Numbers 17. Reports of Major General Earl Van Dorn, C. S. Army, commanding Confederate forces, with congratulatory orders of General Bragg.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST CAVALRY, CORPS,
Spring Hill, Tenn., April 3, 1863.
COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the action in which my command was recently engaged with the enemy near Thompson's Station, on the Alabama and Tennessee Railroad, the successful result of which was announced by me to the general commanding immediately after the affair:On March 4 last, while engaged in making a forced reconnaissance toward Franklin with one division of my command (Brigadier General William H. Jackson's), I encountered a large body of the enemy with a long baggage train, and after forcing them to deploy, by a show of force and a few shots from Captain [Houston] King's Second Missouri Battery, I withdrew my troops to a position this side of Thompson's Station, and there awaited the approach of the enemy. During the night my scouts reported the enemy to be a brigade of infantry, two regiments of cavalry and a battery of artillery, and I determined to give them battle.
On the morning of the 5th, our pickets were driven in, and my command was drawn up (dismounted) in the position previously selected; the two brigades composing General Jackson's division on a range of hills crossing the Franklin pike; General [F. C.] Armstrong on the right; Colonel [J. W.] Whitfield on the left, and General [N. B.] Forrests' brigade on the same line of battle, stretching out into the open fields. On the extreme right, Captain King's battery was posted so as to command the valley, which spread out in front of the position for half a mile.
About 10 o'clock the enemy made his appearance on the crest of the hills lying over against us, and made immediate dispositions for attack. He drew up his line in front of our center and left, and with his main force advanced, through a well-directed fire from King's battery, on our extreme left. Colonel Whitfield's Texas brigade, stationed at this point under cover of a stone wall, was immediately strengthened by the Third Arkansas Regiment (Colonel [S. G.] Earle commanding), from General Armstrong's brigade, and the affair was commenced. The enemy advanced to within about 200 yards of our lines, when our troops, without waiting for an attack, charged them in fine style, put them to fight, and pursued them across the valley to their original position on the opposite hill. Behind this hill the Federal forces were rallied, and upon Colonel Whitfield's arrival at the summit he was charged and driven back down the hill his men having no bayonets with which to meet the enemy. Here his men made a stand behind the depot and buildings of Thompson's Station, and, with the assistance of two pieces of King's battery, the enemy were again completed to retire beyond the hill.
In the mean time, while these events were occurring on the left, General Forrest, on the extreme right, had pushed forward Captain [S. L.] Freeman's battery (of his brigade) to a hill in advance of his original position, and completely commanding the enemy's left. The enemy's battery, which had been stationed on the turnpike, was withdrawn from the cross-fire of this and King's battery, and did not return to the field. And now General Forrest was ordered to take the enemy in the rear. General Jackson was ordered to advance General Armstrong's brigade upon their left flank, and we closed in upon them. The Federal cavalry, with one regiment of infantry, after offering some resistance to General