While in this position we were attacked by their advance, and skirmished with them one and a quarter hours. While skirmishing they moved up a heavy force to the first and left of the town, surrounding us, and put their artillery in position (eight pieces). They then sent in a flag of truce demanding verbally the immediate and unconditional surrender of the place, which I refused and sent the flag back, stating I would not surrender until the demand was properly made, and not then until I was compelled to do so. In about half an hour the flag again returned borne by Colonel Hodge, commanding Kentucky brigade, with an order or demand in writing for the immediate and unconditional surrender of the post with the entire garrison. I herewith give a copy of the order.
HEADQUARTERS IN THE FIELD, OF MAJOR-GENERAL FORREST'S FORCES OF CAVALRY AND ARTILLERY, October 3, 1863.
Major M. L. PATTERSON,
Commanding at McMinnville:
MAJOR: I have the honor of stating to you that we are here in force with four divisions of cavalry and artillery, and demand the immediate and unconditional surrender of the post of McMinnville, with the entire garrison.
Respectfully, yours, &c.,
Major-General, C. S. Army.
Seeing that I was surrounded by a greatly superior force, and the enemy's artillery in position, after a conference with a portion of my officers, all deeming it useless to contend longer with so large a force, and in order to save life and the effusion of blood, I surrendered the post, asking the protection of my officers and men, both in person and private property. The same being granted, we made a formal surrender to Major-General Wheeler, C. S. Army. I lost 7 men killed and 31 wounded and missing. The enemy admit a loss of 23 killed and about twice that number wounded.
From a personal examination of the defenses around and about McMinnville, I could not see in what way the rifle-pits would be of any service to me with so small a force, neither could I see in what way I could improve the defenses of the place.
I have managed this thing to the best of my ability, and have done what I believed to be the best under existing circumstances.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. L. PATTERSON,
Major Fourth Tennessee Infantry.
Brigadier General R. S. GRANGER,
Commanding at Nashville, Tenn.
HEADQUARTERS FOURTH ARMY CORPS, October 20, 1863.
Orders were given for the evacuation of McMinnville in time to have saved the garrison. The explanation herein given for not obeying it is not satisfactory.
Respectfully forwarded to department headquarters.