previous next

[242] officers to bear witness that I do not claim credit for intentions that I did not entertain, or for efforts that I did not make vigorously and in good faith, and finally successfully, and that I traced up crime, and made restitution and punished the offending wherever it was possible. I hesitated not to inflict punishment upon delinquent officers, too, such punishment as was well calculated to strike terror home to evil-doers. Your own paper or the Democrat mentioned the matter at the time, with commendation, and held it up as worthy of imitation.

The remaining charge to be noticed is: “That, when the little band of sixty men at Shepherdsville, three months ago, was attacked by three hundred guerrillas, armed with flying artillery and small arms, he (Dumont) was at the head of ten thousand men, only nine miles off, when he heard the firing, but instead of hastening to the relief of the beleaguered handful of men, he drew up his whole force in line of battle and — gallantly awaited the attack of the three hundred!!! . . . . If he was at Hartsville, let the nightcap be to him in place of the laurel crown.”

I object not to your abhorrence of such conduct, if the facts in regard to the matter were as stated by you. It would be abhorrent in the last degree, but you have been misinformed, imposed upon. The whole story is a wicked fabrication, with no particle of truth in it. It is now, I suppose, as you state, three months since the transaction to which you allude, and until now I have never heard that I was blamed for, or that any one supposed that I could have prevented what happened. I have never before heard my name mentioned in connection with the matter in the remotest degree. If as stated in your article, it would be a terrible dereliction, one that would be known to the officer under whose command I was, one calling for exemplary punishment, and yet the officer then in command at Louisville has never intimated to me, nor has any one else, that I was to blame in the matter. I was as much to blame as if I had been at the north pole, no more. The captured men did not belong to me. You do not state they did. You state that I had ten thousand men. I had but one fourth that number, but that is immaterial, as the facts stand, and I doubt not an unintentional misstatement. What are they? I had been stationed at Lebanon, fifty miles from Shepherdsville. I had not been notified and did not know there were any troops at the latter place. I was ordered to proceed by rail from Lebanon to Lebanon Junction, a distance of about forty miles, and arrived after midnight with my infantry; my cavalry not coming by rail, but guarding a train, did not arrive until the afternoon of the next day after leaving Lebanon. It took my men pretty well toward morning to unload the cars, to let them proceed to Louisville. These trains were the last that ever crossed that bridge. It was reduced to ashes early that morning, before the morning train from Louisville arrived; indeed, I do not know that that train started out. After the bridge had been destroyed, and the prisoners captured and paroled, a messenger left the neighborhood and came down to Lebanon Junction, and communicated the fact to me. I never saw an officer or man of the captured after they arrived in Kentucky--the word did not come from them. We had heard no firing, not a single shot — and had not had the slightest intimation that an enemy was about, until the arrival of the messenger, and all the mischief had been done. The doctor was not notified until the patient was dead and cold. Indeed, I am told that not a shot was fired, or if any, not to exceed one from a small mountain howitzer, that could not be heard at the distance we were off--ten miles. I do not know, but have been credibly informed, and suppose such to be the truth, that no one was killed, no one was wounded. I know that was the general understanding at the time. It was published at the time, that, before the officer commanding the sixty men would surrender, he was taken out and shown the enemy's artillery, and, seeing that the enemy hal three guns and some six hundred mounted troops, and that he could make no resistance against such a force, he surrendered without a fight. If the enemy had opened his artillery, and you say small arms, too, upon him, so that 1, at the distance of ten miles, could lave heard it, he would have had unmistakable evidence of the presence of artillery, without going out and examining the guns. The enemy, six hundred strong, or even three hundred, as you state it, with small arms and three pieces of artillery, would have been apt to have hurt somebody, if there had been that kind of firing that would have notified a camp ten miles off.

Lest what I have said may be construed as censuring somebody, I will say that I have never heard that any body blamed Captain Tinker, who commanded the company, or his men, for the surrender. I presume it is true that he could not have fought his assailants without the loss of all his men ; but be this as it may, it is immaterial to my purpose. The probability is, that the enemy arrived near the bridge at Shepherdsville as soon as my troops did at Lebanon Junction, and only awaited the dawn of day to make the assault or demand a surrender. It was two hours or more after all the mischief had been done before I got the word, and then I had not a mounted man to give pursuit, nor did my cavalry arrive until the afternoon. They had travelled all night and nearly all day without rest, and were in a bad condition to pursue an enemy with eight or ten hours the start. Still I sent out a squadron in pursuit, but the pursuit was unavailing, as the enemy had precipitately fled as soon as he had accomplished what he came for. The enemy were all mounted; pursuit with infantry after the deed was done would have been unavailing. Infantry could not have reached the place short of three hours, and the enemy would have then been fifteen miles off.

The silly and absurd story that firing was heard at my camp, and that I was thus notified


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 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.
Tinker (1)
E. Dumont (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: