War of the Rebellion: Serial 034 Page 0525 Chapter XXXV. THE MIDDLE TENNESSEE CAMPAIGN.

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of General Buell, with a view to establishing a depot there, and consequently knew the locality. The suggestion was kingly received by the commanding general, and further information desired on the subject; but, as the sequel proved, it was then too late, as the enemy had unquestionably at that hour commenced his preparations for evacuation. I cannot doubt, however, that but for the continuous rain (which had fallen for seven days, and which prevented an early and rapid concentration of the army at Manchester) the bridge over Elk River could have been destroyed, and I am equally sure its destruction would have materially embarrassed the retreat of the enemy.

In the forenoon of the 1st instant, orders to move as lightly as possible, with three days' rations, and take position for the purpose of attacking the enemy, understood to be concentrated in his entrenched position at Tullahoma, were received. Under this order I allowed one wagon for my own and each brigade headquarters, and one wagon to each regiment for the transportation of subsistence for the officers, and the indispensable necessary cooking utensils for the officers and men. The ammunition and ambulance trains were, of course, to accompany the troops. The entrenching tool were to be carried after the fashion of the Roman armies, by the men. Thus prepared for the expected conflict, as the division was moving through Manchester to take its position, information was received that the enemy had during the preceding night commenced to evacuate. I was at the headquarters of the commanding general of the army when this information was received. He immediately ordered me to move with my division by the Hillsborough road to this point (Pelham), saying he would send the cavalry or a part of it by the same route, and he desired me to support it. The object of the movement was to try to intercept the retreat of any part of the enemy's force moving to the mountains through this place. Subsequently he directed me to remain where I was for further orders. This was, perhaps, about 1 p.m. At 5.30 o'clock I received an order directing me to move to this place, via Hillsborough. The bearer of the order informed me it was desirable I should, if possible, reach Hillsborough that evening. Before 6 o'clock my entire command, including the trains, was in motion. I reached Hillsborough at 9 o'clock and encamped for the night.

Early the next morning, the 2nd, the command moved toward this place. About 4 miles from here, light parties of hostile cavalry were encountered by my advance guard, and shots interchanged with them. They, however, fell back rapidly before the steady advance of the troops, and when the advance arrived at the bridge across Elk River, three-fourths of a mile south of the village, it was found the enemy had retreated beyond the stream and fired the bridge. The men rushed forward and extinguished the flames, which only involved the flooring,a nd had not extended to the solid timbers. During this operation a small body of the enemy emerged from the woods and fired on the men engaged in extinguishing the flames. The skirmishers deployed for the protection of the men at work promptly replied, and drove off the enemy. The fusillade was for a few minutes quite brisk, but I have no means of knowing whether any punishment was inflicted on the enemy.

On our side, 1 man of the Ninety-seventh Ohio was severely wounded, and has since died. I learned from the citizens of the village that the party I had encountered consisted of about 200 cavalry, belonging to a brigade of Forrest's command. They further informed me that a brigade of cavalry, under Forrest in person, had passed the night of the 1st here, but that it had left about 9 o'clock on the morning of the 2nd, Forrest going with it, and leaving only the small body above referred to.