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

Page 90 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA. Chapter XXXV.

army-six brigades, under Generals Forrest, Martin, Cosby, Starness, [W. H.] Jackson, and Armstrong and Colonel Whitfield; that the greater part of the force had, on that morning, advanced on us from Spring Hill, 3 miles off, where they had been encamped about a week, having ferried the river at Columbia some two weeks before. The whole force amounted to about 15,000 men, with twelve pieces of artillery-6 and 12 pounder guns; while the force under my command at the time of the surrender amounted to about 1,050, about 160 being taken at other places. The whole rebel force fought as infantry, and were armed with good carbines, Mississippi and Enfield rifles. The distance to Franklin was 9 miles. The contest had raged nearly five hours. No re-enforcements were in sight; none had been heard from. The enemy held the road far in our rear. The cavalry and artillery had gone two hours. We had no ammunition. The enemy was mounted. His batteries raked the road, and his men, in thousands, hung upon every advantageous post in our rear. We had exhausted all means of destruction, except our bayonets; beyond their reach, we were powerless. That a colonel of cavalry and a captain of artillery should, without orders, and against orders, leave the field with their entire commands, in haste, and without notice to me, at the very moment when they should have put forth their greatest exertions to repel the enemy rushing upon us, and carry also with them an infantry regiment, on duty as a reserve, with the train, and with it all our ammunition, was a contingency against which human foresight could not provide, and left the surrounded and unflinching men, who withstood the storm, no alternative but a disgraceful and fatal flight, or to do so they did-fight till further resistance was vain. Had it ever been possible to retire from the immediate presence of so large a force, it was only so by the united action of every man. But with a thousand men suddenly withdrawn, with our two most formidable arms in retreat, cavalry and artillery taken away, with the road thus opened for the flanking forces, the contest was reduced to a mere question of endurance. Perhaps, had all stood firmly, the result would have been the same. I think it would not. If re-enforcements had come, even amounting to a single regiment and a battery, I am confident our withdrawal could have been handsomely effected.

To the commanding officers of the regiments, Colonels Utley, Twenty-second Wisconsin, Gilbert, Nineteenth Michigan, Baird, Eighty-fifth Indiana, and Henderson, Thirty-third Indiana, I am compelled, by their conspicuous daring and gallantry, to return my thanks; they did all that officers in their position could do. The field officers, Lieutenant-Colonel Crane, Majors Shafter, Craig, Miller, and Smith, were at their posts bravely doing their duty. The adjutants of the regiments did nobly. To the line officers and the men, who so faithfully and fearlessly drove back the foe, is due whatever can be said in favor of heroic courage and self-sacrifice. Their firm, persistent, triumphant repulse of assault after assault by overwhelming numbers gave proof that on a fairer field victory would have been an easy prize.

My staff officers, Lieutenant Adams, Nineteenth Michigan, and Lieutenant Bachman, Thirty-third Indiana, rendered me most valuable assistance, and were off in the retreating train, vainly endeavoring to rally the scattering forces and place the artillery in such position as would have prevented the flanking force under Forrest from effecting his purpose. Lieutenant [Captain Charles H.] Toll, assistant commissary of subsistence, rendered valuable assistance also. The officers of the One hundred and twenty-fourth Ohio, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel

Page 90 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA. Chapter XXXV.