instant, to take command of a portion of General Slocum's corps, and with them to proceed to Murfreesborough to defend said place against an attack from Wheeler's forces, estimated at from 11,000 to 15,000 strong (report received from General Crook), which forces were near said town. I remained at the depot until nearly 8 a. m. of that day before the troops of General Slocum's corps arrived. As soon as possible after they arrived at the depot at this place, I started with the first train of troops, about 650 in number, being fragments of some six or seven regiments, with no general officer with them, and but a small number of other officers. With said troops we reached Murfreesborough a little after 10 o'clock. I immediately assumed command there, had the troops taken out of the cars, and encamped, a larger part of them inside the lunettes, the others inside the fortifications. When we reached there the enemy was in line of battle near the town, apparently about to commence an attack. Upon our arrival they remained stationary for some time, and then commenced to move down the railroad toward Shelbyville. I feared they might intend to move around our forces and get upon the railroad between Murfreesborough and Nashville, and kept out Lieutenant-Colonel Thornburgh with a part of his command (the Fourth East Tennessee Cavalry) to watch them and regularly post me in relation to their movements. He performed his duty admirably, keeping in view and frequently skirmishing with them. About two hours before sunset he reported to me that the enemy had either left or intended to make the attack immediately, as a small body of them had approached within half a mile of the town. I ordered him to take his men and see what the enemy really intended. He did so.
I also ordered Major Houghtaling, of the artillery, to the lunette bearing on the Shelbyville pike, and to be prepared to open on the enemy as soon as he might receive my order to do so. The other officers were in readiness to receive and repel any attack on their part of the works. I then mounted my horse and with my aide went out on the Shelbyville road to the rear of Lieutenant-Colonel Thornburgh's command, and sent forward for him to return to me and report the enemy's whereabouts. He being out with a small party reconnoitering, the major of said command came back and reported to me that the enemy were certainly gone, a party of our cavalry having followed them beyond the bridge some 3 miles beyond Murfreesborough. I then ordered him to continue the pursuit as far as he could safely, and to report to me that night. My order was delivered to Lieutenant-Colonel Thornburgh, who pursued the rebels to near Christiana, and reported to me the extent of damage done the road, the route still taken by the rebels. I am satisfied, from my own observation and the report of the prisoners taken by Lieutenant-Colonel Thornburgh, that had the train been delayed half an hour the rebels would have attacked, if they had not taken, our works at Murfreesborough. The prisoners report that Wheeler was about to commence the attack when the cars arrived, and then declined to attack and gave orders to retire toward Shelbyville. When I reached Murfreesborough Colonel Utley, then in command, had made all necessary arrangements to defend our works, having abandoned the town, called in the pickets, and taken everything inside the fortifications; having also taken all the bales of cotton to make breastworks between the lunettes and redoubts where none had been thrown up; but his force was small, having about 500 infantry, 630 cavalry, and 950 artillerymen; these could not have held that place