The Army of the Cumberland
By Henry M. Cist, Brevet Brigadier-General U.S.V.; A. A. G. on the staff of Major-General Rosecrans, and the staff of Major-General Thomas; Secretary of the Society of the Army of the Cumberland.
The scope of this work precluded the entering into details as to the minor operations of the troops in the commands named. It has even been impossible to give the movements of troops on the battlefields in lesser organizations than brigades. The rosters of the several armies given in full in the appendices will enable those interested to trace the movements of the minor commands.
The subject is too great a one to be fully and justly treated within the limitations, both of time and space, which have necessarily been imposed here. Still, with the hope that the future student of history may glean something of value in this volume not found elsewhere, it is sent forth for the favorable consideration of its readers.
To the many friends who have kindly aided me in various ways, I return my sincere thanks. To Col. R. N. Scott, U.S.A., I am under special obligations for data furnished.
The maps for this volume were prepared by permission from those of Captain Ruger in Van Horne's "History of the Army of the Cumberland," published by Robert Clarke & Co., Cincinnati.
H. M. C.
PAGE List of Maps, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ix CHAPTER I. Early Movements, . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 CHAPTER II. Mill Springs, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 CHAPTER III. Concentration at Nashville, . . . . . . . . 21 CHAPTER IV. Morgan's and Forrest's Raids, . . . . . . . 31 CHAPTER V. Bragg's Advance into Kentucky, . . . . . . 48 CHAPTER VI. Battle of Perryville, . . . . . . . . . . . 61 CHAPTER VII. The Advance to Murfreesboro, . . . . . . . 87 CHAPTER VIII. The Battle of Stone's River, . . . . . . . 102 CHAPTER IX. In Murfreesboro, . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136 CHAPTER X. The Advance on Tullahoma, . . . . . . . . . 154 CHAPTER XI. The Movement to Chickamauga, . . . . . . . 173 CHAPTER XII. The Battle of Chickamauga, . . . . . . . . 193 CHAPTER XIII. The Siege of Chattanooga, . . . . . . . . . 230 CHAPTER XIV. Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain, and Missionary Ridge Battles, . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243
Appendix, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263 Index, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 273
LIST OF MAPS.
PAGE General Map of the Campaign, . . . . . . . 1 Mill Springs, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Battle of Perryville, . . . . . . . . . . . 64 Battle-Map Stone's River, . . . . . . . . . 103 Chickamauga Campaign, . . . . . . . . . . . 172 Battle of Chickamauga, . . . . . . . . . . 194 Battlefield of Chattanooga, . . . . . . . . 245
THE ARMY OF THE CUMBERLAND.
In Kentucky, during the spring of 1861, every shade of opinion prevailed, from the most pronounced Union sentiment to the most ultra secession sympathy.
The Government at Washington wished to enlist Kentucky heartily in support of the Union, while every effort was made by the rebel leaders to secure the secession of the State from the Union, and to have it join its fortunes to those of the South. These several efforts enlisted the active support of those in the State in sympathy with them, and Kentuckians became ultimately divided into two sharply defined parties. Under the peculiar doctrine of "armed neutrality" adopted by the local authorities, no serious infraction of the peace of the State was had until the fall. With the invitation given General Anderson to take command in Kentucky, by the State Legislature, the doctrine of "armed neutrality" came to an end. While it at times restrained prompt action on the part of the Union men of Kentucky during the first six months of the war, and hampered the Federal Government in the movement of troops in the State, still in the end it was of immense benefit to the cause of the Union, and enabled those in support of it in Kentucky to unite and perfect their plans in comparative peace, unmolested by the rebels from Tennessee and their own State. Under cover of "armed neutrality" the Union men remained quiet until the time had arrived for prompt and decided action, with men, and arms for their support, in the measures they adopted to retain Kentucky in the Union.
In accordance with a general plan of operations adopted by General Albert Sidney Johnston, on September 18th, General Buckner broke camp with the rebel forces at Camp Boone, Tenn., near the Kentucky line, and marching north, occupied Bowling Green, throwing out his advance as far as Elizabethtown.
On receipt of reliable information as to Buckner's movements, General Anderson sent General W. T. Sherman, second in command, to Camp Joe Holt, with instructions to order Colonel Rousseau with his entire command to report at once in Louisville. The "Home Guards" were also ordered out, and they assembled promptly in large force, reporting at the Nashville depot, and by midnight they were started to the front by train. Rousseau's command followed at once, General Sherman being in command of the entire force, amounting to some three thousand men. The advance by train was stopped at the Rolling Fork of the Salt River, about thirty-one miles south of Louisville, at which point the railroad bridge had been burned by the rebels. During the following day the troops under Rousseau forded the stream, and pressing forward occupied Muldraugh's Hills with its two trestles and a tunnel over fifteen hundred feet long. The Home Guards were left in camp at Lebanon Junction, some two or three miles in the rear, where Lieutenant-Colonel R. W. Johnson of the Third Kentucky Cavalry reported later in the day with some additional companies of Home Guards, and, by order of General Anderson, assumed command of the camp.
This disposition of troops caused Buckner to retire with his entire command to Bowling Green, where he strongly fortified his position.
The Kentucky State troops were under orders for ten days' service only, and their place was then filled by several regiments from the States immediately north of Kentucky. These troops were placed in camp, and there received instruction in drill, discipline, and camp regulations, waiting for orders for the advance.
General Johnston, under his general plan of creating a defensive line from Columbus on the west, running through Bowling Green east to some point to be determined on, early in September sent General Zollicoffer with a force numbering several thousand men to make an advance into Eastern Kentucky by way of Knoxville, East Tennessee, through Cumberland Gap to Cumberland Ford, threatening Camp Dick Robinson. On the 19th of that month the advance of Zollicoffer's command had a spirited skirmish with the "Home Guards" at Barboursville Bridge. These troops were compelled to retire, which they did, to Rock Castle Hills, where they were re-enforced by two Kentucky regiments under Colonel T. T. Garrard, of the Seventh Kentucky Infantry, who had received instructions from General Thomas to obstruct the roads and to hold the rebels in check. Garrard established his force at Camp Wildcat, behind temporary breastworks, where, on October 21st, he was attacked by Zollicoffer with 7,000 troops. Shortly after the attack General Schoepff [NOTE from Brett Fishburne the correct spelling is "Schoepf" as I know because this is my great-great-grandfather, but I have kept the spelling as in the original book for subsequent references], with five regiments of infantry, one of cavalry, and a battery of artillery, re-enforced Garrard, and after a severe fight the enemy was repulsed.
After Buckner's retreat to Bowling Green, Zollicoffer fell back to Mill Springs, on the southern bank of the Cumberland River, and soon afterward crossed the river to the opposite bank at Beech Grove, fortifying this encampment with extensive earthworks.
During the month of September, General George H. Thomas, who with General Wm. T. Sherman had been ordered to report to General Anderson for duty in Kentucky—at General Anderson's personal request of the President—was placed in command of Camp Dick Robinson, relieving General Nelson. The latter then established Camp Kenton in Mason County, three miles from Maysville, near the spot where Simon Kenton's station was erected in 1785.
On the 7th of October General Anderson, on account of ill-health, relinquished the command of the department, and General W. T. Sherman on the following day succeeded him. At the same time General A. McD. McCook was placed in command of the force that [had] been ordered to the front under Sherman.
During the month of October the rebel Colonel J. S. Williams was organizing a force of some two thousand troops at Prestonburg, on the Big Sandy River, intending to operate in Central Kentucky through McCormick's Gap. General Nelson early in the month started with all the troops of his command to drive the rebels out of their encampment. Nelson ordered the Second Ohio under Colonel L. A. Harris to move from Paris, and the Twenty-first Ohio under Colonel Norton to advance from Nicholasville to Olympia Springs, where the entire command was concentrated. From here he advanced to McCormick's Gap, and then divided his command, sending the Second Ohio, a section of Captain Konkle's battery, and a company of Ohio cavalry under Captain McLaughlin—all under the command of Colonel Harris—through West Liberty to unite with the command at Salyersville. Nelson then moved forward with three regiments of infantry, two detachments of Kentucky troops, and two sections of Konkle's battery, with a battalion of cavalry, on the road to Hazel Green. On the 23d Harris occupied West Liberty, after a brisk skirmish. The command united at Salyersville and followed the enemy to Prestonburg. At this point Nelson sent the Thirty-third Ohio, with the Kentucky troops and a section of Konkle's battery under Colonel Sill, by a detour to the right to flank the rebel position at Ivy Mountain. Nelson on the next day then advanced with his command on the direct road to Piketon, and encountered the enemy in ambush on the mountain at Ivy Creek. Pushing forward at once with the force under his immediate command, Nelson attacked the enemy, and after a brisk engagement, lasting over an hour, routed them from their cover and drove them in full retreat.
Sill occupied Piketon on the 9th without much opposition. General Nelson arrived there on the 10th, when the rebels leaving the State and retreating through Pound Gap, he was ordered to report with his command to General Buell at Louisville.
On the retirement of General Anderson, as the ranking officer in the department, General Sherman assumed the command. On the 9th of November, by general order from the headquarters of the army, No. 97, the Department of the Ohio was created, "to consist of the States of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, that portion of Kentucky east of the Cumberland river, and the State of Tennessee, and to be commanded by Brigadier-General D. C. Buell, headquarters at Louisville;" and General Sherman was relieved from command at his own request.
Nelson's command being ordered out of East Kentucky, the rebel forces again entered, and in small bands were depredating on Union people in the Big Sandy Valley. The Fourteenth Kentucky under Colonel L. P. Moore was ordered to move from Catlettsburg and advance up the valley. General Buell finding that the rebel force had been largely re-enforced by the advance of General Humphrey Marshall, one of the ablest rebel generals in that part of the country, ordered the Twenty-second Kentucky under Colonel Lindsay from Maysville to join the Fourteenth, and Lindsay was placed in command of the two regiments. Marshall was a graduate of West Point; he had served in the Black Hawk War and had seen service in Mexico as a Colonel of Kentucky cavalry, winning distinction at Buena Vista. He had now entered the State from Virginia through Pound Gap, and had reached a strong natural position near Paintville, where he was rapidly increasing his army, with the intention of raising a sufficient force—already some five thousand—to operate on General Buell's flank and to retard his advance into Tennessee. The Forty-second Ohio, just organized, was in a camp of instruction near Columbus, Ohio, under its Colonel, James A. Garfield. While there, in December, he was ordered by General Buell to move his regiment at once to Catlettsburg, at the mouth of the Big Sandy River, and to report in person to Louisville for orders.
Starting his regiment eastward, from Cincinnati, Garfield, on the 19th of December, reported to General Buell, who informed him that he had been selected to command an expedition to drive Marshall and his forces from Kentucky. That evening Garfield received his orders, which organized the Eighteenth Brigade of the Army of the Ohio, and placed him in command. General Buell with these orders sent a letter of instruction, giving general directions as to the campaign, leaving all matters of detail and the fate of the expedition, however, largely to the discretion of the brigade commander. The latter reached his command on the 24th of December, at Louisa, some twenty-eight miles up the Big Sandy. He then proceeded to concentrate his troops, the main body consisting of his own regiment—the Forty-second Ohio—the Fourteenth Kentucky, and a battalion of Ohio cavalry under Major McLaughlin, which was with him; but these gave only some fifteen hundred men for duty.
The next largest portion of his command was stationed at Paris, Kentucky, under Colonel Cranor, with his regiment, the Fortieth Ohio, 800 strong. Cranor was ordered to join the main body as expeditiously as possible, and to bring with him that portion of Colonel Wolford's Kentucky cavalry stationed at Stanford, consisting of three small battalions under Lieutenant-Colonel Letcher, and to report at Prestonburg. The twenty-second Kentucky was ordered from Maysville, and some three hundred men of that command reported before Garfield reached Paintville. He was also joined by a battalion of west Virginia cavalry under Colonel Bolles. After a toilsome march in mid-winter, Garfield's command, on the 7th of January, drove Marshall's forces from the mouth of Jenny's Creek, and occupied Paintville. On the morning of the 9th, Cranor reported with his command, footsore and exhausted, after a march of over one hundred miles through the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. At noon of the 9th Garfield advanced his command to attack Marshall with his cavalry, pressing the rebels as they fell back. Reaching Prestonburg some fifteen miles from Paintville, he learned that Marshall was encamped and fortified on Abbott's Creek. Pushing on to the mouth of the creek, some three miles below Prestonburg, he there encamped for the night, a sleety rain adding to the discomfort of the men. Intending to force the enemy to battle, he ordered up his reserves under Colonel Sheldon from Paintville, with every available man. As soon as the morning light enabled the command to move, Garfield advanced, and soon engaged the rebel cavalry, which was driven in after a slight skirmish, falling back on the main body some two miles in the rear, strongly posted on high ground, between Abbott's Creek and Middle Creek, at the mouth of the latter stream. It was impossible to tell what disposition Marshall had made for his defence, owing to the formation of the ground at this point concealing his troops until our forces drew his fire. Throwing several detachments forward, the entire command was soon actively engaged. The engagement lasted for some four hours, commending at about twelve o'clock. At 4 P.M., the reserves under Sheldon reached the field of battle, and the enemy was driven from his position. Night coming on prevented pursuit.
Marshall's command fled down the valley, set fire to their stores, and pressed forward in rapid retreat to Abington, Va. Garfield with his command returned to Paintville, where it could receive supplies. In February he received orders from Buell, directing him to advance to Piketon, and drive the rebels from that place, which he did, and later from Pound Gap. This freed Eastern Kentucky of rebel troops, and relieved the Union men of that section of the depredations that had been committed on them by the roving bands of the enemy. The services of Garfield's command were recognized by Buell, and the thanks of the Commanding General extended to Garfield and his troops. Shortly after this Garfield received his commission as Brigadier-General of Volunteers, to date from the "Battle of Middle Creek."
In the latter part of March General Garfield was ordered to leave a small force in the Big Sandy Valley, and to report with the rest of his brigade to General Buell at Louisville.
On September 10, 1861, General Albert Sidney Johnston, who had resigned the Colonelcy of the Second United States Cavalry to engage in the service of the Confederacy, was assigned to the command of the Department of the West, embracing, with a large number of the Western States, the States of Kentucky and Tennessee. On the 18th Johnston directed Buckner to occupy Bowling Green, and ordered Zollicoffer to advance from Knoxville to Cumberland Gap. The rebels, under General Polk, occupied Columbus, Ky., September 7th, and the line of operations of the Confederates, under General Johnston, as then formed, had the Mississippi river at its extreme left, Cumberland Gap at its extreme right, with Bowling Green as the centre. With the force at his command, no point in advance of Bowling Green could have been safely taken by the Confederate general, owing to the disposition of the Union troops in Kentucky at that time.
As we have seen, Zollicoffer with his command was driven from Rock Castle Hills and Wildcat, and taking a new position nearer Bowling Green, encamped at Beech Grove, where he fortified his position.
General Zollicoffer was a civilian appointment, without military training of any kind. He had been editor of a Nashville paper, had held a number of minor State offices, and served two terms in Congress prior to the war. Johnston, in ordering Zollicoffer to the Cumberland River at Mill Springs, intended that he should occupy a position of observation merely until he should be re-enforced, or his troops be incorporated in the main command. He could not have been located farther west without inviting the advance of the Federal forces into East Tennessee or to Nashville, flanking Bowling Green. Zollicoffer had no ability as a soldier to handle troops, and General George B. Crittenden, of Kentucky, a graduate of West Point, who had seen service in the Mexican War, and who held at the outbreak of the rebellion, a commission as Lieutenant-Colonel in the regiment of Mounted Riflemen, was, in November, assigned to the command of the district as Major-General, with headquarters at Knoxville. Great expectations were entertained in regard to Crittenden's military abilities; and about the first of the year 1862 he assumed command in person of the rebel forces at Beech Grove. The fact that Zollicoffer had established his camp on the north side of the Cumberland, "with the enemy in front and the river behind," was known to Johnston, and information given by him to Crittenden. General Johnston had written Zollicoffer that the interest of the service required him simply to watch the river, and that he could do this better from Mill Springs without crossing it.
Zollicoffer, however, had crossed the river before he heard from Johnston, and replied that, while from this letter he inferred that he should not have done so, it was now too late, as his means of recrossing were so limited that he could hardly accomplish it in the face of the enemy. On his reaching the Cumberland with his command, he had sent forward his cavalry to seize the ferryboats at Mill Springs. In this they failed, and the crossing was effected on one ferry-boat, seized lower down, and barges built by his troops.
General Thomas was ordered in November to concentrate his command in order to be prepared for any movement Zollicoffer might make, and, if necessary, to attack him in his camp. General Carter with his brigade was stationed at London, Colonel Hoskins was near Somerset, and Colonel Bramlette at Columbia, all watching Zollicoffer's movements, and reporting them to General Thomas, who endeavored to stop his advance at the Cumberland River. Five hundred of Wolford's Cavalry were ordered from Columbia to reinforce Colonel Hoskins; and General Schoepff, with the Seventeenth Ohio, the Thirty-eighth Ohio, and Standart's battery, to take position on the Cumberland River at Waitsborough, where he could command the crossing. Here he was to fortify and guard the river at this point and above and below, to prevent the enemy from crossing, or from obtaining the means for doing so.
On December 2d, Zollicoffer, while building his ferries, sent some troops to shell General Schoepff's camp. A brisk cannonading was kept up for some time, when the rebels withdrew. Schoepff regarding this as a feint, and anticipating a movement of Zollicoffer's troops to cross the river, ordered two companies of cavalry under Captain Dillon to guard the ford and to give timely notice of any attempt to effect a crossing. He also ordered the Seventeenth Ohio with three pieces of artillery and another company of cavalry, all under the command of Colonel Connell, to support the cavalry under Dillon. The latter proved wholly incompetent, and failed to comply with his orders in any particular. He went into camp two miles in the rear from where he was ordered, and neglected even to post his men to guard the ford, whereby Zollicoffer was enabled to occupy the north bank of the Cumberland without opposition and without Dillon's even knowing that the movement had been made. This was only discovered on the 4th, when the rebels drove back the Federal cavalry and attacked Connell, who was advancing on a reconnoissance. Connell, in ignorance of the movement of the enemy, had reached the vicinity of the ford and found himself confronted by a strong force of rebels, who had crossed the river, and who being rapidly re-enforced rendered his situation one of extreme peril. He withdrew under cover of the night beyond Fishing Creek, without being molested. Schoepff, finding that the advance of the rebels was supported by reinforcements and that Zollicoffer's entire force was slowly crossing, which would make the enemy's force in his front largely exceed his own, asked General Carter at London to reinforce him. He also ordered Colonel Coburn with the Thirty-third Indiana to move from Crab Orchard to his support; and on the 6th established his camp in a strong position three miles north of Somerset, where he was able to command both the Stanford and the Crab Orchard roads. Here Carter reported with two regiments on the 9th, Colonel Van Deveer's regiment, the Thirty-fifth Ohio, with Captain Hewitt's battery having already arrived. On the 8th, the rebel cavalry crossed Fishing Creek and reconnoitered the Federal camps. They were fired on by Wolford's cavalry, which then fell back; and after a brisk skirmish with the Thirty-fifth Ohio they were driven back with a loss of two or three men on each side.
General Buell had ordered Thomas to keep his immediate command at Columbia, and had directed him not to send any more troops to Schoepff at Somerset, considering that the latter had sufficient force to drive the rebels across the Cumberland. Thomas was directed to hold himself in readiness to make an immediate movement, when ordered, from Columbia on the rebel General Hindman, who with some seven thousand troops was operating in that vicinity, throwing out his cavalry far in advance of his main column, and feeling the position of the Federal forces. Hindman had been ordered by General Johnston to make a diversion in favor of Zollicoffer; and when Thomas from Columbia checked Hindman's advance, the latter reported that the force under Thomas had not been weakened to reinforce Schoepff, or to strengthen the main command at Bowling Green, and that Zollicoffer was in no immediate danger.
Schoepff with his entire command on the 18th made a reconnoissance to determine the location and purposes of the rebel force. Pushing his command forward he drove their cavalry pickets in and found that Zollicoffer had been intrenching his camp, his line of fortifications extending from the river to Fishing Creek and his camp being in the angle formed by the junction of this stream with the Cumberland. Having accomplished this, and not intending to bring on an engagement, Schoepff returned with his command to their encampment north of Somerset.
Buell now finding that the only rebel force encamped in Eastern Kentucky was that under Zollicoffer, and deeming it important that he be driven from the State, modified his previous order to Thomas, and on December 29th directed him to advance against Zollicoffer from Columbia and attack on his left flank. He also ordered Schoepff to attack him in front. Two days later Thomas started from Lebanon with the Second Brigade, under command of Colonel Manson, and two regiments of Colonel McCook's brigade, Kinney's battery of artillery, and a battalion of Wolford's cavalry. Heavy rains, swollen streams, and almost impassable roads impeded the movement of the troops so that it was not until the 17th of January that they reached Logan's Cross Roads, ten miles from the rebel encampment. At this point Thomas halted his command and awaited the arrival of the Fourth and Tenth Kentucky, the Fourteenth Ohio, and the Eighteenth United States Infantry, detained in the rear by the condition of the road. He communicated at once with Schoepff, and the same day the latter reported in person. General Thomas directed Schoepff to send him Standart's battery, the Twelfth Kentucky and the First and Second Tennessee regiments, which were to strengthen the command on the immediate front until the arrival of the regiments in the rear. Thomas placed the Tenth Indiana, Wolford's cavalry, and Kinney's battery on the main road leading to the enemy's camp. The Ninth Ohio and the Second Minnesota were posted three-quarters of a mile to the right on the Robertsport road. Strong pickets were thrown out on the main road in the direction of the enemy, with cavalry pickets beyond. Our pickets were fired on and had a skirmish with the rebel pickets on the night of the 17th. On the 18th, the Fourth Kentucky, a battalion of the Michigan Engineers and Wetmore's Battery also reported to Thomas.
Crittenden, on learning that Zollicoffer had crossed the Cumberland, had sent at once an order by courier, post haste, directing him to recross; but on his arrival at Mill Springs he found Zollicoffer still on the north bank, waiting his arrival before retiring. Crittenden gave orders at once for the construction of boats to take his command across the river; but they were not ready when he heard of the approach of General Thomas on January 17th.
On the 18th, Crittenden reported to General Johnston that he was threatened by a superior force of the enemy in his front, and that as he found it impossible to cross the river, he should have to make the fight on the ground he then occupied.
His weekly reports showed eight infantry regiments, four battalions (seventeen companies) of cavalry, and two companies of artillery, making an aggregate of 9,417 men. His circular order of the 18th, directing the order of march in his advance to attack, shows that his army was on the day of battle composed of the same companies, and that his force was about the same.
At midnight, on January 18th, in a heavy winter rain, the Confederate army marched out to battle with Bledsoe's and Saunders's independent cavalry companies in advance. Zollicoffer's brigade of four regiments, with Rutledge's battery of artillery, followed. Then came General Carroll's brigade of four regiments, one in reserve, with McClung's battery of artillery, Brauner's battalion of cavalry on the right, and McClellan's battalion of cavalry on the left, with Cary's battalions in the rear. After a six hours' march through the rain and the mud, the advance struck our cavalry pickets at six o'clock, in the early gray of a winter morning, two miles in front of the Federal camp. Wolford's cavalry slowly fell back, reporting the enemy's advance to Manson, who immediately formed his regiment—the Tenth Indiana—and took position on the road to await the attack. Manson then ordered the Fourth Kentucky, Colonel Speed S. Fry, to support him; and reported to Thomas, in person, the advance of the rebels in force, and the disposition he had made of his troops to meet the attack. General Thomas directed him to return to his brigade immediately, with orders to hold the enemy in check until the other troops could be brought up. Orders were given to the other commanders to form immediately, and in ten minutes they were all marching to the battle-field, except the battalion of Michigan Engineers and a company of the Thirty-eighth Ohio, detailed to guard the camp.
The rebels, in their advance, opened the attack with Walthall's Mississippi and Battle's Tennessee regiments, which as they moved forward, forming the right of the rebel line, encountered the Fourth Kentucky and the Tenth Indiana, formed on the first line to resist their attack in the edge of the woods to their front. The Tennessee regiment endeavored to flank the Fourth Kentucky on the left, while the latter regiment was resisting the rebel attack on the front in a most obstinate manner. Carter's Tennessee brigade was ordered up in position to meet this flanking movement with a section of Kinney's battery; and the attempt of Battle's regiment was checked.
Orders were sent to Colonel McCook to advance with the Ninth Ohio and the Second Minnesota regiments. These regiments coming up occupied the position of the Fourth Kentucky and Tenth Indiana, who by that time were out of ammunition. As soon as this disposition of these troops had been made the enemy opened a most determined and galling fire, pressing our troops at all points. General Thomas's command returned the fire with spirit, and holding their position the contest was maintained for half an hour on both sides most obstinately.
At this time, General Zollicoffer, being in the rear of the Nineteenth Tennessee regiment of his command, became convinced that the Fourth Kentucky (Federal) regiment was a part of his brigade, ordered the Tennessee regiment to cease firing, as they were shooting their own troops. He then rode to the front, where he met Colonel Fry, the commanding officer of the Fourth Kentucky. Zollicoffer stated to Fry that both commands belonged to the same side, and that firing should stop. To this Fry assented and started to order the Fourth Kentucky to cease firing, when one of Zollicoffer's aids coming up, seeing that Fry was a Federal officer, opened fire upon him with a revolver, wounding his horse. Fry returned the fire, shooting Zollicoffer through the heart.
Shortly after, the First and Second East Tennessee regiments of Carter's brigade and Hoskins's Kentucky regiment were placed on the left of the Second Minnesota regiment, and opening a heavy fire on the right flank of the rebel line caused it to give way. The Second Minnesota regiment kept up a galling fire in the centre, while the Ninth Ohio charged the enemy with fixed bayonets on the left, turned that flank, and drove them from the field. The whole rebel line then gave way, retreating in the utmost confusion and disorder to their intrenchments at Beech Grove. Thomas ordered an immediate advance, after supplying his troops with ammunition, driving the rebels into their intrenchments. As these were approached they were invested by the division deployed in the line of battle. Cannonading was kept up until dark, firing being in the direction of the ferry to defeat a crossing. During the night preparations were made for an assault on the intrenchments on the following morning. The Fourteenth Ohio, Colonel Steedman, and the Tenth Kentucky, Colonel Harlan, reported after the fight, where placed in the front of the advance, and were the first to enter the intrenchments. Schoepff's brigade joined the command during the evening, and was placed in position for the attack.
At midnight Crittenden abandoned everything, and between that hour and daylight escaped across the river by means of a steamer and some barges at the landing, which he burned, leaving behind him his badly wounded, all of his cannon—twelve pieces—with their caissons packed with ammunition, a large amount of small arms, with ammunition for the same, over one hundred and fifty wagons, and more than one thousand horses and mules, with a large amount of tools, stores, camp and garrison equipage.
As all the boats were destroyed, it was impossible for Thomas to cross his command in pursuit. General Thomas in his official report of the engagement says: "Their command was completely demoralized and retreated with great haste and in all directions, making their capture in any number quite doubtful if pursued. There is no doubt but that the moral effect produced by their complete dispersion will have a more decided effect in re-establishing Union sentiments than though they had been captured."
The rebels suffered terribly by heavy marching through the rain, mud, and cold, with insufficient food; frequently with nothing but parched corn to sustain life. Crittenden finally took position at Chestnut Mound, within reach of relief from Nashville.
In the Life of Albert Sidney Johnston, speaking of Crittenden's retreat, the author says: "During his retreat his army became much demoralized, and two regiments, whose homes were in that neighborhood, almost entirely abandoned their organization and went every man to his own house. A multitude deserted, and the tide of fugitives filled the country with dismay."
The battle fought at Logan's Cross Roads, called by the rebels the Battle of Fishing Creek, and by the Federals the Battle of Mill Springs, was most disastrous to the enemy, and inflicted the most severe blow they had up to that time experienced. The victory for the Federal forces was the first complete success of the war, and was hailed everywhere with joy and hope. An order was issued by the President congratulating the troops on their success, and the general in command conveyed his thanks to General Thomas and troops for their brilliant victory.
Thomas's command lost in the engagement 39 killed, and 207 wounded. He reported the rebel loss at 122 killed, and the total loss at 349. The large proportion of killed to the wounded indicates heavy fighting at close quarters, and also a superiority of either the arms of the Federal troops or their firing.
The body of General Zollicoffer was treated with great respect. General Thomas had it embalmed and carried around by Lebanon. It was then sent to General Buell through his lines under a flag of truce. Zollicoffer's death was a very depressing event to the Tennesseeans. He was their most popular leader, and his death was felt by the people of Tennessee as a personal bereavement.
Crittenden's attack and defeat were a great surprise to Johnston. This force had been ordered to Mill Springs to maintain that point of the general military line as a corps of observation merely. With the attack and defeat Johnston found his line broken, his position at Bowling Green liable to be turned on that flank, and an army on which he counted demolished. This with his losses on his left in Western Kentucky and at Fort Henry compelled his main command at Bowling Green to abandon that place, and retire into Tennessee. Thomas, after the battle of Mill Springs, concentrated his command at Somerset, awaiting orders. He was ordered to Mumfordsville, February 15th, to take part in the general advance against Bowling Green. These orders were countermanded by reason of the evacuation of that place, on the 14th; and on the 22d, Thomas was ordered with his division to proceed by forced marches to Louisville, and there embark for Nashville. The command arrived at Nashville on the 2d, 3d, and 4th days of March.
Concentration at Nashville
Don Carlos Buell, who was placed in command of the Department of the Ohio on Sherman's request to be relieved, had been serving from the early summer of 1861 as Assistant Adjutant-General on the staff of Brigadier-General E. V. Sumner, U.S.A., in command of the Department of the Pacific. He had been promoted to the rank of lieutenant-Colonel in the adjutant-general's department, May 11, 1861. His appointment as brigadier-general in the volunteer force was made May 17, 1861. General Buell was a graduate of West Point, and had been in the army all his life. He was a thoroughly trained soldier, with great pride in his profession, a man of great integrity, with abilities of the first order, animated by high principle. His long training in the adjutant-general's department, added to his natural faculty, made him a first-class organizer of an army. Under his direction the soldiers of the Army of the Ohio received their training in the drill of the camp, the discipline of the march, and learned endurance under fire in the skirmishes and engagements during his command. For all the soldierly qualities that the troops of the later organization—the Army of the Cumberland—possessed, they were indebted in large measure to their first commander in the field, General Buell. He was constant in his endeavors for the care of the troops, and insisted on their camps being carefully selected and well drained. His highest aim was to make good soldiers of his command, and everything that detracted from this, as straggling, pillaging, disobedience of orders, he regarded as unworthy of a soldier, and meriting prompt and stern punishment at his hands. In the earlier days of the war, with the lack of the knowledge that the stricter obedience to orders the better for the soldier, General Buell seemed at times harsh and severe. But as time brought hard campaigns and heavy fighting to the Army of the Cumberland, the older soldiers who were under Buell saw that he was actuated solely for their good and the good of the service in all he did.
The organization of the troops into brigades and divisions first engaged Buell's attention on assuming command. On December 2d, an order was issued creating this organization and designating it the "Army of the Ohio," consisting of six divisions. The brigades were numbered consecutively throughout the army, and not as they were formed in the divisions. General G. H. Thomas was assigned to the command of the First Division, consisting of four brigades. The entire force of the First Division was at Nashville on March 4th.
The Second Division was organized at Camp Nevin, a camp established by General Rousseau, when left by Sherman in command after the latter assumed the command of the department. General Alexander McD. McCook, who had relieved Rousseau October 14, by order of Sherman, was assigned to the command of this division, which consisted also of four brigades.
The Third Division was placed under the command of General O. M. Mitchel, who had been in Cincinnati in command at the "Military Department of Ohio," and who was relieved November 19th, after two months' service there, superintending the forwarding of troops to the armies in the field. This division consisted of three brigades.
General William Nelson, on reporting at Louisville after his Eastern Kentucky campaign, was placed in command of the Fourth Division, consisting of three brigades.
The Fifth Division, consisting of three brigades, was placed under the command of General Thomas L. Crittenden, a son of John J. Crittenden.
In January, 1862, General Buell organized the Sixth Division, and relieving General T. J. Wood from the command of the Fifth Brigade, assigned him as commander of this division, which consisted of three brigades.
To each brigade was attached a battery of artillery.
In this organization of the "Army of the Ohio," as the new regiments from the North reported, additional brigades and divisions were formed from time to time. Thus organized, the army under Buell, in the early spring entered upon its first campaign. There had been some slight skirmishing during the winter with portions of the command. A detachment of the Thirty-ninth Indiana, under Lieutenant-Colonel Jones, met a body of the rebel cavalry a few miles beyond Camp Nevin, and routed it with slight loss to the enemy.
On December 10th, General R. W. Johnson moved onward his brigade, and occupied Mumfordsville, sending a detachment of the Thirty-second Indiana to Green River, where a temporary bridge was constructed. On the 17th, four companies of this regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Von Trebra, crossed and took position at Rowlett's Station. General A. S. Johnston had sent Hindman with his brigade from Bowling Green, with instructions to destroy the railroad as far north as Green River. On the same day that the Thirty-second Indiana crossed the river, Hindman reached Woodsonville. On the approach of Hindman, Von Trebra threw out two companies as skirmishers. The enemy fell back with the purpose of decoying the Federals to the point where his main command of infantry and artillery was posted. The cavalry—a squadron of the "Texas Rangers" under Colonel Terry—made a spirited attack. The skirmishers rallied by fours to receive this charge. After repeated charges from the cavalry, which were resisted by the Thirty-second—in one of which Colonel Terry was killed—Colonel Willich re-enforced Von Trebra with four additional companies. After maintaining their position under fire for an hour and a half, the Indiana troops repulsed the enemy in every charge, and Hindman's force then withdrew. Colonel Willich had in the engagement only the eight companies of his command, with Cotter's battery. The enemy attacked with a force of 1,100 infantry, 250 cavalry, and 4 pieces of artillery. The Thirty-second Indiana lost 8 men killed and ten wounded. After the fall of Bowling Green, the Second Division reached Nashville on March 3d.
The Third Division in February was ordered to make a demonstration, moving by forced marches against the enemy's position at Bowling Green, to prevent troops being sent from there to reinforce Fort Donelson. The rebels had commenced their retreat from this place to Nashville prior to the arrival of Mitchel's command, but the shells thrown by his artillery on the 14th into the city hastened the movements of the rear guard of Johnston's army. Before their retreat, the enemy burned both bridges over Barren River, and set fire to a large quantity of military stores, railroad cars, and other property. Turchin's brigade, capturing a small ferryboat, crossed over the river, swollen above the high-water mark by the heavy rains, entered the city at five o'clock the next morning, and succeeded in extinguishing the fire and saving a portion of the railroad cars. During the succeeding week Mitchel crossed the greater part of his command over the river, and without his wagons, reached Edgefield opposite Nashville on the evening of the 14th, at the same time that General Buell arrived by rail, the latter using some of the cars captured at Bowling Green. At Edgefield Mitchel found both of the bridges into Nashville destroyed, and his crossing was effected on the steamers that brought Nelson's division to that place.
The Fourth Division was ordered in February to reinforce the Federal troops at Fort Donelson. Nelson, with two brigades, moved from Camp Wickliffe to the Ohio River on February 13th, and there took steamer for the Cumberland River. On his arrival at Fort Donelson, he found it in possession of the Federal troops, and he then proceeded by the boats with his command to Nashville, arriving there on the 25th. Nelson's Third Brigade reported a few days later, having marched direct from Bowling Green.
General Thomas L. Crittenden's command, organizing at Owensboro, had a skirmish with a force of 500 rebels at Woodland. Colonel Burbridge was sent with some three hundred troops of his own command and a small force from Colonel McHenry's regiment. Attacking the enemy, they routed him, inflicting a loss of some fifty killed, wounded, and prisoners. On the 24th, the rebel General Breckenridge made a demonstration with 4,000 men at Rochester, occupying Greenville with his cavalry, Crittenden made such disposition of his troops that the enemy, without risking an attack, returned to Bowling Green. Early in February General Buell ordered Crittenden to send Colonel Cruft with his brigade to report to General Grant. Cruft, however, reached Fort Henry after the surrender, but his brigade was incorporated into Grant's army, and rendered effective service in the reduction of Fort Donelson. Later, the brigade was transferred to General Halleck. Crittenden, soon after this, proceeded by boat with the balance of his division, and reported at Nashville, arriving there at the same time as Nelson's division.
The Sixth division, after aiding in the repair of the railroad, arrived at Nashville March 6, 1862.
General A. S. Johnston, at no time prior to his retreat had sufficient force to meet or to resist the advance of the Federal forces. His long line, extending from Columbus to Knoxville, invited attack, and wherever the attack was made his troops were not able to successfully resist it. Concentrating his command at Bowling Green, after Mill Springs and the fall of Fort Henry, he found that, to save Nashville, it was necessary to make a determined stand at Fort Donelson, and this he re-enforced with all his available troops. The fall of Donelson compelled the evacuation of Nashville. To the Southern people these reverses were a bitter blow to their high hopes and boasting threats that the war was to be carried into the North, and peace was to follow the first victories to their arms. Duke, in his "History of Morgan's Cavalry," says: "No subsequent reverse, although fraught with far more real calamity, ever created the shame, sorrow, and wild consternation that swept over the South with the news of the surrender of Fort Donelson. To some in the South these reverses were harbingers of the final defeat and overthrow of the Confederacy."
With the fall of Donelson, after detaching the troops at Columbus, Johnston's force was reduced to a little over one-half of his total effective strength as reported by him at Bowling Green. In a report to Richmond, he gave the total of his command as barely forty-three thousand men.
General Buell's army amounted to over seventy-five thousand men, not all of these available for field duty, as a very large proportion of the command was needed to maintain his line of supplies, and the farther his advance the greater the drain on his command for railroad guards.
With the fall of Donelson, Johnston modified his plans of operations, and then determined to relinquish the defensive, and to concentrate all available forces of the Confederacy in the southwest for offensive operations. He had, as early as January, 1862, contemplated the possibility of the disasters that had taken place, and the retreat consequent upon them, and at that time indicated Corinth, Miss., as being the proper place to concentrate the troops.
On January 3d General Buell wrote at length to General Halleck, proposing a joint campaign against the enemy in "a combined attack on its centre and flanks," moving the troops by water under protection of the gunboats, striking for the railroad communications of the enemy, and destroying his bridges over the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers, both of which were protected by batteries, the first at Dover—Fort Donelson—and the other at Fort Henry, respectively thirty-one and eighteen miles below the bridges. To this, on the 6th, General Halleck replied that, situated as he was, he could render no assistance to Buell's forward movement on Bowling Green, and advised the delay of the movement, if such co-operation by troops sent to Cairo and Paducah should be deemed necessary to the plan of the campaign, of which he knew nothing, and then adds: "But it strikes me that to operate from Louisville and Paducah or Cairo, against an enemy at Bowling Green, is a plain case of exterior lines, like that of McDowell and Patterson, which, unless each of the columns is superior to the enemy, leads to disaster ninety-nine times in a hundred."
On the 30th of January, Buell received a despatch from Halleck, without particulars, saying that he had ordered an expedition against Fort Henry. On the 15th of February Halleck telegraphed Buell "to move from Bowling Green to Nashville is not good strategy. Come and help me take and hold Fort Donelson and Clarksville, then move to Florence, cutting the railroad at Decatur, and Nashville must be abandoned precisely as Bowling Green has been." After the fall of Fort Donelson, and the occupation of Nashville, General Halleck directed a column of troops under General C. F. Smith to proceed up the Tennessee River by steamer, and to operate as occasion presented, either on Corinth, Jackson, or Humboldt, destroying the railroad communications at these points. At this time Halleck had no thought of the subsequent movement of the command, that Johnston would concentrate at Corinth, or that the Armies of the Ohio and Tennessee should unite at Pittsburg Landing. On the 15th General Smith dropped down the river to Pittsburg Landing, and there placed his troops in camp. On the 11th of March, President Lincoln, by War Order No. 3, created the Department of the Mississippi, consolidating the three departments under Generals Halleck, Hunter, and Buell, and placed General Halleck in command. Halleck at once ordered Buell to march his army to Savannah, and to execute the movements that had already been agreed on by them.
Buell immediately gave his attention to the preparation of his command to carry out these orders. He directed O. M. Mitchel to march south, strike, and hold the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. Organizing the seventh division of his army, Buell assigned General George W. Morgan to this command. This division was formed of four brigades, out of a number of regiments gathered up from different points in Kentucky. General Morgan concentrated his entire command at Cumberland Ford, being directed to take Cumberland Gap if possible and to occupy East Tennessee if able to enter. If not, then to resist any advance of the rebels.
General E. Dumont was placed in command of Nashville. The Twenty-third Brigade under Colonel Duffield, composed of four regiments, was ordered from Kentucky to garrison Murfreesboro, and protect the road from Shelbyville to Lavergne.
Buell designated the First Division under Thomas, the Second under McCook, the Fourth under Nelson, the Fifth under Crittenden, and the Sixth under Wood, to constitute the army under his personal command, which was to join Halleck in the operations against the enemy's position at Corinth. These divisions, with cavalry and artillery attached made a force of 37,000 effective troops. In addition to these, Buell had under his command 36,000 effective men to defend his communications, maintain his line of supply, enforce order within his lines, and to perform any special duty assigned to them. The muster-rolls of his army showed that he had at this time 92 regiments of infantry—not including those sent to Halleck under Cruft. These regiments aggregated 79,334 men. He had 11 regiments, 1 battalion, and 7 detached companies of cavalry, making a total of 11,496 men, and 28 field, and 2 siege batteries, with 3,935 men. The grand total was 94,765 men. His effective force, however, was 73,487 men, comprising 60,882 infantry, 9,237 cavalry, and 3,368 artillery.
Buell's army, after crossing Duck River, pressed rapidly forward. The day before Nelson's arrival at the Tennessee River he was informed by General Grant, to whom he had reported his movements by courier, that he need not hasten his march, as he could not cross the river before the following Tuesday, the 8th. Nelson's entire division, with forced marches, reached Savannah April 5th, the other division closely following. Ammen's brigade of Nelson's division crossed the river on the afternoon of the 6th, and reported to Buell, and was engaged in the battle of that day, aiding in resisting the final attack of Chalmers on the left of Grant's command. Crittenden's and McCook's divisions arrived on the field during the night of the 6th, and took an active part in the fighting of the next day. The rest of the command arrived on the field after the battle.
The movements of the troops of the "Army of the Ohio" in the battle of Shiloh and in the operations against Corinth are treated in Volume II. of this series, and it is not within the purview of this volume to enter further into the narrative of their service than to give a few brief facts as to the disposition of the troops, in order to follow the subsequent events in which the Army of the Ohio was the main actor.
Morgan's and Forest's Raids.
On April 11th, Halleck arrived at Pittsburg Landing and at once reorganized the troops in his command, designating the divisions of his army as the right wing, centre, left wing, reserves, and cavalry under Major-Generals George H. Thomas, D. C. Buell, John Pope, and J. A. McClernand and Brigadier-General A. J. Smith respectively. Thomas's command comprised four divisions of the "Army of the Tennessee," and his old division of the "Army of the Ohio." The remainder of the army was under the command of Buell. After the fall of Corinth, the enemy breaking his large force into several smaller commands rendered necessary a similar disposition of the Federal forces. Buell was ordered with his command to enter into a campaign looking to the occupation of East Tennessee. One division of his army under O. M. Mitchel left Nashville about the middle of March under orders to proceed to Murfreesboro and repair the railroad bridges burned by Johnston on his retreat. On Colonel Duffield's reporting with the Twenty-third brigade, Mitchel pressed forward to Shelbyville and from there by a rapid movement on the 7th of April he occupied Huntsville, Ala., with Turchin's brigade, Kennett's Ohio cavalry, and Simonson's battery, capturing 170 prisoners, 15 locomotives, and 150 passenger and freight cars, and a large amount of army stores. On the 8th, Mitchel ordered Sill with his brigade to proceed east along the line of the railroad to seize Stevenson, the junction of the Nashville and Chattanooga, and Memphis and Charleston Railroads, and directed Turchin with his command to move west and take possession of Decatur and Tuscumbia. This was successfully done, and Mitchel was in possession of over one hundred miles of this important link connecting Corinth with Richmond in the heart of the enemy's territory. He then posted his troops at the more prominent points, ready to move to any place threatened by the enemy.
On April 29th, Mitchel, hearing of the advance of the force under Kirby Smith from Bridgeport against the command beyond Stevenson, moved as rapidly as possible by rail from Huntsville to resist him. He found the enemy had attacked the detachment posted five miles west of Bridgeport, and that his troops had driven the enemy's advance back across Widow's Creek. The bridge over this creek had been burned by the enemy on their retreat. Mitchel strengthened the detachment and engaged the attention of the enemy by an apparent effort to cross this creek, while with his main force he advanced on Bridgeport by a detour by the left and drove that portion of the enemy in the town across the Tennessee River. In their retreat the enemy set fire to the bridge reaching from the west bank of the river to the Island. This bridge Mitchel succeeded in saving, but the bridge east of the Island was completely destroyed. General Mitchel then turned his attention to that part of the enemy's force at Widow's Creek, which he succeeded in capturing, taking in all some three hundred and fifty prisoners. Early in May, Mitchel, who had been placed in command of all the troops between Nashville and Huntsville, ordered General Negley with the Seventh Brigade, belonging to McCook's division—who had been left at Columbia on the advance of the main army upon Savannah—to make an advance against General Adams with a brigade of troops at Rogersville, Ala. At the same time Mitchel sent Colonel Lytle from Athens, Ala., to cooperate with Negley. On the 13th, the enemy learning of the approach of the Federal forces, retreated across the Tennessee River. This placed Mitchel in complete position of that portion of Alabama north of that river. On May 29th, Mitchel concentrated Negley's command from Columbia, Turchin's brigade from Huntsville, and the Eighteenth Ohio under T. R. Stanley from Athens at Fayetteville for an expedition against Chattanooga under the command of Negley. These troops passed through Winchester, Cowen, and University Place to Jasper. Advancing upon the latter place, the head of his column, under Colonel Hambright, encountered a brigade of the enemy's troops under General Adams. The enemy was driven from the place after a sharp engagement, leaving his supply and ammunition trains. His loss was 18 killed, 20 wounded, and 12 prisoners. Leaving Jasper, Negley arrived on the north bank of the Tennessee, opposite Chattanooga, on the 7th. Negley, on the evening of that day and the morning of the next, bombarded Chattanooga, and made a demonstration of crossing the river and attacking the town. General Duke says: "The commandant of the place, General Leadbetter, had two or three guns in battery and replied, when the gunners, who were the most independent fellows I ever saw, chose to work the guns. The defence of the place was left entirely to the individual efforts of those who chose to defend it, and nothing prevented its capture but the fact that the enemy could not cross the river."
Negley then withdrew and encamped his command at Shelbyville.
General G. W. Morgan, under orders from Buell, assumed command of the forces in Eastern Kentucky early in April. Acting under his orders he proceeded to Cumberland Ford and commenced operations at once against Cumberland Gap. This gap is situated in the Cumberland range on the boundary line between Kentucky and Tennessee, near the Western Virginia line, is a deep depression in the mountain range, making a natural roadway through it, and is the centre of all the roads in that section of country. It is a stronghold protected by nature with abrupt slopes on the mountains, frequently so steep as to be almost perpendicular, with the ranges much broken by spurs, knobs, and ravines, protected by parallel ranges of less height in close proximity on the east and west. Morgan, after encountering the enemy in several skirmishes, determined either to compel him to fight or retreat. He sent General Spears with three brigades to Pine Mountain, on the road to Big Creek Gap. General Kirby Smith, commanding the enemy's forces in East Tennessee, placed General Barton's command of two brigades of infantry in Big Creek Gap, and then advanced with some eight thousand men under his immediate command to cut Spears off, and to threaten the Federal forces at Cumberland Ford. Morgan, under orders, withdrew Spears, but learning a few days later from Buell of the operations of Negley's command before Chattanooga, and that Kirby Smith had proceeded with a part of his command to the relief of that place, resumed the advance. Negley's movements had caused Smith to suspend his operations, but when he heard of Negley's withdrawal he proceeded at once to execute his plans against Morgan. On June 18th, the latter, finding that Kirby Smith had taken his entire command away from Cumberland Gap, marched his troops up Powell's Valley and late in the evening of that day reached the fortifications, found the Gap empty, and took possession. This natural stronghold had been extensively fortified by the rebels, who regarded the position of their troops such as to prevent the success of any attempt on the part of the Federal forces to obtain possession without a battle. The enemy were completely out-maneuvred, and General Morgan had the satisfaction of occupying this fortress without the loss of any of his command.
In the early part of May, the rebel Colonel John H. Morgan's command of some five hundred men, in the neighborhood of Pulaski, Tenn., captured a wagon train with about four hundred Federal troops, mostly convalescents going to Columbia. On the night of the 5th, Morgan reached Lebanon and quartered his entire force in houses in the town. On the evening of the 6th, Dumont with his command from Nashville, joined by that of Duffield from Murfreesboro, surprised and attacked Morgan's troopers, completely routing them after a severe engagement. Morgan with a few men under his immediate command escaped after a chase of twenty-one miles from Lebanon, crossing the Cumberland River on a ferry. Dumont had with him detachments of Wynkoop's Seventh Pennsylvania cavalry, of Wolford's First Kentucky cavalry and of Green Clay Smith's regiment of Kentucky cavalry. Morgan's loss was 150 men captured, with the same number of horses. The balance of his command was dispersed. Wolford and Smith were both wounded, and the Federals lost 6 killed and 25 wounded. On the 11th, Morgan with his men that had escaped, and two new companies, made a raid on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad at Cave City, captured a freight train of forty-eight cars and burned it. He also captured a passenger train, which had a few Federal officers on it. His object was to rescue the men of his command taken prisoners at Lebanon, but in this he failed, as they had been sent North by boat.
From this place Morgan reported with his command at Chattanooga to refit, prepatory to his first extended raid into Kentucky. Here he was joined by two full companies of Texan cavalry under Captains R. M. Gano and John Huffman, both native Kentuckians, who, on reporting at Corinth, had asked to be ordered on duty with Morgan and his command, enlarged from a squadron to a full regiment. After he had obtained all the recruits he could at Chattanooga he set out for Knoxville, to further increase his command and to re-arm. It was at this place that he received the two mountain howitzers which were used so effectively in the first raid into Kentucky, and which just before his command started on the Ohio raid were taken from it by Bragg's ordnance officers. This came near raising a mutiny, and the only consolation that Morgan's men had was that Bragg lost the guns within two weeks after they were taken away from them. In the latter part of June, Colonel Hunt, of Georgia, reported at Knoxville with a regiment of "Partisan Rangers," nearly four hundred strong, ordered to accompany Morgan on his contemplated raid, making the strength of his entire command 876 effective men.
Morgan set out from Knoxville on the morning of July 4, 1862, taking the road to Sparta, one hundred and four miles due west from Knoxville, which was reached on the evening of the third day of this march. The Union men of East Tennessee frequently gave these raiders medicine of their own prescription, lying in wait for them and firing upon them from the bushes. This was a new experience for these freebooting troopers, who wherever they went in the South were generally made welcome to the best of everything, being regarded as the beau-ideals of Southern chivalry. On the 8th, Morgan's command reached the Cumberland River at the ford near the small village of Celina, eighteen miles from Tompkinsville, where a detachment of the Ninth Pennsylvania, 250 strong, was encamped under command of Major Jordan. Morgan learned at Knoxville the fact that a Federal force was at this point, and was told the particulars of it on his arrival at Celina, and he now wished to surprise and capture the entire command. Sending a detachment under Gano by the right to cut off Jordan's retreat, at five o'clock in the morning of the 9th Morgan moved to the attack. Jordan posted himself on a thickly wooded hill and fired several volleys at the rebels as they advanced over an open field, but being outnumbered was routed with a loss of four killed, six wounded, and nineteen prisoners. The enemy's loss was several wounded, among them Colonel Hunt, who died a few days later from the effects of his wound. Morgan paroled the prisoners and then left for Glasgow, reaching there at one o'clock that night, where they were received with open arms by the citizens, breakfast cooked for the entire command, and three days' rations prepared for them. From here the command marched all night, and at eleven o'clock next morning was within a short distance of Lebanon. Morgan, prepatory to an attack, despatched one of his companies to destroy the railroad north of the town to prevent the arrival of reinforcements. The company struck the railroad at New Hope Church, and had just commenced their work of destruction when a train came up with a number of Federal troops on it, who drove the rebels off in confusion, but for some unknown cause the train then returned to Louisville, leaving Morgan unmolested at Lebanon, who advanced to the attack and drove in the pickets. After a slight skirmish the place was surrendered by Lieutenant-Colonel Johnson of the Twenty-eighth Kentucky, with a small detachment of that command. Morgan destroyed some fifty thousand dollars' worth of Government stores. He left Lebanon at two o'clock in the afternoon, passed through Springfield without halting the command, and pushed on for Harrodsburg, reaching there at nine o'clock on Sunday morning. Here he sent Gano with his squadron around Lexington to burn the railroad bridges on the Kentucky Central Railroad, in order to prevent troops being sent there from Cincinnati. Another detachment was sent to destroy the bridge on the Louisville and Lexington Railroad, cutting off reinforcements from Louisville. Morgan's design was to make it appear that he intended to attack Frankfort, then turn suddenly to the right and attempt the capture of Lexington. He had given out everywhere in Kentucky that he was marching on the State Capital with a force five thousand strong, and had succeeded in spreading the utmost alarm. On the 15th Morgan reached Midway, captured the telegraph operator and installed his own operator at the same instrument, sent despatches in the name of Federal Generals, and changed the orders for the movement of troops. He telegraphed in all directions, without the slightest regard for truth, and succeeded in creating the utmost confusion and alarm at Cincinnati, Louisville, Lexington, and Frankfort. The command left Midway late in the afternoon and started for Georgetown, which place they reached at sundown, where they met a small force of Home Guards, who were driven out of town. From here Morgan sent a force to burn the bridges on the Kentucky Railroad between Lexington and Paris. Then learning how strongly Lexington was garrisoned, he gave up all thought of attacking it, and finding that the Federal forces were closing in on him commenced his return south. On the 18th, Morgan attacked Cynthiana, which was garrisoned by some five hundred men, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel John J. Landrum, of the Eighteenth Kentucky. The fighting continued for two hours, when the Federal force was driven from the town and nearly all captured. Landrum and a few of his command escaped. The Federals lost 16 killed and 40 wounded, and 14 of the enemy were killed and 42 wounded. The rebels claimed to have captured 420 prisoners, who were at once paroled. The depot, with a large amount of Government stores, was burned. Morgan then left for Paris, where he arrived late in the evening and rested there that night. About eight o'clock in the morning his command was driven out of this place by the troops under General Green Clay Smith, numbering some twelve hundred men, who killed 2, wounded six, and captured several prisoners. Morgan pushed through Winchester, reaching that point about twelve o'clock, crossed the Kentucky River just at dark, and arrived at Richmond at four o'clock in the morning. Here he rested his command twelve hours, then marched toward Crab Orchard, arriving about daybreak the next morning. It had been his intention to make a stand at Richmond, but there were too many troops marching to attack him. Besides General Smith's command, which was following him closely, Colonel Wolford was collecting forces in the southern part of Kentucky to intercept him, and troops were EN ROUTE from Louisville to aid in the pursuit. Morgan left Crab Orchard at eleven o'clock the same morning, and reached Somerset about sunset. At these two places he captured 130 wagons, with large quantities of Government stores, of which he loaded as much into wagons for the use of his command as he wanted, and burned the rest. From Somerset he marched to Stagall's Ferry on the Cumberland River, and there crossed, reaching Monticello, twenty-one miles from the river, that night, when all pursuit ended.
Morgan's object in making this raid was to obtain recruits and horses, to equip and arm his men, and to prepare for his fall raiding trip. In his official report he says: "I left Knoxville on the 4th day of this month with about nine hundred men, and returned to Livingston on the 28th inst. with nearly twelve hundred, having been absent just twenty-four days, during which time I have traveled over a thousand miles, captured seventeen towns, destroyed all the Government supplies and arms in them, dispersed about fifteen hundred Home Guards, and paroled nearly twelve hundred regular troops. I lost in killed, wounded, and missing of the number that I carried into Kentucky, about ninety."
When Buell received his orders to open the campaign in East Tennessee, the key to that part of the State was Chattanooga, and this was the objective point of his campaign. With the concentration of the Southern forces in Mississippi, both Halleck and Buell thought that a favorable time had arrived for this movement, anticipating that no advance of the enemy's forces would be made to dispute the occupancy of those portions of Kentucky and Tennessee already held by the Federal forces. The great problem with Buell was to furnish supplies to his army, now some three hundred miles away from its base at Louisville, dependent during the greater part of the year on one line of road, which was subject to being raided at any time, bridges burned, the roadbed destroyed, and the entire road rendered useless for months. To continue this line the many miles through the enemy's country, subject to increased risks before Chattanooga could be reached, was a matter that required a great amount of careful thought and deliberation. Buell had tried infantry in stockades at bridges, and was satisfied that this was not the proper solution to the problem. He then made earnest and repeated application for more cavalry, to protect his communications and to meet and repulse the enemy's raiding parties before they could reach his line of communication. If he was to move with his command into East Tennessee, he regarded the line from Nashville to Chattanooga as the proper road on which he should depend for his supplies, and to which he should give his care and attention for this purpose.
Halleck considered the line from Memphis to Chattanooga the one over which the supplies for Buell's army should pass. The latter objected to this, by reason of that road crossing the Tennessee River twice, thus giving two long bridges to rebuild and protect, instead of one, and for the additional reason that this road ran for a considerable distance parallel with the front of the enemy, and thus invited raiding parties. While the risks attending the other road were great enough, Buell regarded the Memphis and Charleston road far the more objectionable. Besides, he wished to move through Middle Tennessee to McMinnville, and thence to Chattanooga, with Nashville as his depot of supplies. In this Halleck overruled him and directed that he march his command on the line of the Memphis road, repairing the track as he advanced.
While this matter was under consideration by the Federal commanders, Bragg, who had been appointed to the position of General made vacant by the death of General Johnston, and who had succeeded Beauregard in the command in the West, put his columns in motion eastward to occupy Chattanooga. Johnston, on the retreat from Nashville, sent all surplus army stores to Chattanooga, and Bragg now regarded that point as the proper place to refit his command, and from which to assume the offensive, and open the campaign he had planned to free, for a time at least, Tennessee from the control of the Federal forces.
With the start thus made by both commands for Chattanooga, everything was in favor of Bragg, whose movements were unimpeded, as his route was south of the Tennessee, through his own territory, with his lines of communication open when he arrived at that place. With Buell, the repairs of the railroad retarded his progress, and the advance weakened his command by the increased number of detachments required to guard his line as it lengthened.
McCook's and Crittenden's commands were started eastward, the first from Corinth, and the latter from Booneville. McCook reached Florence on the 15th of June, where ferryboats had been provided by Mitchel for the crossing of his division. A delay was occasioned here by the report that Nelson had been attacked, but this was found to be false; and, on the 26th, the divisions of McCook, Crittenden, and Nelson crossed, and started at once for Athens, which place they reached on the 29th. On the same day Buell established his headquarters at Huntsville, Ala., and gave personal supervision to the repair of the railroads, now extremely urgent. He placed his troops by division upon the different sections of the line, under orders to push repairs with all possible expedition. These troops, as repairs were made, advanced from time to time, concentrating on the line of the Nashville and Chattanooga road. The repairs to this railroad were completed on July 28th, and on the Nashville and Decatur road on August 3d. During the latter part of July the last division of Buell's army, under Thomas, crossed the Tennessee River, being relieved—on the line of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad—by troops from Grant's army. Thomas established his headquarters at Dechard. It was on this march with his brigade that General Robert L. McCook was murdered by guerillas. He was riding in an ambulance, ill at the time, and unarmed.
Nelson's division had been sent to Murfreesboro about the middle of July, to drive Forrest, who, with his cavalry, on the 13th, attacked the Federal garrison in the town. The post was under the command of General T. L. Crittenden, and the troops composting the Twenty-third Brigade were under the command of Colonel Duffield. There was, unfortunately, a disagreement between the ranking officers at the post that led to the most unfortunate results. Colonel Lester, of the Third Minnesota, during the absence of Duffield, commanding the brigade, had, by reason of the unpleasant relations existing between portions of the command, widely distributed them in different parts of the town. On the return of Crittenden and Duffield on July 11th, neither of them assumed command, and their dignity, thinking more of their own personal importance than the good of the service. With no one in command, there was no unity or proper "esprit de corps" among the troops, and no disposition for defence when Forrest made his attack. the latter had advanced through McMinnville from Chattanooga, with about two thousand men, and arrived at Murfreesboro about five o'clock on the morning of the 13th, captured the pickets, and made disposition of his forces for immediate attack. Forming his entire command into columns of fours, with the Eighth Texas in front, Forrest moved forward on a trot until he reached the Federal encampments, which Colonel Wharton, with two regiments, charged. The Second Georgia dashed into the town, captured the provost guard and all Federal officers and men on the streets, seized and secured the supplies.
Major Smith with the Kentucky troops was sent to the rear of the Federal command to cut off the retreat. The Texans charged into the camp of the Ninth Michigan, and reaching the tents, roused some of the men from sleep. A portion of that regiment, however, rallied by the officers, made a handsome stand and drove the Texans off. Duffield was wounded while rallying his men. The Second Georgia charged into the public square and surrounded the Court House, occupied by a company of the Ninth Michigan, who twice repulsed the attacking force. Reinforcements being brought forward, the doors of the building were battered down and the company was forced to surrender. Forrest now attacked the Third Minnesota on the east bank of Stone's River, about a mile and a half from town, which had just left their camp to join the force in the town, when Forrest with three regiments moved to the attack.
Colonel Lester formed his command in line of battle, with nine companies of infantry and four pieces of artillery, and opened fire on the rebels as they advanced. Forrest attempting to get to the rear of his force, encountered the camp guard of some hundred men left by Lester to protect his camp, posted behind a strong barricade of wagons and some large ledges of rocks, difficult to carry. Forrest at once ordered a charge which was twice made and repulsed. Leading his men the third time, he succeeded in driving the guard from their position to the main command, posted some six hundred yards away. It was now one o'clock, and beyond the skirmishes between the commands but little had been accomplished.
Forrest's officers urged him to withdraw with the results obtained up to that time. This he refused to do, and made disposition of his command for further attack on the Federal forces occupying the camp of the Ninth Michigan, which consisted of this regiment and a company of the Second Kentucky cavalry. He dismounted two of his regiments and threw forward skirmishers, directed them to open brisk firing, and sent the Second Georgia dismounted to attack on the left. After this he brought up the Eighth Texas and placed them in position to charge on the left.
Having made this disposition of his forces, he sent forward, under a flag of truce, a written demand for the surrender of Duffield's command, which was complied with at once. After this, Forrest demanded the surrender of the Third Minnesota, which Lester, after an interview with Duffield and a consultation with his own officers, made, surrendering some five hundred infantry of his regiment and two sections of Hewitt's battery of artillery. The entire forces surrendered were seventeen hundred troops with four pieces of artillery. Forrest captured about six hundred horses and mules, and a very large quantity of stores and Government supplies, part of which he carried away and the rest he destroyed, to the value of nearly a million of dollars.
This loss occurred the day after the opening of the road from Nashville south, and very seriously interfered with the movements at the front. Nelson endeavored to intercept Forest, but could not successfully "chase cavalry with infantry." Forrest on Nelson's approach withdrew to McMinnville, and from there made a dash on Lebanon, some fifty miles distant, where he expected to find a force of five hundred Federal cavalry. This force escaped him, and he then swept around to the south of Nashville, captured 150 bridge guards and burned four bridges. Learning that Nelson was again in pursuit of him, Forrest returned to McMinnville.
From this point he made repeated raids on the line of road south of Nashville, leaving Morgan to operate against the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. These raiders were able to move almost without opposition, as Buell was without sufficient cavalry to cope with them. The latter had been compelled to divide his cavalry into small bands to run down the guerillas that had been operating on his line of railroad. Now that Forrest's and Morgan's commands had become so formidable, he was compelled to organize his cavalry into united bodies for better defensive movements against these raiders. The Second Indiana, Fourth and Fifth Kentucky, and Seventh Pennsylvania cavalry regiments he formed into one brigade, and on August 11th, he sent it under General R. W. Johnson against Morgan, who had been ordered by Bragg to break the railroad between Louisville and Nashville, in order to retard Buell's movement north to Louisville as much as possible, and who was operating about Gallatin, Tennessee, which he had captured with 200 prisoners. Colonel Boone was in command of the Federal forces at this point. Morgan hearing that Boone slept in the town away from the camp, sent a small force to capture him, which was done, just as he had dressed and was starting to camp. Morgan then destroyed a railroad bridge south of Gallatin, and the tunnel six miles north, the roof of which was supported with large beams on upright timbers. Running some freight cars into the tunnel, they were set on fire and some eight hundred feet of it destroyed, the roof caving in.
Johnson sought to attack Morgan before he could unite with Forrest, who was on his Lebanon raid at that time, but Morgan hearing that Johnson had infantry and artillery supports, endeavored to avoid an engagement. Johnson forced the fight, engaged Morgan with spirit, and although repulsed three times, after the first and second repulse formed promptly and renewed the attack. After the third repulse the Federal forces commenced retreating, when Morgan followed, attacked Johnson's retreating forces and drove the Federals some three miles. Johnson reformed his lines twice, but the enemy broke, and drove them each time. He then reformed the remnant of his command and fought the enemy dismounted, when the latter charged again, and Johnson, seeing that the greater part of his command had scattered, surrendered. The force that was with him at this time was only a small band of some twenty-five soldiers and a few officers. His loss was 20 killed and 42 wounded. Duke in his "History of Morgan's Cavalry," says: "A great deal of censure was at the time cast upon these men"—Johnson's command—"and they were accused of arrant cowardice by the Northern press. Nothing could have been more unjust. They attacked with spirit and without hesitation, and were unable to close with us on account of their heavy loss in men and horses. I have seen troops much more highly boasted than these were before their defeat, behave not nearly so well." And of Johnson, Duke says: "His attack was made promptly and in splendid style; his dispositions throughout the first fight were good, and he exhibited fine personal courage and energy."
Bragg's Advance into Kentucky.
After Nelson's pursuit of Forrest on his raid around Nashville, he was ordered by General Buell to McMinnville. Crittenden and McCook with their divisions were at Battle Creek, Thomas and Wood were on the line of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, and Mitchel's division, under the command of Rousseau, on the line of railroad from Decatur to Columbia. Bragg had so well concealed his intention as to his advance, that Buell was compelled to be in readiness to meet him in the event of one of three movements, which it was supposed he would make if he moved before Buell was ready to advance upon him.
The latter thought Bragg would either move by the left, pass around into Northern Alabama, cross at Decatur, and press north for Nashville. This he regarded as the most likely movement. Or, second, more direct, crossing the mountains, pass through McMinnville, and so on to Nashville. Or, third, to move by way of Knoxville into Eastern Kentucky. The latter, up to the first of September, Buell regarded as hardly a possibility, supposing Bragg's movements all indicated an advance on Nashville. Thomas was ordered to assume command of the troops at McMinnville, to repair the railroad from Tullahoma to that point as he went, and to establish posts of observation with signal stations on the mountains to watch Bragg's movements. Thomas assumed command at McMinnville on the 19th of August, on the same day that Bragg sent a column of three or four thousand troops across the river at Chattanooga. Buell, in anticipation of this being the advance of Bragg's entire army en route for Nashville, despatched Wood to the vicinity of McMinnville, to aid in resisting his advance. He then ordered McCook to move from Battle Creek to the Therman road, where he was to hold the enemy in check until re-enforced by Thomas. Crittenden's division was sent up the valley through Tracy City, by the Altamont road, to be within supporting distance of McCook, and to watch the road from there to Chattanooga. Thomas was directed to hold his command in readiness to move at a moment's notice, either on the Therman or Dunlap road. On the 22d, Buell learned that Bragg's whole army was north of the Tennessee, and he then, further to concentrate his command, moved his supplies from the depot at Stenvson to Dechard. Thomas on the same day telegraphed from McMinnville to Buell that he believed Bragg's movements meant an advance of his entire army into Kentucky. Thomas reconnoitered thoroughly the front of his position, and ascertained that the enemy was not there and not as yet even in Sequatchie Valley. This he reported to Buell, and suggested that Wood's division be posted at Sparta, to intercept Bragg's advance, if made through that place; that another division be left at Dechard, to watch any movement in that direction, and that the remaining portions of the command be concentrated at McMinnville, ready to offer battle to Bragg's army if it should advance on that front. Thomas regarded Bragg's advance either on Nashville or Louisville as possible only through McMinnville or Sparta, and he proposed to attack before Bragg could reach either. On the next day Buell, under advices that he regarded as reliable, ordered the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Divisions to concentrate at Altamont, intending there to offer battle. He sent detailed instructions to Thomas, in charge of the movement, as to the disposition of his command, with orders in the event of defeat to fall back, keeping his force between the enemy and Nashville. On the 25th, Thomas reached Altamont, and finding no enemy nearer than the Sequatchie Valley, and regarding Bragg's advance by way of Altamont improbable, owing to the bad condition of the roads, and lack of forage and water, returned to McMinnville with the Fourth and Sixth Divisions. On the 30th, Buell gave orders concentrating his entire command at Murfreesboro, still under the impression that Bragg expected to strike for Nashville. The latter's movements were so well guarded, and Buell had as yet so little reliable information in regard to them, that he hesitated even after the order was issued, and the next day asked Thomas's advice in regard to it, in the light of any further information as to the movements of the enemy. Thomas advised that the movement proceed, having been commenced, and gave a plan of battle in the movement from Murfreesboro. Thomas, on the 30th, captured a despatch that Bragg, on the 27th, had sent to Van Dorn, in command in Mississippi, conveying to him in full his plans in regard to his advance into Kentucky, and informed him that Kirby Smith, re-enforced with two divisions from this army, had turned Cumberland Gap, and was marching on Lexington, Ky.
Buell's army at Murfreesboro consisted of five divisions under his immediate command, the troops being then on the line of the railroad. In addition he had two divisions sent to him from the Army of the Tennessee—General J. C. Davis' division, under General R. B. Mitchell, which arrived at Murfreesboro on the 2d of September, and General E. A. Paine's division, under the command of General J. M. Palmer, which reached Nashville on the 10th. This concentration of the army at Murfreesboro of course withdrew all troops from the mountains, leaving Bragg unhampered in the selection of his route, either west to Nashville, or north to Louisville. He made choice of the latter, and pushed down the valley of the Cumberland to Carthage, where he crossed, moving through Scottsboro and Glasgow, to strike the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. Bragg entered Kentucky with five divisions, making an army of some thirty-five thousand men, divided between Generals Polk and Hardee. While at Murfreesboro Buell first learned definitely of Bragg's movements, and of his intended advance into Kentucky. The news of the movements of Kirby Smith and of Nelson's defeat also reached him here.
On August 16th, Buell had ordered Nelson to assume command in Kentucky, and to make such dispositions of his troops as would resist any movement by Kirby Smith, then threatening Cumberland Gap. The plan of the rebels in their campaign, which was intended to free the soil of the South from the Northern armies by carrying the war into the North, was for Kirby Smith to move through Eastern Kentucky to Lexington and thence to Cincinnati, and for Bragg to push through Central Kentucky to Louisville. With these two cities in the possession of their armies it would be a short step to enter upon the rich fields of the Northern States, and with the large number of new recruits gained en route their armies could resist any Northern troops that would be brought against them. This had been Sidney Johnston's plan to be worked out after he had achieved the victory he contemplated at Shiloh, and Bragg as his successor endeavored to carry out Johnston's plan of campaign. One was as much a success as the other, and in both the hour of defeat trod so quickly on their apparent victory that the campaign in each instance ultimately resulted in failure. So far as the advance of Bragg and Kirby Smith into Kentucky was concerned, by it the South suffered a loss instead of a gain, and was compelled from that time on to act upon a steadily lessening line of defence. Bragg's report shows he took a smaller command out than he took into the State.
On the same day that Nelson's orders were dated, Stevenson appeared with his division before Cumberland Gap. George W. Morgan in command there immediately sent out cavalry to the adjoining gaps to watch for further movements of the enemy. When a short distance from Roger's Gap the cavalry struck the head of Kirby Smith's army on its advance to Kentucky. Smith's forces were those of his own command in East Tennessee, re-enforced by the divisions of McCown from Mississippi, sent him by Bragg, and also the two fine brigades of Cleburne and Preston Smith, ordered to report to him from Chattanooga. Kirby Smith moved with his main command to Barboursville, and ordered McCown to Cumberland Ford with a large force, which cut off Morgan, in the Gap, from his base of supplies in that direction. Leaving Stevenson in Morgan's front to engage his attention, Kirby Smith with his entire force advanced into Kentucky, thus entirely cutting off re-enforcements and supplies to Morgan's command. The latter failing in his efforts to bring on an engagement, placed his command on half rations, and after a council of war abandoned the Gap, dismounting his siege guns and destroying what stores and ammunition he could not remove, marched out with his entire command, to the east of Kirby Smith's force, to the Ohio River. John Morgan's cavalry annoyed the command for some days, without inflicting any material loss.
When Nelson reached Kentucky he found that a new department had been created, with General H. G. Wright in command, embracing that part of the State east of Louisville and the line of the Nashville Railroad, taken from under Buell's command. Wright ordered Nelson to proceed to Lexington and assume command of all the troops in that locality, nearly all of them new regiments, principally from Ohio and Kentucky, hastily gathered together, without drill or discipline. Nelson concentrated these troops at Lexington, and organized them into a division with Generals M. D. Manson, J. S. Jackson, and Charles Cruft as brigade commanders. On August 23d, Nelson sent a detachment of the Seventh Kentucky cavalry and Colonel Child's battalion of Tennessee cavalry, under Colonel Metcalfe's command, to Big Hill to resist the advance of the enemy. These troops being attacked by a greatly superior force the Seventh Kentucky broke and fled, leaving, however, about one-fourth of the command with the Tennessee battalion, which, after fighting bravely, was compelled to retire. Metcalfe rallied his men, but on the approach of the enemy they again broke and ran, leaving the Tennesseeans to resist the attack, which they so far succeeded in doing as to secure a safe retreat to Richmond. The enemy pushed forward and demanded the surrender of the town, but learning that re-enforcements had arrived, retired. Nelson then ordered Manson's and Cruft's brigades, under the command of the former, to proceed to Richmond. On arriving there Manson went into camp south of the town and threw out his pickets. The cavalry, on the 29th, reported an advance of the enemy in large numbers, and that a heavy force of infantry was driving in the pickets. Manson advanced to their support with his own brigade, leaving Cruft with his command at Richmond. Moving forward with his troops he drove the attacking party back and formed his line of battle on each side of the road some two miles from the town. The enemy attacked with infantry, artillery, and cavalry, but was driven back with the loss of one field piece and several men captured. Manson then occupied Rogersville, where he remained in camp all night. In the morning he ordered Cruft to join him, and moved out beyond the town to meet the enemy's advance. After heavy fighting for over an hour the left of Manson's command was fiercely assaulted, which being re-enforced, the right began to give way in confusion.
The troops were rallied on a new line a mile to the rear, but as this was badly posted for defense, the command was withdrawn from this position to the line occupied the day before, and from this—the enemy attacking in heavy force—the Federal troops were again routed and driven back to their camps, where the last stand was made and the heaviest fighting took place. Nelson, arriving on the ground, assumed command and endeavored to stem the tide of defeat. The enemy advanced in such overwhelming numbers upon the position of the Federal forces that they were driven in complete disorder at all points from the field. Nelson was twice wounded, but was able to reach Louisville with several detachments of his routed troops. Here he assumed command and bent every energy to the organization of new troops, forming the citizens in commands for the defence of that city. Nelson's losses in the engagement at Richmond were two hundred and twenty-five killed, six hundred wounded, and over two thousand captured. He also lost nine guns. His entire command consisted of some seven thousand troops. The enemy's force was twelve thousand men and thirty-six pieces of artillery, and he lost over nine hundred killed and wounded. Kirby Smith then pushed his command north, occupying Lexington, and sent out detachments threatening Louisville and Cincinnati. On the 6th of September, General Heth with some six thousand troops advanced and took position a few miles south of Covington. He was ordered by Kirby Smith not to attack, but to hold his command in readiness to move at a moment's notice to form a junction with Bragg, then marching north through Kentucky.
Smith, while waiting to form a junction with Bragg, was actively employed in gathering supplies for his army in the richest part of the State. He also sought to obtain recruits for his command, but recruiting for the infantry service did not prove a success. During the entire period the rebel army was in Kentucky not one entire infantry regiment was raised. Individual enlistment was constantly going on, but the leading officers of that army estimated their entire gain was not over five thousand men, including three regiments of cavalry recruited under Buford. Heth's advance alarmed the three cities of Covington, Newport, and Cincinnati, spreading consternation among all classes. Martial law was proclaimed, and all able-bodied citizens were ordered to report for work on the fortifications south of Covington. These works were manned by the population of the surrounding country, coming to Cincinnati to defend that city from pillage. Regiments of "Squirrel Hunters" were formed, and a show of force was kept up until veteran troops could be brought forward to take their place. Heth wished to attack, but Kirby Smith would not permit this, as he anticipated a battle with Buell, and that Bragg would have to fight his entire army, in which event he would need every available man. Heth fell back in a few days and on October 4th Smith reported with his command to Bragg at Frankfort.
Bragg's movements became clearly apparent to Buell while the latter was concentrating at Murfreesboro. On September 7th, Buell started with Ammen's, Crittenden's, McCook's, Wood's, Rousseau's, and Mitchell's divisions in the race between the opposing armies for Louisville. If Bragg moved energetically and with the intent of taking Louisville without fighting a battle in Kentucky before he reached that city, his start in the race and the shorter line he was moving on gave him the decided advantage in the movement. Buell's object was to overtake Bragg, and, if necessary, force the fighting. This would compel the latter to move his army so closely on the one road open to him that his movements would be necessarily slow. Failing in this, Buell's plans were to press Bragg so hard that if he refused to fight in Kentucky he must leave the State in possession of the Federal forces before he could gain anything by his advance.