previous next
[410] other execution he might. He failed in this — the bridge being too strongly held — but damaged the railroad a little, and thoroughly alarmed the enemy; so that, on a renewal of Rosecrans's maneuvers to flank Tullahoma as he had flanked Shelbyville, Bragg decamped,1 and three divisions of our infantry entered it at noon next day.

Gens. Sheridan, Thomas, and Turchin, severally struck the Rebel rearguard on Elk river the day after; but found that stream so swollen by the incessant rains as to be scarcely fordable. When they did cross,2 the enemy had wholly disappeared, and were beyond the reach of present pursuit.

Thus, in nine days, Rosecrans had, without a serious engagement, cleared Middle Tennessee of the Rebel army, at a cost of barely 560 men; disabling at least as many, and taking 1,634 prisoners, 3 guns, and much other spoil. And only the celerity of Bragg's flight, with the lack of suspicion on our side that he would abandon the State and his strong positions without a struggle, saved him from still greater disasters.

Bragg, having obtained a fair start, by running while Rosecrans was intent on fighting, and having the use of a railroad whereon to transport his heavy guns and supplies, destroying it behind him, easily made good his flight over the Cumberland mountains and the Tennessee; crossing the latter at and near Bridgeport, where he destroyed the railroad bridge behind him. Roscerans was expected at Washington to follow him up sharply: but how could he? His army must live; and it could by no means subsist on what was left it by Bragg's devouring host in that rugged, sterile region; while the wagoning of food, much more of forage, over the steep, often waterless mountains that abound there, was utterly impracticable. While, therefore, his light troops followed the flying enemy to the river, and his advanced posts stretched from Stevenson on the right to Pelham on the left, the General kept his main body behind the Cumberland mountains, on a line from Winchester to McMinnville, while his engineers repaired the railroad down to Stevenson; when the East Tennessee road was in like manner repaired thence to Bridgeport,3 and Sheridan's division of McCook's corps thrown forward to hold it. Even by the help of such a railroad line, Rosecrans felt that forage could not be had in that rugged, wooded, scantily grassed region, until the Indian corn was far enough matured to afford it. At length, having already accumulated considerable supplies at Stevenson, our army moved on:4 Thomas's corps following the general direction of the railroad to Stevenson and thence to Bridgeport; McCook's corps moving on its right, with Stanley's cavalry thrown far out on that flank; while Crittenden's corps, on our left, advanced in three columns, under Wood, Van Cleve, and Palmer, from Manchester and McMinnville, across the Sequatchie valley at different points, moved directly on Chattanooga, the remaining Rebel stronghold in Tennessee, the key of East Tennessee and of all practicable northern approaches to Georgia.

These movements were so thoroughly prepared and judiciously

1 Night of June 30.

2 July 3.

3 July 25.

4 Aug. 16.

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 People (automatically extracted)
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.
August 16th (1)
July 25th (1)
July 3rd (1)
June 30th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: