No. 55. Report of Brigadier General Thomas J. Wood, U. S. Army, commanding First Division.
HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, TWENTY-FIRST ARMY CORPS,
Pelham, Tenn., July 7, 1863.
SIR: For some weeks previous to the movement of the Army of the Cumberland from Murfreesborough with the intention of attacking the rebel army in Middle Tennessee, commanded by General Bragg, various and conflicting reports had been received touching the condition of that army, more especially as to its probable strength. Some of the reports indicated that the rebel army had been much weakened by detachments sent to Mississippi to re-enforce General Johnston; others indicated that its numerical strength had only been slightly diminished; while other reports, differing entirely from the two former, indicated that Bragg's army, so far from losing strength, had received re-enforcements. However, the weight of probability favored the conclusion that the rebel army had been considerably, if not very materially, weakened. Doubtless influenced by this conclusion, and deeming the occasion propitious for a grand advance, the commanding general of the Army of the Cumberland issued the order of preparation for an immediate advance on the 23rd ultimo. This order required the troops to move as light as possible, taking with them twelve days' subsistence for the men and six days' forage for the animals, and leaving behind all unnecessary baggage. Three days' [supply] of the subsistence were ordered to be carried by the men in haversacks; the remainder of the rations, less six days' [supply] of meat, to be driven, to be transported on wheels, allowing the smallest amount of baggage for the comfort and convenience of officers, the smallest limit of cooking utensils for the men and officers, and including twelve days' subsistence for the officers. I directed my staff officers to make an accurate and close computation, with a view to determining the least possible number of wagons that would move the division, taking with it all that it was required to transport by the preparatory order. The computation showed that six wagons per regiment for the weaker regiments and seven for the stronger would fulfill the conditions of the problem. The preparations were all concluded during the afternoon and early evening of the 23rd.
At 2.30 a.m., on the 24th, the order to march was received. The division was ordered to march at 7 a.m., moving by the Bradyville pike, and to encamp for the night at Donald's Church, distant 12 miles from Murfreesborough. Precisely at the hour fixed the line of march was taken up. Shortly after the movement was commenced, the rain began to descend, and continued all day, and increased much in violence as the day declined. Ten miles from Mufreesborough, the road on which my division was marching is intersected by the road from Cripple Creek to Bradyville. When I arrived at the junction, I found that a part of General Palmer's division (which had been stationed at Cripple Creek, and had only some 4 miles to march to reach the intersection), had arrived and was passing. I was consequently compelled to halt and wait until General Palmer's troops had passed. He had been ordered to half for the night at Bradyville.
The detention delayed the arrival of my division at Donald's Church till 2 p.m. Although the division had not done any considerable marching since the battle of Stone's River, and had marched over a very rough and trying road, it came into camp well closed up and in good order.