The enemy destroyed the railroad depot, factory, two railroad bridges, together with the train that was on this side of Morrison's besides some two or three other buildings at McMinnville. They left McMinnville about 12 o'clock on the 22nd proceeding in the direction of Smithwille and from thence to Liberty, the force being estimated at from 3,000 to 5,000 strong consisting of cavalry and mounted infantry and seven pieces of artillery.
About 12,000 infantry crossed from Woodbury road to Blue's near Mechanicsville. From there they joined the cavalry who had been at McMinnville, and moved down Snow Hill upon Liberty. I had sent courier after courier giving information to the forces at Liberty of approach of the enemy.
I have also received information from Celina, stating that the enemy, between 1,200 and 1,500 strong, crossed the river at that point on the 19th instant, shelled and burned the town, together with the churches, not even giving the citizens any warning of their intention. Major Hamilton had to fall back some 4 or 5 miles, but, being re-enforced by Colonel Johnson's regiment, attacked and drove the enemy back across the river.
I understand that General Wheeler is now crossing Caney Fork at Lancaster with his forces. A small detachment of my forces are now
occupying McMinnville. General Wheeler will probably be at this point to-morrow. Knowing that it is very important that all information from this direction should reach you at once, I send this without its going through the regular channel.
I have just received a dispatch from Colonel Chenault, a Monticello, who states that there is no immediate danger from that direction, as the enemy are reported moving toward Bowling Green, Ky.
I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN H. MORGAN,
Monticello, Ky., April 19, 1863
SIR: I hasten to give you all the news we have. There is a rumor here that our forces have been attacked at Big Creek Gap; whether true or not I don't know. Captain [Joseph] Chenault has just got in from a scout across the river; he crossed at Creelsburg, went to Jamestown, recrossed at Rowena; found no enemy nor heard of any. Colonel [J. J.] Morrison has moved his command to Albany, which leaves us a very long and heavy picket duty to perform - from the mouth of South Fork to Burkesville; but, with the assistance of Major Bullitt, I hope to be able to hold them in check. Captain Chenault was within a short distance of Burkesville; heard of no force there. Three regiments at Columbia. Colonel Morrison commands Pegram's brigade, and as stated above, has fallen back to Albany. There is, beyond a doubt, a large force on the north side of the river, with their headquarters at Danville. What their movements will be I am unable to ascertain.
D. W. CHENAULT,
P. S.- From various reports, I should not be surprised if the enemy were moving on East Tennessee. I shall hold myself in readiness to move at a moment's notice.
50 R R-VOL XXIII PT II