Today in History:

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

Page 38 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LVII.

The quartermaster's from under command of Brigadier-General Donaldson, will if necessary, be posted on the interior line from Fort Morton to the battery on Hill 210.

The troops occupying the interior line will be under the direction of Major-General Steedman, who is charged with immediate defense of Nashville during the operations around the city.

Should the weather permit the troops will be formed [in time] to commence operations at 6 a. m. on the 15th, or as soon threafter as practicable.

On the morning of the 15th of December, the weather being favorable, the army was formed and ready at an early hour to carry out the plan of battle promulgated in the special field order of the 14th. The formation of the troops was partially concealed from the enemy by the broken nature of the ground, as also by dense fog, which only lifted toward noon. The enemy was apparently totally unaware of any intention on our part to attack his position, and more especially did he seem not to expect any movement against this left flank. To divert his attention still further from our real intentions, Major-General Steedman had, on the evening of the 14th, received orders to make a heavy demonstration with his command against the enemy's right, east of the Nolensville pike, which he accomplished with success and some loss, succeeding, however, in attracting the enemy's attention to that part of his lines, and inducing him to draw re-enforcements from toward his center and left. As soon as General Steedman had completed his movement the commands of General Smith and Wilson moved out along the Hardin pike and commenced the grand movement of the day, by wheeling to the left and advancing against the enemy's position across the Hardin and Hillsborough pikes. A division of cavalry (Johnson's) was sent at the same time to look after a battery of the enemy's on the Cumberland River at Bells Landing eight miles below Nashville. General Johnson did not get into position until late in the afternoon, when, in conjunction with the guns-boats under Lieutenant Commander Le Roy Fitch, the enemy's battery was engaged until after night-fall, and the place was found evacuated on the morning of the of the 16th. The remainder of General Wilson's command, Hatch's division leading and Knipe in reserve, moving on the right of General A. J. Smith's troops, first struck the enemy along Richland Creek, near Hardin's house and drove him back rapidly, capturing a number of prisoners, wagons, &c., and continuing to advance, whilst slightly swinging to the left, came upon a redoubt containing four guns, which was splendidly carried by assault, at 1 p. m., by a portion of Hatch's division, dismounted, and the captured guns turned upon the enemy. A second redoubt, stronger than the first, was next assailed and by the same troops that captured the first position, taking 4 more guns and about 300 prisoners. The infantry, McArthur's division, of General A. J. Smith's command, on the left of the cavalry, participated in both of the assaults; and, indeed, the dismounted cavalry seemed to vie with the infantry who should first gain the works; as they reached the position nearly simultaneously, both may claim to the artillery and prisoners captured.

Finding General Smith had not taken as much distance to the right as I expected he would have done, I directed General Schofield to move his command (the Twenty-third Corps) from the position in reserve to which it had been assigned over to the right of General Smith, enabling the cavalry thereby to operate more freely on the enemy's rear. This was rapidly accomplished by General Schofield, and his troops participated in the closing operations of the day.

The Fourth Corps, Brigadier General T. J. Wood commanding, formed on the left of General A. J. Smith's command, and as soon as the latter had

Page 38 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LVII.