Numbers 6. Report of Brigadier General John A. Wharton, C. S. Army.
HEADQUARTERS WHARTON'S CAVALRY DIVISION,
Lebanon, April 12, 1863.
GENERAL: After being relieved on outpost duty at Unionville, my command passed through Shelbyvile on the 4th, 5th, and 6th of April, arriving at McMinnville, or rather at a point 8 or 9 miles in advance of that place, on the Woodbury pike, the second day after, without anything to disturb the quiet of the march but a few groundless alarms, soon ascertained to be such.
On the 8th, the command was at and near Blew's, 3 miles from Mechanicsville, on the Liberty road, where, hearing of 10,000 strong of the Federals at Liberty, it was determined to cross the Liberty and Murfreesborough road 5 or 6 miles this side of Liberty while sending a force to develop the Federal strength there. However, before reaching the turning off point, it was ascertained that the Yankees had evacuated Liberty, and the line passed through that place, and camped near Alexandria that night.
On the 9th, after an easy march, the command encamped near Lebanon, with plenty of forage, to rest the horses and recover from the fatigue of the hard march of the day before.
The morning of the 10th found the whole command in saddle, and on the march at 3 o'clock.
Detachments from the various regiments of my brigade, to the number of about 500 men, reported to Lieutenant-Colonel Ferrill, of the Texas Rangers, for special service, and with this force he started in the advance. The rest of the brigade followed, and on reaching the Hemitage, 18 miles from Lebanon, turned off to the right 6 miles, to the river, where, in a large bend, the Nashville and Louisville Railroad runs along the edge of the bluff on the opposite side, in plain sight, and only 250 or 300 yards distant. A force being left at the turning off point to guard the wagons, which had come along for safety, and the approaches to the river in our rear, the artillery was posted don the bank, after a reconnaissance by General Wheeler and myself, just back of the edge, at the bluff on this side, and out of sight of sentinels on the other, supported by several regiments dismounted, while the remainder was held in reserve half a mile off.
On the approach of the train, the guns were run up to the brink of the bank, and at the second shot from them the steam-pipe was cut, the steam escaped, and the train was slowly stopped.
After much firing on our side, a little from the other, much fuss among the horses, with which the train was mainly freighted, and the scampering off of the few hands left on the train, although the cars were not thrown from the track, as desired, the command was drawn off.
It was 2 o'clock at night before the rear guard encamped, within 5 miles of Lebanon, through which they passed on the morning of the 11th, sitting down again in the neighborhood to picket to advantage and recruit the horses after their march of over 50 miles in one day.
This morning (the 12th) dispatches are received converging the result of Colonel Ferrill's raid on the Murfreesborough and Nashville Railroad. Coming to the road near Antioch Station, Mill Creek, he spread the track and placed his men in ambush. The train approached at full speed, the tops of the cars crowded with soldiers.
Fire was opened upon them, and soon the last one struck the ground,