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[137] Kentucky, and marched to their camp called Camp Madison, one mile beyond Green River. The business of this division is transacted very secretly, and consequently thoroughly. We did not receive orders to start until until about nine o'clock the preceding evening, and being required to strike tents at five, we had a busy night. The roads were in splendid order, except near the creek and Green River, where they were very bad. Though we marched but ten miles, we were all tired enough when night arrived, as we had lain idle so long. The next night our regiment went on picket. On returning, we found ourselves ordered to march at four the next morning. The bridge at Green River had been repaired, so that we could cross by rail or wagon. We were delayed there a long time, the crossing being a tedious operation.

Thursday morning, our division — infantry, cavalry, and artillery — left Camp Madison for Bowling Green, forty-two miles distant. We made twenty miles the first day, reaching a spot one and a half miles beyond Bell's Tavern on Glasgow Junction. The railroad appears to be a little injured. All the railroad buildings were destroyed. Some were smoking when we passed. The roads the first day were in splendid order, but much obstructed by trees, which were, however, speedily removed by two companies of mechanics and engineers, who swung their axes with a will, and we were never stopped over fifteen minutes by them. The ponds along the road were filled with dead horses and cattle, as long as any cattle were to be found to fill them. We rested at noon at Cave City, which was very nearly destroyed. On the second day, we started for Bowling Green. The next morning was cold, with about an inch and a half of snow; but we were up betimes and on our way, the Nineteenth Illinois ahead as usual, with her blue flag waving triumphantly. Our road was obstructed, and was filled with signs of the rapid retreat of Hindman's forces.

We pushed on vigorously, and made the miles rapidly disappear. Hearing repeatedly that the railroad bridge was destroyed, and that the confederates would now stand this side of the river, Col. Turchin ordered the cavalry and one battery ahead. The ranks opened to the right and left, and Capt. Loomis's battery dashed by in fine style, and reached Bowling Green about ten o'clock. We heard the cannon roar, and then we hurried on and reached the banks of the river opposite Bowling Green about two o'clock, I think, thus making the forty-two miles in about thirty-seven hours. After the firing commenced, we seized every team along the road, and had the boys' knapsacks drawn by horses the rest of the way, much to the relief of our tired shoulders. Gen. Turchin fired the first shell into the town, and immediately three regiments were seen scampering on to the cars, and putting off with what they had.

But though within a mile of Bowling Green, we were powerless to interfere, for there was Barren River, wide and unfordable, between us, and both bridges destroyed. The Texas Rangers soon began to fire all the public buildings, and we were powerless to prevent it. Some fifty of us got ready, under Capt. Scott, to cross in a little skiff by parties, and try to drive out the few who remained to perform this work, but the General would not allow it. We then pitched our tents, and prepared to wait until a bridge could be erected. When snugly tucked in our blankets, the assembly beat to arms, and after much scolding — for we were very tired and foot-sore — the brigade was in ranks. We expected to march to town, but were put on the back track some three miles. We left the main road, and soon came to the river, where we built fires and rested as well as possible. Here the repairs of an old wherry were completed, and we crossed the river, protected by artillery. There was a slight snow falling, and very uncomfortably cold it was. We had a tedious time crossing. The Nineteenth and Twenty-fourth, Hecker's Illinois, crossed first. We pushed on slowly to within a mile or two of the town, where we halted, waiting for the rest. But the boys, getting almost frozen, declared that they had rather be shot than frozen, and we then pushed on, seeing no enemy, but rather fearing a ruse, and that they would return upon us in large force. But no enemy appeared, and we were soon surrounding the fires, some of which had been burning for several days. All the public buildings, and several warehouses filled with pork, beef, coffee, etc., are destroyed. A pile of grain, thirty feet by twenty, was burning when we arrived. Four engines and several cars were also burnt. This was their depot, and the cars had been carrying away provisions for a week. Still, immense quantities were destroyed — boxes of guns, large numbers of Bowie-knives roughly fashioned of iron, and every conceivable kind of shooting apparatus, and all sorts of hardware for cooking and other uses, in immense quantities. I learn that we were not expected for a week, and we took them by surprise. Our artillery made such quick time, that they received their first news of our approach in the shape of a cannonball, which struck the building in which Hardee was, and caused him to make double-quick time out of town. We anticipated, for the first twenty-four hours, an attack from the confederate forces, as we had but only four regiments and some cavalry; but we have the town safe and fast now.

The citizens seem to be out of heart, and do nothing. No alarm was given at a fire last night, arid you would not have known, in the back part of the town, that there was any fire. Bowling Green had a population of about two thousand five hundred. There are now about one thousand inhabitants.


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