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[404] advance on the enemy, who after a short resistance fled toward Fairfield, near to which place our pickets were advanced, while Reynolds's divison and the baggage moved forward during the night toward Manchester, Wilder's brigade having seized Matt's Hollow early in the afternoon, and thus secured the passage.

June twenty-seventh, headquarters reached Manchester, where General Reynolds's and part of Negley's division had already arrived. The remainder of Thomas's corps came in during the night. It was now manifest that the enemy must leave his intrenched position at Shelbyville, and that we must expect him at Tullahoma, only twelve miles distant. It was therefore necessary to close up our column on Manchester, distribute our rations, and prepare for the contest.

While this was progressing, I determined to cut, if possible, the railroad in Bragg's rear. Wilder's brigade was sent to burn Elk River bridge and destroy the railroad between Decherd and Cowan, and Brigadier-General John Beatty, with a brigade of infantry, to Hillsboro, to cover and support his movements.

General Sheridan's division came in June twenty-eighth, and all McCook's corps arrived before the night of the twenty-ninth, troops and animals much jaded.

The terrible rains and desperate roads so delayed Crittenden, who on the twenty-sixth got orders to march to Manchester with all speed, that it was not until the twenty-ninth that his last division arrived, badly worn. The column being now closed up, and having divisions of the Fourteenth and Twentieth corps at Crumpton's Creek, orders were given for the Fourteenth corps to occupy the centre at Concord Church and Bobo Cross-Roads, with a division in reserve.

The Twentieth corps to take the right on Crumpton's Creek, two divisions in echelon retired, one in reserve. The Twenty-first corps to come up on the left, near Hall's Chapel, one division front and one division in reserve.

It rained almost incessantly during the thirtieth, but the troops, by dint of labor and perseverance, had dragged their artillery and themselves through the mud into position. It is a singular characteristic of the soil on the “barrens,” that it becomes so soft and spongy that wagons cut into it as if it were a swamp, and even horses cannot pass over it without similar results. The terrible effect of the rains on the passage of our troops may be inferred from the single fact that General Crittenden required four days of incessant labor to advance the distance of twenty-one miles.

While the troops were thus moving into position, General Thomas sent Steadman's brigade of Brannan's division,two regiments of Reynolds's division, and two regiments of Negley's division, on separate roads, to reconnoitre the enemy's position, while General Sheridan sent Bradley's brigade of his own division on another for the same purpose. These reconnoissances all returned and reported having found the enemy in force on all roads except the one leading to Estill Springs. Scouts all confirmed this, with the fact that it was the general belief that Bragg would fight us in his intrenchments at Tullahoma.

Wilder returned from his expedition, reporting that he found the enemy at Elk Bridge, with a brigade of infantry and a battery, which prevented him from destroying that bridge; but he had damaged the road considerably at Decherd, where his appearance with his mountain howitzers created great consternation, and within three hours brought down some heavy trains of infantry.

Meanwhile we had information that Stanley's cavalry, supported by Major-General Granger's infantry, and acting under his general directions, had attacked the enemy's cavalry and artillery at Guy's Gap, on the Murfreesboro and Shel byville pike, and driven them from stand to stand, killing, wounding, and capturing as they went, until the enemy reached their intrenchments, from which they were soon driven by flanking and a direct charge, wherein the cavalry captured three pieces of artillery, some with loads in, but not rammed down.

From their intrenchments the rebels fled to town, when they made another stand, but in vain. Our cavalry came down with resistless sweep, and drove them in confusion into the river. Many were killed and drowned, and Shelbyville, with a large number of prisoners, a quantity of arms and commissary stores, were the crowning results of the cavalry operations that day. It was worthy of note that the waving of flags and cheers of welcome from the inhabitants of this unconquerable stronghold of loyalty, doubtless added vigor and energy to the advance of our troops. The reports from this cavalry battle showed also the enemy's withdrawal on Tullahoma, and the general expectation that he would fight there.

June thirtieth, orders having been given to General Morton to ascertain the practicability of moving by column in mass in line of battle from our position, to gain the rear of the rebel position at Tullahoma, and who reported favorably thereon, preparations were completed, and Crittenden's Second division was moved into position.

July first, I received a despatch from General Thomas that the enemy had retreated from Tullahoma during the night.

Brannan's, Negley's, and Sheridan's divisions; entered Tullahoma, where the infantry arrived about noon. Negley's and Rousseau's divisions pushed on by Spring Creek, and overtook the rear-guard of the enemy late in the afternoon, at Bethpage Bridge, two miles above the railroad crossing, where they had a sharp skirmish with the rebels occupying the heights, south side the river, and commanding the bridge by artillery, which they had placed behind epaulements.

July second, having brought forward the ammunition, McCook with two divisions pursued on the roads west of the railroad. Arriving at Rock Creek ford, General Sheridan found Elk so swollen as to be barely fordable for cavalry, and

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