I received your order, directing me to turn over the command to General Slocum and return, which was complied with upon his arrival at Murfreesborough on the 9th, at 4 p. m.
Edgarton's battery was returned to Stevenson, Colonel Given's (One hundred and second Ohio) detachment to Cowan. I inclose reports concerning the surrender and abandonment of Christiana, Stone's River Bridge, Cowan (tunnel), and Wartrace, made under my direction by the officers who sign them respectively.* The summary of the damage done by the enemy will be found in those reports, except Garrison's Fork Bridge and the culverts near Wartrace, under Colonel Coburn, who had not made a report as directed.
Your attention is called to the report of the actions of Colonel Given and his command at Cowan; they reflect no credit upon his sagacity or ability.+ The officer in command at the tunnel, Lieutenant Cairns, of the Twenty-eighth Kentucky, abandoned his position without firing a shot, leaving the enemy to obstruct the tunnel unmolested. I have ordered his arrest, and recommend his discharge.
I received valuable assistance from Mr. Beggs, railroad agent, who remained with me constantly, without sleep of food, for nearly two days, full of energy and activity, in the discharge of the duties connected with the railroad department in moving troops and materiel.
Captain R. H. Hall, Tenth U. S. Infantry, aide-de-camp, and Captain H. W. Perkins, aide-de-camp, were indefatigable in the discharge of their duties, which, literally, as in your order, permitted no one to rest until communication was restored.
I am indebted to Temple Clark, esq., late captain and assistant adjutant-general, for valuable services.
The dispatching of the trains after the line was completed was dilatory and unsatisfactory. When the tunnel and telegraph line at Cowan were obstructed, information received rendered it necessary to hold an engine to dispatch for tools to clear out the tunnel and re-open communication. The train dispatcher, named Tyler or Yates, addressed the dispatch marked C to Mr. Beggs. How this person expected to clear the road and open the telegraph sitting in his office at Nashville does not appear clear to me. I have to request that he may be admonished by proper authority for his impertinence under such circumstances, in presuming to question or comment upon my right or authority to take any steps necessary to restore communication.
On my return from Murfreesborough trains were delayed from one to three hours at each station for orders, oftentimes, as it seemed, causing unnecessary delay. The first two through trains of supplies from Nashville, with mails, were held one hour nearly at Anderson coming north for orders, while there was not a train or engine on the road to prevent our running into Stevenson.
Major-Generals Slocum and Howard suggested to me the necessity of a change in the system of dispatching trains. I concur entirely, and would recommend additional locomotives be put on the road.
I am informed that engines of the Ohio, 4.10 gauge, can quickly be altered to run here. I would respectfully suggest that the commanding general ask the Secretary of War to take the necessary
*See reports of Ruger, p. 722, and Hall, p. 719.
+See Hall's report, p. 720.