War of the Rebellion: Serial 034 Page 0096 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA. Chapter XXXV.

Search Civil War Official Records

the remainder of the regiment, under Colonel Utley, with the Nineteenth Michigan, held the top of the hill that length of time. The cavalry, at the time the Twenty-second Wisconsin was attacked, all retired from the left, at least half a mile from the scene of action. It became evident that a stand would not be made by the retreating force, and I attempted to return to the battle-ground, but found it impossible. Some thirty minutes had then elapsed since the first charge upon the Twenty-second Wisconsin. The Nineteenth Michigan and Twenty-second Wisconsin by this time were being driven up the side hill toward the right and on to the ground occupied by the Thirty-third and Eighty-fifth Indiana, and the enemy had formed a line of battle between the hill and myself. I turned, and met an ammunition wagon, but ordered it back, as it would only have fallen into the hands of the enemy. One musket-ball had already passed through the top. The last view I had of the ground the four regiments occupied the top of the hill, on the right of the road, and, as far as I could discover, were surrounded by the enemy, and all fighting to their utmost. The batteries were directing a heavy fire upon them. They had no ammunition aside from the cartridge-boxes, and, doubtless, Colonel Coburn did not surrender until all the ammunition was consumed, and found it useless longer to defend himself. Not more than half an hour elapsed from the time I last saw the field until the firing ceased.

The only order Colonel Coburn gave in relation to the One hundred and twenty-fourth Ohio Infantry was that it remain as a guard to the train. The surgeons were all constantly engaged in removing the wounded, until communication was cut off. Some of the ambulances which came away last were fired upon. The train returned to Franklin in good order, preceded by the One hundred and twenty-fourth Ohio, and followed by the artillery and cavalry.

Colonel Coburn gave his orders with coolness, and throughout the whole time displayed bravery and energy. Lieutenant-Colonel Henderson and Major Miller, Thirty-third Indiana; Colonel Utley, Twenty-second Wisconsin; Colonel Gilbert and Major Shafter, Nineteenth Michigan; Colonel Baird and Lieutenant-Colonel [A. B.] Crane, Eighty-fifth Indiana, all were most ready and willing to perform their duty, and evinced courage and ability. Colonel Gilbert and Major Miller both had their horses shot under them in the early part of the fight. The battery used nothing but shell and round shot, and apparently produced no serious effect upon the enemy.

I should judge that the engagement commenced about 10 a. m. and closed at 2.30 p. m. Information, which was received the 5th, of the force that had been engaged the 4th, tended to the belief that it was about 2,000 cavalry, with four pieces of artillery, under General Forrest.

On the 5th, two negroes, who claimed to have deserted from General Van Dorn's command, came into camp as we were starting out, and stated that there was a force at Spring Hill of at least 20,000. I know of no other information being communicated to Colonel Coburn of the strength and position of the enemy. The negroes were immediately sent to General Gilbert.

On the morning of the 5th, Colonel Coburn hesitated about starting, and appeared to be waiting orders, but finally said, "Well, lieutenant," addressing myself, "if we must go ahead, let us start;" upon which I directed the regiments to move out. I did not see any reports that Colonel Coburn sent to General Gilbert, and but one dispatch from General Gilbert to Colonel Coburn, and that was in reply to one of the dispatches sent him during the 4th, in which he remarked something as