War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 1038 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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As Suffolk possessed no advantages as a military post, and was not susceptible of a good defense, the garrison was afterward withdrawn within the new lines constructed around Norfolk.

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This department has been most signally exempt from the evils of civil war, and consequently has enjoyed unexampled prosperity. Some thefts and robberies having been committed by roving bands of Indians on the Overland Stage Route in January last, General Connor marched with a small force to Bear River, Idaho Ter., where, on the 26th, he overtook and completely defeated them in a severe battle, in which he killed 224 of the 300 and captured 175 of their horses. His own loss in killed and wounded was 63 of 200. Many of his men were severely injured by the frost. Since this severe punishment the Indians in that quarter have ceased to commit depredations on the whites.

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When General Rosecrans took command of the army in Kentucky it was massed near Bowling Green and Glasgow, the base of supplies being then at Louisville, which a few days later was advanced to Nashville, which was made a secondary base.

After the battle of Perryville and our pursuit to Mount Vernon, as stated in my last report, the rebel army retreated across the Cumberland Mountains, leaving a force in Cumberland Gap; then moved down the Tennessee Valley to Chattanooga, and thence, by Stevenson and Tullahoma, to Murfreesborough, a distance of 400 miles, while our army had marched to Nashville, a distance of only a little over 200 miles.

On the 26th of December General Rosecrans advanced against Bragg, whose forces were at that time somewhat dispersed along the road. On the 30th our army, after heavy skirmishing en route, reached the vicinity of Murfreesborough and took up a line of battle. The left, under Critten east of Stone's River, while the center, commanded by Thomas, and the right, by McCook, were posted on the west bank of the river. By the plan of battle agreed upon McCook was to hold the enemy in check on the right at least for three hours, until Crittenden crossed Stone's River, crushed the enemy's right to the east of the stream, and forced his way into Murfreesborough, taking the enemy in flank and reverse, the unsupported rebel center being exposed at the same time to the vigorous blows of Thomas. This well-conceived programme, unfortunately, was unsuccessful, from the failure of McCook to maintain his position, our right, brigade after brigade in succession, being forced back by the enemy's heavy columns with regimental front. This retrograde movement of the right caused Crittenden to suspend his march and support our forces on the west bank of the river, the battle, on our part, changing from the offensive to the defensive. The day closed with our right and right center about at right angles to the first line of battle, but leaving us masters of the original ground on our left, and our new line advantageously posted with open ground in front swept at all points by our artillery. Though in this day's engagement the enemy had been roughly handled, our loss in men and artillery had been heavy.