Today in History:

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


for the expedition. To raise this force the whole country behind us, if necessary, might be almost entirely stripped of troops, as I am confident our offensive movement would abundantly protect the rear. I am quite sure, after the late experience of Hood in Tennessee, that the rebels would not attempt to check us by a counter invasion. Starting with a force composed as above, and taking with us hard bread, sugar, coffee, and a double allowance of salt for forty days, one day's salt meat in seven, a small supply of forage for exigencies, driving as many cattle with us as could conveniently be done, and trusting to the country to supply the remainder of the meat ration and forage fore daily use, I have no hesitation in saying that we could eat our oysters in Mobile in forty days from the date of departure. The distance to be traversed is about 300 miles, and an average of less than ten miles a day would carry us through in the period assigned. I would suggest the route from Tuscumbia, via Tuscaloosa, Selma, giving a side wipe as we passed at Montgomery and destroying the State archives, to Mobile. I have made many inquiries touching the country adjacent to the proposed route, and am sure the roads though it are entirely practicable for military purposes, and that it teems with supplies such as a military force would require. The troops would engage in such an expedition with great ardor, and would cheerfully endure all its hardships and privations. If successful, and of this I have not the shadow of doubt, this movements would deal a blow unequaled in injurious consequences to the hated rebellion. I respectfully submit these views to the consideration of the commanding general of the forces, and request you will lay this communication before him at your earliest convenience. I do not here touch upon the co-operation we might-in fact, should-in fact, should-receive from our troops on the Mississippi and in the Department of the Gulf, as such co-operation would be matter of arrangement with other commanders; but it seems to me that the arrangements for such co-operation could be made by the time the main force would be ready to move from its base on the Tennessee River.

In conclusion I would say to the commanding general that the success of the expedition would be greatly facilitated by moving before Hood's command could be reorganizated, armed, and equipped, and before a force could be concentrated from other quarters to oppose us.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.

5 p. m., issued orders of the day for to-morrow, December 31, stating that the corps will march for Athens and Huntsville, to start at 7 a. m. to-morrow; General Beatty's division will lead, General Kimball's will follow, then General Elliott's. Each division will take one battery and all of its trains, and send its pioneers in front to repair the roads and bridge small streams. The trains that belong to the divisions will move with them until we arrive at Athens and Huntsville, and not in the rear of the corps as heretofore. 10 p. m., very cold to-night; snowing a little and freezing quite hard.

December 31.-7 a. m., the corps started on the march, General Beatty's division leading, then General Kimball's following. General Elliott has not yet issued the three day's rations, that were to have arrived yesterday, to his division. His subsistence train has not yet arrived at Lexington, but will be here before noon. The other divisions were issued to yesterday. As soon as his division has been issued to General Elliott will march. The roads on to-day's march are much better than the one from Pulaski to Lexington. Our march is slow, though, to-day, owing to the fact that we have to bridge many small creeks that run across the road for the passage of infantry; the water and atmosphere are too cold for wading. 1.45 p. m., General Beatty' division arrives at Sugar Creek. The water is about three feet deep at the ford and the creek is about ninety feet wide. Halt here to build a brigade to cross over the infantry; the teams will ford. 3 p. m., the bridge now completed, and General Beatty is just commenced to cross, General Kimball following up close. General Elliott not yet reported. 4 p. m., head of column reaches a point two miles and a half beyond Sugard Creek and one mile beyond Mount Rozell, on the Lexington and Athens road. Here the corps will go into camp; Beatty's division