time my troops on the left advanced, and the artillery in that direction unexpectedly opened a destructive fire, which caused the enemy to make a hasty retreat. He was closely followed up and driven into town and into his fortifications. My command reached Pulaski about 1 o'clock, after seven hours' constant fighting. With my escort I moved to the extreme right and succeeded in reaching the northern part of town. After making a careful reconnaissance I was fully satisfied that the enemy was strongly posted with a large force. I therefore determined to make no further assault, and returned to the left and ordered the entire command to be withdrawn. It was now nearly night, and I ordered camp-fires to be built along my entire lines for the purpose of deceiving the enemy. Pickets were thrown out in front of the fires to prevent him from discovering my real movements.
On leaving Pulaski I ordered Colonel Wheeler to proceed north of the town and to destroy the railroad and the telegraph line between Pulaski and Columbia. This duty was faithfully performed by Colonel Wheeler, who in addition burned a large wood-yard on the road. The night was exceedingly dark and the roads I was forced to travel almost impassable, and after marching eight miles from Pulaski I was forced to halt for the night.
On the 28th I reached Fayetteville. During the day I ordered Captain Boone, of my escort, to proceed with twenty men as rapidly as possible to the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad and cut the same, with telegraph wires, at some point north of Tullahoma. At the same time I ordered Captain Kelleher, with thirty men of the Twelfth Kentucky, to move forward and strike the road and wires at some point south of Tullahoma. Both of these officers faithfully performed the works assigned them.
I encamped five miles from Fayetteville on the night of the 28th. The next morning I moved toward Tullahoma. About noon I halted my command near Mulberry. At this place I learned from my scouts, and from the concurrent testimony of reliable citizens, that the enemy was in strong force at Tullahoma, and at all other vulnerable points on the railroad in that direction. Re-enforcements from Atlanta, Chattanooga, and other points were being hurried forward. There were not less than 15,000 troops sent forward to intercept my movements. The severe engagements with the enemy at Athens, Sulphur Springs trestle, and Pulaski had exhausted nearly all my artillery ammunition. I had not over 100 rounds to the gun; besides, my forces had been greatly depleted by the large number necessarily sent back to guard prisoners and the captured property. Under these circumstances I deemed it hazardous and unwise to move upon the enemy, who was prepared to meet me with overwhelming numbers. Consequently I commenced disposing of my troops with a view of operating where there was a prospect of accomplishing some good. General Buford, with a portion of his DIVISION and parts of Kelley's and Johnson's troops, constituting a force of about 1,500 men, was ordered to proceed in the direction of Huntsville, to burn the bridge over Flint River at Brownsborough, to capture Huntsville if possible, and then destroy the Memphis and Charleston Railroad from Huntsville to Decatur. With the balance of my troops, consisting of parts of General Lyon's and Colonel Bell's brigades, the Seventh Tennessee, and Forrest's old regiment, I changed my course from toward Tullahoma to the Tennessee and Alabama Railroad. Leaving Shelbyville to the right I marched on an obscure, circuitous road to Lewisburg, which place I reached at 12 o'clock on the 30th. At night I camped on the north side of Duck River.