War of the Rebellion: Serial 024 Page 0563 FORREST'S EXPEDITION INTO W. TENN. Chapter XXIX.

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money on board, and the recapture of the town of Humboldt, Tenn., by United States troops, over whom I had assumed command, together with subsequent official proceedings directly connected.

About 1 p. m. of the 20th instant I learned the progress of the regular passenger train from Jackson, Tenn., to Columbus, Ky., with a guard of infantry, on which I was a passenger (under orders from the general commanding the department) was impeded by from 400 to 600 Confederate cavalry strongly posted, with a section of artillery, on the north side of the main branch of Forked deer fiver and commanding every approach to the river from the south side, and that brisk firing was then going on between this force and the bridge guard of Companies H and I, Captains Harts and Shockey, One hundred and sixth Illinois Infantry, inside a block-house under the railroad bridge.

The train being immediately backed, with the view of returning to Jackson, I sent world to the officer commanding its guard, suggesting he "should dismount his command from the cars and go to the support of the bridge guard," which be did not do. After running back about 5 miles, a negro on horseback came galloping up the track and informed the conductor that a large force of cavalry was in our rear burning and tearing up the track. A quarter of a mile farther we saw the track on fire and several men in butternut clothes otherwise destroying it, and on a hill close by some cavalry, partly concealed by trees and underbrush.

It was now evident to every one we were caught in a well-laid trap, and the train and passengers in imminent danger of being captured. During this time several officers and citizens (passengers) remarked to me "the want of a head" and suggested I should "take command," which I declined to do on the ground of being a staff officer.

The train was now run forward to a stockade guarding some trestle work, and garrisoned by Company K, One hundred and sixth Illinois Infantry, where we found a construction train, with guard of infantry, commanded by Colonel John Rogers, Seventh Tennessee Infantry, which had preceded us from Jackson and which had just returned from the bridge giving been fired at six times by the Confederate artillery. As the firing was still going on at the bridge I was surprised to find that this train guard had not gone to their relief after having been in sight of them. At the stockade all was confusion and "the want of a head" apparent. The senior line officer present (Colonel Rogers) was utterly at loss what to do, and admitted his inexperience and incompetency to some of the passengers, who now again came to me and asked me to "take command," which I again refused, but said I would advise with the senior line officer present, and going to him so informer him. At this juncture several came to me and whispered he (Colonel Rogers) and his regiment were Tennesseeans without experience-had just run away from the bridge, and were not reliable. I noticed the enemy were following us up pretty close to our rear, and at once decided to assume command. I so informed him, in which he cheerfully acquiesced, obeying all my orders to the best of his ability until we were out of danger.

I know ordered some officers on leave of absence to duty; dismounted the train guard; ordered the one company at the stockade to remain with the trains, which were to follow us, as a guard; threw out one company in advance as skirmishers, and proceeded with the balance up the track to relieve the garrison in the block-house by dislodging the enemy.

About 1 1\2 miles from the railroad bridge I found a wagon road crossing the track, and on inquiry learned it crossed the river about 2