way, to Richmond, Ky.
; thence falling back to rejoin Smith
, who had not yet come up.
The Cumberland Mountains
are a broad range of table-land, some 2,000 feet in average height, descending sharply to the upper waters of the Tennessee
on either hand, and pierced by a single considerable pass — the Cumberland Gap
— which had been for some time quietly held by a Union force under Gen. Geo. W. Morgan
; who, on learning that he had thus been flanked, blew up his works and commenced1
a precipitate race for the Ohio
, which he in due time reached, having been constantly harassed, for most of the way, by John Morgan
with 700 Rebel cavalry.
Moving rapidly northward, Smith
found himself confronted2
at Richmond, Ky.
, by a green Union force, nearly equal in numbers to his own, under command of Brig.-Gen. M. D. Manson
, who immediately pushed forward to engage him, taking position on a range of hills, a mile or two south of the town, which was otherwise indefensible.
Here he had a smart skirmish with the Rebel
advance, and drove it back; which prompted him to quit his strong position for one still farther advanced, at Rogersville
, where his men slept on their arms that night.
Next morning, he advanced half a mile farther, and here engaged Smith
's entire command, with no chance of success.
His force was quite equal in numbers and in guns to Smith
's, but in nothing else.
He attempted to flank the Rebel
right, but was defeated with loss by Col. Preston Smith
's brigade; when his right was successfully turned by the Rebel
left, Gen. T. J. Churchill
, and routed in a daring charge; whereupon our whole line gave way and retreated.
The Rebel Gen. Pat. Cleburne
, afterward so distinguished, was here badly wounded in the face, and succeeded in his command by Col. Smith
, with the 95th Ohio, had reached the field just before, and shared in this defeat; but he had three more regiments coming up as our line gave way. Using two of these as a rear-guard, Manson
attempted to halt and reform just beyond Rogersville
; but soon saw that this would not answer, and again retired to the position wherefrom he had commenced the fight the evening before, and which he ought not to have left.
Here, at 12 1/2 P. M., he received, just as the battle was recommencing, an order from Gen. Nelson
, who was coming up, to retreat on Lancaster
, if menaced by the enemy in force — an order which came entirely too late: the exultant Rebels being close upon him, and opening fire along their whole line within five minutes afterward.
The fight beyond Rogersville
had been maintained through three hours; here an hour sufficed to end it. Again our right was charged and routed, compelling a general retreat; and again — having been driven back to his camp — Manson
was trying to reform and make head, when, Gen. Nelson
having reached the ground, the command was turned over to him, and another stand made near the town and cemetery, which was converted into a total rout in less than half an hour; Gen. Nelson
being here wounded, as Cols. Link