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80 Series I Volume XXIII-I Serial 34 - Tullahoma Campaign Part I

Page 80 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA. Chapter XXXV.

report that the expedition-consisting of Colonel Coburn's brigade, and 600 cavalry, detached from the Ninth Pennsylvania, the Fourth Kentucky, and the Second Michigan, under my command, and the Eighteenth Ohio Battery, Captain Aleshire, all under the command of Colonel Coburn, of the Thirty-third Indiana Infantry-left Franklin about 9 o'clock on the morning of March 4, their line of march being on the direct road toward Spring Hill and Columbia. The regiments marched with but 4 wagons each, and a train of 80 wagons brought up the rear for foraging purposes. The expedition was ordered to march in a body to Spring Hill, 13 miles distant, at which point a part of the cavalry was to be detached to march upon Raleigh Springs, on the Lewisburg road, to meet certain United States forces from the direction of Murfreesborough.

About 4 miles from Franklin, and about 10.30 a. m., the advanced guard of our forces came in contact with the advance forces of the enemy, marching, it is said, to attack our position at Franklin. Lines of battle were at once formed, the enemy occupying a range of hills crossing the turnpike at right angles, while we took post on a knoll to the left of the road, our right extending over the undulating ground toward the railroad and our left to some wooded hills and ravines in the direction of the Lewisburg road. Our battery was at once brought forward and placed on the hill to the left, while that the enemy was place din a corresponding position upon their right, with one piece on a large hill to the left of their position. The first shell was fired from our guns at 10.40 a. m., and in a moment afterward a corresponding messenger came from the enemy. The lines of the enemy's cavalry were drawn up in full view on the face of the hills, within half-mile range and to the right and left of their batteries. A few rounds from our guns caused the enemy to withdraw behind the hills to their rear, but I noticed large bodies of their cavalry filing to the right and left from the turnpike in the rear of their batteries, and taking position under the cover of the hills. The batteries continued for about an hour and a half to thunder their compliments to each other, when I discovered a position to our right from which a ravine in which they had massed large bodies of their forces could be shelled. I at once ordered up one piece to the position, and a few shells cleared the enemy of their support to their battery on our left, and it was at once withdrawn. The enemy then retreated, leaving some 15 killed and carrying away a large number of wounded.

During the battle our skirmishers were hotly engaged on the left in the hills and ravines, and at every point drove the enemy from their position.

Our loss in this action was but 2 men wounded, both slightly. I have no doubt but that the force the enemy was from 3,000 to 4,000 cavalry, with four pieces of artillery, one of which lost a wheel in the action, which was knocked to pieces by one of our shells. I also saw five or six (though I was informed there were more) horses that were killed by our shells. Just as the action ceased, Colonel Coburn was informed that a large body of the enemy's cavalry was approaching Franklin by the Lewisburg road, and I immediately directed my cavalry upon its flank, upon which it retired. We encamped that night upon the position held by the enemy in the morning.

On the morning of the 5th, soon after daylight, our column was again in motion, in the direction of Spring Hill. By order of Colonel Coburn, I directed the Fourth Kentucky Cavalry, under my command, to observe the Carter Creek turnpike on our right and the Lewisburg road on our left, to see that no flanking force should gain our rear, and, with

Page 80 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA. Chapter XXXV.