FRANKLIN, TENN., March 5, 1863.
GENERAL: Colonel Jordan, with the Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry, next in rank to Colonel Coburn, represents the force of the enemy at 10,000, and even more, nearly all infantry, five pieces of artillery, and between 2,000 and 3,000 cavalry. Three regiments of infantry are missing; the artillery and cavalry have returned without much loss. The infantry in the retreat broke for the woods and hills, and many have come in during the night. Colonel Coburn did not believe the enemy was in force, as he had repulsed them yesterday, but he [had] only met the advance cavalry. Colonel Jordan says Van Dorn was on his way to attack me yesterday, and was taken by surprise by our advance on them. Colonel Coburn's instructions were issued from the telegram from headquarters, signed by Brigadier-General Garfield, to go to Spring Hill to ascertain the force in our front. He was fully apprised of the importance of not becoming vulnerable.
C. C. GILBERT,
NASHVILLE, March 5, 1863.
GENERAL: The following just received from Franklin, to General Granger:
FRANKLIN, March 5, 1863.
Major [L. S.] Scranton, Second Michigan Cavalry, gives the following account of the expedition send out yesterday forenoon:About 2 o'clock the enemy offered his first opposition. He showed about 1,200 cavalry and four pieces of cannon. This force contested the advance of Colonel Coburn, chiefly with artillery, for about one hour, and then yielded the ground for the day, showing only some force on each flank, but as a distance. The command went into camp about 4 miles from here. In the morning, about 8 o'clock, the march was resumed, and about 2 miles skirmishing ensued, which continued some 2 miles farther, up to Thompson's Station, on the railroad, the enemy stoutly contesting the ground. Just before reaching the station here, a battle began, and continued about two hours and a half. Colonel Coburn having achieved some success, proceeded to storm one of the enemy's batteries, when he was drawn into a line of greatly superior forces, enveloping him on both flanks. The artillery and cavalry and train were extricated, but most of the infantry is still missing, and probably is captured or destroyed. I presume Colonel Coburn thought he was contending only with the forces he had driven the previous day, as the enemy kept concealed among the wooded knobs. After the action had continued some time, the ammunition on our left beginning to fail, the enemy closed in strongly on our left, and our lines gave way.
C. C. GILBERT,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Commanding.
ROBT. B. MITCHELL,
Brigadier-General GARFIELD, Chief of Staff.
FRANKLIN, TENN., March 14, 1863.
GENERAL: In reply to your note of this afternoon, I respectfully submit the following:On the evening of March 3, I received from headquarters Army of the Cumberland a telegraphic order to send a brigade out on the Columbia pike, as a part of a combined movement to ascertain what the enemy had in front of General Rosecrans' forces.
As my own troops were scattered through the town, or engaged in