War of the Rebellion: Serial 034 Page 0627 Chapter XXXV. THE MIDDLE TENNESSEE CAMPAIGN.

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the roads, had unloaded my ordnance trains and dismounted the guns and ammunition-boxes of several of his batteries, with the view of having them transported by rail. This I sanctioned, as also the dismounting of two additional batteries, entertaining no doubt that transportation could be readily furnished by rail. It certainly never occurred to me that by so doing I was abanding either the ammunition or guns. One of my divisions was still in the rear, with which it was my intention to cover and protect them. From your note, however, I am led to infer that there is a contingency as to whether railroad transportation can be had. To make sure, therefore, of their security, I will hold Cheatham's division till evening in its present position until I can recall my gun-carriages, caissons, and ordnance wagons, and have them forwarded on the common road.

You state that you have been delayed in evacuating Bridgeport in consequence of the unprotected condition of the pontoon bridge over which my corps passed. This I regret; but as I was instructed to give the use of that bridge to General Hardee's corps, whose route passed within three-fourths of a mile of it, and which I had reason to believe was still in my rear, and as I had advised him of the fact that the bridge was at his disposal, and also as I had given express instructions to Generals Wheeler and Wharton that I had left it for their use (a fact which I communicated through Captain Thompson to army headquarters), I did not feel that I was called upon to protect it.

Your order instructing me to leave a brigade on the other side reached me only this morning, my troops being several miles from the point. Of this I immediately informed you. Your order being to leave a brigade on the other side of the river, implied an impression on your mind that I had not crossed, and under it I did not feel authorized to march a brigade back without further instructions.

Respectfully, general, your obedient servant,

L. POLK,

Lieutenant-General.

And at the same time sent the following to General Cheatham:

HEADQUARTERS POLK'S CORPS, July 5, 1863-5.30 p. m.

Major-General CHEATHAM:

GENERAL: The lieutenant-general commanding directs me to say that the tenor of a note just received from General Mackall renders it expedient, in his judgment, that you should transport your guns and caissons to Chattanooga. You will, therefore, not have them left at the depot, but take charge of them yourself. If Captain [W. H.] Flower has not gone, he desirers his guns and caissons to be remounted at once. You will please give these orders, and call at the general's headquarters at your earliest convenience.

Respectfully, general, your obedient servant,

THOMAS M. JACK,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

Withers encamped 13 miles and Cheatham 20 miles from Chattanooga. Monday, July 6, 1863, by 5 a. m., the army again in motion, and at dark Withers' division reached his camp.

Tuesday, July 7, 1863, by dark Cheatham's division reached camp. During the retreat not a gun was lost by the corps; not a pound of ordnance or quartermaster's stores, and not $2,000 worth of commissary stores, and these last were distributed to the families of soldiers at Shelbyville. Though there was some straggling, there were not 1,000 men absent from the corps that started with it from Shelbyville; and, owing to recruits that met it on this arrival in Chattanooga and en route, it was absolutely 400 stronger on its arrival than when it began the retrograde movement.

HEADQUARTERS POLK'S CORPS, ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,

August 29, 1863.

The foregoing facts all came within my own knowledge, and were all taken from my private journal, save the conversations reported (which were given to me by Lieutenant-General Polk) and the letters and dispatches, the originals of which were placed at my disposal for copying.

W. B. RICHMOND,

Aide-de-Camp.