Today in History:

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

Page 82 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA. Chapter XXXV.

a fourth of a mile to the rear of the battery and directly skirting the Franklin road, at the point where the road turns to the east; and, seeing the infantry of the enemy moving from the hill occupied by their flanking battery, with the intention of cutting off our retreat and capturing the battery and wagon train, I at once ordered Majors [L. S.] Scranton, of the Second Michigan, and [G.] Jones, of the Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry, to dismount such part of my command as might be necessary, and take advantage of the fences and inequalities of the ground, and, if possible, drive them off till I could withdraw the battery and be joined by Colonel Coburn's infantry. I at once ordered the battery to withdraw from the hill to the left of our position, as a swarm of rebel infantry was about to inclose it, and then dashed off to a hill on the right and withdrew the two pieces stationed there, and just in time, as the rebel line was within 60 yards of them and they entirely unprotected, the infantry, under Colonel Coburn, having retreated through the hills to the right of our position and in a directly opposite direction from the point I was holding to cover its retreat. After getting the guns under my protection, I waited (though my whole line was engaged with the enemy) at least fifteen minutes, hoping that Colonel Coburn would still come toward me, when, finding that the firing on my right was receding, while that on my left was approaching, and that nothing but stubborn resistance could save my flank, I ordered the retreat to begin.

For 2 miles my men sustained, with unflinching bravery, the repeated assaults of more than three times their number, while others could be seen at double-quick still farther toward my rear. As I withdrew my men from one position, I had at once to place them in new ones to repel fresh attacks.

To Major Scranton, in my extreme front and flank, and Major Jones, in my extreme rear, and the heroic bravery of the Second Michigan and Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry, is due the safety of my retreat. After about 2 1/2 miles the enemy's infantry withdrew, finding that they were foiled in cutting off my retreat. Their cavalry often came in sight, but never participated for a moment in the engagement. About 3 o'clock the firing ceased, and my retreat was no further interrupted.

Had Colonel Coburn retreated by the Franklin road, not a man would have been lost. My column never moved a step till long after he was out of sight on the hills to my right. After passing the West Harpeth Creek, I for the first time heard that there was a regiment of infantry retreating from the field of battle without firing a gun, and that it was in front of the wagon train. Major Scranton was the first to make the discovery, and galloped forward to stop it till the artillery could be brought up. By whose order it was marched away in retreat I have no knowledge. I know Colonel Coburn never issued such an order to it, and I did not know that it was in existence to give it an order. Had it remained upon the ground or sent to me for orders, I could not only have safely covered the retreat, but have given the enemy such a chastisement as would have made him more cautious in the future.

The enemy report our killed at 65 and wounded at 250, while they, on their part, acknowledge a loss of 160 killed, with a very large proportion of wounded.

I cannot speak too highly of the steadiness, discipline, and bravery of the troops under my command. Officers and men did their duty nobly. The Eighteenth Ohio Battery, of long-range Rodman guns, acquitted themselves most nobly, and, though subjected to a cross-fire from the artillery of the enemy, never for a moment became excited, but stood to their guns, delivering their fire with regularity and precision. The

Page 82 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA. Chapter XXXV.