War of the Rebellion: Serial 034 Page 0458 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA.

Search Civil War Official Records


each side of the road, and, without halting, drove the rebels from their position, capturing 2 prisoners, without loss on our part. I directed the advance to push speedily forward and take possession of Hoover's Gap, and, if possible, to prevent the enemy from occupying their fortifications, which I learned were situated at a narrow point of the gap, 16 miles from Murfreesborough.

The orders were handsomely executed by Colonel Kirkpatrick, who dashed forward along the pike, pushing the enemy so fast that they had not time to deploy into their works before he had possession, the rebels breaking and scattering through the hills, with a loss of their battle-flag (a beautiful stand of embroidered silk colors, presented to the regiment, First Kentucky, by the sister of General Ben. Hardin Helm, while in Kentucky, under Morgan, last year) and several prisoners. Learning that a regiment of cavalry (Third Confederate) were stationed at the Garrison Fork of Duck River, 1 mile farther on, and that a brigade of infantry were encamped 2 miles to the right, I determined to take the entire gap, and, if possible, hold it until the arrival of the infantry column, now some 6 miles behind us, believing that it would cost us at least a thousand men to retake the ground we now held, if it was reasonably contested by the rebel force close at hand. My whole command was rapidly moved forward to the southern extremity of the gap, and while being placed in position we heard the long-roll sounded in the rebel camp at our right, 2 miles down the Garrison Fork.

The advance pushed on 2 miles farther, and captured 7 wagons belonging to the rebels. They were soon recalled, and were hardly in position before our pickets were driven in by a large force of rebel infantry from the direction of Fairfield. My dispositions were: The Seventy-second Indiana, Colonel Miller, stationed to the right side of the gap, and thrown forward to a hillock on which there was a graveyard; two mountain howitzers at their front, on the point of the hillock; four pieces of 10-pounder rifled Rodmans, of Captain Lilly's Eighteenth Indiana Battery, stationed on a secondary hill, facing toward Fairfield, on the right side of the gap, supported by the One hundred and twenty-third Illinois. Colonel Monroe; the Seventeenth Indiana, Lieutenant-Colonel Jordan, and the Ninety-eighth Illinois, Colonel Funkhouser, in rear of a high hill in reserve. I ordered two companies of the Ninety-eighth Illinois to take position on the hill at the left of the gap, and four companies of the Seventeenth Indiana to take possession of a high wooded hill about a quarter of a mile to our right, and to throw skirmishers forward to some cleared hills to their front, both for the purpose of observation and to prevent a sudden attack from that quarter. The enemy in the mean time advanced rapidly, and opened on our left from two batteries a rapid cross-fire, which killed 2 gunners and the animals of one of the mountain howitzers. They were promptly replied to by Captain Lilly, who dismounted one of their pieces and compelled both of their batteries to change position several times. In the mean time I observed a column of the enemy moving behind some hills toward our right, and immediately ordered the remainder of the Seventeenth Indiana to take position on the wooded hill before spoken of, with orders to look well to their right, and send me word if any attempt was made to flank them. They had hardly reached the hill when a heavy and rapid fire was opened from both sides, the rebels charging boldly up the hill and cheering loudly. Not hearing from Colonel Jordan, but seeing that he was hard pressed, I sent Colonel Funkhouser with the remainder of the Ninety-eighth Illinois to his assistance. He reached the ground just as the rebels has succeeded in turning Colonel Jordan's right flank.