part so well that the order was not criticized and induced no suspicion. This courier's name was Clark Lyle—an excellent and daring scout.
As soon as the necessary preparations were made, the Federals marched to Paris and Cluke re-entered the town, capturing the garrison and stores. He remained until the 8th of March, his scouts harassing the enemy and keeping him informed of their every movement.
Another heavy advance of the enemy induced Colonel Cluke to retreat beyond Slate into the hills about Howard's mill.
Three companies were left in the vicinity of Mount Sterling, under Captain Cassell. One stationed upon the North Middletown pike, was so closely pressed by the enemy, that it was forced to cross Slate, below Howard's mill. The other two were also hotly attacked and driven back to Colonel Cluke's encampment, sustaining, however, but slight loss. Falling back to Ficklin's tan yard, where it was posted in ambush, and failing to entice the enemy into the snare, Colonel Cluke marched to Hazelgreen, determining to await there the arrival of General Humphrey Marshall, who was reported to be approaching (from Abingdon), with three thousand men.
Captain Calvin Morgan volunteered to carry a message to Marshall, and traveled (alone), the wild country between Hazelgreen and Pound Gap, a country infested with a crowd of ferocious bushwhackers. About this time, Cluke's whole force must have been badly off, if the language of one of his officers be not exaggerated, who (in an account of the encampment at Hazelgreen) declares that, "the entire command was prostrated by a severe attack of erisipelas."
After the effects of this "attack" had somewhat worn off, Lieutenant Colonel Stoner was sent back to Montgomery, and maintained himself there for several days, with skill and gallantry. Threatening demonstrations from the enemy induced Cluke to retreat from Hazelgreen and still further into the mountains. He established himself on the middle fork of Licking, near Saliersville. On the 19th, he found himself completely surrounded. Fifteen hundred of the enemy had gained his rear, ten hundred advancing from Louisa, were on his right, and eight hundred were at Proctor, on his left. In his front was the garrison of Mt. Sterling, five hundred strong, but likely at any time to be reinforced by the forces then in Central Kentucky. The roads in all directions were so well observed that he could not hope to escape without a fight.
His command was reduced to about three hundred effectives—the rest were suffering from the erisipelas. In this emergency, Colonel Cluke conceived a determination at once bold, and exceedingly judicious. He resolved to march straight on Mount Sterling and attack it, at any hazard. He trusted that the enemy would send no more troops there, but would rather (anticipating that he would seek to escape southward), send all that could be collected to intercept him in that quarter.
A tremendous march of sixty miles in twenty-four hours, over mountains and across swollen streams, brought him to McIntyre's ferry of the Licking, thirty miles from Mt. Sterling. Crossing on the night of the 20th and morning of the 21st, Major Steele was sent with his battalion via, Owingsville (in Bath county), to take position on the Winchester pike, beyond Mount Sterling, that he might give timely information of the approach of reinforcements to the garrison. Colonel Cluke moved with the rest of his command through Mud Lick Spring, directly to Mount Sterling. Colonel Cluke at the head of a body of men entered the town from the east, while Lieutenant Colonel Stoner with the two companies from the Eleventh Kentucky, the men of the Ninth under Captain McCormick, and Hopkins' scouts, charged in from the northwest.
The enemy fell back and shut themselves up in the court-house. Stoner charged them, but was driven back by a terrible fire from the windows—the garrison was stronger than the force he led against them. A detachment of thirty men were then ordered to advance on the street into which the Winchester pike leads, and burn the houses in which the Federals had ensconced themselves. With torch, axe and sledge hammer these men under McCormick and Cunningham forced their way into the heart of the town. As they reached the "Old Hotel," which was occupied by a body of the Federals, and used also as a hospital, a flag of truce was displayed. McCormick, Cunningham, and six others entered, and were coolly informed by some forty or fifty soldiers that the sick had surrendered, but they (the soldier) had not, and threatened to fire upon them, from the upper rooms, if they tried to escape from the building. At the suggestion of Lieutenant Saunders, the eight Confederates forced the sick men to leave the house with them, in a mingled crowd, thus rendering it impossible for the Federals to fire without endangering the lives of their comrades. Before quitting the house, they set it on fire. In a short time the entire Federal force in the town surrendered, and victors and vanquished went to work together to extinguish the flames.
Colonel Cluke took four hundred and twenty-eight prisoners, two hundred and twenty wagons laden with valuable stores, five hundred mules, and nearly one thousand stand of arms. Captain Virgil Pendleton, a most gallant and valuable officer was killed in this affair. Captain Ferrill and Lieutenant Maupin were seriously wounded. Cluke's loss was three killed, and a few wounded. The enemy's but little greater.
The Union men of Mount Sterling were much mortified by this last capture of their town. The previous evening bets were running high that Cluke would be made prisoner. Cluke immediately evacuated the town, and was attacked some five miles to the eastward of it, by a force of Federal cavalry, preceding a body of infantry which were approaching to relieve the place. An insignificant skirmish resulted, and Cluke marched to Owingsville unpursued. On the next day he encamped at McIntyre's ferry, and collected his entire command, now convalescent. Marshall marching from Pound Gap, about this time, dispersed the forces which had gone to capture Cluke at Saliersville. On the 25th, Major Steele was sent across the Kentucky river to join General Pegram, who had advanced with a brigade of Confederate cavalry to Danville. Major Steele reached him much further south. As he was retreating from the State, General Pegram halted near Somerset to fight a strong force of the enemy which was following him and was defeated. Major Steele's battalion was highly complimented for the part it took in the action, and in covering the subsequent retreat. On the 26th, Colonel Cluke again advanced, and encamped in the vicinity of Mount Sterling. He received orders soon after from General Morgan to return, and marched southward accordingly. Colonel Cluke had good right to be proud of this expedition. He had penetrated into the heart of Kentucky, and maintained himself, for more than a month, with inferior forces—always fighting and never defeated, the enemy at last did not drive him out. He recrossed the Cumberland at the same point, and was stationed with Colonel Chenault, in the vicinity of Albany. Colonel Cluke's command was stronger by eighteen men when he returned than when he set out upon his raid.
In order to trace properly the history of the division, during this period, it is necessary that I disregard chronological arrangement, and return to the winter in Tennessee. In the latter part of February a new regiment was formed of Major Hamilton's battalion and some loose companies which had long been unattached, and some which had recently been recruited for General Morgan. Colonel R.C. Morgan (brother of the General), was assigned to the command of this regiment, and Major Hamilton became Lieutenant Colonel. A month or two later, a valuable addition was made to it in Quirk's scouts. Colonel Morgan was an excellent officer and had acted as Assistant Adjutant General to Lieutenant General A.P. Hill through all the stern battles and glorious campaigns, in which his chief had figured so conspicuously. Becoming tired of staff duty, and anxious to exchange the infantry service for the less monotonous life in the cavalry, he naturally chose his brother's command, and obtained a transfer to it. He became a dashing cavalry officer, and as an essential preliminary relaxed the rigidity of some of his military notions acquired while serving on the staff. He soon gave in to the prevalent cavalry opinion that horses were, or at least ought to be, "common carriers." During this winter, more prisoners were taken than there were effective men in the division, or men actively at work. The loss in killed and wounded which it inflicted was also severe, and the captures of stores, munitions, etc., were valuable and heavy.
The exertions made to equip and supply the command, by the division Quartermaster and Commissary of Subsistence, Majors Llewellyn and Elliott, ought to be mentioned, if for no other reason than the injustice which has been done them and the unmerited censures which have been showered upon them. Even now, there are, doubtless, few officers or men of the former Confederate army who can so far overcome the prejudice deeply rooted against men who served in those departments, that they can speak with any sort of commendation of Quartermasters and Commissaries. It has rarely happened that even the most industrious, efficient and honest of these officers have escaped the severest denunciation. I can testify that both of these gentlemen strove hard to provide for the wants of the division, although the tender attention they paid to their own, prevented them getting credit for it. They might have done better it is true, and the same can be said of all of us—but they certainly did a great deal. Major Elliott was never himself except when encompassed by difficulties—when there was really some excuse for failure, when supplies were really hard to obtain, then he became great. The avalanche of curses which invariably descend upon a Commissary, at all times, never disturbed his equanimity, except when he was in a barren country—then he would display Napoleonic resources.
Once a large lot of meat stored at Smithville took fire. He issued cooked hams to the troops, and the loss was scarcely felt. Once he lost all of his papers, accounts, receipts; vouchers, memoranda all went down on abstract, L., as the Quartermaster said of himself, who was picked off by a sharpshooter. The loss did not disturb him for a moment. He declared he could supply every paper from memory, and produced an entirely new set, which he claimed to be identical in substance with the originals. Of course every one laughed at him, but in the course of time, the old papers turned up, and, sure enough, there was not a dollar's difference between them and the new.
The great lack of supplies necessary to the comfort of troops, required to do constant and severe duty in such weather, told injuriously upon the discipline of the command. It was impossible to obtain clothing, shoes, etc., in quantities at all adequate to the demand and the greatest efforts of energy and enterprise upon the part of the subaltern officers, never make up for the deficiency in the regular supply of these articles from the proper sources.
Pay was something the men scarcely expected, and it benefited them very little when they received it. If the Confederate Government could have made some provision, by which its soldiers would have been regularly paid, the men would have been far better satisfied, for there is something gratifying to human nature in the receipt of money even when it is smartly depreciated. Certainly, if comfortable clothing and good serviceable boots and shoes had been issued, as they were needed, and the rations had been occasionally improved by the issue of coffee, or something which would have been esteemed a delicacy, the discipline and efficiency of all the troops would have been vastly promoted. It is hard to maintain discipline, when men are required to perform the most arduous and harassing duties without being clothed, shod, paid or fed. If they work and fight they will have little time to provide for themselves. But they certainly will not starve, and they object, decidedly, to doing without clothing if by any means and exertions they can obtain it. Then the converse of the proposition becomes equally true, and if they provide for themselves, they will have little time to work and fight. With cavalry, for instance, the trouble of keeping men in camp who were hungry and half frozen, and who felt that they had done good service, was very great. The infantryman, even if equally destitute, could not well straggle, but the cavalry soldier had his horse to take him, although the distance was great and the road was rough.
When men once commenced running about, they became incorrigible in the habit. Hunger might draw them out at first, but whisky would then become an allurement, and a multitude of seductive inducements would cause them to persist in the practice. In nine cases out of ten, when a man became an inveterate straggler, he was no loss if he were shot. These seem truisms, too palpable to need mention, but for three years they were dinned into the ears of certain officials, and not the slightest impression was made. These gentlemen preferred to attribute all evils, of the peculiar class which have just been mentioned, to the inherent and wicked antipathy to discipline, which the cavalry (they declared) entertained. They declared, moreover, that these articles could not be procured. This excuse passed current until the latter part of the war, when Federal raids and dashes disclosed the fact (by destroying or cutting them off from our use) unknown to all but the officials and employees, that hoarded and stored them away, at the very time that the Confederate armies were melting away for the lack of them.
It is no answer to the charge of incompetency or malfeasance upon the part of men charged with their distribution to say, that there was not enough to supply the demand. They should have been made to go as far as they would. It is difficult for one unfamiliar with the workings of these departments and the obstacles in the way of procuring supplies, to suggest a remedy for these shortcomings, but it is certain that the Confederacy owned cotton and tobacco and could have gotten more; that blockade running was active and could have been stimulated. An abstinence from certain luxurious but costly experiments might have enabled the Confederacy to buy more clothing, shoes, and meat. The opinion is hazarded with diffidence, and is that of one who was naturally prone to attach more importance to the sustenance of the military than of the naval power of the Confederacy, but would it not have been better to have expended upon the army the money paid for the construction of those fine and high-priced iron-clads, which steamed sportively about for a day or two after they left the stocks, and were then inevitably scuttled?
The winter wore away, and the condition of affairs in Tennessee, as described in the first part of this chapter, continued unchanged. Three times the enemy advanced in heavy force (cavalry, infantry, and artillery) to Liberty. Upon each occasion, the regiments stationed there under Colonel Breckinridge, after skillfully and courageously contesting his advance for many miles to the front of Liberty, fell back to Snow's Hill, three miles to the east of it, and returned to press hard upon the enemy's rear when he retired. At length, upon the 19th of March, when Colonel Ward was absent with his regiment reconnoitering in the direction of Carthage, and the force at Liberty was weakened by other detachments, until it was scarcely more than six hundred strong, information was received that the enemy were advancing and were near Milton, a small village about eighteen miles from Liberty. General Morgan had, the day before, notified Colonel Breckinridge of his intention to be at Liberty on the 19th. Colonel Breckinridge, when it became clear that the enemy was certainly pressing, posted his command in a good position upon the Murfreesboro' pike, and sent a courier to Gano with a request that the latter would promptly join him with his entire effective force. Colonel Breckinridge says of this disposition of his command: "To delay the enemy and give Gano time to come up, the pickets were strengthened and thrown forward. The enemy, being infantry, came on slowly but gradually drove our pickets nearly in. The peculiar formation of the ground gave the brigade great advantage, and admirably concealed its weakness. The enemy made demonstrations, but made no attack, and before nightfall bivouacked in line in sight of our skirmishers. Just at dark Morgan rode upon the ground, and was received with deafening cheers; and soon afterward Colonel Gano came up. Under cover of night the enemy withdrew to Auburn."
General Morgan, in his official report of the fight which ensued on the next day at Milton, says: "On the evening of the 19th inst. I reached Liberty, Tenn., and learned that the Federals were moving upon that place from Murfreesboro', their numbers being variously reported at from two thousand to four thousand infantry, and two hundred cavalry, with one section of artillery. At the time I reached my videttes on the Milton road, the enemy was within five miles of Liberty; it being near night, they fell back to Auburn, and encamped. Determining to attack them next morning, I ordered Colonels Breckinridge and Gano, who were in command of brigades, to move within four miles of the enemy, and hold themselves in readiness to move at any moment. In the meantime, I sent the 'scouts' to watch the movements of the enemy and to report, and to see if any reinforcements came up; also, to send me information when the enemy moved, for I was determined not to make the attack at Auburn, as they held a very strong position, and I was desirous they should move beyond a gorge in the mountains before the attack was commenced; for, if they had been permitted to take position there, it would have been impossible to dislodge them. After daylight, one of the scouts returned, bringing intelligence that the enemy was moving. Captain Quirk was ordered to move forward with his company, and attack the enemy's rear when they passed the mountain, and retard their progress until the main column arrived. When within a mile of Milton, Captain Quirk came up with their rear guard and commenced a vigorous attack upon them. The enemy immediately halted, deploying their skirmishers to the rear, and, bringing their pieces into position, commenced shelling Captain Quirk's men and the road upon which they had advanced. In a short time I arrived upon the ground. Finding that the main column of the enemy was still falling back, and their artillery was unsupported by any troops (with the exception of their skirmishers) I determined, if possible, to capture it. I, therefore, ordered Lieutenant Colonel Martin to move to the left with his regiment, and Colonel Breckinridge to send one to the right—to go forward rapidly and when within striking distance, to move in and cut off the pieces. Having two pieces of artillery, I ordered them to go forward on the road, supported by Colonel Ward's regiment, dismounted, and the remainder of the command to move in column in supporting distance.
"Just before the two regiments which had moved to the right and left reached the proper place to move upon the artillery, the enemy's skirmishers and artillery fell back rapidly upon their main column, which occupied a steep hill covered with cedars. They placed their battery on a line, with their column on the road immediately upon their right. To reach this position we would have to pass through a cedar brake, the ground being very rough and broken. A few of the enemy's skirmishers were thrown forward to that point. I ordered my two pieces of artillery to move upon the left of the road until they reached a point within four hundred yards of the enemy's artillery and then to silence their guns.
"They went forward gallantly, supported by a part of Ward's regiment. Lieutenant Colonel Martin who still occupied his position on the left was ordered forward to threaten the right of the enemy. At the same time, I ordered the command under Colonel Gano to move up, dismount and attack the enemy, vigorously, immediately in the front. Colonel Breckinridge was ordered to move to the right with his command and attack their extreme left. Captain Quirk, in the meantime, had been ordered to get upon the pike, immediately in the rear of the enemy, which he did in a most satisfactory manner, capturing fifteen or twenty prisoners.
"He remained in the rear of the enemy until reinforcements came to them from Murfreesboro' (being only thirteen miles distant), when he was driven back. When our artillery opened, the whole command moved forward. Colonel Martin charged up in most gallant style, and had a number of his horses killed with canister, as the guns of the enemy were turned upon him. The remainder of the command was moved up to within one hundred yards of the main column of the Federals and dismounted. Moving rapidly to the front, they drove in the enemy's skirmishers, and pushed forward in the most gallant manner upon the hill occupied by the enemy, which was about sixty yards from the cedar brake alluded to. Colonel Breckinridge who commanded our extreme right, had his men dismounted, and went boldly up, the enemy's artillery being at this time moved from the pike to a position upon the top of the hill immediately in their center; but this was not accomplished until it came near being captured by Colonel Grigsby, who was within fifty yards of it and moving rapidly upon it, when his ammunition giving completely out, he was forced to halt, and the battery was saved. It was near this point that Colonel Napier was severely wounded while cheering and leading his men up. Colonel Grigsby was also wounded while in front of his command and encouraging his men. At the same time the firing from the center of the line nearly ceased; a few scattering shots, now and then, gave evidence that nearly all of the ammunition was exhausted. Two more rounds would have made our victory complete, and two thousand Federals would have been the result of the day's fighting."
Finding his ammunition completely gone, General Morgan ordered a withdrawal, and his forces fell back to Milton, the enemy neither firing upon nor pursuing them. Here he found an ordnance train and four pieces of artillery which had been sent from McMinnville. He was encouraged to renew the attack, hoping to capture the entire opposing force. "Martin was placed in the same position which he had previously occupied, and Gano, whose entire command had by this time arrived, was sent to the right.
The artillery took position in about eight hundred yards of the enemy's battery, and commenced a rapid and severe fire upon them. They had again taken position upon the pike, from which they were soon driven by Lieutenant Lawrence, who was in command of my battery. Our pieces were served with the greatest precision and coolness, and the men stood by their guns like veterans. Although they had but few men in the fight, the casualties were two killed and eighteen wounded, showing the determination with which they held their position. Too much praise can not be awarded to Lieutenant Lawrence. Three times the enemy had to change the position of their battery, and were silenced until reinforced by additional guns. While this artillery duel was progressing, my men were moving to the front and were about dismounting, when Captain Quirk was driven from the rear by a large force of the enemy which had just arrived in time to save the force in our front. I immediately ordered my entire command to fall back to Milton, and from thence to Liberty. The enemy did not follow."
General Morgan expressed his perfect satisfaction with the conduct of the officers and men in this fight, and complimented his brigade commanders and his personal staff.