Today in History:

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

Page 42 KY., SW. VA. TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LVII.

vancing to Spring Schofield encamped at Franklin. On the morning of the 20th General Hatch constructed a floating bridge from the debris of the old railroad over Rugherford's Creek, and crossing g his entire division pushed out for Columbia, but fond, on reaching Duck river, the enemy had succeeded the night before in getting everything across and had already removed his pontoon bridge; Duck River was very much swollen and impassable without a bridge. During the day General Wood improvised a foot bridge over Rutherford's Creek, at the old road bridge, and by night-fall had succeeded in crossing his infantry entire, and one or two his batteries, and moved forward to Duck River.

The pontoon train coming up to Rugherford's Creek about noon of the 21st, a bridge laid during the afternoon and General Smith 's troops were enabled to cross. The weather had changed from dismal rain to bitter cold, very material retarding the work in laying the bridge, as the regiment of colored troops to whom that duty was intrusted seemed to become unmanned by the cold and totally unequal to the occasion. On the completion of the brigade at Rugherford's Creek sufficient material for a bridge over Duck River was hastily pushed forward to that point, and the bridge constructed in time to enable Wood to cross lat in the afternoon of the 22nd and get into position on the Pulaski road about two miles south of Columbia. The water in the river fell rapidly during the construction of the bridge, necessitating frequent alterations and causing much delay. The enemy, in his hasty retreat, had thrown into the stream several fine pieces of artillery, which were rapidly becoming uncovered and were subsequently removed.

Notwithstanding the many delays to which the command had been subjected I determined to continue the pursuit of Hood's shattered forces, and for this purpose decided to use General Wilson's cavalry and General Wood's corps of infantry, directing the infantry to move on the pike, whilst the cavalry marched on its either flank across the fields, ;the remainder of the command, Smith's and Schofield's corps, to move along more leisurely, and to be used as the occasion demanded.

Forrest and his cavalry, and such other detachments as had been ext off from his main army whilst besieging Nashville, had rejoined Hood at Columbia. He had formed a powerful rear guard, made up of detachments from all his organized force, numbering about 4,000 infantry, under General Walthall, and all his available cavalry, under Forrest. Whith the exception of his rear guard, his army had become a disheartened and disorganized rabble of half-armed and barefooted men, who sought every opportunity to fall out by the wayside and desert their cause to put and end to their sufferings. The rear guard, however, was undaunted and firm, and did its work bravely to the last.

During the 23rd General Wilson was occupied crossing his command over Duck River, and came up with the enemy just south of Lynnville, and also at Buford's Station, at both of which places the enemy made a short stand, but was speedily dislodged, with a loss in killed, wounded and prisoners. Our advance was so rapidly as to prevent the destruction of the bridges over Richland Creek. Christmas morning the 25th, the enemy, with our cavalry at his heels, evacuated Pulaski, and was pursued toward Lambs's Ferry over an almost impracticable road and through a country devoid of subsistence from man or beast. During the afternoon Harrison's brigade found the enemy strongly I entrenched at the head of a heavily wooded and deep ravine, through which ran the

Page 42 KY., SW. VA. TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LVII.