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Doc. 99.-expedition to Gallatin, Tenn.

Colonel Morgan's report.

Shelbyville, Tenn., March 19.
Major-Gen. W. J. Hardee, Commanding First Division:
sir: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of a portion of my command on the fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth inst. At about four o'clock P. M., on the fifteenth inst., with Col. Wood and a detachment of forty men, I left Murfreesboro for Gallatin, having learned that no Federal forces remained at that place. The chief objects of the expedition were to intercept the mail, to destroy the rollingstock on the road, to make prisoners, and to obtain information of interest to the service.

Our destination was kept secret, and the command having been sent from Murfreesboro in separate parties, by different roads, to unite at some distance from town, it was impossible that the enemy could be apprised of the movement until after the blow was struck. A citizen of Murfreesboro, whose zeal and loyalty is undoubted, made the necessary arrangements of runners to keep us perfectly posted as to any movements that might be made with the view to cutting us off.

Our first march, conducted mostly at night, carried us about two miles beyond Lebanon. Early next morning we continued the march, crossing the Cumberland at Canoe Branch Ferry, and reached Gallatin about four P. M. Leaving the command just outside the town; Lieut.-Col. Wood, of Wirt Adams's cavalry, myself and the men disguised as Federals, entered and took possession. The colonel, myself, and two men galloped to the depot, and secured the telegraph-operator, his instruments, books, etc. Among the papers found are several orders of Gen. Buell's, some in cipher, which please find enclosed.

We secured also, a few minutes after, as it came in, an engine and tender, carrying a number of carpenters to repair the road; they were made prisoners, but were released as we left the town. As soon as the citizens were made aware that we were confederate troops, facility was afforded us to carry out our plans. Upon securing the engine, we at once commenced to accumulate all the rolling-stock (a large quantity) on the main track, preparatory to burning. When this was complete the fire was applied, and in the course of an hour all except the engine was rendered permanently useless. That night, having picketed securely, we remained in Gallatin. The next morning we destroyed the water-tank, and taking the engine, the colonel and myself proceeded some miles up the road, with a view of discovering any approach of the enemy or the mail-train. In the mean time, a lieutenant and four privates of Grider's regiment, (Federals,) on their way to Nashville, were taken prisoners by our pickets. The mail-train being some hours behind time, and learning that our presence might have become known, we concluded to withdraw and return to Murfreesboro.

We were made acquainted, just before reaching [325] the town, that a body of Federal cavalry had ridden through the evening before, and that the enemy was in large force near by. We remained about twelve miles from town, long enough to ascertain their exact locality, and then passed safely through, within two miles of their infantry. We reached Shelbyville, about four o'clock P. M., to-day, the men and horses a good deal jaded. Yesterday several transports passed down the Cumberland, carrying the remnant of Gen. Thomas's division. As our party had not entirely crossed, we did not fire into them. From all we could learn, the enemy has commenced to move. A large body of cavalry was seen on the road to Columbia. It is believed that the enemy have sent a large force down the Tennessee by boats, and will also move in force across the country. It is reported in Nashville that they intend to end the campaign before June. The prisoners will be sent forward in the three o'clock train tomorrow.

Shortly after leaving Gallatin, we learned that a party of twenty of the enemy, in charge of three prisoners, were approaching Gallatin by the Scottsville road. It was determined to cut them off. Pushing the prisoners, with a guard, across the Cumberland, we returned to effect the capture. We had taken our position on the road so as to secure the capture of all, but, unfortunately, when within half a mile of them, they were warned of danger by a negro, and fled precipitately to the woods--Capt. Austin, in command of the party, making his escape on a horse cut from a buggy. It being too dark to follow, we remained, picketing the road until morning. No further opportunity offering, we resumed our march, and, after travelling about sixty miles, reached Murfreesboro about two o'clock next morning.

I have omitted to mention that before leaving Gallatin, the engine was destroyed, thus leaving but one on the road.

I have ascertained, beyond doubt, that Love, a man of my command, who was taken prisoner in the affair of the eighth inst., (since dead,) was shot by the enemy after being taken.

The whole country through which we passed turned out in masses to welcome us. I have never before witnessed such enthusiasm and feeling. Men, women, and children, never wearied in their efforts to minister to our wants. All expressed themselves gratified at the presence of Southern soldiers in their midst. A handsome flag was presented us by the ladies of Gallatin, and some accompanied us even to the ferry.

Upon our return a number of Col. Bates' regiment were enabled to accompany us.

Very respectfully yours,

John H. Morgan, Commanding.

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