when I arrived at Farmington I learned from one of my staff officers, much to my chagrin and surprise, that Colonel Minty was not with me. The absence of Colonel Minty and some 500 men left at Murfreesborough, having been dismounted during the march, left me but about 1,500 effective men.
Finding the enemy vastly superior to me, I left one regiment of cavalry to protect my rear, holding the other two regiments as a support to the infantry the country being impracticable for the cavalry to operate in. The enemy's battery was posted in the cedar thicket some 400 yards distant from me, pouring into me a heavy fire of grape, canister, and shell, and made one or two charges on my men, at the same time attempting to turn both of my flanks. At this critical moment I ordered Captain Stokes forward with his battery to operate upon the enemy. He could only find position for one piece, which was in full view of their battery, and not over 350 yards distant. They turned their fire from the infantry on to Captain Stokes' battery, mowing down his horses and men. The captain sighted his own piece, and in three shots he disabled one of their pieces, blowing up a caisson, and throwing their ranks into confusion.
At this moment, my infantry making a charge, broke through the enemy's line, scattering them to the right and left, capturing four guns, some wagons, and several prisoners. The enemy then being in an open country, I ordered Colonel Long to the front to make a saber charge, but they had the roads barricaded so as to render it impossible. it now getting dark, I went into camp near Farmington.
Had Colonel Minty, with his brigade, been there at the time the enemy broke, I should have thrown him on the left flank, and as things turned out since, I would have captured a large portion of his command, together with all his artillery and transportation. I learned here that I fought General Wheeler with his entire command.
That night after the fighting had ceased, Colonel Minty with his brigade came up, stating that he had no orders to march with me. From this, together with a disposition manifested during the whole expedition to frustrate my designs in a covert manner, I deprived him of his command and sent him to the rear.* I sent my scouts out in different directions that night, and learned that a large portion of the enemy had gone toward Pulaski. Being satisfied that they were making for the Tennessee River, and that the portion cut off would join them by other roads, I the next morning pursued them on the Pulaski road, reaching that point that night. I found to-day that their retreat instead of a march was a rout. Their rear guard left Pulaski as I came in sight of the town.
On this day's march I found that the night before a portion of those cut off came into the road ahead of us at Lewisburg. On the march the next day, another portion came into the road 6 miles south of Pulaski. I found that their men were deserting and scattering over the country, and learned of a great many wounded being left along the road and through the country.
The enemy left some two or three regiments at Sugar Creek, a strong position, to oppose my advance; but instead of fighting them at long range as they expected, I ordered a saber charge. The Fifth Iowa, Lieutenant-Colonel Patrick commanding, being in the advance,
*See foot-note, p. 668.