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[687] Franklin, attempting to defend the crossing of Harpeth river; but Johnson's division, which had been sent down the Hillsboroa pike, now came up from the south and struck the enemy's rear, forcing him to decamp; leaving 1,800 of his wounded and 200 of ours in hospital here to fall into Wilson's hands.

Four miles south of Franklin, another stand was made by the enemy's rear-guard; but Wilson ordered his body-guard (4th regular cavalry) to charge through their center, while Knipe and Hatch pressed their flanks; and again they were routed and scattered, losing more guns. Night now closed in, and enabled most of the fugitives to escape.

The pursuit was kept up for several days; but rain fell almost incessantly; the country was flooded; the brooks were raging rivers; the fleeing enemy of course burned the bridges after crossing them; Thomas's pontoon train was away with Sherman; and the roads were hardly passable in the rear of the fleeing foe. Thus the Harpeth, Rutherford's creek, and Duck river, were crossed; the weather at length changing from dreary, pelting rain to bitter cold; Forrest — who had been absent on a raid when our army pushed out from the defenses of Nashville-rejoining Hood at Columbia, and forming a rear-guard of 4,000 infantry under Walthall, and all his cavalry that was still effective. With this, after leaving Pulaski,1 he turned sharply on our leading brigade of cavalry (Harrison's) and captured a gun, which was carried off, though the ground on which it was lost was almost instantly recovered. The pursuit was continued to Lexington,2 Ala.; when, learning that Hood had got across the Tennessee at Bainbridge, Thomas ordered a halt; Gen. Steedman having already been sent from Franklin across to Murfreesboroa, and thence by rail to Stevenson, where was Gen. Granger, with the former garrisons of Huntsville, Athens (Ala.), and Decatur, with directions to reoccupy our former posts in north Alabama, then cross the Tennessee and threaten the enemy's railroad communications. He reached Decatur on the 27th; only to learn that Hood was already so far advanced that operations south of the Tennessee would be useless.

Rear-Admiral S. P. Lee had been requested by Thomas to send all the gunboats he could spare up the Tennessee to head off Hood; and had done so; but, though he reached Chickasaw, Miss., on the 24th, destroying there a Rebel battery, and capturing 2 guns at Florence, he did not intercept Hood.

While Hood invested Nashville, he sent 800 cavalry, with 2 guns, under Brig.-Gen. Lyon, by our right across the Cumberland to break up the Louisville railroad in Thomas's rear. Lyon was manifestly too weak to effect any thing of importance. He took Hopkinsville, Ky., and was soon afterward attacked, near Greensburg, by Lagrange's brigade, and worsted; losing one of his guns and some prisoners; hurrying thence, sharply pursued, by Elizabethtown and Glasgow to Burkesville, where he recrossed the Cumberland, and raced southward by McMinnville and Winchester, Tenn., to Larkinsville, Alabama; thence moving east and attacking3

1 Dec. 25.

2 Dec. 28.

3 Jan. 10, 1865.

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