halted until 10 p. m., so as to strike Lebanon by daybreak. At Baird's Mills the enemy's picket fires were found burning, but evidently the posts had not been occupied for some hours.
I arrived at Lebanon at 4 a. m., and had some difficulty in learning anything definite about the enemy. I at [last] learned from some negroes and a Union family that the rebels, about 600 strong, under Colonel Duke, had left Lebanon at about 5 p. m., the 15th, by the Sparte (or Alexandria) road. I immediately followed them to Spring Creek, 5 miles out, watered the horses, and dismounted to feed, when the rebels attacked my pickets from toward Alexandria, driving them in, and following them sharply with about 300 men, mounted and dismounted. I sent Lieutenant-Colonel Sipes, with the Seventh Pennsylvania, to the right, and Major Mix, with the Fourth Michigan, to the left (directing them to keep a little in advance of the head of the column on the pike), the Fourth Regulars on the pike, the Fifth Iowa in reserve, and the battalion Third Indiana guarding the ambulances. My advance was necessarily slow, in consequence of the rough nature of the ground over which the flanking columns had to pass. The rebels retired slowly, fighting stubbornly, until near shop Spring, where the advance of the Fourth Regulars, under Lieutenant O'Connell, charged and drove them from the fences, from behind which they had been fighting. Our horses were tired, and those of the enemy apparently fresh, so that the only result was to drive them. Having now arrived at the junction of the cross-road leading to Baird's Mills, which gave me a good line of retreat, I took a position on the right side of the road, to aglow the men to get their breakfasts. Unfortunately, there was no feed to be had for the horses.
At 11.30, I again moved forward, the Seventh Pennsylvania in advance, followed by the Fourth Michigan, Third Indiana, and Fourth Regulars, the Fifth Iowa on the flanks. We drove the enemy as before. At about 2 o'clock I arrived at Watters' Mill, halted the column, and sent Colonel Sipes, with the Seventh Pennsylvania and two companies of the Fifth Iowa, 2 miles to the front; threw out strong pickets 1 1/2 miles in every direction, and fed horses.
At Lebanon, and at all points along the road, I received information that Morgan was at Alexandria with 4,000 men and from six to twelve pieces of artillery. When Colonel Sipes returned he brought confirmation of these reports. Skirmishing was kept up with my pickets on the Alexandria road it intervals all the afternoon. At 7 p. m. a courier came in from the front, reporting that the enemy was advancing in force, and immediately after they opened fire with their artillery. I sent the parties from both the right and left reported that a heavy column was moving down each flank. I immediately doubled my pickets, and remained in position until 9 o'clock, when I fell back, taking the crossroad from Shop Spring to Baird's Mills, at which place I arrived at 2.30 a. m. without molestation.
Up to this time we had marched 56 miles. Some of the men had had one hour's sleep, and the others no sleep whatever. At 6.30 I resumed the march for Murfreesborough, arriving at Stone's River at 10 o'clock. I halted for a couple of hours to rest the horses, and then returned to camp. Captain Davis, Seventh Pennsylvania, who commanded the rear guard from Baird's Mills, reports that a strong force of the enemy came into that place from toward Lebanon as he was leaving it, but attempted nothing further than an exchange of shots.
If I hand a couple of pieces of artillery, John [H.] Morgan should