Today in History:

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


division, to deploy two regiments as skirmishers, bring up a section of artillery, and with this force to advance and dislodge the enemy from the pass. The service was handsomely and quickly performed. One captain of cavalry and one private certainly killed and four privates captured were among the known casualties to the enemy. It being now near night-fall, the corps was halted to await the completion of the crossing of the cavalry.

On the following morning, the 24th, I was detained till 12 m., waiting for the cavalry to come up and move out. Shortly after the cavalry had passed out through my camp Brevet Major-General Wilson sent me a message tot he effect that he had found the ground so soft that he could not operate off of the turnpike, and begging that I would not become impatient at the delay he was causing in the movement of my command. At 12 m. the road was free of the cavalry, when the corps was put in motion and marched sixteen miles that afternoon, and encamped two miles south of Lynnville. During all this period of the pursuit, and, indeed, to the end of it, the rear guard of the enemy offered slight resistance, and generally fled at the mere presence of our troops. Sunday morning, the 25th, the corps followed closely on the heels of the cavalry, passed through Pulaski, from which the cavalry had rapidly driven the enemy's rear guard, and encamped for the night six miles from the town, on the Lamb's Ferry road. The corps marched sixteen miles on the 25th, the last six miles on a road next to impracticable from the depth of the mud. As we could not have the use of the turnpike farther south than Pulaski, I ordered all the artillery of the corps but four batteries to be left at Pulaski, using the horses of the batteries left to increase the horses of the pieces taken with the command to eight, and of the caissons to ten horses each. I also ordered that only a limited number of ammunition wagons, carrying but ten boxes each, should accompany the command. These arrangements were necessary on account of the condition of the road on which the enemy had retreated. Without extra teams to the artillery carriages and lightening of the usual load of an ammunition wagon, it would have been impracticable to get the vehicles along; a vigorous pursuit would have been impossible. These dispositions were reported to the commanding general. He directed me to follow the cavalry and support it. The pursuit was continued with all possible celerity to Lexington, Ala., thirty miles south of Pulaski. Six miles south of Lexington Brevet Major-General Wilson learned certainly, on the 28th, the rear of the enemy had crossed the Tennessee River ont he 27th, and that his bridge was taken up the morning of the 28th. These facts were reported to the commanding general, who ordered that the pursuit be discontinued. To continue it farther at that time, besides being useless, even if possible, was really impossible. Of the pursuit it may bee truly remarked that it is without a parallel in this war. It was continued for more than a hundred miles at the most inclement season of the year, over a road the whole of which was bad, and thirty miles of which were wreathed, almost beyond description. It were scarcely an hyperbole to say that the road from Pulaski to Lexington was bottomless when we passed over it. It was strewn with the wrecks of wagons, artillery carriages, and other material abandoned by the enemy in his flight. The corps remained two days at Lexington awaiting orders.

On the 30th of December instructions were received to take post at this place. On the 31st the corps marched to Elk River, a distance of fifteen miles. The river being too swollen to ford two days were spent