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[116] near Wartrace; and after bivouacking for the night on the Fayetteville road, near Shelbyville, proceeded to Murfreesboro at daybreak on the fourth instant, by railway, with the Ninth Michigan infantry, halting at the cross-roads, and throwing out scouting parties in both directions. On reaching Murfreesboro, in the afternoon, I learned that the enemy, at noon, had crossed the railway ten miles north of this place, tearing up the track, and burning a quantity of cotton stored there, and that upon the arrival of the First Kentucky cavalry, Col. Wolford, from Nashville, Col. Lester had despatched that force in pursuit, together with the third battalion of Pennsylvania cavalry, Major Givan.

The Fourth Kentucky cavalry, Colonel Smith, having arrived with Gen. Dumont, and yourself from Shelbyville, and the third battalion of the Seventh Pennsylvania cavalry, with Col. Wynkoop from Nashville; both these forces were despatched for Lebanon, where, within eight miles from Murfreesboro, I met this force returning, under the impression that I had been cut off at Shelbyville and needed reinforcements. I directed this force to turn back and unite with the one recently from Murfreesboro, and pushed on all night for Lebanon; halted at one o'clock on the morning of the fifth instant, within four miles of that place, and rested until daybreak. The column was then put in motion, proceeded at the trot, drove in the pickets and charged into town. The enemy was completely surprised, and was only aware of our presence by the fire of his pickets, posted less than a mile from the village. His main force was quartered at the college buildings on the outskirts of the town, from which he endeavored to reach the livery stables in the village to saddle up and mount, but being overtaken by the head of our column, threw himself into the houses lining the road, and maintained a heavy and well-sustained fire from the windows upon each side of the street. He was, however, driven from house to house until he fled from the town in the wildest confusion.

I need not inform you of the personal daring and gallantry of our troops, exposed as they were to this murderous cross and flanking fire from a sheltered and concealed foe, yet still delivering their fire at the windows with great coolness and precision, falling back to load and again returning to the attack, as both Gen. Dumont and yourself were present and can speak from personal observation. During the time occupied in forcing the street, a large portion of the enemy rallied in the public square, but were repulsed by a vigorous charge, and retreated toward the north and east, our troops following in close pursuit, Gen. Dumont and yourself having followed, directing the pursuit, and being left in charge of the town, I directed Lieut.-Col. Parkhurst to search the village and collect the wounded with the small force which did not join in the pursuit. While so engaged, several scattering shots were fired upon us from the windows of the adjoining houses, and a sudden and most unexpected volley poured in from the windows of the Odd Fellows' Hall.

The attack was so unexpected that the troops fell back in great disorder, but were soon rallied in the public square. The Odd Fellows' Hall was a large brick building in the centre of the village, immediately opposite the stable occupied by a portion of the enemy's horses, and he had thrown himself into it, barricaded the lower windows and doors, and was firing from the second-story windows. Having no artillery with which to shell him out, I directed Capt. Essington, the officer in command of the troops remaining in the village, to dismount his men, and advancing under cover of the houses and stables on the other side of the street, to maintain a steady fire upon the windows, and when the enemy had been silenced, to demand an unconditional surrender, and in case of refusal to fire the building. This was done, and the enemy laid down his arms and surrendered unconditionally to Lieut.-Col. Parkhurst. His force consisted of fifty privates, ten non-commissioned officers, four lieutenants, a captain, and the field-officer in command, Lieut.-Col. Robert E. Wood, Jr., of Adams's cavalry — in all sixty-six--who were turned over to Gen. Dumont, on his return that afternoon.

I enclose you herewith the list of prisoners taken, and an inventory of the captured arms.

I remain, Captain, your obedient servant,

Wm. W. Duffield, Colonel Commanding Twenty-third Brigade. To Capt. T. P. M. Brayton, Assist. Adjt.-General, Nashville.

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