Today in History:

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

Page 144 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA.


under command of Major Gratz, of the Sixth Kentucky Cavalry, with instructions to press upon the enemy, cut off and capture his pickets, if possible, fire into his camp and retire, after ascertaining whether he had changed position. This order was executed, and Major Gratz returned with the report that the enemy had advanced 2 miles in our direction.

I have omitted to state that my chosen position for action was on the Springfield road, and I had, on the evening of December 30, selected a position for one section of the battery, which was placed and masked, supported by Company A, Sixteenth Kentucky. The position chosen was in the angle formed by the Springfield road and Cartwright's Creek. This position commanded the Springfield road for 1 1/2 miles, and was strengthened by a precipitous bluff on the right flank. At this point I felt we must meet the enemy; for, if they were permitted to pass it, and gain possession of a copse of timber and the commanding position on the hill, they could shell us in the town, while their riflemen could advance under cover of the timber until they would be in range of any line of battle formed north of town, and which would of necessity leave us fully exposed, as the ground was entirely open. These arrangements having been made, after the report of Major Gratz I ordered Colonel Halisy to make another reconnaissance upon the Springfield road to ascertain whether the enemy was really advancing with a view of attacking us.

Colonel Halisy left camp about 7 a.m. on December 31, and at 11 a.m. sent back a courier with the information that he had proceeded as far as their camp of the night previous, which they had abandoned. Colonel Halisy was then directed in the event they should have moved, which a view of passing either to the right or left of us, to pursue, hang upon their rear, and, if possible, harass them to a stand. Finding they had left, he pressed on to Springfield and in the direction of Muldraugh's Hill.

About noon citizens came rushing into town with the most extravagant reports regarding Morgan's force, and assuring us that he was advancing on the place, with his right column moving from the direction of Saint Mary's Church, on the Lebanon Branch Railroad. To ascertain the truth of this statement, I ordered another reconnaissance to be made in that direction by Lieutenant-Colonel Boyle of the Ninth Kentucky Cavalry, who set out to execute the order in command of a detachment of 300 men from his regiment.

In anticipation of pursuing Morgan, in case he should give us the goby, I had also ordered the commanders of different regiments to draw five days' rations and be in readiness to move without camp or garrison equipage at a moment's warning, and I also ordered all the teams at the post to be in readiness to move at moment's notice. In the mean time I had heard nothing from Colonel Halisy since 11 a.m., and already left considerable anxiety in regard to his safety.

At 5 p.m. I received information that Colonel Halisy was still in pursuit of the enemy, who was moving in the direction of Muldraugh's Hill, and from their rear guard he had succeeded in capturing 15 prisoners, whom he sent into camp. About the same time Colonel Boyle returned, bringing into camp some prisoners, with the assurance that Morgan's main body had passed Saint Mary's Church. I knew we had a force at Glasgow, and had been informed that we had a force at or near Greensburg, under command of Colonel Wolford, to whom I had on the 30th started a courier, notifying him that I would pursue Morgan, should he pass west of us, and suggesting the propriety of his moving his command to Pinchinn or Muldraugh's Hill. Unfortunately, however, this courier was captured and paroled before he reached Colonel Wolford.

Page 144 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA.