War of the Rebellion: Serial 029 Page 0140 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA.

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[CHAP. XXXII.

point, who returned at 11.30 o'clock in the night with the information that that bridge was still safe. My men were immediately aroused, and at midnight started for the bridge, reaching it before daylight of the 30th, and encamped on the south side of it. Thus was this important structure saved. Its safety is, however attributable in part to circumstances which may appear singular, but which, nevertheless, actually transpired.

On the morning of the 29th, two of Morgan's regiments and a portion of his artillery marched from their camp, on Rolling Fork, to the bridge (only 4 1/2 miles distant), to destroy it, and at the same time capture our force there. The garrison at that place constituted only two companies. The rebels reached the vicinity of the bridge, and were about to commence an attack, when the firing by my advance upon the remainder of their forces notified them that an enemy wa near at hand. They immediately commenced a rapid movement back to their camp, abandoned the attack upon our forces at the bridge, and joined the remainder of the rebel forces by the time that the infantry came up with my advance. They arrived in time to participate in the scenes already described. Upon my arrival at the Rolling Fork Bridge, I reported to the general commanding the district in which I was operating (General Boyle) for orders. He ordered me to remain in camp at the bridge, rest my men, protect the bridge, and hold myself in readiness to meet an attack on the long bridge over Salt River at Shepherdsville, 20 miles from Louisville.

On the morning of the 31st I crossed over to the north side of the Rolling Fork, in obedience to orders from General Boyle, to resist an attack which the commandant at Shepherdsville believed would be made upon him that day. No attack having been made, I halted, under General Boyle's orders, at Lebanon Junction until January 4, when I received orders to return to Gallatin. I am now en route with my brigade for that place, and will leave here as soon as transportation is afforded.

I do not suppose that the engagement which my command had with Morgan's forces could properly be called a battle, the main bodies of the respective forces not being engaged. It was simply brisk skirmishing, exhibiting the utmost willingness, even anxiety, on the part of all the officers and men under my command, though outnumbered by the enemy in every respect, to engage him at all hazards; and, on the part of the rebel chieftain and his men, an entire unwillingness to meet them upon any fair terms. Every circumstances on the occasion indicated to my command that the enemy were disposed to give us battle in force, yet nowhere, along the whole line, was there to be observed any, even the slightest, faltering by either officers or men.

To Colonels Este, Chapman, Carroll, Croxton, and Shanks, Lieutenant-Colonel Hays, Major Hobson, Captain Southwick, of the battery, and to all their brother officers, I return my thanks for the promptness and cheerfulness with which, on the line of march, they executed all my orders. To the members of my staff, Lieutenants Lisle, McKay, and Simpson, and to Captain Wellington Harlan, volunteer aide, I am indebted for the most valuable services rendered throughout the entire expedition. More efficient and competent officers are not to be found in the service. The men under my command deserve the thanks of the country for the cheerfulness with which, with insufficient food and rest, they bore up under the severest privations, determined to do all within the power of man to perform the important duty assigned them by the general commanding the department.