The other part of his force, Martin's division, came down on the east side of the railroad, by Fairfield, to Wartrace, evidently to take Duck River bridge. At Wartrace Roddey met Martin coming in from the northwest. I had gone up to Duck River the night before, fearing danger, and ordered, in the morning, Baird and Galbraith with their mounted men to advance to Wartrace and see the state of affairs and report to me there, as I would come up on a train with 500 infantry. I waited till afternoon to hear from them, and also the arrival of Colonel Lowe, with his cavalry. He did not come. I went up with the train. On arriving in sight of Wartrace, one of Baird's men came on a gallop, informing me that the rebels were in Wartrace and that they came in from the east and Baird and Galbraith had gone west. Quite a number of rebels appeared. I concluded that we might be cut off; that as Duck River bridge was more important than Garrison's Creek, I would go back, unite our forces, and save that; and if Lowe came up, return to Wartrace. We went back, waited an hour; Lowe came; the men still on the cars. We at once started to Wartrace; the infantry on the train got to the brigade in advance of the cavalry, charged the rebels, pursued them; they fled on the Shelbyville pike. He followed them till after dark. One of his men is, I fear, mortally wounded; rebel loss unknown.
I think Martin had 2,000 men at least, with three pieces of artillery; Roddey's force was several hundred. The rebels under Wheeler went on to Shelbyville, pursued on another road by Mitchell, who, next morning, attacked them, and again drove them with severe loss. They are going, I think, to the neighborhood of Florence or Decatur (Muscle Shoals), to cross the Tennessee.
The bridge at Garrison's Creek was but partially burned, and is now repaired. Many culverts beyond Wartrace have been destroyed, much track burned and two bridges near Murfreesborough. I think all are now completed and that the cars will go on by sunset.
The brigade is much scattered and at almost every post but this my command is under a ranking officer of some other brigade or regiment. This is unpleasant to officers and men. Will you have us occupy exclusively a certain number of posts, or get us out of the business entirely?
Ward's, Morgan's, and R. S. Granger's men are in front of us by the thousand. I desire to go on; so do the men. We will cheerfully do duty anywhere, but would rather be with our friends than distributed over 100 miles of mountain and plain.
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
Respectfully referred to the major-general commanding Fourth Army Corps.
JAS. B. STEEDMAN.
I respectfully request that Colonel Coburn's brigade be relieved and brought to the front. It has an old grudge to settle in the Thompson's Station affair.