for his great venture.
At length, a dispatch from Sherman1
that the former had cut loose from his base and started southward from Atlanta
on his Great March ; and no sooner had the tidings reached Hood
, still at Florence, Ala.
, where he had a pontoon bridge, with part of his force on either side of the river, than the crossing of his remaining corps commenced;2
while his van, already over, moved through Waynesboroa and Lawrenceburg
's army was organized in three corps, under Maj.-Gen. B. F. Cheatham
, Lt.-Gens. A. P. Stewart
and S. D. Lee
, beside his strong cavalry corps under Forrest
Each corps was composed of three divisions: Maj.-Gens. Cleburne
, E. Johnson
, and Buford
, being the best known of their commanders.
had but five divisions of infantry at the front; but he had collected several more before the struggle was brought to a final issue.
, at Pulaski
, now fell back, by order, on Columbia
; where his corps was concentrated,4
as was most of Stanley
's; while Gen. Granger
withdrew the garrisons from Athens (Ala.)
, and Huntsville
, retiring on Stevenson
The force left at Johnsonville
now evacuated that post, withdrawing to Clarksville
When the enemy appeared before Columbia
, declining to assault, but evincing a purpose to cross Duck river
above or below, Gen. Schofield
across that stream; and on learning that the Rebels
had crossed six miles above, directed Gen. Stanley
to follow his trains to Spring Hill
; where he arrived just in time to save them from Forrest
's cavalry, which was close upon them, but which he drove off; being assailed, soon afterward, by a much stronger force, including infantry, with which he fought till dark; barely holding the road whereby Schofield
must make good his retreat.
, with Ruger
's division, had been kept awake all day by the enemy's efforts to cross Duck river
; repulsing, with heavy loss to them, their repeated attempts to do so. When night fell, he resumed his movement; brushing aside the Rebel
cavalry who infested the road, and finding at Spring Hill
the enemy bivouacking within half a mile of his line of retreat.
He did not choose to have any difficulty with them just then ; but pushed on with his entire command ; and, after fighting all day and marching 25 miles during the following night, he got into position at Franklin
early on the 30th.
His cavalry moving on the Lewisburg pike
, several miles eastward, had encountered no enemy.
Time being absolutely required to save our trains, which choked the road for many miles, Schofield
halted on the southern verge of the village, threw up a slight breastwork, and proposed to stop, while his train should be got over the Harpeth
and fairly on its way to Nashville
is situated in a bend of the Harpeth
, which here rudely describes the north and east sides of a square, which was completed by our lines of defense.
These were held