Numbers 7. Report of Lieutenant Hamlet B. Adams, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST BRIGADE, THIRD DIVISION, Franklin, Tenn., March 8, 1863.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following brief report of an expedition which left this place on the morning of the 4th instant, under the command of Colonel John Coburn, composed of the Thirty-third Indiana Volunteers, Twenty-second Wisconsin, Nineteenth Michigan, Eighty-fifth Indiana, and One hundred and twenty-fourth Ohio Infantry, detachments of the Second Michigan, Ninth Pennsylvania, and Fourth Kentucky Cavalry, numbering 600, under the command of Colonel Jordan, Ninth Pennsylvania, and the Eighteenth Ohio Battery:The column marched out of Franklin, Tenn., about 10 a. m., upon the Columbia pike, and when about 3 miles out the advance guard came upon the pickets of the enemy. A slight artillery engagement followed, and the enemy retired, with a loss of 5 killed, left on the ground. One man of the Nineteenth Michigan was slightly wounded. No other casualty attended the command, except the accidental disabling of the carriage of one of the guns, which was sent to camp for repair. At this time little or nothing could be learned of the location or strength of the enemy or of the number or caliber of the artillery.
Colonel Coburn reported to General Gilbert at 2 p. m. what had occurred, and suggested the impropriety of encumbering the expedition with so large a train-in all, about 100 wagons. General Gilbert replied that if the train intended for a forage train was likely to prove an embarrassment, to send it back. Then the train, except the baggage wagons, was started back, and the column moved forward some 2 miles, and again came in contact with the enemy. The information that had been received from various sources up to 5 o'clock warranted Colonel Coburn in supposing that there was a force not far in advance, and, on account of the lateness of the hours, deemed it imprudent to bring on an engagement then; consequently went into camp. Nothing occurred during the night. colonel Coburn in the evening made a full report to General Gilbert of the occurrences and observations of the day, and during eh night received dispatches, but from what source or of what nature I have no knowledge.
In the morning (March 5), on the inquiry being made of Colonel Coburn as to what he was about to do, he replied, "I am going ahead; I have no option in the matter."
At 8 a. m. the command resumed the march. Advanced about 3 miles, when it became necessary to throw out skirmishers. The column advanced at least 1 mile farther, when a battery, or part of a battery, opened fire immediately in front. Colonel Coburn at once drew up the forces in line of battle, and brought the battery to bear at two points (elevations) on either side of the pike, three pieces on the right and two on the left. The enemy then opened another battery on our right and front. No force of the enemy could be seen up to this time. colonel Coburn ordered the Eighty-fifth and Thirty-third Indiana, then supporting the section of artillery on the right, to charge upon the battery farthest to the right and take it. The two regiments immediately advanced down the hill in the direction of the depot, and, when near the depot and a stone wall, received a volley from infantry stationed behind the wall and around the depot. An overwhelming number of the enemy at once revealed themselves. The two regiments were then ordered to