Today in History:

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

Page 142 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA.


I was notified by Brigadier-General Boyle, by telegram, that the rebel Morgan was in our State, and ending on January 2, 1863, at which time the pursuit of him was abandoned, by order of Brigadier General Speed S. Fry, 3 miles beyond Columbia:

At the time I received notice of Morgan's invasion of the State, and movements in the direction of Bardstown or Lebanon, I had under my command the Seventh Tennessee, consisting of 258 men, Twelfth Kentucky Infantry, consisting of 425 men, and Sixteenth Kentucky Infantry, 650. I was informed by the post quartermaster that he had at this post near 3,000 head of loose stock, mules and horses, about 300 wagons, and stock for same, some 200,000 rations, a quantity of ammunition, and 1,600 stand of small-arms. I did not know his soon Morgan would be upon us, and, having no fortifications, as an only means of defense, I ordered all the wagons to be placed in corral. I also ordered guns to be distributed to all the convalescents capable of using them, as also to the teamsters, whom I placed under competent commanders. I ordered an increase of our picket guards, and a thorough inspection of arms, ammunition, &c. Knowing that a force of some ten or eleven regiments was at Danville, I then telegraphed to Brigadier-General Baird for re-enforcements of infantry and a battery of artillery. In reply, he notified me on December 26 that he had ordered to my support a battery of Napoleon guns and two regiments of infantry. from my observation, I know of no place so vulnerable as Lebanon, lying, as it were, in a basin surrounded by commanding positions, as also with approaches from almost every direction, and I was, therefore, satisfied that a fight with equal numbers could not be successfully made within or very near the town, and I accordingly determined, should he move upon the place, to meet him from 1 to 2 miles from the depot.

On the 28th, I was notified by dispatch from General Boyle that re-enforcements from Danville, which I knew were within 4 or 5 miles of me, were recalled. During the day cannonading was distinctly audible in the direction of Elizabethtown or the tunnel. I again urged upon General Baird the necessity of sending forward re-enforcements, and was by him notified that two strong regiments of infantry had been ordered, under command of Colonel Henderson, to join me, and would be at Lebanon on the 3rd. I then dispatched General Boyle, in anticipation of such re-enforcements, suggesting the propriety of halting the Thirty-fourth Brigade, which had been ordered to Lebanon, at Muldraugh's Hill. Receiving no answer to this dispatch (in consequence, I presume, of an interruption in telegraphic communication between this place and Louisville), the brigade joined me on the morning of the 29th. On that morning I sent out a scouting party of 25 men, under command of Lieutenant Porter, of the Ninth Kentucky Cavalry, with orders to proceed in the direction of New Haven and Bardstown until he could learn something definite of Morgan's force and movements. I had also sent out a single and reliable citizen-scout with similar instructions.

On the morning of the 30th, the citizen returned to camp with intelligence that he had that morning breakfasted with 15 of Morgan's men at Fredericksburg, distant from us 19 miles.

About 3 o'clock of the same day Lieutenant Porter also returned, confirming the report of the first scout, and stating that the cannonading heard by us was at Rolling Fork, and that at the point from which he had returned he could distinctly hear musketry.

Morgan's force was variously estimated at from 7,000 to 11,000. I had been notified by General Boyle that Colonel Harlan, with a brigade

Page 142 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA.