War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0544 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

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and capturing 8 prisoners. The re-enforcements then renewed their efforts to gain the fort and fought with great gallantry and desperation. They passed on, but found the Twenty-first Tennessee, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Forrest, between them and the fort. This gallant regiment opened fire upon the advancing enemy, and it was during this engagement that Lieutenant-Colonel Forrest fell severely wounded. I ordered Colonel Nixon and Colonel Carter, with their respective commands (numbering about 150 men each), reporting to me, to move rapidly to the relief of Colonel Wilson. They did so, and after a short engagement the re-enforcements surrendered and marched up just in time to see the garrison march out of the fort and stack their arms. One block-house surrendered without the least hesitancy. The other defiantly refused. The artillery opened upon it. The second shot penetrated the walls, killing 2 negroes and wounded another, which caused the officer commanding to surrender. Everything of value being removed, the block-houses were burned and such parts of the fort as could be consumed by fire. Two locomotives and 2 trains of cars were also burned. The enemy during the night destroyed many valuable stores of every description. Two pieces of artillery, a large amount of small-arms, 38 wagons, 2 ambulances, 300 horses, and a considerable amount of ordnance, quartermaster's, and commissary stores were captured. The prisoners and captured property were immediately started for Cherokee, under the command of Colonel Nixon.

In a few hours after the surrender of Athens I moved with my command toward Pulaski. Four miles north of Athens another block- house, with a garrison of 30 men, was surrounded and captured. The trestle, railroad, and block-house at this point were all in blazing ruins twenty minutes after we reached them. I moved on and encamped eight miles from Athens at night.

The Sulphur Springs trestle was only two miles off, and on the morning of the 25th I moved upon that place, said to be the strongest on the road. The enemy's pickets were driven in with but little difficulty and the place soon invested. His defenses consisted of two block-houses and a large fort situated upon an eminence, but fortunately for us surrounded by hills still more elevated. I ordered the artillery to be placed at once in position. One section of Hudson's battery, commanded by Lieutenant E. S. Walton, was placed on the southwest; one section, Ferrell's, commanded by Lieutenant Ozburn, on the southwest; one section of Morton's on the east, commanded by Lieutenant J. W. Brown, the other section on the north, commanded by Lieut J. M. Mayson, all under the direction of Captain Morton. The necessary disposition of troops being made, a general advance was ordered toward the fort. General Buford's DIVISION moved with alacrity and great promptitude. Colonel Kelley dashed across the field, followed by his brigade, and after reaching his desired position the enemy dared not raise his head above his own works. Colonel Johnson and his brave troops on this occasion acted with conspicuous gallantry in marching up and assaulting the enemy's works. Mean time the eight pieces of artillery from four different points poured a concentrated storm of shell into the fort. After the hours' bombardment the enemy's guns were silenced and he exhibited no show of resistance. I deemed this an appropriate occasion to demand a surrender, and sent a flag of truce for that purpose. After a short parley with Colonel J. B. Minnis, the commanding officer, who had expressed a desire for an interview, the fort surrendered. The enemy suffered severely in this assault. The colonel commanding was killed early in the fight.