Today in History:

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

Page 44 KY., SE. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LVII.

On the 30th of December I announced to the arm the successful completion of the campaign, and gave directions for the disposition of the command as follows; Smith's corps to take post at Eastport, Miss.; Wood's corps to be concentrated at Huntsvile and Athens, Ala.; Schofield's corps to proceed to Dalton, Ga.; and Wilson's cavalry, after, sending one division to Eastport Miss., to concentrate balance at or near Huntsville. On reaching the several positions assigned to them the different commands were to of into winter quarters and recuperate for the spring compaing.

The above not meeting the views of the general-in-chief, and being notified by Major-General Halleck, chief of staff, U. S. Army, that it was not intended for the army in Tennessee to go into winter quarters, orders were issued on the 31st of December for Generals Schofield Smith, and Wilson to concentrate their commands at Eastport, Miss., and that of General Wood at Huntsville, Ala.,preparatory to a renewal of the campaign against the enemy in Mississippi and Alabama.

During the active operations of the main army in Middle Tennessee General Stoneman's forces in the northeastern potion of the State were also very engaged in operating against Breckinridge, Duke, and Vauhn. Having quietly concentrated the commands of Generals Burbridge and Gillem at Bean's Station, on the 12th of December General Stoneman started for Briston, his advance under General Gillen striking the enemy, under Duke, at Kingsport, on the North Fork of the Holston River, killing, capturing, or dispersing the whole command. General Stoneman then sent General Burbridge to Bristol, where came upon the enemy, under Vaughn, and skirmished with him until the reminder of the troops-Gillem's column- came up, when Burbridge was pushed on to Abingdon, with instructions to send a force to cut the railroad at some point between Saltville and Wytheville, in order to prevent re-enforcements coming from Lyinchburg to the salt-works. Gillem also reached Abingdon

on the 15th, the enemy under Vaughn following on a road running

parallel ot the one used by the salt-works and to push on with the main force after Vaughn, General Gillem struck the enemy at Merion early on the 16th, and after completely routing him, pursued him to Wytheville, Va., capturing all his artillery and trains and 198 prisoners. Wytheville, with its stores and supplies, was destroyed, as also the extensive lead-works near the town and the railroad bridges over Reedy Creek. General Stoneman then turned his attention toward Saltville, with its important salt works. The garrison of that place, re-enforced by Giltner's, Cosby's and Witcher's commands and the remnant of Duke's, all under the command of Breckinridge in person, followed our troops as they moved on Wythville, and on returning General Stoneman met them at Marion, where he made preparations to give Breckinridge battle, and disposed his command so as to effectually assault the enemy in the morning, but Breckinridge retreated during the night, and was pursued a short distance into North Carolina, our troops capturing some of his wagons and caissons.

General Stoneman then moved on Saltville with his entire command, capturing at that place 8 pieces of artillery and a large amount of ammunition of all kinds, 2 locomotives, and quite a number of horses and mules. The extensive salt-works were destroyed by breaking the kettles, filling the welsh with rubbish, and burning the buildings. His work accomplished General Stoneman returned to Knoxville, accompanied by General Gillem's command, General Burbridge's proceeding

Page 44 KY., SE. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LVII.