War of the Rebellion: Serial 103 Page 0362 KY.,S.W.VA.,TENN.,N. & C.GA.,MISS.,ALA., & W.FLA.

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Selma, satisfied that Croxton had taken care of himself and gone in a new direction. On the 6th of April, having ordered Major Hubbard to lay a bridge over the Alabama with the utmost dispatch, I went to Cahawba to see General Forrest, who had agreed to meet me there under flag of truce for the purpose of arranging an exchange of prisoners. I was not long in discovering that I need not expect liberality in this matter and that Forrest hoped to recapture the men of his command in my possession. During our conversation he informed me that Croxton had an engagement with Wirt Adams near Bridgeville, forty miles southwest of Tuscaloosa, two days before. Thus assured of Croxton's success and safety, I determined to lose no further time in crossing to the south side of the Alabama. I had also satisfied myself in the meantime that Canby had an ample force to take Mobile and march to Central Alabama. I therefore returned to Selma and urged every one to the utmost exertions. The river was quite full and rising, the weather unsettled and rainy, but by the greatest exertions night and day on the part of Major Hubbard and his battalion, General Upton, General Alexander, and my own staff, the bridge, 870 feet long, was constructed and the command all crossed by daylight of the 10th. So swift and deep was the river that the bridge was swept away three times. General Alexander narrowly escaped with his life; boats were capsized and men precipitated into the stream, but the operation was finally terminated by complete success. The report of Major Hubbard, terminated herewith, will give additional details of interest.* Before leaving the city General Winslow destroyed ten arsenals, foundries, arms, stores, and military munitions of every kind. The enemy had previously burned 25,000 bales of cotton. Having the entire corps except Croxton's brigade on the south side of the river and being satisfied that the rebels could receive no advantage by attempting to again occupy Selma, so thoroughly had everything in it been destroyed, I determined to move by the way of Montgomery into Georgia, and after breaking up railroads and destroying stores and army supplies in that State to march thence as rapidly as possible to the theater of operations in North Carolina and Virginias. Enough horses were secured at Selma and on the march to that place to mount all our dismounted men. In order to disencumber the column of every unnecessary impediment I ordered the surplus wagons to be destroyed and all of the bridge train except enough for twelve bays. The main object for which the latter was brought had been secured by our passage of the Alabama. I also directed the column to be cleared of all contraband negroes, and such of the able-bodied ones as were able to enlist to be organized into regiments, one to each division. Efficient officers were assigned to these commands and great pains taken to prevent their becoming burdensome. How well they succeeded can be understood from the fact that in addition to subsisting themselves upon the country they marched (upon one occasion) forty-five miles, and frequently as much as thirty-five, in one day. In the march from Selma La Grange's brigade, of McCook's division, was given the advance. The recent rains had rendered the roads quite muddy, and a small body of rebel cavalry in falling back before La Grange destroyed several brigades, so that our progress was necessarily slow.

At 7 a.m. April 12 the advance guard reached Montgomery and received the surrender of the city from the mayor and council. General Adams with a small force, after falling back before us to the city,


*See p.409.