OCTOBER 18 and 21, 1864. - Raids on the Nashville and Northwestern Railroad, Tenn.
Report of Lieutenant William L. Clark, Twelfth U. S. Colored Infantry, Assistant Inspector Railroad Defenses.
OFFICER ASST. INSPECTOR RAILROAD DEFENSES,
DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Eastern Section Nashville and N. W. Railroad, Section 20,
October 25, 1864.
SIR: In compliance with instructions received yesterday from your office, dated October 22, I have the honor to report the following particulars of the attack upon trains at section 36, Nashville and Northwestern Railroad, on the morning of the 18th instant; also, on the afternoon of the 21st instant:
The track repairers at section 36 were taken prisoners by McNary's gang (variously estimated at from 15 to 40 men, while some place the number at exactly 23) on the night of the 17th, about 12 o'clock, and held till late on the following morning, and made by McNary to draw the spikes from a rail and remove the fastenings at its end so as to be loose. The gang then drew back from observation, and in this condition of affairs the first a. m. train passed safely by them, except that a shower of bullets was poured in, which wounded a surgeon, Hogle, Engineer E. Andrews, and killed a boy, who was cook and brakeman, dead on the bunk, where he happened to by lying. The second a. m. train came to the loose rail and ran off; the engineer and fireman were wounded. Everybody was stripped of whatever money, watches, or valuables they had which pleased the fancy of the robbers. The locomotive was upset and slightly injured by cutting places with axes. One box-car was burned, but their efforts to burn the flat-cars loaded with iron, which composed the balance of the train, were not successful, and these were slightly injured. The THIRD train, loaded with sawed timber from Ayres' saw-mill at section 29, ran up and was fired into. All hands jumped off and were robbed, except Engineer W. H. Stevens, who ran the train back to section 32, White Bluffs, in safety. Mean time the first train, Civil Conductor Charles White, arrived at Sneedville, and Colonel Murphy, who was on board, had the telegrapher, G. W. Leedon, send a dispatch to Lieutenant Orr, at White Bluff's, to come on with his cavalry. the dispatch was promptly obeyed, and Lieutenant Orr arrived with twenty-five men twenty minutes after the gang had taken their departure, and pursued them a short distance unsuccessfully, and his horses being tired and inferior he returned. A wrecking train was dispatched with hands from Gillem's Station, section 51, to clear the road, and Lieutenant Cox, with a detachment of Company B, One hundredth U. S. Colored Infantry, and Captain Frost, with a detachment from companies of the Twelfth U. S. Colored Infantry from Sullivan's Branch, were sent to section 36, and the road made clear on the following morning, 19th instant.
Again on the 21st instant, as the p. m. train for Johnsonville was passing section 36, it was signaled by the section foreman, whose cook had informed him she had seen men tearing up the track. Captain O. B. Simmons, military conductor, had the train stopped, and with his large train guard pursued the bushwhackers, whose numbers could not be ascertained, for a considerable distance, but as they were mounted the pursuit was unavailing. Civil Conductor Charles White fastened down the rail and the train passed on. Afterward the gang returned and burned the house and commissary of the section foreman, who lay