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Doc. 52.-Morgan's rebel raid.

Colonel Hoskins's report.

headquarters Post Lebanon, Ky., January 6, 1863.
Brigadier-General C. C. Gilbert, Commanding Tenth Division Army of the Cumberland.
General: I have the honor to submit the following report of operations before Lebanon, commencing on the twenty-sixth of December, 1862, at which time I was notified by Brig.-Gen. Boyle by telegram that the rebel Morgan was again in our State, and ending on the second of January, 1863, at which time the pursuit of him was abandoned by order of Brig.-Gen. Speed S. Fry three miles beyond Columbia. At the time I received notice of Morgan's invasion of the State and movements in the direction of Bardstown or Lebanon, I had under my command the Seventh Tennessee, consisting of two hundred and fifty-eight men; Twelfth Kentucky infantry, consisting of four hundred and twenty-five men; and Sixteenth Kentucky infantry, six hundred and fifty. I was informed by the Post-Quartermaster that he had at this post near three thousand head of loose stock, mules and horses, about three hundred wagons and stock for same, some two hundred thousand rations, a quantity of ammunition, and one thousand six hundred stand of small arms. I did not know how soon Morgan would be upon us, and having no fortifications, as an only means of defence I ordered all the wagons to be placed in corral. I also ordered guns to be distributed to all the convalescents capable of using them, as also to the teamsters whom I placed under competent commanders. I ordered an increase of our picket-guards and a thorough inspection of arms, ammunition, etc. Knowing that a force of some ten or eleven regiments were at Danville, I then telegraphed to Brig.-General Baird for reinforcements of infantry and a battery of artillery. In reply he notified me on the twenty-sixth December that he had ordered to my support a battery of Napoleon service. guns and (2) two regiments of infantry. From my observation I know of no place so vulnerable as Lebanon, lying as it were in a basin surrounded by commanding positions, as also with approaches from almost every direction, and I was therefore satisfied that a fight with equal numbers could not be successfully made within or very near the town, and I accordingly determined, should he move upon the place, to meet him from one to two miles from the depot. On the twenty-eighth I was notified by despatch from General Boyle that reenforcements from Danville, which I knew were within four or five miles of me, were recalled. During the day, cannonading was distinctly audible in the direction of Elizabethtown or the tunnel. I again urged upon Gen. Baird the necessity of sending forward reenforcements, and was by him notified that (2) two strong regiments of infantry had been ordered under command of Col. Henderson to join me, and would be at Lebanon on the third. I then despatched Gen. Boyle, in anticipation of such reenforcements, suggesting the propriety of halting the Thirty-fourth brigade, which had been ordered to Lebanon, at Muldrow's Hill. Receiving no answer to this despatch, in consequence, I presume, of an interruption in telegraphic communication between this place and Louisville, the brigade joined me on the morning of the twenty-ninth. On that morning I sent out a scouting-party of twenty-five men under command of Lieut. Porter, of the Ninth Kentucky cavalry, with orders to proceed in the direction of New-Haven and Bardstown until he could learn some-thing definite of Morgan's force and movements. I had also sent out a single and reliable citizen scout with similar instructions. On the morning of the third the citizen returned to camp with intelligence that he had that morning breakfasted with fifteen of Morgan's men at fredericksburgh, distant from us nineteen miles. About three o'clock of the same day Lieutenant Porter also returned, confirming the report of the first scout, and stating that the cannonading heard by us was at Rolling Fork, and that at the point from which he had returned he could distinctly hear musketry. Morgan's force was variously estimated at from seven thousand to eleven thousand. I had been notified by General Boyle that Colonel Harlan, with a brigade of infantry, a battery of artillery, and two regiments of cavalry, was pressing upon his rear from the direction of Elizabethtown. So soon as the above information was received by scouts, I ordered strong detachments from the Sixth and Ninth Kentucky cavalry, under command of Colonel Halisy and [209] Lieutenant-Colonel Boyle to make a reconnoissance with a view of ascertaining whether Morgan would pass out by Raywick and to our right, or whether he was yet upon the Springfield and direct road to us. About nightfall this party returned and reported that the enemy had been found encamped on the Springfield road, distant from us seven miles. Shortly afterwards I received information that Morgan had divided his force and sent two thousand in the direction of Haysville. To ascertain the truth of this statement I ordered out detachments from the Sixth and Ninth Kentucky cavalry, under command of Majors Fidler and Farris, to reconnoitre in the direction of Barber's Mills, with instructions, that if the enemy had not passed that point, to take the Springfield road and reconnoitre in their rear. In the execution of this order, Major Fidler performed a feat of daring which is worthy of the highest praise, and which, as well as his subsequent conduct, has proven him one of the most fearless and energetic officers in the service.

On arriving at Barber's Mills, and learning that the enemy had not passed up in that direction, he pursued the Springfield road until he came upon one of the enemy's pickets in the streets of that town, whom he captured without attracting notice. He and his men then advanced to within a few yards of a battery planted in the streets, fired a volley into the midst of the enemy, killing two of their number, and then retreated to camp with their prisoner. I have omitted to state in the proper order that, after the return of Colonels Halisy and Boyle, and following immediately on their heels, the rebels came up and captured one of our vidette pickets only a short distance from his post.

After receiving information that Morgan had divided his forces, knowing that Colonel Henderson with his command, consisting of two strong regiments, was within two miles of the intersection of the road leading from Springfield to Haysville, I sent by courier an order to halt his command near Bethel Church, ambuscade, and await the arrival of the enemy, when he should engage him. After learning through Majors Fidler and Farris that the enemy had sent no force upon that road, I despatched to Colonel Henderson to join me with all possible speed, having the evening previous sent up fifty wagons to aid in transporting his command. Judge of my surprise, when the courier returned and reported that Colonel Henderson had fallen back in the direction of Danville, taking with him my wagons. All my plans wore now disconcerted. With the force at my command, I did not think that I would be justifiable in attacking Morgan in his chosen position, and more particularly when I had no definite idea of his real strength, which was variously estimated at from three to eleven thousand, and I was induced to act even more cautiously than I would otherwise have done, from the fact, that I could hear nothing of Col. Harlan's command. As I knew that he had engaged Morgan at Rolling Fork, and as he did not follow up the pursuit and press him down upon either Gen. Baird or myself, the inference drawn by me was that Morgan had sufficient force to repulse Col. Harlan, or he would have followed up any advantage that might have been gained by him. Believing that Morgan's command was suffering for rest, at three o'clock on the morning of the thirty-first December, I ordered out another reconnoitring party under command of Major Gratz, of the Sixth Kentucky cavalry, with instructions to press upon the enemy, cut off and capture his pickets, if possible, fire into his camp, and retire, after ascertaining whether he had changed position. This order was executed, and Major Gratz returned with the report that the enemy had advanced two miles in our direction. I have omitted to state that my chosen position for action was on the Springfield road, and I had, on the evening of the thirtieth December, selected a position for one section of the battery, which was placed and masked, supported by company A, Sixteenth Kentucky. The position chosen was in the angle formed by the Springfield road and Cartwright's Creek. This position commanded the Springfield road for a mile and a half, and was strengthened by a precipitous bluff on the right flank. At this point, I felt we must meet the enemy; for if they were permitted to pass it, and gain possession of a copse of timber and the commanding position on the hill, they could shell us in the town, while their riflemen could advance under cover of the timber until they would be in range of any line of battle formed north of town, and which would of necessity leave us fully exposed, as the ground was entirely open. These arrangements having been made after the report of Major Gratz, I ordered Colonel Halisy to make another reconnoissance upon the Springfield road, to ascertain whether the enemy was really advancing with a view of attacking us. Colonel Halisy left camp about seven o'clock A. M. on the thirty-first December, and at eleven o'clock A. M. sent back a courier with the information that he had proceeded as far as their camp of the night previous, which they had abandoned. Colonel Halisy was then directed that, in the event they should have moved with a view of passing either to the right or left of us, to pursue, hang upon their rear, and, if possible, harass them to a stand. Finding they had left, he pressed on to Springfield and in the direction of Muldrow's Hill. About noon citizens came rushing into town with the most extravagant reports regarding Morgan's force, and assuring us that he was advancing on the place, with his right column moving from the direction of St. Mary's Church, on the Lebanon Branch Railroad. To ascertain the truth of this statement, I ordered another reconnoissance to be made in that direction by Lieut.-Col. Boyle, of the Ninth Kentucky cavalry, who set out to execute the order in command of a detachment of three hundred men from his regiment.

In anticipation of pursuing Morgan in case he should give us the go-by, I had also ordered the commanders of different regiments to draw five days rations, and be in readiness to move with-out [210] out camp or garrison equipage at a moment's warning; and I also ordered all the teams at the post to be in readiness to move at a moment's notice. In the mean time I had heard nothing from Colonel Halisy since eleven o'clock A. M., and already felt considerable anxiety in regard to his safety. At five o'clock P. M., I received information that Colonel Halisy was still in pursuit, who was moving in the direction of Muldrow's Hill, and from their rear-guard he had succeeded in capturing fifteen prisoners, whom he sent into camp. About the same time Colonel Boyle returned, bringing into camp some prisoners, with the assurance that Morgan's main body had passed St. Mary's Church. I knew we had a force at Glasgow, and had been informed that we had a force at or near Greensburgh, under command of Colonel Wolford, to whom I had on the thirtieth started a courier notifying him that I would pursue Morgan should he pass west of us, and suggesting the propriety of his moving his command to Pinchem or Muldrow's Hill. Unfortunately, however, this courier was captured and paroled before he reached Colonel Wolford. At six o'clock P. M., December thirty-first, my command, consisting of a squadron of the Sixth Kentucky cavalry, under Major Gratz, a squadron of the Ninth Kentucky cavalry, under command of Major Rue, the Twelfth Kentucky infantry, the Sixteenth Kentucky infantry, (which two regiments, together with the Seventh Tennessee, had been temporarily brigaded and placed under command of Colonel Craddock, of the Sixteenth Kentucky,) the battery of artillery, and the Thirty-fourth brigade, commanded by Colonel Reed, moved in pursuit. The order of the march was as follows: first, the squadron of cavalry under Major Gratz; second, one section of the battery; third, the Ninth Kentucky cavalry; fourth, section of the battery, supported by company A of the Sixteenth Kentucky; fifth, the Sixteenth Kentucky infantry; sixth, section of the battery, supported by company I of the Sixteenth Kentucky; seventh, Twelfth Kentucky infantry, mounted in wagons; eighth, the brigade of Colonel Reed unbroken. In the above order, we moved on the Campbellsville road until we reached a point near New-Market. Here we were informed by a citizen of the death of the gallant, accomplished, and lamented Colonel Halisy, whom I could but admire for his great zeal in the cause of our Union, and the energy and promptness with which he executed every order confided to him. By his death the service has lost one of its most accomplished and chivalrous officers, and the community one of its most useful and honorable citizens. We were also informed by the same person that the rebels were then encamped two miles to our right on the Rolling Fork.

A halt of the column was ordered. Major Rue, of the Ninth Kentucky cavalry, was ordered forward to guard the bridge over Rolling Fork. A strong cavalry picket was sent back upon the road leading from St. Mary's to Lebanon, and which intersects the Campbellsville road one and a half miles in our rear. This I thought necessary to prevent their passing to our rear upon Lebanon, and thence through Bradfordville and Somerset, in the event they should discover our movement toward Muldrow's Hill. I also ordered a reconnoissance of their position, which duty was assigned to Major Rue, his men being familiar with the locality in which they were said to be camped. I ordered the remaining force to form in line of battle, with the artillery in position, and each section supported by a select corpany of riflemen from the Twelfth and Sixteenth Kentucky. In this position they were required to bivouac on their arms and without fires.

Near daylight on the morning of the first instant, the reconnoitring party returned with the report that the rebels had left camp. I immediately ordered the column to be in readiness to move, and the march was resumed in the order of the previous night, except the transportation, which was turned over to the Thirty-fourth brigade, the Twelfth and Sixteenth Kentucky marching. On arriving at the summit of Muldrow's Hill, I learned that the enemy's rear-guard had passed about twelve o'clock the night previous. From citizens I learned that they had passed up the old Dug road which intersects the Campbellsville road on the summit of Muldrow's Hill. We now forwarded with all possible celerity, in the hope that we might come upon them at Campbellsville, or at all events be in supporting distance should Colonel Wolford's or any other force attack them in front or on the flank. Our cavalry was much worn down by scouting both at Lebanon and on the border. They were also in bad condition to attack a superior force, inasmuch as they were poorly armed, the Sixth Kentucky having no arms but pistols and sabres. Notwithstanding they were thus poorly armed, they manifested a disposition to press forward, which they were allowed to do with as much speed as I deemed consistent with prudence, I endeavoring to keep the infantry within quick supporting distance. On arriving within two miles of Campbellsville I was informed by citizens and paroled soldiers that the rebel rear-guard was still at that place engaged in destroying commissary goods abandoned by the Thirty-fourth brigade. The column being well closed up, I ordered the cavalry to charge upon the town, which they did in handsome style, resulting, however, in the capture of but a few prisoners, the main force having left some five hours previous. Knowing that a considerable quantity of forage had been collected at Green River bridge, and believing that the enemy would halt there to feed and rest his stock, I ordered Majors Gratz and Rue, with one section of artillery, to press forward, hoping to prevent, by rapid pursuit, the destruction of forage and bridge; also directing the shelling of their rear at every available point, with the further view of attracting the attention of any force that might be to our right, and thus defining to them the route pursued by us. At two o'clock our advance came in sight of the ruins of Green River bridge, when, believing that farther pursuit [211] was cut off, the section of the battery was placed in position and opened fire, not so much with a view of damaging the enemy as signal-guns to any force which might be in reach of Columbia trusting to thus give them a cue to the route pursued by the rebels. I ordered the troops to go immediately into camp, feed stock, and make details for cooking, while the men could get that rest they so much needed after the forty-eight hours heavy duty they had undergone. I also ordered the company of pioneers attached to the Thirty-fourth brigade to be immediately set to work in clearing the obstructions from a dirt road that crossed the river but a few hundred yards below the bridge. In the mean time the whole column closed up, the Twelfth and Sixteenth Kentucky having marched twenty-two miles in seven consecutive hours. I had not yet abandoned the hope of overtaking the enemy at Cumberland River. I also learned that Colonel Wolford was certainly at Greensburgh in command of four regiments of cavalry. I immediately despatched to him, notifying him of our pursuit, and suggesting that he should press on to Columbia — in the event that he should find Morgan in camp at the latter place to quietly await our arrival, which would be some time during the night. By ten o'clock P. M., of the first instant, the obstructions in the road were removed. I then directed that the whole cavalry force under my command should move forward, accompanied by one section of the battery, with instructions to Colonel Boyle that if he should find Morgan in camp at Columbia not to disturb him, unless he should attempt to move off, until he was supported by my infantry or Colonel Wolford's cavalry. Following immediately in the rear of the cavalry was the remainder of the force under my command. As soon as I saw the principal part of the Thirty-fourth brigade across the river I pressed forward to the front, and to my surprise found the whole column halted at six o'clock A. M., six miles from the bridge which they had left at eleven o'clock the previous night. The apology for such a direct violation of orders by the cavalry was that a citizen had told them that Morgan had left Columbia at eight o'clock the previous night, and that their horses were worn down. The infantry and artillery were moved forward and reached Columbia about noon on the second instant, when, learning that the Cumberland was certainly fordable, I abandoned the pursuit and ordered my men into camp. Soon after going into camp General Fry arrived and assumed command of all the troops in the vicinity of Columbia, and ordered the pursuit to be resumed, which order was countermarnded at a point three miles beyond Columbia. The result of these operations was the capture of about one hundred and fifty prisoners, a number of horses and trappings, some arms, two caissons, and a quantity of ammunition for artillery and small arms. It is also reported by a citizen that one of our shells exploded among the rebel rear-guard at Green River and killed three of their number. I regret that there could not be more concerted action between Colonel Harlan and myself, for, had he pressed upon and followed Morgan to Springfield, I could have attacked him in front while he engaged his rear, or we could have attacked him unitedly. I also regret that the reenforcements from Danville never reached me. My determination was to attack Morgan at Springfield had they come up.

To Colonel Reid, and the officers and men of his brigade, I take pleasure in expressing my thanks for the promptness and alacrity with which they executed orders confided to them. It may be proper to state that the aggregate force of this brigade did not exceed one thousand eight hundred men, and my whole effective force did not exceed three thousand three hundred men.

To Captain Miller, of company M, First Illinois battery, thanks are due for his efficient services as an artillery officer. My thanks are due to Colonel Craddock for his energy and valuable suggestions, as well as to all the officers on the expedition ; but, above all, the gallant soldiers composing the command deserve especial notice for the cheerfulness with which they endured the privations to which they were necessarily subjected, and the alacrity with which they obeyed all orders. To my aids, Captain Letcher, of the Twelfth, Captain Help, of the Tenth, Lieutenant Mannen, of the Sixteenth Kentucky, and Lieutenant Nell, of the First Kentucky battery, my thanks are due for the efficient manner in which they discharged their duties. Captain Gaubert, Post-Quartermaster, displayed great energy and efficiency in getting up on short notice transportation and rations for the expedition. And while it may seem invidious to make distinctions where all deserve commendation, yet especial thanks are due to Lieut.-Col. Gantt and Major Harbeson, of the Sixteenth Kentucky, Majors Farris, Rue, and Fidler, of the cavalry, and Dr. S. M. Cartmell, Medical Director of the Expedition; nor should I forget Captains John S. and Carr B. White, of the Sixteenth Kentucky, and Lieutenant Crozier, of tire Twelfth, who, with their companies, supported sections of battery, and were always in place and ready for duty. I ought perhaps to state that I labored under great disadvantage from the fact that I could get no definite information of Morgan's force. I had been officially notified that Morgan, at the time of his attack on Elizabethtown, had less than three thousand men, and certainly but two pieces of artillery. I had also been officially notified that simultaneously with his attack on that place, an attack was made en Munfordville, supposed to be led by Kirby Smith, whose force was unknown. When I learned that the force advancing on Lebanon certainly had ten pieces of artillery, I inferred that a junction of the two forces had been effected — the whole force being reported by citizens and scouts at eleven thousand.

Very respectfully.

Your obedient servant,

W. A. Hoskins, Colonel Commanding Expedition.

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John Morgan (24)
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