War of the Rebellion: Serial 051 Page 0723 Chapter XLII. WHEELER AND RODDEY'S RAID.

Search Civil War Original Records

On the morning of the 30th, I learned that these commands had just arrived at a point about 20 miles from the point of crossing. I ordered them to the latter place and proceeded there with the commands of Generals Wharton and Martin. The enemy had occupied the opposite bank and immediately concentrated a force nearly if not quite equal to our own to resist our crossing. This force had followed me up the river, and I found that any point at which I should attempt to cross could be reached as easily by them as by my command. Under these circumstances, I determined to cross at the point I then was. The three brigades from General Forrest were mere skeletons, scarcely averaging 500 effective men each. These were badly armed, had but a small supply of ammunition, and their horses were in horrible condition, having been marched continuously for three days and nights without removing saddles. The men were worn out, and without rations. The brigade commanders made most urgent protests against their commands being called upon to move in this condition. With this state of things, I allowed the worst horses to be returned to the rear, and, with the remainder, crossed in the face of an enemy nearly as large as our own force. We assailed and drove the enemy about 3 miles.

On the morning of November [October] 2, I reached Sequatchie Valley, and at 3 o'clock on the following morning proceeded down toward Jasper with about 1,500 men. After traveling about 10 miles we overtook and captured 32 six-mule wagons, which were destroyed.

The mules were carried on with the command.

On approaching Anderson's Cross-Roads, we were met by a considerable force of cavalry, which we charged and drove before us. We here found a large train of wagons, which proved to extend from the top of Walden's Ridge for a distance of 10 miles toward Jasper. This train was heavily loaded with ordnance, quartermaster's, and commissary stores. The number of wagons was variously estimated at from 800 to 1,500. No one saw, perhaps, more than half the train. The quartermaster in charge of the train, as well as other employes, stated that there were 800 six-mule wagons, besides a great number of subtler wagons. The train was guarded by a brigade of cavalry in front and a brigade of cavalry in rear, and on the flank, where we attacked, were stationed two regiments of infantry. After a warm fight, the guards were defeated and driven off, leaving the entire train in our possession. After selecting such mules and wagons as we needed, we then destroyed the train by burning the wagons and sobering or shooting the mules. During this work my pickets were driven in on both flanks and my rear. Fortunately, the enemy was repulsed, and we remained undisturbed for eight hours and until our work was thoroughly accomplished.

Just before dark, as we were retiring, a large force of cavalry and infantry moved upon us from Stevenson, skirmishing with our rear until dark. During this, General Martin, Colonel Avery, and Lieutenant-Colonel Griffith were distinguished for gallantry.

During the night, I moved over Cumberland Mountains, and early next morning joined General Wharton near the foot of the mountains and went forward to attack McMinnville. The enemy was pressing close behind, but we succeeded in capturing the place with an enormous supply of quartermaster's and commissary stores, with the fortifications and garrison, which numbered 587 men, with arms, accouterments, &c.; 200 horses were also captured.

The day and night were occupied in destroying the stores, a loco-