must expect him at Tullahoma, only 12 miles distant. It was therefore necessary to close up our columns on Manchester, distribute our rations, and prepare for the contest .
While this was progressing, I determined to cut, if possible, the railroad in Bragg's rear. Wilder's brigade was sent to burn Elk River Bridge and destroy the railroad between Decherd and Cowan, and Brigadier General John Beatty, with a brigade of infantry, to Hillsborough, to cover and support his movements.
General Sheridan's division came in June 28, and all McCook's corps arrived before the night of the 29th, troops and animals much jaded.
The terrible rains and desperate roads so delayed Crittenden, who on the 26th got orders to march to Manchester with all speed, that it was not until the 29th, that his last division arrived, badly worn. The column being now closed up, and having division of the Fourteenth and Twentieth Corps at Crumpton's Creek, orders were given for the Fourteenth Corps to occupy the center at Concord Church and Bobo Cross-Roads, with a division in reserve; the Twentieth Corps to take the right on Crumpton's Creek, two divisions en echelon retired, one in reserve, and the Twenty-first Corps to come up on the left, near Hall's Chapel,one division in reserve.
It rained almost incessantly during the 30th but the troops, by dint of labor and perseverance, had dragged their artillery and themselves through the mud into position. It is a singular characteristic of the soil on the "Barrens" that it becomes so soft and spongy that wagons cut into it as if it were a swamp, and even horses cannot pass over it without similar results. The terrible effect of the rains on the passage of our troops may be inferred from the single fact that General Crittenden required four days of incessant labor to advance the distance of 21 miles.
While the troops were thus moving into position, General Thomas sent Steedman's brigade, of Brannan's division, two regiments of Reynolds' division and two regiments of Negley's division on separate roads, to reconnoiter the enemy's position, while General Sheridan sent Bradley's brigade of his division, on another for the same purpose. These reconnaissances all returned and reported having found the enemy in force on all roads except the one leading to Estill Springs. Scouts all confirmed this, with the fact that it was the general belief that Bragg would fight us in his entrenchments at Tullahoma.
Wilder returned from his expedition reporting that he found the enemy at Elk Bridge with a brigade of infantry and a battery, which prevented him from destroying that bridge, but that he had damaged the road considerably at Decherd, where is appearance with his mountain howitzers created great consternation, and within three hours brought down some heavy trains of infantry.
Meanwhile we had information that Stanley's cavalry, supported by Major-General Granger's infantry, and acting under his general directions, had attacked the enemy's cavalry and artillery at Guy's Gap, on the Murfreesborough and Shelbyville pike and driven them from stand to stand, killing, wounding, and capturing as they went, until the enemy reached their entrenchments, from which they were soon driven by flanking and a direct charge, wherein the cavalry captured three pieces of artillery, some with loads, in but not rammed down.
From their entrenchments the rebels fled to town, where they made another stand, but in vain. Our cavalry came down with resistless sweep and drove them in confusion into the river. Many were killed and drowned, and Shelbyville, with large numbers of prisoners, a quantity of arms and commissary stores, were the crowning results of the