No. 92. Report of Colonel Moses B. Walker, Thirty-first Ohio Infantry, commanding First Brigade, Third Division.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST BRIGADE, THIRD DIVISION,
FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS, DEPT. OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Camp before Murfreesborough, Tenn., January 11, 1863.
MAJOR:On the night of the 30th ultimo the First Brigade made a night march from Nolensville to Stewartsborough. The road was very heavy, rough, and intricate, and most of the night was occupied in the march. The Fourth Michigan Battery, belonging to the brigade, got through without accident, but in a manner unknown to the oldest inhabitant.
On the 31st the brigade was ordered to join the forces near Murfreesborough. This order would have been promptly obeyed, but at the moment it was received a messenger came into camp with the news that a body of rebel cavalry, numbering from 1,000 to 2,000 men, had attacked and were burning the supply train belonging to General McCook's corps, at La Vergne. I immediately ordered the Seventeenth, Thirty-first, and Thirty-eighth Ohio Regiments, and one section of the Fourth Michigan Battery to move with all possible haste to the relief of the train. Lest an attack might be made upon our camp in the absence of the troops, I left the Eighty-second Indiana Volunteers drawn up in line of battle, with four pieces of the Fourth Michigan Battery for its defense.
The distance from my camp to La Vergne was a little more than 2 1/2 miles, and, though the infantry moved with great rapidity, we were unable to reach La Vergne before nearly all the wagons and their contents had been destroyed. By pushing forward the artillery with all haste, I was able to get the two guns which I had taken into position on the hill about one-third of a mile on this side of the town before the rebels had succeeded in paroling near all the men connected with the train. Many of the rebel cavalry were engaged in trying to drive away the mules belonging to the train, but the timely administration of shells by Lieutenant Wheat put an effectual stop to driving away the mules, but drove the rebels pell-mell into the woods on the right and left of the road.
Captain Patten, of the First Ohio Cavalry, who had joined me on the march with 20 of his men, supported, as well as could be done, by the Thirty-first Ohio Volunteers, now made pursuit, and succeeded in capturing 5 prisoners. The other two regiments having come up, a sufficient detail was made, under the direction of Major Ward and Captain Stinchcomb, to secure all the mules and harness, with two wagons, which were not burned, and a considerable amount of camp and garrison equipage, all of which was for the time being secured, and has since been sent back to Nashville. The rebels had broken and rifled the trunks and valises of the officers, taking everything in the way of clothing and other property of value from them.
Having done the best that I could, under the circumstances, in the way of saving property, and, as I have since learned, having killed several and wounded others, I marched my command back to camp; on reaching which I immediately ordered Colonel Hunter, of the Eighty-second Indiana Volunteers, to move with his regiment on the road leading to Nashville, to collect together and bring forward all the trains which he might meet coming this way. This was accordingly done, the regiment making a forced march to Nashville the same night and