Pursant to orders, the march was resumed at 7 a.m. on the 25th. The rain, which had fallen during the whole of the preceding day and night, was still descending in torrents, flooding the whole country, and rendering the roads well nigh impassable.
At Bradyville, distant some 4 miles from Donald's Church, the head of my column came on the rear of General Palmer's train, between 8 and 9 o'clock in the morning. The road being utterly blockaded, farther immediate advance was impossible. As the train "dragged its slow length along" through the mud and mire, I was able to move only inch by inch.
Manchester had been given (before leaving Murfreesborough) as the immediate destination of the Twenty-first Army Corpt. This town is situated on a broad plateau, extending from the base of the Cumberland Mountains northward and westward. The elevation of this plateau is several hundred feet above the great and fertile basin of Middle Tennessee, in which Murfreesborough, Nashville, &c., are situated. The ascent from the basin to the plateau is exceedingly abrupt and precipitous. The road by which General Palmer's and my division were marching ascends to the plateau about 5 miles south of Bradyville. The ascent, at alt ices difficult, was rendered far more so by the heavy fall of rain.
Finding General Palmer's train would not complete the ascent during the 25th, I encamped my division near night fall in the valley, about 2 miles from the base of the hill. At 3.30 o'clock on the morning of the 26th, I dispatched a staff officer to see whether the road was clear. He returned, reporting it was not. Nor was it cleared for me that day, and, in fact, not till 12 m. on Saturday, the 17th. I had been detained more than forty-eight hours, my division during all that time having been compelled to remain stationary. So soon as the road was open, I moved my division up the hill. At 2 p.m. on the 27th, the ascent was commenced by my train, and by 1 a.m. on the 28th the whole, including the artillery, ammunition train, ambulance, and baggage train was at the summit. Exactly eleven hours were occupied in the ascent. It was necessary to attach ropes to the vehicles, of which the men laid hold and aided the draught animals in making the ascent. The work was committed to Brigadier General G. D. Wagner, commanding the Second Brigade, and it was rapidly, energetically, and skillfully done. At 6 a.m. on the 28th, the march toward Manchester was resumed. It has scarcely ever been my ill-fortune in eighteen years of active service (during which I have marched many thousands of miles) to have to pass over so bad a road. The geological formation of the broad plateau on which Manchester is situated is such as to make in wet weather the very worst roads conceivable. The soil is a mixture of clay and sand, which under the continued fall of rain became with the slightest travel and almost impassable quagmire. The rain still continued. On arriving within 4 miles of Manchester, I was ordered to go into camp and await further orders. The division, under all the obstacles and difficulties of the road, made 12 miles on the 28th.
The 29th, I was ordered to remain in camp.
During the evening of the 29th, I received an order to move the following morning to Manchester. The division was moved at 5 a.m. on the 30th, and encamped near to Manchester. During the afternoon of the 30th, I waited on the commanding general of the army, and suggested making an effort to destroy the railroad bridge over Elk River at Allisona. I offered, with a proper force placed at my command, to take charge of the enterprise. During my service in this region last summer, I had visited Allisona, inspected the position, under the orders