the rebels were in possession of the town, and that it would be unsafe to take the train in. It was stopped, the citizen dismounted, and a messenger was sent to ascertain the truth of the statement. He returned, stating that he had been fired at. On inquiring for Colonels Galbraith and Baird, I was informed that they had gone some two hours westward.
It then occurred to me that they might have been captured or cut off from Duck River, as they could have returned in much less time than that to Duck River. I could not believe that they would have abandoned the neighborhood of Wartrace voluntarily, and feared they might have been surrounded or cut off. (In point of fact, they, feeling anxious about the force toward Shelbyville, had gone in that direction, and were then near that town, and on their return to Wartrace were met by the enemy's pickets and compelled to return to Duck River Bridge.) With these uncertainties before me, and not knowing anything whatever of the country or the road, and having the amplest information that General Wheeler was on the road or near it with a force numbering from 10,000 to 15,000, I thought it unwise to unload the men from the train and await the coming of the enemy. I had every reason to believe the enemy to be in force, since only twenty-six hours before he had been about 16 miles north on the railroad, and would probably come in the direction of Wartrace. In addition, I did not consider the holding the road at that place of paramount importance, there being but a small bridge a mile south on Garrison's Creek. The important point being Duck River Bridge, I felt sustained in this conclusion by the fact that Major General Gordon Granger had himself, by ordering its evacuation the day before, held it to be a comparatively unimportant point. His order was to hold Duck River Bridge at all events. With Colonels Baird and Galbraith gone, and my command away, I felt that Duck River Bridge would be very unsafe as against the force which General Wheeler might at any hour bring against it. I resolved at once to return without running the risk of a contest, which might result in the loss of my command, of Colonels Baird's and Galbraith's mounted men, and Duck River Bridge besides, the force being thus separated miles apart.
To get from the train was at once to assume the whole responsibility, for then the forces would be effectually divided, with no hope of uniting before both places could be attacked. I decided to take care of the main point, the creek bridge being a slight loss, while if the large bridge at the river fell the damage would be almost irreparable.
The command returned to Duck River Bridge, taking along a company of the Eighty-fifth Indiana, which had just marched up to Garrison's Creek Bridge by my order, to guard it.
On arriving at Duck River, Colonels Baird and Galbraith had not been heard from. I ordered the men to remain in the cars to await the arrival of the first mounted men who should appear. In about two hours Colonel Lowe, with the Fifth Iowa and part of the Third Ohio Cavalry, reported and were at once, without waiting, moved on the Wartrace road. The train again started, and moved up to within half a mile of the Garrison Creek Bridge, when it was seen to be on fire and in possession of the enemy. The men were at once ordered out, formed, and advanced. On our approach the enemy fled.
The cavalry passed the infantry at the bridge, and pursued them