Ohio Infantry, the Second Indiana Cavalry, one company of the Eleventh Kentucky Cavalry, and a section of Captain Nicklin's Indiana battery, was placed under my command on the 2nd day of December, 1862, in consequence of Colonel Scott, of the Nineteenth Illinois, who was commanding the brigade, returning to his regiment.
I entered upon my duties, and did all that I could to be in readiness if we should be attacked. Our position on the bank of the Cumberland River was the same occupied by the brigade that was there before our arrival from Tompkinsville, Ky. The vedette and picket stations were selected by Colonel Scott before he gave up the command. Upon my taking command, I increased the vedette and picket force, and every possible avenue 1 1/2 miles and the pickets one-half mile from camp. The country for miles was scouted every day by the cavalry force of my command, and every precaution was used to give us timely warning of the approach of the enemy, should they attempt to attack us.
On Saturday night, December 6, 1862, General John H. Morgan, of the rebel army, started from Baird's Mills, 8 miles south of Lebanon, Tenn., and 25 from Hartsville, for the purpose of attacking me at Hartsville. His force consisted of six regiments of cavalry, who regiments of infantry (the Second and Ninth Kentucky), and fourteen pieces of artillery. Besides this overwhelming force, until they numbered between 5,000 and 6,000 men. This force, with the exception of about 1,000 cavalry crossed the Cumberland River, under cover of night, between our position and that of the force stationed at Castalian Springs. The advance guard of the rebels were dressed in the Federal uniform, and succeeded in deceiving my vedettes and capturing them without firing a gun. The enemy then pushed on with their entire force toward our camp. The pickets gave the alarm, and held the rebels in check until my force was in line of battle and ready to receive them. The brigade [fell] promptly in line, and commenced the battle by attacking the enemy before he had time to form. The infantry force of the rebels were mounted on horses, behind the cavalry. The entire rebel force dismounted about 1 mile from camp and fought as infantry, with the exception of Bennett's cavalry, which dashed into the town of Hartsville to capture Company A, of the One hundred and fourth Illinois, who were acting provost guard of the town. The 1,000 cavalry before mentioned parted from the latter force did not arrive in time to participate in the fight, but succeeded in capturing the cowards who had deserted us in the time of need.
My force consisted of about 450 men of the One hundred and fourth Illinois, 250 effective men each of the One hundred and sixth and One hundred and eighth Ohio, 280 men of the Second Indiana Cavalry and the Eleventh Kentucky Cavalry, and a section of artillery-1,800 men. I had sent on Saturday, December 6, 1862, to Gallatin, as a guard to our provision train, three companies of infantry, one company of cavalry, and 30 mounted infantrymen, amounting to nearly 200 men, and a great many being sick in hospital at the time of the attack, left me but and their artillery of fourteen guns, and some of them 12-pounders.
The battle commenced about 6.45 a.m., and continued until 8.30 a.m., one hour and three-quarters. The One hundred and fourth Illinois fought heroically, and maintained their position. The Second Indiana Cavalry and the Eleventh Kentucky Cavalry also did nobly. The One hundred and sixth Ohio acted shamefully,and left us the midst of