On the 5th instant, Hanson's brigade, of Breckinridge's division, was moved forward on the road toward Hartsville, and halted at Baird's Mills, a point nearly due east from Nashville, and half way to Hartsville, where it was joined by Morgan's cavalry force. Two regiments (the Second and Ninth Kentucky Infantry), with [Robert] Cobb's (Kentucky) artillery, moved from this point with the cavalry at 10 p.m. on the 6th, to attack the enemy at Hartsville. Early on the morning of the same day, Hanson, with the remainder of his brigade, moved, as directed, on the road toward Nashville for the purpose of a reconnaissance, and to cause a diversion. At the same time that the troops above named left their camps near here, Major-General [B. F.] Cheatham, with two brigades, moved out on the Nashville road, halted all night at La Vergne, 15 miles, and on the next day, in conjunction with General Wheeler's cavalry, made a strong demonstration on the enemy's front. These movements had the desired effect, and completely distracted the enemy's attention from the real point of attack. Learning that a foraging train of the enemy was on his right flank, Cheatham detached Wheeler, with a cavalry force, to attack it, which he did in his usual dashing and successful manner, capturing 11 wagons and 57 prisoners. Under cover of these feints, Morgan, by an extraordinary night march, reached the point of his destination about sunrise, and, in a short but warmly contested engagement, killed, wounded, and captured the entire command of more than 2,000 officers and men.*
I inclose herewith the reports of General Morgan and the subordinate commanders, and take great pleasure in commanding the fortitude, endurance, and gallantry of all engaged in this remarkable expedition. It is a source of personal and official gratification to perceive that the Department had recognized the services of the gallant and meritorious soldier who led the expedition by confirming my previous nomination of him as a brigade-general. Two sets of infantry colors and one artillery guidon, taken at Hartsville, are also forwarded with this report. A third set of infantry colors was presented by its captors to the President on his recent visit to this place.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF TENNESSEE,
Murfreesborough, Tenn., December 1, 1862.
Brig. General JOHN H. MORGAN,
Commanding Cavalry at Baird's [Mills]:
GENERAL: The general commanding directs me to say that, when relieved from your present duties, you will proceed with your whole command, by the most practicable route and with the least delay, to operate on the enemy's lines of communications in rear of Nashville. You will assail his guards where your relative force will justify it; capture and destroy his trains; burn his brigades, depots, trestle-work, &c. In fine harass him in every conceivable way in power. When practicable,
*But see inclosure A to Bragg's report of the battle of Stone's River, p.673.