War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0532 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

Search Civil War Official Records

the enemy, and ordered him to hold the two bridges, and keep open communications. I immediately placed the command in fighting trim and superintended arrangements of fort, court-house, &c., by having supplies of water, rations, and ammunition placed therein. At or near the regular hour trains arrived from Nashville; ordered them to await my orders before moving; telegraphed and asked for orders for the trains, and received dispatch, dated at Nashville 24th, by command of General Rousseau, saying:

If Forrest, with 8,000 men, is on the road, it is deemed unsafe for the trains bound south to proceed, but it is left with you to decide.

I thereupon ordered the trains to return to Nashville and telegraphed General Rousseau that Lieutenant-Colonel ---, THIRD Tennessee Cavalry, and a captured man of Ninth Indiana Cavalry corroborated all I had already dispatched. Received dispatch by courier from Colonel Pace that Athens had surrendered, and that he was disposing his troops so as to hold the bridges. Informed General R[ousseau] of the fact and that I had no men to re-enforce those posts further, Colonel Spalding's command still being absent and not being under my orders. My effective force at Pulaski, after re-enforcing the bridges with my mounted command, at this time consisted of 23 officers and 519 men, of whom 50 acted upon courier lines, 35 were at the fort guns, and 166 men, with proper officers, were on duty as interior and grand guards, leaving 16 officers and 263 men to perform all the camp and garrison duties outside of special-duty men, all of whom were placed under arms in the court- house and rifle-pits. Soon as Colonel S[palding] arrived I telegraphed the fact, with the further information that Forrest, Roddey, Biffle, and Wheeler were supposed to be concentrated; that enemy were on this side of Athens, moving rapidly, and that I would send Colonel S. to re-enforce the bridges, which I did by assuming the responsibility and issuing a peremptory order to Colonel S. to move at once with his command. This was at 2 a. m. morning of 25th, his command having arrived the night previous at 9 p. m. Telegraphed General Rousseau that he had moved, and for re- enforcements to be hurried forward. Received dispatch, dated on 24th, at Nashville, by order General Rousseau, that General Croxton with brigade of cavalry would move from Franklin at daylight in morning, and that Colonel Jones would leave Nashville at same hour with 1,300 men and a battery; to which I replied, asking that they might move at once, and that then it would be too late, as it was; to hurry them up, I needed them badly. Received dispatch from General Granger, dated 24th, to hold on, that he would join me on the morrow with heavy re-enforcements. Having courier lines established between Sulphur Branch trestle and Pulaski I ordered the most desperate resistance to be made and not to surrender, giving the commandants the information that re-enforcements would arrive soon. Troops were properly posted for making a stubborn defense of this post, and everything, under the circumstances, placed in as good shape as could possibly be. Thus matters continued during the 25th, my forces continually skirmishing and fighting with the enemy, contesting all the ground as well as the strength of the force would allow, slowly retiring from point to point as they were outflanked or overpowered by the enemy's forces.

On the morning of the 25th I was relieved from my command and ordered to turn the same over to the next ranking officer. Colonel Jackson, Ninth Indiana Cavalry, assumed command, by my orders, until the return of Colonel Pace, Tenth Indiana Cavalry, when he, being the ranking officer, assumed command.