Today in History:

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


road and into which Colonel Harrison drove the enemy's skirmishers; he then waited for the remainder of the cavalry to close up before attacking; but before this could be accomplished the enemy with something of his former boldness sallied from his breast-works and drove back Harrison's skirmishers capturing and carrying off one gun belonging to Battery I, Fourth U. S. Artillery which was not recovered by us, notwithstanding the ground lost was almost immediately regained. By night-fall the enemy was driven from his position, with a loss of about 50 prisoners. The cavalry had moved so rapidly as to our-distance the trains, and both men and animals were suffering greatly in consequence, although they continued uncomplainingly to pursue the enemy. General Wood's corps kept will closed upon on the cavalry camping on the night of December 25 six miles out from Pulaski on the Lamb's Ferry road, and pursuing the same route and pursuing the same route as the cavalry, reached Lexington, Ala., thirty miles from Pulaski, on the 28th on which date, having definitely ascertained that the enemy had made good his escape across the Tennessee at Bainbridge, I directed farther pursuit to cease. At Pulaski the enemy's hospital, containing about 200 patients, fell into hands, and four guns were found in Richland Creek. About a mile south of the town he destroyed twenty wagons loaded with ammunition, belonging to Cheatham's corps, taking the animals belonging to the train to help pull his pontoons. The road from Pulaski to Bainbridge, and indeed back to Nashville, was strewn with abandoned wagons, limbers, small-arms, blankets, &c., showing most conclusively the disorder of the enemy's retreat.

During the foregoing operations with the advance Smith's and Schofield's troops were in motion toward the front, General Smith's command reaching Pulaski on the 27, whilst General Schofield was directed to remain at Columbia for the time being.

On our arrival at Franklin, on the 18th, I gave directions to General Steedman to move with his command across the country from that point to Murfreesborough, on the Chattanooga railroad, from whence he was to proceed by rail to Decatur, Ala., via Stevenson, being joined at Stevenson by Brigadier General R. S. Granger and the troops composing the garrison of Huntsville, Athens, and Decatur. Taking general direction of the whole force, his instructions were to reoccupy the points in Northern Alabama evacuated the period of Hood's advance, then cross the Tennessee with the balance of his force and threaten the enemy's railroad communications west of Florence.

General Steedman reoccupied Decatur on the 27th and proceed to carry out the second portion of his instructions, finding, however, that the enemy had already made good his escape to the south side of the Tennessee, and any movement on his railroad would be useless.

On announcing the result of the battles to Rear-Admiral S. P. Lee, commanding Mississippi Squadron, I requested him to send as much of his force as he could spare around to Florence, on the Tennessee River, and endeavor to prevent Hood's army from crossing at that point, which request was most cordially and promptly complied with. He arrived at Chickasaw, Miss., on the 24th, destroyed there a rebel battery, and captured two guns with caissons at Florence Landing. He also announced the arrival at the latter place of several transports with provisions.

Immediately upon learning of the presence at Chickasaw, Miss., of the gun-boats and transports with provisions, I directed General Smith to march overland from Pulaski to Clifton, via Lawrenceburg and Waynesborough, and take post at Eastport, Miss. General Smith started for his destination on December 29.