Today in History:

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

Page 136 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LVII.

enemy from its southern bank. During the night and the early forenoon of the following day, the 20th, two bridges for infantry were constructed across the stream-one at the turnpike crossing, by Colonel Opdycke's brigade, of the Second Division, and the other by General Grose's brigade, of the First Division. So soon as these were completed the infantry of the corps was passed over, marched three miles, and encamped for the night on the northern bank of Duck River.

During the night of the 20th the weather became bitterly cold. Wednesday, the 21st, operations were suspended, and the corps remained quietly in camp, as the pontoon train, detained by the swollen streams, the inclement weather, and the miserable condition of the roads, had not been able to get to the front. The day was bitterly cold, and the rest which the command gained by laying in camp was much needed after their arduous and laborious service of the many preceding days. During the night of the 21st, between midnight and daylight, the pontoon train came up and reported. I had, as early as the evening of the 20th, encamped a brigade (the First Brigade of the Third Division, Colonel Streight commanding) on the margin of the river, ready to lay down the bridge the very earliest moment that it could be done. So soon as it was light enough to work the morning of the 22nd a sufficient number of pontoons (they were canvass) were put together to throw across the river a detachment of the Fifty-first Indiana to clear the opposite bank of the enemy. This service was handsomely performed by the detachment, and quite a number of prisoners was the result of the operation. So soon as the opposite bank was cleared of the enemy colonel Streight commenced to lay down the bridge, and completed the work with commendable celerity, though, owing to the inexperience of the troops in such service and the extreme coldness of the weather, more time was consumed in doing it than could have been desired. So soon as the bridge was completed I began to pass the infantry of the corps, and during the time which intervened before the time designed by the commanding general for the cavalry to commence crossing, succeeded in getting over most of the artillery and a sufficiency of the ammunition and baggage trains to permit the corps to continue the pursuit. After crossing the river I moved the corps a mile out of the town of Columbia, which stands on the southern bank of the river, and encamped it for the reminder of the night.

During the evening of the 22nd the commanding general informed me that he wished the pursuit continued by the Fourth Corps and the cavalry, conjointly, so soon as the cavalry had crossed the river; that he wished the Fourth Corps to press down the turnpike road, and the cavalry to move through the country on either side of the corps. Friday, the 23rd, I rested near Columbia, awaiting for the cavalry to complete its passage of Duck River, till midday, when, the cavalry not being yet over, I informed the commanding general I would move the corps a few miles to the front that afternoon, encamp for the night, and wait the following morning for the cavalry to move out, with which, as already stated, I had been instructed to co-operate. While at Duck River we learned that the enemy had thrown several pieces of artillery into the river, being unable to get them across. We also learned that his rear guard was composed of all the organized infantry that could be drawn from his army, which was placed under the command of General Walthall, and his cavalry commanded by General Forrest. After advancing some five miles south of Columbia, the afternoon of the 23rd, the head of the corps came on a party of the enemy posted advantageously in a gap through which he highway passed, with inclosing heights on either side. I ordered Brigadier-General Kimball, commanding the leading

Page 136 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LVII.