War of the Rebellion: Serial 034 Page 0626 Chapter XXXV. KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA.

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At the mouth of Battle Creek the cavalry and its train and the troops of General Buckner were turned down the river and crossed at Bridgeport. The whole of Polk's corps crossed the Tennessee River on the pontoon bridge 1 miles above the mouth of Battle Cree, Withers encamping at Shellmound Depot and Cheatham nearer the river.

Sunday, July 5, 1863, by 5 a. m., the command was moving on the road for Chattanooga, and at 9.30 a. m. the general dispatched the following to General Mckall:

HEADQUARTERS POLK'S CORPS, ARMY OF TENNESSEE,

Shellmound Depot, July 5, 1863-9.30 a. m.

Brigadier-General MACKALL:

GENERAL: I dispatched you this morning at 5 o'clock to the effect that your orders of yesterday at 5 p. m. reached me too late to comply with hem. Withers' division will encamp to-night at Whiteside's Depot, where it will await further orders. Cheatham's division is encamped between Shellmound and Bridgeport, near to Shellmound. the shole of the wagon train has been pushed on to Chattanooga, under orders from General Bragg to General Withers, as I am informed by the later. Having no instructions as to the disposition of the bridges over Battle Crek and Tennessee River, and knowing that General Hardee might avail of them, and that the cavalry were behind us, I left them as I found them, and sent a message to that effect to General Bragg by his staff officer (Captain [P. H.] Thomson) immediately after my crossing. Being without rations for my command, and finding subsistence stores at Shellmound, I have taken charge of them, and ordered two days' rations for Cheatham's division. These issues have been made through a commandant of post, post commissary, and quartermaster appointed by me. Withers' division is in need of rations. It is at Whiteside's Depot, in advance of this. It cannot be supplied from this point without an engine, which is not at hand. Will you please send one at once? To facilitate intercommunication, it is important that a telegraphs office should be established at this place. May I ask you to order it without delay? The roads being very bad and teams jaded, I have ordered the guns and caisson-boxes of Withers' division to be unloaded and placed at depot for shipment by train. Will your order the train for their shipment? The ordnance wagons containing small-arms ammunition of Withers' division have also been unloaded, to be shipped by cars; Cheatham's ordnance wagons also. Cars will be required for the shipment of 1,200 sick I have here from Withers' division.

Respectfully, general, your obedient servant,

L. POLK,

Lieutenant-General, Commanding.

And received the following:

JULY 5, 1863.

Lieutenant-General POLK:

Your dispatch of 9.30 a. m. received. It was, of course, necessary to take supplies from Shellmound if you were out, but at the same time I must say, in justice to the staff of this army, that supplies were yesterday shipped to you, and the greater portion of the provisions returned. I will, of course, use my exertions to gather up the guns and ammunition abandoned. I will try and get provisions to General Withers.

By courier to-day I gave General Bragg's instructions for your corps to move on to Chattanooga. I have not yet been able to evacuate this place, not yet knowing whether the unprotected pontoon bridge will afford a passage to the cavalry.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. W. MACKALL,

Chief of Staff.

In answer to which the general dispatched the following:

HEADQUARTERS POLK'S CORPS,

Shellmound Depot, July 5, 1863-5 p. m.

Brigadier-General MACKALL:

GENERAL: Your dispatch in reply to mine at 9.30 a. m. is received. It is true that supplies were yesterday shipped to me at the pontoon bridge, but as my order to the officer in command of the head of my column was to encamp the troops and park the trains near the bridge after crossing, and as it was superseded by an order from the general commanding, it will be perceived that no blame attached to any one for the failure of the troops to receive the rations sent up by the river to the pontoon bridge.

In regard to the dismounting of the guns and ammunition, I have respectfully to say that upon my arrival at Shellmound Depot I found that General Withers, in command of the head of my column, in consequence of the exceedingly bad condition of