Today in History:

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


non and Bardstown Junction, to prevent the enemy from crossing Salt River. I expect you to capture or break up the entire force. Order Walker to attack Marshal and Cluke with his forces, and shuck re-enforcements as you can give him. Order both commands to attack vigorously. I have just issued an order dismissing the commanding officers who surrendered at Mount Sterling. Look out for Frankfort and Paris. You can take command of either column of attack, if you wish.


Major-General, Commanding.

On March 28, I telegraphed orders to General Carter, then at Hickman's Bridge, to advance by way of Lancaster. I started, myself, on the same day, with a battalion of the Seventh Ohio Cavalry, and two Rodman rifles, to join him.

Orders had previously been sent to Colonel Walker, Tenth Kentucky Cavalry, to operate as vigorously as possible against General Humphrey Marshall and Colonel Cluke.

At daybreak on the 30th, I overtook General Carter's command at Buck Creek, 10 miles north of Somerset, on the Crab Orchard road, and learned from him that the enemy had retreated before him from the time the advance commenced, on the 28th, an was at that moment immediately in his front; that in the pursuit his own infantry had all been left more than one day's march behind, and that the entire strength of his mounted command, all of which was present with him, did not exceed 900 men.

The re-enforcements which I had brought with me increased the force to about 1,250 men, comprising the Forty-fifth Ohio Volunteer Infantry (mounted), Colonel Runkle; a portion of the Forty-fourth Ohio Volunteer Infantry (mounted), under Major Mitchell, which formed part of Runkle's command; the First Kentucky Volunteer Cavalry, Colonel Wolford; the Seventh Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, Colonel Garrard; one section of Rodman rifles, and four mountain howitzers.

As soon as the horses were fed, I ordered an advance, and we soon became engaged with the rear guard of the enemy, forcing it back gradually, until about noon, when the position of the main body was developed, strongly posted on Dutton's Hill, 3 miles north of Somerset. It then became evident that we were greatly our numbered, and that if it had been the intention of the enemy to draw us from beyond the support of our infantry, so as to place us under a disadvantage, he had apparently succeeded. I formed line of battle by placing Wolford (dismounted) on the right, in the woods, Garrard and the artillery on open ground in the center, and Runkle (dismounted) on the left, with open ground in his front, and the Somerset road between him and the center.

The entire command was placed in one line, but a factitious reserve was improvised by posting the horses of the Forty-fourth and Forty-fifth Ohio Volunteer Infantry in rear of the center, partially concealed in the woods. It was ascertained after the action that the enemy regarded this as a strong cavalry reserve, and it consequently counted passively as such during the action.

The fight commenced by artillery firing on both sides, about 12.30 p. m. About the same time a column of mounted troops was seen to leave the enemy in front of our center and disappear in the woods in front of our right. Wolford was almost immediately hotly engaged with them, and, unable to hold his own, was slowly forced back to his left and rear toward the road. A small force of the enemy, passing entirely around Wolford's right, gained the road in my rear, across which the line was formed, and captured three horses from the ambulances attached to the command.

At this juncture I ordered Runkle, on the left, and a portion of Gar-