War of the Rebellion: Serial 103 Page 0055 EXPEDITION TO PINE WOOD, TENN.

Search Civil War Official Records

that captured the mules on the 20th instant, was encamped on the Harpeth River, about fifteen miles from town. Mr. George Melville, the master of transportation, immediately conferred with you, and on your recommendation organized a force, mostly watchmen in this department and formerly soldiers. I at once took command and immediately started in pursuit of the raiders. We left here at 2 a. m. of the 21st instant, arriving at Camp Irvin about 4 a. m., where I received some more volunteers. My force now consisted of about sixty men, mostly watchmen, with several wagon-masters and two of my clerks. On arriving at Camp Irvin I found it was a mistake that the enemy were encamped on the Harpeth. We waited a few hours and then started in pursuit. At a place a few miles from Ellison's Mills, on the Harpeth, we captured one of McNary's men, named Kearns. We tracked the enemy all that day by the harness along the road, he having twenty hours the start. After riding seventy-three miles, at night-fall we encamped at a place called Pine Wood, in Hickman County, at which place the enemy had been in the morning. Here we learned he had struck direct for the Tennessee River. I then came to the conclusion that it would be folly to pursue him farther, as both man and beast were terribly jaded. Therefore, after encamping for the night, on the morning of the 22nd I immediately started for the nearest point on the Nashville and Northwestern Railroad. After riding for fifteen miles through a drenching rain, we arrived at a place called Sneedville, from which point I telegraphed you for a special train. Here the horses staid for twenty-four hours without any forage and completely broken down. We left this point in the train sent by you for Nashville at 3 p. m. of the 23d. After proceeding for a couple of hours, we came to Kingston Springs, when we were informed that the bridges between that point and Nashville were destroyed. After feeding and staying here for the night, we took up the line of march for Nashville on the morning of the 24th. After a ride of thirty miles, fording the South Harpeth eight times, we arrived here about 4 p. m. of the same day. I would state, in connection with this, that the trip has accomplished two objects: First. It has shown McNary that he cannot capture our trains with impunity, and that we have an available force to pursue him. Second. It has developed the capability of using our employes in protecting Government property from guerrillas. If we had started in pursuit of the guerrillas immediately on the receipt of the news of the capture, we would in all probability have recaptured the mules. But as it is, if at any future time they repeat the operations, we can start on pursuit on a moment's warning.

Since writing the foregoing, the teamsters that were captured with the mules have returned and inform me that we were but fifteen miles from McNary when we were compelled to return on account of exhausted stock. His rendezvous was a large cave, where he had the prisoners guarded, with capacity of secreting 150 men. The wagon-master states that McNary was in Nashville on Saturday and that he boasts as soon as I have another train ready he will pay it a visit. In case he should, a force should be prepared to pursue him without delay. The wagon-master also states that they were robbed by McNary of their money and clothes, he stating that it was essential for them to have clothing,