Take it in all its features, few more disgraceful examples of neglect of duty and lack of good conduct can be found in the history of wars. It fully merits the extreme penalty which the law provides for such misconduct. The force was more than sufficient to repel the attack effectually. The mortification which the army will feel at the result is poorly compensated by the exertion made by some, perhaps many of the officers, to retrieve the disgrace of the surprise. The action fit to be adopted with reference to those who are blamable, especially the officers highest in command, cannot be determined without further investigation. In contrast to this shameful affair, the General commanding takes pleasure in making honorable mention of the conduct of a detachment of twenty-two men of companies I and H, Tenth Wisconsin regiment, under the command of Sergeants W. Nelson and A. H. Makisson. The detachment was on duty guarding a bridge east of Huntsville, when it was attacked, on the twenty-eighth of April, by a force of some two or three hundred cavalry, which it fought for two hours, and repulsed in the most signal manner. Such is the conduct that duty and honor demand of every soldier; and this example is worthy of imitation by higher officers and larger commands. By command of Major-General Buell.
James B. Fry, Colonel and Chief of Staff.
Account by a participant.
Nashville, July 25, 1862.For some days previous to the engagement, our scouts had been scouring the country, and so effectual had their labors proved that they had filled Murfreesboro jail with rebel prisoners. Many of these prisoners had violated their oaths, and expiate their crime on the gallows. In view of this appalling fact, their sympathizing neighbors exhausted every scheme to effect their escape. They improved every favorable opportunity to carry intelligence to the enemy, and implore him to rescue their relatives from their justly merited fate. For a whole week previous to the fight, our officers had received daily news of the intentions of the enemy and his proximity to our camp, but they scorned the source from whence it came, and settled themselves down under the conviction that these were negro fables entirely unworthy of their attention. Since the departure of Duffield, the brigade has been under the command of Colonel Leicester, who had separated the regiments, in consequence of a jealous feeling which had sprung up between them, and located them three miles apart. This piece of generalship, in connection with the policy of our Provost-Marshal, who, in common with many other patriots, believed that the most effectual way to bring a rebel back to loyalty was to pet him, undoubtedly caused our disaster. The Provost-Marshal, with a view to serve his country in the best possible manner, freely lavished his passes upon every rebel applicant, thereby giving the enemy knowledge of our exact location and strength, and enabling him to strike successfully at us when we were illy prepared to receive the blow. On the evening of the twelfth, a negro came into camp with the startling intelligence that he had discovered three thousand cavalry, encamped on the Woodbury pike, about six miles from Murfreesboro. This important information was received like all other negro news, and our officers rested the safety of the regiment on the diligence of the pickets, and turned into their beds with a full belief that all would be well; but morning came, and ere Morpheus had yielded up his sleepy victims, the clatter of horses' hoofs and the sharp crack of the enemy's rifles fell fearfully upon their ears. The enemy managed to capture the pickets before they could give the alarm, and marched noiselessly into the town. We had no knowledge of their approach until they charged through our camp with irresistible fury, and hurled their death-shots into our slumbering tents. At this moment Colonel Duffield sprang into the centre of the combat, and received two wounds, in a vain endeavor to rally the men. Crittenden was captured in his bed, and Parkhurst succeeded in partly forming the men into a hollow square after fifty of our number had been killed or wounded. The rebels having emptied their guns, fell back to reload; this gave us a chance to load our guns and fix bayonets. When they made the second charge we were better prepared to meet them, and hurled such a volley of bullets into their advancing columns that they were forced to retire; but they soon rallied again, and with overwhelming numbers drove us from our position. Captain De Land then threw out his company as skirmishers, and did fearful execution. From this moment the men sought shelter behind the trees and fought on their own hooks; but it was madness to contend against such odds. Oh! how we longed for the arrival of the Minnesota Third; but it never made its appearance. The continued firing at the Court-House plainly indicated that the rebels had met a more formidable resistance in that quarter. It appears our boys had secured themselves in the Court-House and were dealing death-blows on every side, from the windows; but their triumph was of short duration, for the rebels set fire to the house and threatened to roast them alive if they did not surrender. This circumstance compelled them to yield; but they had the satisfaction of knowing that they had laid sixty rebels dead in the streets previous to giving up their arms. The battle continued feebly in various parts of the town until eleven o'clock A. M., when parkhurst surrendered his regiment and sent Colonel Leicester a despatch requesting him to use every possible exertion to hold his position, and if he should fail to do so to fight his way to Nashville. The enemy then divided forces, sending one part to succor those engaged with the Minnesota Third, while the other busied themselves in destroying the Federal property. They destroyed all of our camp equipage and clothing, set fire to the depot, packed our men into our wagons, and sent them