War of the Rebellion: Serial 029 Page 0048 KY.,MID. AND E.TENN.,N.ALA.,AND SW.VA. Chapter XXXII.

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him with the Tenth Kentucky (Lieutenant-Colonel Hays) and the Seventy-fourth Indiana (Colonel Chapman), and four pieces of Southwick's battery, leaving the Fourth Kentucky (Colonel Croxton) and the Tenth Indiana (Lieutenant-Colonel Carroll), with two pieces of artillery, in camp at Castalian Springs, to guard my own as well as Colonel Miller's camp, and to resist any attack upon that point. My intention was to go within 3 or 4 miles of Hartsville, and thus keep within supporting distance both of my own men, at the springs, and of Colonel Miller in his advance to Hartsville. I left orders for the Fourth Kentucky and Tenth Indiana to be in constant readiness to obey any summons which I might send back to them.

When I arrived within about 3 miles of Hartsville, word was sent to me from the front that some of the enemy were seen ahead, and a request from Colonel Miller that I would come forward rapidly with my men and assume command, as there were some indications of a fight. This summons was obeyed. I went in person to the front and assumed command. My regiments, already moving rapidly, increased their pace, and marched as fast as men ever marched. Believing, from the information received, that the enemy would resist us, I sent, before going to the front, an order back for the Fourth Kentucky to join me as soon as possible, which order was obeyed with the utmost alacrity.

Upon arriving at the front, I found that Colonel Miller's brigade had formed in line of battle about 1 1/2 miles this side of Hartsville. His battery was in position, and had, previous to my arrival, fired one or two shells into the wood beyond, where some of the enemy were seen. Up to that time we had not met a single straggler on the entire route. No one could be seen to give any information as to what had happened. The firing had ceased some little while before this. Whether the enemy had been repulsed and had retired, or whether our entire force had been captured, we could not tell. Just then, however, from an eminence near by, I observed a dense smoke rising from the direction of Colonel Moore's camp. I then became satisfied that all had been lost, and that my only chance was to push forward, and, if possible, catch the enemy before he crossed the river, and thereby also save some of our captured men. A rapid advance was ordered; we moved across the country directly toward Colonel Moore's camp, which was also he shortest route to the ford, near Hartsville, where the rebels would necessarily recross the river.

Upon the arrival of Faulkner's cavalry at Colonel Moore's camp, which was about 400 yards from the ford, and in full view of it, some of the rebel cavalry were seen crossing the river, and had some of our teams with them. They were fired upon by Faulkner's men, when they abandoned the wagons and fled precipitately across the river. In addition to the rebel cavalry who were seen crossing the river, I observed myself several hundred rebel cavalry on the hill on the south side of the river, moving off on the Lebanon road. Each of them appeared to have a man behind him on his horse. I ordered Nicklin's battery, of Miller's brigade, to fire across at the retiring rebels, which order was promptly obeyed, and resulted in the killing of a few of the rebels, as I was afterward informed. Pursuit was utterly impracticable; it would have required at least an hour and a half to cross the river at that point and ascend the high bank on the south side. The enemy, as I learned, recrossed their infantry, as well as their prisoners, with the horses of their cavalry. In addition to all this, I did not deem it prudent to cross the river with the force then at my disposal, being entirely unadvised as to what strength the enemy had on the south side in reserve.