two pieces of artillery, passed on toward La Vergne, where they attacked Colonel Innes, First Michigan Engineers, at 1 o'clock. I apprised Colonel Innes of the movements of this force at an early hour.
About 1 o'clock a squadron of affrighted negroes came charging at full gallop from Murfreesborough toward Stewart's Creek, and with such impetuosity and recklessness that over 100 passed the bridge before I could check the progress of the main cavalcade. They were dismounted and some of then ducked by my men. This was the advance of what seemed to me to be the whole army-cavalrymen with jaded horses, artillery and infantry soldiers, breathless and holding on to wagons, relating the most incredible defeats and annihilation of the army and their respective regiments, came streaming down the road and pouring through the woods on their way toward the bridge. In vain did my small guard stationed on the road try to check this panic. Officers drew their revolvers, but the fugitives heeded them not.
My regiment was in line of the hill-side, and I promptly fixed bayonet, marched at double-quick to the bridge, and drew up a line before it, sending out, at the same time, two companies, deployed as skirmishers, on the right and left, to prevent the passing of the creek by fording. The fugitives crowded in thousands, and at one time pressed closely up to the bayonets of my men. I ordered the battalion to load, and determined to fire if the crowd did not move back; seeing which, many took flight back toward the front. At this critical moment I was rendered most valuable assistance by Lieutenant Rendelbrook, Fourth U. S. Cavalry, and his men, who were stationed at the bridge with their camp and train.
To him I assigned the duty of getting the stragglers into line, and nobly did his men execute his orders. Riding through the panic-stricken crowds, the cavalrymen drove them into a field, where a good line was formed, and every straggler taken and made dress up. When I had a regiment formed in this manner, I assigned it officers and marched it across the bridge, stacked arms, and rested it. In this manner I secured over 4,000 men. I must mention here the fact that the prominent movers in the panic were the quartermasters in charge of trains. There was only one who behaved with anything like courage and coolness-the quartermaster of the Pioneer Brigade.
Later in the day I was notified by Colonel Innes that he was attacked fiercely by rebel cavalry; that a demand for surrender had been made twice, and asking to be re-enforced. I promptly dispatched four companies of the Fourth Michigan Cavalry and the section of artillery (Rodman guns) to his assistance, and ordered them to move up at a trot, holding my own forces ready to support them.
After the lapse of two hours, during which the cannonading of Colonel Innes' stockade was kept up by the rebels (hearing the report of each gun), Mr. Reily, a citizen, made his escape through the rebel lines, bearing a dispatch from Colonel Innes requesting me to re-enforce him, and the astonishing information that the troops I sent up under Lieutenant-Colonel Dickinson were on their way back to me without having fired a shot, and the rebels were burning the trains.
I quickly decided to save the trains and leave the bridge to the protection of the regiments of stragglers, and set out at a rapid pace for La Vergne with my own command. I met the section of artillery returning, as well as part of the cavalry. I ordered them to fall in behind me, and sent in a strong support of infantry to the guns.
The scene on the road was indescribable. Teamsters had abandoned