War of the Rebellion: Serial 073 Page 0491 Chapter L. REPORTS, ETC.-ARMY OF THE CUMBERLAND.

Search Civil War Official Records

I started the remainder of the Fifth Tennessee Cavalry, together with the Tenth and Twelfth, which had recently come over from Pulaski, under Lieutenant-Colonel Clift, to his rescue, but they met him at Manchester and did not go any farther. On the night of the 30th the railroad and telegram line between this and Murfreesborough was cut, some four miles from Bell Buckle. I sent down a reconnoitering party of soldiers on the 31st to examine and report extent of the damage and to drive off the enemy, if any. They returned and reported in the evening. I sent down a strong party the next day on a construction train, who soon succeeded in repairing the track. I also on the same day sent a construction train, with a guard, in charge of Captain Baird, my inspector, t repair the track and telegraph line, which had been cut between Decherd and Cowan the night previous. The damage here being but slight was soon repaired and Captain Baird went on down to Stevenson, and there met General Steedman with a force of some 3,000 infantry on trains, and ordered General Steedman to come through this way to the assistance of General Rousseau instead of going around by Decatur and up the Tennessee and Alabama Central Railroad. General Steedman passed this place in the evening, and hearing that General Rousseaus was hotly engaged against over-whelming force of cavalry under Wheeler between Murfreesborough and Nashville, I deemed it best to throw all the cavalry I had to his assistance, and started the Fifth and Twelfth Tennessee to march through, via Murfreesborough, and ordered the Tenth Tennessee up from Decherd, where I had sent it, to be sent after the Fifth and Tenth on a railroad train. It was about 12 o'clock before I succeed in getting the horses and men of the Tenth together, with two mountain howitzers belonging to the Fifth, the regiment and horses on the large train and the artillery and horses on a small train attached. I went with the greater portion of my staff with the regiment. About 3 o'clock on the morning of the 2nd instant, when within about six miles of Murfreesborough, the train ran into a large wood pile that had been thrown on the track, and soon after the rebels opened fire on the two trains. I sprang out and commenced giving commands in a loud voice to different regiments to form line of battle to the right and left of the train. The rebels hearing this, and my men returning their fire pretty effectively from their carbines, supposed, from the length of our train, that we had a large force and beat a hasty retreat and left us at liberty to throw the wood off the track and go on to Murfreesborough, where we arrived at daylight. We killed 1 rebel and captured another in the attack, from whom we learned that we had been attacked by two regiments. I met Colonel Spalding at Murfreesborough, who had arrived there during the night with orders from Major-General Rousseau to bring the two cavalry regiments to join him as soon as possible in pursuit of Wheeler. Previous to meeting Colonel Spalding with this order, I had determined to search after the rebels that had attacked our train, but after waiting here I doubted my authority to withhold the regiments from joining General Rousseaus, and concluded to go with them to him in hopes of getting some command in the pursuit. We started in the evening and lost our way in the night, and had to retrace our steps some six miles; rested and slept a few hours before day; received a dispatch from General Steedman at daybreak, saying that he was confronted by a large rebel cavalry force on the railroad at Stewart's