War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0485 Chapter LI. SKIRMISH AT BLUE SPRINGS, TENN.

Search Civil War Official Records

the troops by the Knoxville road to Morristown. Both forces arrived at Morristown just after dayLight, and ascertained that no rebel force had been there. Encamped at Morristown for the remainder of the day, and in the afternoon was joined by a battalion of cavalry, which had been sent out from Strawberry Plains to go up the north side of Holston River, by Rutledge and Bean's Station. On the arrival of this battalion I detached Lieutenant-Colonel Ingerton, Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, with a battalion of that regiment, to attack a force of rebels at Rogersville, with orders to join me the following night near Bull's Gap.

On the 21st marched to Lick Creek. Soon after my arrival there Lieutenant-Colonel Ingerton came in from Rogersville, at which place he had surprised the enemy at daylight that morning, killed 23, and bringing with him 35, and Joseph B. Heiskell, member of the rebel Congress. On his entrance to Rogersville the enemy, though superior in number to him, fled toward Kingsport. Late that night I received a dispatch from General Tillson, informing me that Wheeler's command was marching by way of Maryville to Dandridge. I determined to turn back and attack his forces in detail as they crossed the river. The 22nd I returned as far as Russellville. Sent scouts in every direction, but was unable to learn anything definite of the enemy, nor were the authorities at Knoxville able to give me any information in regard to the enemy's movements. I therefore determined to turn back and attack the force which I knew to be between me and Greenville. We left camp at 6. 30 a. m. on the 23d; a small force of the enemy was met at Bull's Gap, which fled upon our approach. At Blue Springs we came upon the enemy's pickets, and two miles farther on we found their force occupying a strong position on a ridge to the south of the Greeneville road. The Tenth Michigan Cavalry were ordered to dismount and move forward. After ascertaining the position of the enemy two pieces of artillery were placed in position. Soon after the enemy endeavored to charge one of them, but were driven back by the Tenth Michigan Cavalry. I then directed Colonel Miller to take two companies of the Ninth Tennessee Cavalry and to turn the enemy's left flank, which he did most successfully, a by-road having been pointed out to him by a small boy, William Brown; through but a mere child afterward accompanied him throughout the fight. No sooner did the enemy perceive that Miller was getting in their rear than they began retreat. I then ordered Colonel Brownlow, with five companies, to charge them in front. Then began a running fight, which was closed by night two miles beyond Greeneville, the enemy halting and endeavoring several times to reform. Their horses were fresh, while ours had been moving constantly for twenty days, and had marched eighteen miles that day before the fight began. I afterward understood that the enemy did not halt until they arrived at Jonesborough. Our troops all behaved well. The Tenth Michigan, under Lieutenant-Colonel Trowbridge, was first engaged with the enemy and behaved well. The seven companies of the Ninth Tennessee Cavalry, under Lieutenant Colonel John Brownlow, charged the enemy gallantly. Company A, Tenth Tennessee Cavalry, under Captains Kerner and Hambright, fought with the Michigan troops on foot until the enemy gave away. They then mounted an charged most gallantly, led by Captain Kerner. That gallant officer fell wounded, as it is feared, mortally, cheering his men on. His conduct on that day was the admiration of all. I beg to call your attention to the gallant conduct of Lieutenant Patterson, commanding Battery E, First [Tennessee] Artillery, Lieutenant Regan, of the Tenth Tennessee Infantry, serving in the same battery.