Today in History:

33 Series I Volume XLV-I Serial 93 - Franklin - Nashville Part I


north of Pulaski, to cover the passage of the wagons and protect the railroad. Capron's brigade of cavalry was at Mount Pleasant, covering the approach to Columbia from that direction; and, in addition to the regular garrison, there was at Columbia a brigade of Ruger's division, Twenty-third Army Corps. I directed the two remaining brigades of Ruger's division, then at Johnsonville, to move-one by railroad around through Nashville to Columbia, the other by road via Waverly to Centreville-and occupy the crossings of Duck River near Columbia Williamsport, Gordon's Ferry, and Centerville.

Since the departure of General Sherman about 7,000 men belonging to his column had collected at Chattanooga, comprising convalescents returning to their command and men returning from furlough. These men had been organized into brigades, to be made available at such points as they might be needed. My command had also been reenforced by twenty new one-year regiments, most of which, however, wee absorbed in replacing old regiments whose terms of service had expired.

On the 23rd, in accordance with directions previously given him. General Granger commenced withdrawing the garrisons from Athens, Decatur, and Huntsville, Ala., and moved off toward Stevenson, sending five new regiments of that force to Murfreesborough, and retaining at Stevenson the original troops of his command. This movement was rapidly made by railroad, without position on the part of the enemy. That same night General Schofield evacuated Pulaski and moved toward Columbia, reporting himself in position at that place on the 24th. The commanding officer at Johnsonville was directed to evacuate that post, after, removing all public property, and retire to Fort Donelson, on the Cumberland, and thence to Clarksville. During the 24th and 25th the enemy skirmished with General Schofield's troops at Columbia, but showed nothing but dismounted cavalry until the morning of the 26th, when his infantry came up and pressed our line strongly during that day and the 27th but without assaulting. As the enemy's movements showed an undoubted intention to cross above or below the town, General Schofield withdrew to the north bank of Duck River during the night of the 27th and took and a new position, where the command remained during the 28th, undisturbed. Two divisions of the Twenty-third Corps were placed in line in front of the town, holding all the crossing in its vicinity, while Stanley's corps, posted in reserve on the Franklin pike, was held in readiness to repel any vigorous attempt the enemy should make to force a crossing the cavalry, under command of Brevet Major-General Wilson, held the crossings above those guarded by the infantry. About 2 a. m. on the 29th the enemy succeeded in pressing back General Wilson's cavalry, and effected a crossing on the Lewisburg pike; at a later hour part of his infantry crossed at Huey's Mills. six miles above Columbia. Communication with the cavalry having been interrupted and the line of retreat toward Franklin being threatened, General Schofield made preparations to withdraw to Franklin. General Stanley, with one division of infantry, was sent to Spring Hill, about fifteen miles north of Columbia to cover the trains and hold the road open for the passage of the main force and dispositions were the road for the passage and to meet any attack coming from the direction of Huye's Mills. General Stanley reached Spring Hill just in time to drive off the enemy's cavalry and save the trains; but later he was attacked by the enemy's infantry and cavalry combined who engaged him heavily and nearly succeeded in dislodging him from the position, the engagement lasting until dark. Although