War of the Rebellion: Serial 029 Page 0046 KY.,MID. AND E.TENN.,N.ALA.,AND SW.VA. Chapter XXXII.

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No. 3. Report of Major William McMichael, Assistant Adjutant-General, U. S. Army.


The battle at Hartsville, Tenn., which resulted in the defeat and surrender of the United States troops at that place, occurred December 7.

Our forces consisted of the Thirty-ninth Brigade, Army of the Cumberland (One hundred and sixth and One hundred and eighth Ohio Infantry, and the One hundred and fourth Illinois Infantry), with the Second Indiana Cavalry and a section of Nicklin's (Thirteenth Indiana) battery. The Eleventh Kentucky Cavalry is mentioned in one of the reports as having a small force in action.

No official report of this fight is furnished from the officer who commanded. The accounts are from officers of the several commands engaged. Their substances is as follows:

Major Hill, Second Indiana Cavalry, relates that, on the 6th, scouts were out, and no signs of the enemy appeared. Early on the morning of the 7th, the enemy appeared, and immediately advanced upon and attacked our force. Major Hill represents the cavalry as having behaved with gallantry.

Colonel E. M. McCook, commanding cavalry brigade, in submitting this account, says the Second Indiana Cavalry and One hundred and fourth Illinois Infantry "fought gallantly; the other regiments of the brigade fled disgracefully, leaving their comrades to make a hopeless fight against superior numbers." Colonel McCook was not in the action, but derived his opinion from the testimony of individuals who had participated in it.

Captain Wadleigh, One hundred and fourth Illinois Infantry; Captain Good, One hundred and eighth Ohio Infantry, and Lieut. Colonel Gustavus Tafel, commanding One hundred and sixth Ohio Infantry, each present an account of the part taken by his own regiment, and all agree in stating that the commands with which they served behaved unexceptionably. All accounts agree that the enemy were in sight before any disposition to receive their attack was made. The troops assembled hurriedly. It seems to have been a surprise, but sufficient time elapsed to form our men in line.

The fight lasted one hour and a quarter, having commenced between 6.30 and 7 a.m. Colonel Moore, One hundred and fourth Illinois Infantry, commanding our forces in the action.

At Castalian Springs, 9 miles from Hartsville, two brigades of our troops were encamped. The first intelligence they had of this action was the sound of firing. They moved forward to the assistance of the Harstville force. The firing having ceased, and, anticipating an attack, they formed in line of battle 1 1/2 miles before Hartsville; but their commander, Colonel Harlan, having observed a column of smoke in the direction of the Hartsville camp, again moved rapidly forward; found our troops had surrendered and the enemy in retreat, but succeeded in recapturing a part of our force and property.

Colonel Harlan is of opinion that the enemy crossed the Cumberland on the night of the 6th, and encamped. He received no intimation of an attack from Colonel Moore, or he could have co-operated to resist it. The enemy's force is said to have consisted of three regiments of infantry, Gano's and Bennett's cavalry, a battalion of Texan Rangers, and eight pieces of artillery. Two regiments of infantry, one regiment of