War of the Rebellion: Serial 029 Page 0146 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA.

Search Civil War Official Records


position to press forward, which they were allowed to do with as much speed as I deemed consistent with prudence, I endeavoring to keep the infantry within quick supporting distance.

On arriving within 2 miles of Campbellsville, I was informed by citizens and paroled soldiers that the rebel rear guard was still at that place, engaged in destroying commissary goods abandoned by the Thirty-fourth Brigade. The column being well closed up, I ordered the cavalry to charge upon the town, which they did in handsome style, resulting, however, in the capture of but a few prisoners, the main force having left some five hours previous. Knowing that a considerable quantity of forage had been collected at Green River Bridge, and believing that the enemy would halt there to feed and rest his stock, I ordered Majors Gratz and Rue, with one section of artillery, to press forward, hoping to prevent by rapid pursuit the destruction of forage and bridge; also directing the shelling of their rear at every available point, with the further view of attracting the attention of any force that might be to our right, and thus defining to them the route pursued by us.

At 2 o'clock our advance came in sight of the ruins of Green River Bridge, when, believing that further pursuit was cut off, the section of the battery was placed in position and opened fire, not so much with a view of damaging the enemy, but as signal guns to any force which might be in reach of Columbia, trusting to thus give them a cue to the route pursued by the rebels. I ordered the troops to go immediately into camp, feed stock, and make details for cooking, while the men could get that rest they so much needed, after the forty-eight hours heavy duty they had undergone.

I also ordered the company of Pioneers attached to the Thirty-fourth Brigade to be immediately set to work in clearing the obstructions from a dirt road that crossed the river but a few hundred yards below the bridge. In the mean time the whole column closed up, the Twelfth and Sixteenth Kentucky having marched 22 miles in seven consecutive hours. I had not yet abandoned the hope of overtaking the enemy at Cumberland River.

I also learned that Colonel Wolford was certainly at Greensburg, in command of four regiments of cavalry. I immediately dispatched to him, notifying him of our pursuit, and suggesting that he should press on to Columbia, and, in the event that he should find Morgan in camp at the latter place, to quietly await our arrival, which would be some time during the night.

By 10 p.m. of the 1st instant, the obstructions in the road were removed. I then directed that the whole cavalry force under my command should move forward, accompanied by one section of the battery, with instructions to Colonel Boyle that, if he should find Morgan in camp at Columbia, not do disturb him, unless he should attempt to move off, until he was supported by my infantry or Colonel Wolford's cavalry. Following immediately in the rear of the cavalry was the remainder of the force under my command. As soon as I saw the principal part of the Thirty-fourth Brigade across the river, I pressed forward to the front, and, to my surprise, found the whole column halted, at 6 a.m., 6 miles from the bridge, which they had left at 11 o'clock the previous night. The apology for such a direct violation of orders by the cavalry was, that a citizen had told them that Morgan had left Columbia at 8 o'clock the previous night, and that their horses were worn down. The infantry and artillery were moved forward, and reached Columbia about noon on the 2nd instant, when, learning that the Cumberland was certainly fordable, I abandoned the pursuit and ordered my men into camp.