War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0496 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

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Numbers 2. Report of Colonel George G. Dibrell, Thirteenth Tennessee (Confederate) Cavalry, commanding brigade, including engagement at Saltville, Va., October 2.


Greenville, S. C., October 19, 1864.

For the information of the major-general commanding I respectfully submit the following report of my operations since I left the command at Sparta, Tenn.:

According to verbal instructions received I remained at Sparta with the Eighth [Thirteenth] Tennessee Regiment, numbering about 130 rank and file, four days after the command left, recruiting, and on the morning of the 2nd of September I moved with about 800 men in pursuit of the command. At Liberty I learned that the major-general commanding was engaging the enemy in the immediate vicinity of Nashville, and that Generals Williams and Robertson had moved on via Lebanon. I accordingly followed the same route. When I reached Lebanon I learned that the main force was on the Franklin and Columbia roads, and turned across in the direction of Murfreesborough, traveling until a late hour at night and sending scouts well out upon the railroad, who reported next morning General Steedman with a strong infantry force upon the railroad, who had prevented Generals Williams and Robertson from crossing north of Murfreesborough. I had in the mean time been joined by from 200 to 300 more recruits, stragglers, and absentees, swelling my numbers from 1,000 to 1,200, about 300 of whom were armed, but with little ammunition. After my scouts in advance having reported that they had seen a large cavalry force pass down the Readyville and Murfreesborough pikes, and a consultation with officers of the different commands then with me, and owing to the large number of unarmed men with us, we decided not to attempt to cross the railroad near Murfreesborough, as the Yankee papers of that morning stated our forces were retreating south of Columbia, but turned up the Readyville pike, intending to move to the vicinity of Tullahoma, and if possible cross the railroad and join the main force, and in case we were satisfied you had gone to the Tennessee River we would likewise move across the mountains and endeavor to make our way out. Traveling on until 12 o'clock at night, we encamped between Readyville and Woodbury, placing out pickets all around us, with orders to move on at daylight next morning. Just as we were about moving the enemy, supposed to be 800 strong (Ninth Pennsylvania and mounted infantry), about half mounted, the others dismounted, having surprised and got between our pickets (who were of Major Wright's command, of General Robertson's brigade) and our camps, came charging upon us. I used every effort to rally the men, but owing to thstampede took place and it was with difficulty that they could be rallied and checked. After stopping them I determined to make for the mountains, and did so, recrossing the Caney Fork below Rock Island, where all the stragglers came in. Our loss was 2 killed, 2 seriously wounded and left, and 61 captured, making a total loss to us of 65 men and about 50 horses. We killed 10, wounded 25, and captured 8 of the enemy. They admitted in their published accounts their killed and wounded 35. Eight admitted in their published accounts their killed and wounded 35. Eight of their dead they left on the field.

On the 8th we prepared five days' rations, cooked, and intended moving on the 9th to try to recross Tennessee River below Kingston,