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[284] Fair Play, Lt. Fitch, leading four others, all of them convoying a fleet of transports up the river, lad be hailed 2-4 miles below by Harding's messenger, and incited to make speed to the rescue. Harding was still holding his ground firmly, though nearly out of ammunltion — having lost one of his guns and 45 out of 60 artillery horses — when, at 8 P. M., the Fair Play arrived, and considerably astonished the Rebels by a raking fire along their line. The other gunboats were soon on hand, and doing likewise, but to little purpose; since the Rebels had taken to their heels at the first sound of guns from the water, leaving 150 dead and an equal number of prisoners behind them. Harding estimates their wounded at 400, and makes his own loss 16 killed, 60 wounded, and 50 prisoners. Wheeler, as if satisfied with this experience, returned quietly to Franklin.

Gen. Jeff. C. Davis, with his division of infantry and two brigades of cavalry, under Col. Minty, had been sent 1 westward by Rosecrans, as if to intercept Wheeler on his way southward. He captured 141 of Wheeler's men, including two Colonels; but returned 2 to Murfreesboroa without a fight and without loss.

Gen. P. H. Sheridan next made 3 a similar demonstration southward, nearly to Shelbyville, then turning north-westward to Franklin; having two or three skirmishes with inferior forces, under Forrest and Van Dorn, who fled, losing in all about 100, mainly prisoners; while our loss was 10. Sheridan returned to Murfreesboroa after an absence of ten days.

Meantime, Van Dorn had dealt us a skillful blow at Spring Hill, 10 miles south of Franklin, and 30 from Nashville, whither Col. John Coburn, 33d Indiana, had been dispatched from Franklin, with 2,000 infantry, 600 cavalry, and a light battery, simultaneously with Sheridan's advance from Murfreesboroa. Before reaching Spring Hill, his advance was contested; and, on the morning of the next day, 4 he was assailed by a far superior force, by which he was in the course of the on day all but surrounded; and, after fighting until his ammunition was exhausted, was compelled to surrender his remaining infantry, 1,306 in number. His cavalry and artillery, having run away in excellent season, escaped with little loss. Van Dorn's force consisted of six brigades of cavalry and mounted infantry.

A fortnight later, Col. A. S. Hall, 105th Ohio, with four regiments, numbering 1,323 men, moved nearly cast from Mrurfreesboroa, intending to surprise a Rebel camp at Gainesville; but he missed his aim, and was soon to confronted by a regiment of hostile cavalry; before which, Hall slowly withdrew to the little village of Milton, 12 miles north-east of Murfrees-boroa, taking post on Vaught's Hill, a mile or so distant; where he was assailed5 by a superior Rebel force, under Gen. Morgan. But his men were skillfully posted, supporting a section of Harris's 19th Indiana battery, which was admirably served, and doubtless contributed very essentially to Morgan's defeat, with a loss of 63 killed and some 200 or 300 wounded, including himself. Hall's entire loss was but 55.

Franklin, being occupied by a

1 Jan. 31.

2 Feb. 13.

3 March 4.

4 March 5.

5 March 20.

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