HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-FIRST ARMY CORPS,
Murfreesborough, Tenn., April 30, 1863.
The information I conveyed to you on the morning of the 28th concerning the movements of the enemy at Beech Grove, the threatening your encampments at Cripple Creek and Readyville, was written hastily during the night. It was indefinite at the best, and I write now with the view of expressing my wishes more explicitly to you and your post commanders in the event of an emergency. In the first place, they must never forget that they are outposts of my command and for the Army of the Cumberland; that it is not contemplated to bring on a general engagement at either station, and, therefore, that in an engagement they must not look for re-enforcements, but fall back to my lines for protection.
In the event of a formidable attack on Readyville (and which from information previously received, might prove fatal to our position there), it would be better for General Hazen to fall back on Cripple Creek, fighting if need be, than for General Cruft to advance to Readyville, for should a general engagement take place in the vicinity Readyville in itself will be of no value to us.
In this event, General Hazen will destroy, so far as practicable all works that might be of value to the enemy. Should the posts be attacked simultaneously and with a force and energy that might cut off or capture either, both must withdraw, General Hazen through the woods on the new road indicated by you. I can conceive of no circumstances whereby General Cruft should retire without communicating with or notifying General Hazen. Should authentic information reach these commanders of a general fight going on (or the sound thereof) on any other approach to Murfreesborough than that guarded by them, they will unite as speedily as possible to rejoin my command. Whilst instructions contemplating an attack by an unknown force, and time and plan of the enemy alike unknown, must necessarily be very imperfect, yet, relying as I do on the good judgment discretion, and valor of my commanders, I feel that with these suggestions you, sir, with Generals Cruft and Hazen, will fully realize and appreciate my views, and that in the hour of trial the best interests of the cause will be subserved in your hands.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. L. CRITTENDEN,
Respectfully forwarded to Brigadier-General Hazen.
This letter was prepared by the corps commander, at my request, that we might have his views in definite shape for the government of Generals Cruft and Hazen and myself.
J. M. PALMER,
FRANKLIN, April 30, 1863-9.20 a.m.
The rebel advance turned out as I predicted. It was their ox that was gored by our bull. They were sure that we were advancing on