War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0853 Chapter LI. OPERATIONS IN EAST TENNESSEE.

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pieces of artillery. About the time I moved from this place a small force of cavalry I had stationed in Cocke County, Tenn., as a protection to the district from an advance of the enemy in that direction, struck the railroad at Mossy Creek and burned the railroad bridge. This caused the enemy to evacuate Bull's Gap and retire in the direction of Bean's Station.

On October 21 I formed a junction with General Vaughn at Bull's Gap. During the night of that day I moved to Russellville, and having effectually destroyed the railroad in that vicinity and collected and secured the telegraph wire, I, by General Vaughn's directions, returned to Bull's Gap.

On the 27th of October I proceeded, by directions of General Breckinridge, to Morristown for the purpose of conferring with General Vaughn, whose forces I found skirmishing with the enemy. That night my mountain howitzer was ordered forward. I inclose Sergeant Byrd's report, showing the manner in which it was captured by the enemy. General Vaughn requested me to send back to Bull's Gap and have my command in readiness to move the next morning at 6 a. m. to Russellville, should he so order. This I did.

Early on the morning of the 28th I addressed a note to General Vaughn to know if my command had been ordered up during the night, in order that if it had I might go back and place it in position at Russellville; or if it had not, that I might go to his headquarters and hold a conference with him as directed by General Breckinridge. I received the following reply from General Vaughn's assistant adjutant-general:


Morristown, October 28, 1864.

Colonel PALMER,

Commanding, &c.:

The general directs me to say, in reply to your inquiry, that your command was ordered to Russellville last night. Enemy are still in our front. Some skirmishing this morning.

Respectfully, &c.,


Assistant Adjutant-General.

I notified General Vaughn that I would place my command in position at Russellville, and immediately returned to that place, in the vicinity of which I found my command had arrived a few moments before. I selected a line about one mile in advance of Russellville, on the Morristown road, and was moving my command into position when General Vaughn's staff officer arrived from the front and requested me to form my line in rear of Russellville, on the Bull's Gap road. I faced the column about and was marching it to the new position when General Vaughn's retreating cavalry swept by my men in the wildest disorder. My men were hastily thrown across the road and an ineffectual attempt made to stop the fleeing cavalry and induce them to form a line. The rear of General Vaughan's baggage and supply train had just reached my line when the pursuing enemy entered the town on its opposite side. Skirmishers were immediately thrown out from my command on the left and engaged the enemy, while my artillery opened from a slight elevation in rear of my right, effectually checking the enemy's advance and enabling General Vaughn to rally from 150 to 200 men in rear of my line. The enemy made no farther advance, but fell back to Morristown, stating that they had encountered at Russellville the whole of Breckinridge's corps. I had with me not more than 600 men, the balance having been left at Bull's Gap by direction of General