previous next

[518] march was resumed, when the Second brigade was reenforced by the First, and Wilder's mounted infantry, as I said, commanded by Colonel Miller, and it was whispered that General Crook had received orders to “pursue, overtake, and annihilate,” which sounded very grand. In descending the ridge into Sequatchie Valley, the advance ran on a rebel picket, which fired a volley and disappeared.

I learned from citizens in the valley that the rebel column had divided four miles above where we were, (Pitt's Cross-roads,) a portion going down the main valley road, and the main column through Piketown, and on the mountain toward McMinnville. While feeding our horses at the cross-roads, we heard what we thought was artillery, and hoped that General Mitchell with the First division had met and attacked the column below. Unfortunately, the First division arrived only in time to see the dying embers of a large supply and ammunition train, which the enemy had captured and burned. The explosion of shells in the burning train sounded like artillery. We camped that night on the mountain — a spur of the Cumberland — on a road running parallel with and between two roads, on which the divided column of the enemy was moving. Our advance camp, the Second brigade, was within two and a half miles of the main rebel, camp, yet there was no collision — even of pickets.

A march of twenty miles next day, October third, without once halting, during which a battalion of the Fourth Ohio rejoined the brigade, brought the advance to the Gap in the western slope, where they met with stubborn resistance; but the First brigade forced a passage down the mountain. The rear of the column descended after night, and the fires of a large rebel camp were visible. Once down, Minty had to fight for forage and water. We were in a small space without either. This could not long remain so; the command must have water, and the animals forage. Wilder's invincible brigade went to Minty's assistance, and after half an hour's sharp musketry firing, we got what we wanted. I never heard the losses in this fight, but I saw, perhaps, half a dozen dead rebels in the road, and suppose their wounded were in proportion.

Citizens reported that the two columns had concentrated that day; that. they were going to Murfreesboro with ten thousand men, and twenty-four pieces of artillery, occupy our fortifications, and effectually cut the communications of our army. Magnificent programme!

On the morning of October fourth, Colonel Miller moved out in advance toward McMinnville, twelve miles distant. As we approached the town, citizens told us that the garrison had surrendered on demand, been paroled, and were free again. Ascending the hill near the town, the column started into a gallop, and we pursued through the town at that gait. The streets were alive with citizens, and the square full of men in the Federal uniform — officers and privates. Ladies waved their handkerchiefs as we passed, but I presume they were officers' wives from the North, as in our former occupation of that town no lady lived there but carried in her heart the festering canker of secession. Arrived at the far side of the town, on the Murfreesboro road, Lieutenant Patton, A. A. G., rode back to Colonel Long, with orders for him to move immediately to the front, passing Wilder's brigade. The Second Kentucky cavalry was the advance regiment of the brigade, and Long ordered Colonel Nicholas to follow.

I heard General Crook give the order: “Colonel long,” said he, “I desire you to take a good regiment and charge with the sabre; there are only about forty of the rear-guard in front.” The regiment moved slowly forward. Long and Nicholas at the head, till having crossed a deep ravine they halted, permitting the regiment to close up in column of fours, commanded--“Draw sabre, forward, gallop!” On they went for a mile, when a single shot fired by a rebel vidette warned them that the enemy was near, and the command “Charge!” was given.

The loud yelling of the troopers, rattling of scabbards, and tramp of charging horses together, give an insight into the unearthly sounds of Pandemonium. In a hundred yards or so, a rebel battalion, commanded by Captain White, Eighth Texas Rangers, is drawn up in line, fire a volley, and break in confusion. They would deserve credit never yet earned if they could stand. Once their backs are turned, it is impossible to rally them. One after another they are captured, excepting a few of them who rush excitably back to their regiment, a mile away, and communicate their panic as they go. The Second dash onward; the regiment of rangers are ready; but with the regiment, as with the battalion, they cannot withstand the approaching cloud of demons, yelling and flourishing their sabres. They fire, break, are terror-stricken, and think only of safety from the tornado, and that safety is in flight. For five miles the charge continued, and knowing that the main body of the enemy could be only a short distance away, a halt and the rally were ordered.

Lieutenant Hosmer, company A, wounded in two places, and is thought fatally. His horse was shot in four places. Sergeant W. E. Harris, same company, had his thigh broken. Five or six others of the Second were slightly wounded. Colonel Long's horse was killed under him.

This did not end the day's fighting, however. Colonel Miller again moved his command forward. A mile further on, Harrison's rebel brigade was in readiness in a woods, with a large field between Miller and him. Miller's brigade dismounted, formed in line in the field, his battery on a knoll in the centre, and moved forward to the wood. The battery opened, and when the line reached the wood heavy firing began. Long formed his brigade on Miller's left, but did not get under fire. The line steadily advanced, till the firing ceased two miles beyond. The enemy had retreated, and night set in. We went into camp along the road, and the wounded were brought back to town.

Here, for the first time, our brave fellows got

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
A. O. Miller (6)
Coloner Wilder (3)
Nicholas (2)
Robert H. G. Minty (2)
Eli Long (2)
George Crook (2)
J. W. White (1)
James G. Patton (1)
John G. Mitchell (1)
Hosmer (1)
James Harrison (1)
W. E. Harris (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
October 4th (1)
October 3rd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: