the rebel cavalry on the south bank to resist a crossing, but he soon drove them away and occupied the ford. General Thomas found equal difficulties in crossing, for the enemy during the night burned the bridge and retired before morning. General Turchin, with a small brigade of cavalry, had pushed forward from Hillsboro, on the Decherd road, and found the enemy's cavalry at the fords of Elk, near Morris Ferry; engaged them coming up, and, reenforced by the arrival of General Mitchell, they forced the passage of the river after a sharp conflict. Night closed the pursuit. July third, General Sheridan succeeded in crossing Elk River, and, supported by General J. C. Davis's division, pursued the enemy to Cowan, where he. learned the enemy had crossed the mountains with his artillery and infantry by University and Sweden's Cove, and that the cavalry only would be found covering their rear. General Thomas got over his troops the same day, Negley's division moving on the Brakefield Point road toward the University. Sheridan sent some cavalry from his position, and Stanley some from the main column, now in pursuit, but they only developed the fact that the enemy was gone, and as our troops were out of provisions, and the roads worn well-nigh impracticable from rain and travel, they were obliged to halt till their supplies could be brought forward from Murfreesboro, to which point the wagons had been sent for that purpose. Thus ended a nine days campaign, which drove the enemy from two fortified positions, and gave us possession of Middle Tennessee, conducted in one of the most extraordinary rains ever known in Tennessee at that period of the year, over a soil that becomes almost a quicksand. Our operations were retarded thirty-six hours at Hoover's Gap, and sixty hours at and in front of Manchester, which alone prevented us from getting possession of his communications, and forcing the enemy to a very disastrous battle. These results were far more successful than was anticipated, and could only have been obtained by a surprise as to the direction and force of our movement. For the details of the action at Liberty Gap, Hoover's Gap, Shelbyville, and Rover, I beg to refer to the reports of Major-Generals Thomas, McCook, and Stanley, and the accompanying sub-reports.1 Bearing testimony to the spirit and gallantry of all, both officers and men, I must refer to the reports of the several commanders for the details thereof. I am especially proud of and gratified for the loyal support and soldierly devotion of the corps and division commanders, all the more touching to me as the movement was one which they regarded with some doubt, if not distrust. It affords me pleasure to return my thanks to Major-General Granger and Major-General Stanley, commanding the cavalry, for their operations on our right, resulting in the capture of Shelbyville; and to General Granger for subsequently despatching our supplies when they were so pressingly needed. Coloner Wilder and his brigade deserve a special mention for long-continued exertions, enterprise, and efficiency in these operations. Colonel Wilder ought to be made a brigadier-general. Colonel Minty, who commanded the advance on Shelbyville, for gallantry on that and many other occasions, merits the like promotion. The management of the medical department was worthy of all praise. I cannot forbear to make special mention of the energy, ability, foresight, and devotion to duty of Dr. Perin. His superior in these qualities has not fallen under my observation. All my staff merited my warm approbation for ability, zeal, and devotion to duty, but I am sure they will not consider it invidious if I especially mention Brigadier-General Garfield, ever active, prudent, and sagacious. I feel much indebted to him for both counsel and assistance in the administration of this army. He possesses the instincts and energy of a great commander. The reports of the corps commanders herewith show our total loss during these operations was:
We captured----stand small arms, eight field-pieces, six caissons, three limbers, three rifled siege-pieces without carriages, besides arms destroyed by the cavalry.
Quartermasters' stores: eighty-nine tents, eighty-nine flies, three thousand five hundred sacks corn and corn-meal.
The total number of prisoners taken, as will be seen by the accompanying report of the Provost-Marshal General, Major Wiles, is fifty-nine commissioned officers, and one thousand five hundred and seventy-five non-commissioned officers and privates.
Before closing this report, I call the attention of the General-in-Chief and the War Department to the merits and ability of Captain W. E. Merrill, the engineer, whose successful collection and embodiment of topographical information, rapidly printed by Captain Morgadanti's quick process, and distributed to corps and division commanders, has already contributed very greatly to the ease and success of our movements over a country of difficult and hitherto unknown topography.
I sincerely trust the War Depart ment will show its appreciation of the merits and services of this promising young officer, who fortified the frontiers of Western Virginia, lingered in a rebel prison for six months, was wounded at Yorktown, and who put in order and a state of defence the Kentucky Railroad, injured by Bragg and Kirby Smith.
|Non-Commissioned officers and privates,||71||436||13|