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[457] had entered the limits of the latter village. Three hundred rebel cavalry entered the opposite side of the town just as Colonel Galbraith's command entered on the main road leading to Athens. A. fight ensued, which resulted in the killing of three of the enemy, the taking of fifty prisoners, and the precipitate retreat of the remainder. Among the prisoners taken is General Cheatham's quartermaster, who, detained by the charms of a bewitching young wife, to whom he had been married but a few short days, was spending a blissful honeymoon, besides collecting, for the use of the rebel army, all the horses and mules in the neighborhood. The fruits of his labors in the way of collecting animals were turned to good account. He was mercilessly torn from the arms of a loving wife, and, together with his booty, turned into Uncle Sam.

Colonel Galbraith reached Huntsville by way of Athens, with two hundred horses and mules, and nearly two hundred negroes.

There are numerous Union families at Huntsville, who were overjoyed at the coming of our troops, and who were untiring in their efforts to conduce to their comfort. Ripe fruits, green corn and vegetables, were found in abundance through the country contiguous to Huntsville, and on this most acceptable species of food the men fairly gormandized.

On the sixteenth, Colonel Long, with his brigade, was sent to Athens, to scour the country in search of bushwhackers, who had been reported as lurking through that region, and, if any advantages offered, to continue his researches and captures until prudence dictated a return.

On the seventeenth, Major Godley, with detachments of the Second and Fourth Michigan, was sent to the mountains near New-Market to rout out a guerrilla band supposed to be in that section of country. No enemy was found, and the force returned to camp with sixty horses and forty negroes.

During these few days and the thirteenth, the General's quarters at Huntsville fairly swarmed with applicants for protection, and citizens seeking the return of some favorite servant or captured property,

It was a thorough and trying test of the administrative capacity of the General and his faithful coadjutor, Major Sinclair. Many were the perplexing dilemmas from which it became necessary to escape without sacrificing the requirements of duty to those of a philanthropy that could not be fully subserved without disregarding in a measure the good of the service.

On Sunday, the nineteenth, the negroes were permitted to assemble in their churches as usual. The presence of the Federals gave an impetus to the influx of pious contrabands, and the churches were filled to overflowing. The object of the expedition appeared to the authorities a justification for the procedure, and, impelled by the prudential policy that possessed the Romans in their seizure of the Sabine women, it was decided to gobble this collection of male piety for the good of the service. Guards were placed around the buildings, and when the service closed, the “bucks” found themselves prisoners in the house of God. The furore that this action created among the citizens was even greater than that which followed among the negroes. Women, with faces ruddy with oppressive excitement, were lying about, regardless of calico, and accosting every officer they met for assistance. The excitement was growing in intensity, and business accumulating in an equal ratio. It was concluded best by the General, to avoid trouble and perplexity, to return to camp, and orders were issued for a departure on the following morning.

On the twentieth, the whole command moved out as far as Bell Factory.

On the following day, General Mitchell came to Fayetteville; Colonel Galbraith, with the First Middle Tennessee, was sent to Shelbyville to rid the country of bushwhackers, and to recruit; while the balance of the command moved on to Salem.

The expedition brought into camp, on the twenty-second, between five and six hundred negroes, and one thousand horses and mules.

It is common to represent that expeditions prove entire successes; but this brought along the evidence, and it is so patent that it is unnecessary to mention that flattering success attended it.


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