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[403]

Events proved that this had the desired effect; and accordingly Bragg called forward Buckner and all the spare troops at his command from East-Tennessee and the lines of the railroads, the last of them arriving on the very evening they began their retreat from their position in front of Duck River. The operations which followed these successful preliminaries were as follows:

On the twenty-third of June, Major-General Granger, under orders, sent General Mitchell, with his cavalry division, on the Eagleville and Shelbyville pike, to make a furious attack on the enemy's cavalry and drive in their infantry guards on their main line, while General Granger, with his own troops and Brannan's division, moved, with ten days rations, to Salem, sending his sick and baggage to the camps at Murfreesboro. On the same day Palmer's division and a brigade of cavalry were ordered to move, via Cripple Creek and Readyville, to the vicinity of Bradyville; his advance to seize the head of the defile leading up to the “barrens” by an obscure road leading them to Manchester by Lumley's Station. All the other troops were ordered to be in readiness to march with twelve days rations of bread, coffee, sugar, and salt; six days meat on hoof, and six days pork or bacon. General Mitchell accomplished his work after a sharp and gallant fight, for the details of which I must refer you to his own report. General Granger arrived and took position at Salem, in pursuance of orders.

The corps commanders met at headquarters in the evening, when the plan of the movement was explained to them, and each received written orders for his part, as follows:

Major-General McCook's corps was to advance on the Shelbyville road, turn to the left, move two divisions by Millersburgh, and, advancing on the Wartrace road, seize and hold Liberty Gap. The third division was to advance on Fosterville, and cover the crossing of General Granger's command from the Middleton road, and then move by Christiana to join the rest of the corps.

General G. Granger was to advance on the Middleton road, threatening that place, and cover the passing of General Brannan's division of the Fourteenth corps, which was to pass by Christiana and bivouac with the rear division of the Twentieth corps.

The Fourteenth corps, Major-General Thomas, was to advance on the Manchester pike, seize and hold with its advance, if practicable, Hoover's Gap, and bivouac so as to command and cover that and the Millersburgh road, so that McCook and himself could be within supporting distance of each other.

Major-General Crittenden was to leave Van Cleve's division of the Twenty-first army corps at Murfreesboro, concentrate at Bradyville with the other two, and await orders.

The cavalry, one brigade under General Turchin, was sent with the Twenty-first army corps to look out toward McMinnville. All the remainder under Major-General Stanley, were to meet General Mitchell coming in from Versailles, and attack the rebel cavalry at Middleton.

The headquarters of the army was to be established at Mrs. McGill's, at Big Spring branch.

All these movements were executed with commendable promptitude and success in the midst of a continuous and drenching rain, which so softened the ground on all the dirt roads as to render them next to impassable.

General McCook's taking of Liberty Gap was very gallant and creditable to the troops of Johnson's division, Willich's brigade leading, supported by Carlin's brigade of Davis's division on the right.

General Reynolds had the advance in the Fourteenth corps, Wilder's mounted brigade leading. He surprised and carried Hoover's Gap, a defile three miles in length, before the main infantry support of the rebels (two brigades) could come up, and when they did arrive, fought them and held the position until the remainder of Reynolds's division arrived. The enemy kept at artillery distance from them, and left us to hold the bridge across the Garrison fork and the debouch of the Fairfield road. For the details of this fight, I refer to the reports of the immediate commanders of the troops.

As it was not yet certain whether the enemy would advance to test our strength on McCook's front or mass on the flank of the Fourteenth corps, near Fairfield, the orders for June twenty-fifth were as follows:

Major-General Crittenden to advance to Lannon's Stand, six miles east of Beech Grove, and open communication with General Thomas.

General Thomas to attack the rebels on the flank of his advance position at the forks of the road, and drive the rebels toward Fairfield.

General McCook to feign and advance, as if in force, on the Wartrace road, by the Liberty Gap passes.

General Stanley with his cavalry to occupy their attention at Fosterville, and General Granger to support him with his infantry at Christiana.

Should Thomas succeed, and find the enemy retreating toward Wartrace, he was to cover that road with a division, and move with the remainder of troops rapidly on Manchester, McCook to move in and taking his place at Beech Grove, holding Liberty Gap with a division, and finally withdrawing that and following Thomas to Manchester. The incessant rain delayed the arrival of General Brannan to join the Fourteenth corps on the Manchester pike; but every thing was finally in position, and General Reynolds's division had advanced on the heights toward Fairfield, but did not attack the enemy, who appeared to show a disposition to contest our advance by that route. At Liberty Gap the enemy tried to regain possession, but finally retreated, leaving our pickets in position.

On the twenty-sixth, most of the movements ordered for the twenty-fifth were completed, amid continuous rains. Generals Rousseau, Reynolds, and Brannan's divisions cooperated in a gallant


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