Today in History:

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


most difficult for us to bridge the Harpeth and Rutherford's Creek for the passage of infantry. 12 midnight, it is still raining hard. The roads off of the pike are impassable for wagons; they cannot be moved at all.


December 21.-7 a. m., snowing this morning; not very hard. 8 a. m., received instructions from Major-General Thomas, dated Rutherford's Creek, December 20, 1864; 8.30 p. m., as follows:

Major-General Schofield has been instructed to build a trestle bridge over Rutherford's Creek so that artillery and train can cross. Major-General Smith will assist in getting the pontoon train over and hurry it forward to you as rapidly as possible, to enable you to throw bridges over Duck River early in the morning. It is the desire that the entire army be over the river before to-morrow night, in which case it is to be hoped that the greater part of Hood's army may be captured, as he cannot possibly get his teams and troops across the Tennessee River before we can overtake him.

The last of Forrest's command and Bate's rebel division of infantry arrived opposite Columbia, on the north bank of Duck River, from Murfreesborogh, yesterday. If we could have had a pontoon train to enable [us] to cross Rutherford's Creek when we arrived there, we would have captured the most of this force. This part of the enemy's force was in such haste that it abandoned six pieces of artillery that were stuck in the mud near Columbia, on the Murfreesborough road. 12.30 p. m, received note from General Thomas, stating that the pontoon train will be up as soon as possible. It progresses with great difficulty. He wishes General Wood to gather two days' forage for the animals of the train (500). Orders were at once sent to division commanders to send parties out in the country and gather up forage. 1 p. m., the pontoon train is up as far as rutherford's Creek, and part of it is now being laid over the stream to cross that part of it which is to be laid over Duck River. It will be dark before it is laid over the creek. 11 p. m., Colonel Streight, who has been directed to assist in laying the pontoon over Duck River, reports that only part of the train has arrived on this side of the river, and that it will be impracticable to commence laying the bridge before morning. He will commence work on it at 5 a. m.

We have collected over twelve wagon-loads of forage for the animals of the pontoon train. We have been delayed another day inthe pursuit of the enemy on account of the pontoon train not being up with us. The following reason for the delay has been given: On the 17th instant General Thomas sent word for the train and directed it to come out on the Murfreesborough pike when (the mistake having been discovered) it was reached by a messenger, and the officer having charge of it was ordered to move over to the Franklin pike. He crossed over on a country road which was almost impassable. Captain Ramsye says that when General Thomas gave him the order he had just awakened out of a deep sleep, and said "Murfreesborough pike," and not "Franklin pike.' By this mistake we have been delayed about three days in the pursuit of the enemy, and have missed many splendid opportunities to inflict severe blows upon the enemy, perhaps to annihilate him.