Today in History:

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

Page 210 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA. Chapter XXXV.

and cut off their retreat. Thinking that another dose of flank movements might do them good, I determined to make the trial, and started, which, I am happy to state, proved an entire success. "Bonaparte crossing the Alps" was an insignificant affair to our passage over that mountain. But we gained the submit in safety, and shortly met the advance of the enemy coming to drive us back, as it appears they had observed us ascending the mountain. We drove them steadily before us till we came within about 1 mile of the pike, where they had concentrated their whole force, consisting of seven regiments, numbering between 2,500 and 3,000 men, commanded by Colonel Duke, who had just arrived from McMinnville, Colonels Gano and Breckinridge were also present.

Here was a place that required nerve, as well as plenty of ammunition. To have retreated down that mountain would have been exceedingly disastrous, and almost an impossibility. After canvassing the ground, and observing that it was a narrow passage or backbone, with a deep ravine on each side, thus preventing them from getting around to our rear, I determined to attack them vigorously, making as much show of force as I could; also feeling confident that we could whip any force that could get in our front. Accordingly, after consultation with Colonel Long and other officers, we opened the attack by dismounting the Fourth Ohio, and sending them on under shelter of logs, trees, &c., to within easy carbine range, when they opened the most terrible fire upon the enemy for so small a number of men that I ever heard. I then placed the led horses in rear, and brought up the Third Ohio, and kept them mounted in rear of the dismounted men, ready for pursuit in case they should retreat.

Inch by inch the foe gave ground, stubbornly striving to resist our progress, but our men fought with determined spirit, and I never once faltered. So rapid was their firing that in twenty minutes I found many of the Fourth were out of ammunition, having fired some sixty shots in that time. But the rebels had now begun to retreat more rapidly, and many of them dropping their guns and cartridge-boxes, I gave orders to fill the exhausted boxes from these. A concentration of force soon became apparent on the enemy's right, and I extended my left and strengthened it from the center and right. The firing again became fierce on both sides, but the advantage was with us, and after slowly pressing them some 600 yards farther through dense timber and thick chaparral, an exultant shout of victory was carried along our lines, and the enemy wheeled and fled precipitately. I immediately ordered the Third to charge, and they rapidly followed the retreating column, pressing close upon its rear and pouring in rapid volleys from their carbines. The Fourth Ohio were well-night exhausted from the severe work they had had, dismounted, but mounted their horses as soon as they were brought up, and followed. The enemy's cavalry had meantime reached the Liberty and McMinnville pike, which runs over Snow Hill, and struck to the right toward Smithville. A few hundred yards from where we gained the pike, the latter inclines to the left, and here the rear guard of the pursued party attempted to hold the Third in check, firing one volley, and wounding 2 men, a sergeant and private of the Third Ohio, but they were quickly driven from their position and were then pursued for about 1 mile. Our horses were much worn or the chase would have been continued farther. As it was, we overtook and captured some 12 of the enemy, belonging to the Second and Third Kentucky Regiments. During the fight and the chase we lost none killed and had but 3 wounded, the two above referred to and 1 man of the Fourth, while the rebels lost, in killed and wounded, at least 20, an my opinion is

Page 210 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA. Chapter XXXV.