Today in History:

124 Series I Volume XX-I Serial 29 - Murfreesborough Part I

Page 124 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA.


force about three-quarters of a mile from where he would pass, and reserved a fire only for the enemy's rear, which like the old man's tuft of grass, "only made the youngster laugh; and, pained, disgusted, chagrined, and disgraced, we were compelled to stand, and, feeling our abuses never so deeply and intensely, see our abusers not only flee unhurt, but protected in their flight. Besides the great public damage done us by this raid, an almost irreparable damage is done to private circles in the robbery of horses on the route; almost every serviceable horse on the road has been taken off by these robbers, so that there are not horses left on this route to cultivate the fields.

And now, general, I have a few questions to ask you, and through you to ask the War Department:

First, then, why did General Marshall hold all his infantry and artillery in Abingdon and Bristol until the enemy, had burned up the public property at Union and Carter; and why did he still hold his cavalry force in Bristol eight hours after he learned they were returning toward Kentucky?

Second. Why did not, by means of the railroad, throw all his infantry and artillery along the line of railroad upon their front, and his cavalry upon his rear, and thus not only prevent all this damage, but bag him on the road?

Third. After failing in these, why did he hold his cavalry force at Estillville, all night, and wait for infantry and artillery to come up, to intercept a retreating cavalry foe?

Fourth. After being fully advised of the enemy's movements across Clinch Mountain, Powell's Mountain, and Waldron's Ridge, in his rapid flight toward Cumberland Mountains, why did he halt 1,700 cavalry near Pattonsville for nine hours in open daylight?

Fifth. After all these strange proceedings, why did he at Jonesville select a position for attack with musketry and rifle forces at moderate range from the enemy's pass for light artillery, and even then reserve his fire for the rear, the head of the enemy's column being 3 to 5 miles in advance of any force or route to intercept him?

Sixth. And why did he, having his force dismounted, order a charge of infantry upon the enemy's cavalry rear after all these cursed failures?

Seventh, and finally, what will be likely to follow such a raid as this, and what will become of the salt works, and Bristol and Abingdon, and the railroad, and, in a word, the very backbone of our Confederacy, if Humphrey Marshall is continued in command of this department?

I am in a good place for forage, and will go to Kentucky with Colonel [Major] Tom. Johnson soon. I could add to my force of cavalry fast enough here from the scattered old Fifth Kentucky, but cannot raise any infantry.

General, will you consent to my raising other companies of ranger cavalry; and will you recommend me to the War Department for majority of such command? I can do but little with this small command, but let me have 400 men, and I will make a raid upon the banks of the Ohio River.

Very respectfully, and fraternally,


Captain Cavalry Squadron.

Brigadier General J. S. WILLIAMS,

Commanding Second Brigade, &c.

Page 124 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA.