HEADQUARTERS SECOND CAVALRY BRIGADE, Nashville, Tenn., January 2, 1863-11 o'clock.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that, at 9 a. m. yesterday, I proceeded with the Third [Ohio] Cavalry and the Anderson Troop, as directed, forward to guard the trains no motion on the road to Nashville. I took up every train in front of me which was in motion. At Stewart's Creek I found the Third Division train just putting out. It detained me about one hour; at the same time I learned that a heavy cavalry force was to the left of me. I ordered the train to proceed at a brisk walk. We moved on until we arrived at La Vergne; the train had passed the flats at La Vergne, myself and command resting on the flat, when my flankers discovered the enemy to our left and engaged him. I immediately turned into the field, formed line of battle, and dispatched orderlies to the front to move the train on a trot.
The enemy formed; then ensued skirmishing with the skirmishers. The enemy formed a new line, which I counteracted; kept him at bay ready to receive their charge; they, however, declined to charge-wheeled in column of fours, moved to the left of our train, and forward around a hill in front and to the left of the road, with the intention of heading off the train. By this time the rear of the train was half a mile ahead of us. I immediately followed the train; sent flankers at a rapid pace toward the front to watch and engage the enemy if approaching. The enemy did not succeed in heading the train.
After proceeding about 2 miles farther, discovered the enemy charging up the pike on our rear. I met them and repulsed the. They charged again. I repulsed them again, charged them back for 2 miles, scattered them, killed 9, wounded 11, and took 2 prisoners. I had a few men slightly wounded. After this they troubled my train no more. Not a wagon fell into their hands ahead of the escort. Some four or five wagons broke down, which we left and destroyed. The enemy's forces were Wheeler's brigade, with two pieces of artillery, which they played upon us pretty lively. A short time before we were attacked a large number of the Second Tennessee came running by my column, running away from the front, stating that our forces were in full retreat. I placed a company in the road, halted every one of them, but at the breaking out of the skirmish they ran again like sheep. I am sorry to say that the Anderson Troop, with very few exceptions, as the enemy charged us in the rear, scampered off in most every direction; did not stand up to the work at all; the contrary, caused, together with the negroes, Second Tennessee all running, somewhat of a stampede among the wagons, which caused the few break-downs above mentioned.
I arrive here at 9 p. m. Found no forage for horses. Sent out a train after forage this morning, so it will be 5 o'clock this p. m. before our horses will get a mouthful to eat. Since 3 o'clock yesterday morning they have labored very hard, and consequently are not fit for any service to-day. Both horses and men are very much used up.
I am awaiting further orders. I have ordered the Anderson Troop to report to me early this morning, but they have not done so up to this time. They are very much demoralized. In any work for me to do, I ask you to please not to count them as being any help to me. I would sooner do without them.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Commanding Second Cavalry Brigade.