previous next

[442]

The rebels at first opened a brisk fire from two batteries in front of the position occupied by our troops. After an hour's cannonading, Colonel Coburn brought up the Thirty-third and Eighty-fifth, and ordered a charge upon the station, where the rebels were concealed, in and around the houses. They succeeded in driving them from the station. He then ordered them to take the battery in front. The men moved on in good order. To the right of this battery was a stone wall fence, where the rebels were posted in large numbers; from behind this fence, they poured in a galling and destructive fire, causing our men to fall back, but they re-formed at the crest of the hill, and resisted successfully the charge of two brigades. Colonel Coburn then brought over the Nineteenth Michigan, and twice again did these three regiments drive back the enemy in greatly superior force. Another force of the enemy now came around the left flank, and drove the Twenty-second Wisconsin from the hill; the battery having been withdrawn for want of ammunition. Colonel Coburn then attempted to withdraw his forces, but the enemy closing in upon the right, as well as left, and ammunition having given out with his infantry, he was forced to surrender.

The artillery without any loss, Lieut.-Colonel Bloodgood and two hundred and fifty men, the entire cavalry force, and some stragglers, all made good their escape. The Surgeon of the Thirty-third and Dr. Hobbs of the Eighty-fifth Indiana, succeeded through much danger in getting off sixty of the wounded.

On the sixth a corps of surgeons, escort, and flag of truce were sent out to look after the dead and wounded. The flag was received at the out-post at noon, kept waiting until dark, and then ordered by Van Dorn to retire, with the information that the dead were buried, the wounded cared for, and they needed no medical aid.

Colonel Coburn and the other field-officers are unhurt, and but few of the line-officers were wounded.

Our loss was one hundred killed, three hundred wounded, and about one thousand two hundred prisoners.

The rebels admit a loss of one hundred and fifty killed and four hundred and fifty wounded.

The rebels acknowledge their force to have been thirty thousand, comprising sixteen brigades. From this we may infer that our men fought gallantly.

Yours, etc.,



Lieutenant-Colonel Bloodgood's letter.

camp at Franklin, Tenn., March 5.
my dear brother: Long before you receive this, you will probably hear of our disastrous battle. So far as learned this evening, the Major and myself, of this regiment, are the only field-officers escaped from the field of battle, neither of us receiving even a scratch. We left the day before yesterday on a reconnoissance. There were five regiments of infantry, six pieces of artillery, and a regiment of cavalry. After proceeding but a few miles the first day, we met a small body of the rebels and drove them. They had but one piece of artillery. During the day we gained information that there were larger forces back to support them. Colonel Coburn, commanding the brigade, notified General Gilbert of the fact, he having command of the forces at Franklin. The answer in reply was to move on. It seems that General Rosecrans was to send a force from Murfreesboro, to meet us at a certain point some twelve miles from Franklin. We had not gone further than about four miles from this place, when we first met the enemy, making our camp a little beyond where we had the skirmish.

During several conversations with our officers that evening, and also with Colonel Coburn the day before, I remarked that it looked as if the rebels were leading us on into a trap, for small bodies would stop and give us a little skirmish, and then retreat. This morning we struck tents early, and moved on to the front, the enemy gradually retreating. Our cavalry were deployed to the right and left as skirmishers, dismounted; their horses were led in the rear; an advance-guard of cavalry on the pike, with two pieces of artillery; then our regiment; three pieces of artillery in the rear of us; and then followed the rest of the infantry. About noon I was riding some distance in advance of our regiment, just in the rear of the cavalry, when a shot from the enemy's battery struck in the pike, among the cavalry, causing quite a scattering, but I believe doing no damage. I immediately returned to my regiment. Three pieces of artillery were immediately planted upon a hill to the left of the pike, and opened upon the enemy. Our regiment and the Nineteenth Michigan moved up in line of battle on the slope to support them. Two pieces were placed upon the right, the Eighty-first and Thirty-third Indiana to support them.

Our batteries then opened upon the enemy. We were answered by treble our number; the hills on three sides of us seemed to be alive with them. We were protected in front from their batteries, but they had good range on us from the flank. The shell and round shot came thick around us; our two regiments had to keep moving to get out of range, and how we escaped being cut to pieces at that time is wonderful. Several balls passed just over my head, and others struck the ground only a short distance from me. Not expecting to meet so large a force of the enemy, our battery had not sufficient ammunition, and soon gave out, as the day before we had used six hundred rounds to a cannon. Then the enemy advanced upon us, hemming us in a half-circle. They had five regiments to our one. Our men fought well; no men could fight better. Our whole brigade was driven down in a hollow, the enemy closing in around us. It is most wonderful that I escaped so, for the balls pelted about me like hail. My horse plunged and reared, and fairly groaned with fear. In the confusion we could get no orders; each regiment had to look out for themselves. I was at the right of our regiment; the Colonel was in the centre. I was notified by several mounted officers that a


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Murfreesboro (Tennessee, United States) (1)
Franklin (Tennessee, United States) (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John Coburn (6)
E. Bloodgood (2)
William S. Rosecrans (1)
John McCrea (1)
Hobbs (1)
C. C. Gilbert (1)
John Franklin (1)
Daniel Dorn (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
March 5th (1)
6th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: