Doc. 49.-expedition into East Tennessee.
Report of Major-General Stevenson.
headquarters Stevenson's division, near Tyner's Station, November 12, 1863.Colonel: Agreeably to orders received from army headquarters on the seventeenth ultimo, I proceeded to Charleston, Tennessee, arriving there with a portion of my command about two o'clock P. M., on the nineteenth ultimo. The failure of the railroad officials to carry out the arrangements and obey the orders relative to the transportation of the troops, and the delay caused thereby, have been made the subject of a special communication to the commanding General. Immediately upon my arrival at Charleston I gave the following directions to Colonels Morrison and Dibrell, commanding brigades of cavalry:
To Colonel G. W. Brent, A. A. G. Army of Tennessee:
To Colonel G. W. Brent, A. A. G. Army of Tennessee:
Colonel Morrison, with his whole effective force, reinforced by Colonel McKenzie's and Major Jessie's commands, will move so as to reach the rear of Philadelphia by daylight to-morrow morning, and be prepared to co-operate with Colonel Dibrell, who, with his effective command, will advance so as to attack the enemy, supposed to be at that point, at daylight. Should the enemy not be found at Philadelphia, the commands will seek and capture or drive him across the Tennessee. Having routed the cavalry, they will move on London, and, should the force of the enemy's infantry there be small, will attack and carry that place. In that event London will be held by a sufficient force, and suitable scouts sent up the river for information with regard to the enemy in that direction. Colonel Morrison will send a select force of one hundred and fifty men, in command of a suitable officer, to destroy the ferry at Kingston. He will also detail from his command two companies to picket the river on our left flank.The movement directed was at once commenced, but owing to the difficulty in crossing the Hiwassee at the ford by which Colonel Morrison moved, the attack was not made until as late as one o'clock P. M., on the twentieth ultimo. For a time the resistance was stubborn, the enemy making a gallant fight, but finally they broke and fled, in the greatest confusion, to their defences at London. The fact that they had there a fortified position, with an infantry support, the approach of darkness, and the exhaustion of our cavalry after their long march and severe fight, decided Colonels Morrison and Dibrell not to make an immediate attack upon London. Our loss amounted to fifteen killed, eighty-two wounded, and three missing. That of the enemy was greater in killed and wounded, and by capture about seven hundred prisoners, six pieces of artillery, and all their wagons, ambulances, and camp equipage. On the next morning the enemy advanced in force, infantry and cavalry, from London, and Colonels Morrison and Dibrell withdrew their commands to Sweetwater, there to await the arrival of the infantry. The enemy fell back to London that night. I reached the front on the morning of the twenty-second, moved the infantry to Mouse Creek that day, and soon afterwards to Sweet-water. On the evening of the twenty-third of October the enemy advanced in considerable force and engaged the cavalry for a short time, retiring at dusk. Their loss is not known. Ours is five wounded. The same movement was again made by them on the evening of the twenty-sixth of October. In this affair our loss was three wounded and five missing. The enemy are known to have had three commissioned officers and several privates killed, and a number wounded. On the twenty-seventh of October I was informed that the notorious bushwhacker and robber, Bryson, had been sent, with his command, by Burnside, to get in my rear and obtain information as to our movements and intentions. I immediately gave Brigadier-General Vaughn a detachment of about one hundred men, and directed him to intercept and, if possible, to destroy the party. He succeeded in dispersing them, killing several, and taking among the prisoners a Captain. During the pursuit Bryson himself was killed. On the twenty-seventh of October Cheatham's division, commanded during the expedition by Brigadier-General Jackson, reached Athens, and by this accession my force, before so weak as to be entirely inadequate for a decided movement against the enemy at London, was strengthened to such an extent as would have enabled me to actively assume the offensive; but the enemy, informed doubtless by disloyal citizens of the arrival of these reinforcements, evacuated London on the night of the same day. On the twenty-eighth of October I sent Brigadier-General Vaughn, with a force of cavalry, across the Little Tennessee River at Morgantown,  with orders to make a demonstration upon Knoxville and gain all the information he could of the enemy's force, movements, and intentions. He found a force at Leaper's Ferry; attacked and drove them across the river after quite a sharp engagement, inflicting considerable loss upon them. He also went to Lenoir's Ferry. The sudden and heavy rain that fell at this time raised the Little Tennessee so rapidly that it became exceedingly hazardous for him to remain on that side, and he accordingly returned to Morgantown. On the third of November, Colonel Dibrell crossed the Little Tennessee, with about seven hundred men, but found the enemy in too great force in his front to permit him to make any decided move. The results of these scouts in eliciting information were promptly communicated to you by telegraph. On the fourth of November I received orders by telegraph to send two of the brigades of Cheatham's division to Tyner's by railroad on the fifth, and the remaining two on the sixth, and immediately thereafter to send the two brigades of my own division. On the eighth instant I received orders from the commanding General to leave Brigadier-General Cumming to bring on my division, and report in person at army headquarters as soon as possible after the arrival of Lieutenant-General Longstreet at Sweetwater. He reached that point on the night of the ninth, and, as directed, I left Sweetwater on the morning of the tenth, arriving at Tyner's upon the same day. I am, Colonel, respectfully, Your obedient servant,
C. S. Stevenson, Major-General, commanding.
Report of Colonel Morrison.
Headquarters cavalry forces, Owen's, near Sweetwater, Tennessee, October 27, 1863.Major: I have the honor to report that, agreeably to instructions from General Stevenson, I succeeded in getting my entire command, numbering about eighteen hundred men, across Hiwassee River, at and above Rencannon's Ferry, by ten o'clock on the night of the nineteenth instant. I immediately took up the line of march for the rear of Philadelphia, the distance to the point where I expected to strike the Philadel-phia and London road being fifty miles. The weather was very disagreeable, and the roads were in. very bad condition, rendered worse every hour by the incessant showers that had been falling since I left Harrison. Men and officers bore up astonishingly under the circumstances, having, in crossing the river and making the march, lost two nights' sleep in succession. On arriving near Philadelphia, I communicated with Colonel Dibrell, suggesting that he had better move up and make a demonstration in the front, so that I could without interruption and undiscovered, make the enemy's rear; and reaching Pond Creek, a point to the left of and opposite Philadelphia, I intercepted and captured a foraging train and forty prisoners. From this point I sent a party on each of the roads leading into town, with instructions to drive in the enemy's pickets and hold their positions if possible, and thus prevent his learning the direction taken by the main part of my command. I finally reached the rear of Philadelphia, after a hard march of fifty miles in fifteen hours, unobserved. I caused the telegraph wire to be cut, and sent as rapidly as possible one regiment to London, a distance of four miles, there to make a feint and prevent General White from reinforcing Woolford at Philadelphia, with his infantry from that point. The surprise was complete, and the feint at London a success. I now hastened on to Philadelphia, a distance of two miles, and soon had a view of the enemy's line of battle, whereupon I dismounted my men and commenced the attack, Colonel Dibrell having opened an artillery duel in the front some time before. The enemy, on discovering me in their rear, at once turned their whole force, with six pieces of artillery, against my command, which was now reduced to about one thousand men. Afterwards ensued one of the hardest cavalry fights of the war, both sides struggling vigorously for the mastery. I was made to fall back twice, but with little effort each time rallied my men, and soon had the enemy completely routed and flying in confusion towards London, capturing their artillery (six pieces), wagon train, ambulances, stores, and between five hundred and seven hundred prisoners. A portion of the latter was captured by Colonel Dibrell's command. The officers and men of my command conducted themselves handsomely from the commencement of the march to the rout of the enemy at Philadelphia, but credit is especially due to Colonel Hart, of the Sixth Georgia, Colonel Rice, of the Third Confederate, and Colonel Harper, of the First Georgia cavalry, who lost a leg while leading his men in a gallant charge. Colonels Rice and Hart occupied the left, and nobly did each do his duty. From an intrepid charge on the enemy's rear, his artillery, wagons, and stores, with most of the prisoners, fell into their hands. Lieutenant George Yoe, Captain Davidson Lamar, and Adjutant John W. Tench, acting on my staff, have my thanks for their assistance, efficiency, and gallantry on the field. Although the victory was complete, the fruits of it fell short, far, of what they would have reached if I had had the prompt co-operation of the forces in front. The casualties in my command are fourteen killed, eighty-two wounded. Those of the enemy much larger.
Major J. J. Reeves. A. A. G.:
Major J. J. Reeves. A. A. G.:
Report of Colonel Dibrell.
headquarters Second cavalry brigade, Armstrong's division, Sunday, October 27, 1863.Sir: According to previous orders received, I moved with my brigade and a detachment of General Morgan's command, from Charleston, on the nineteenth, at twelve o'clock M.; crossed the Hiwassee River and travelled all night. By an agreement with Colonel Morrison, commanding brigade, I was to be in front of Philadelphia by twelve M., of the twentieth. He was to cross the Hiwassee below me and move to the rear of the enemy. Subsequently Colonel Morrison notified me that he could not be at the appointed place before two o'clock P. M. Meantime I advanced my forces, drove in the enemy's pickets, kept up a skirmish at a respectable distance, keeping all my command out of sight of the enemy, except two regiments and one section of artillery, until Colonel Morrison could get in position. As soon as this was known, I moved rapidly forward and opened upon the enemy with my artillery, and charged them with cavalry, held in readiness for that purpose, completely routing the enemy and scattering them through the woods in every direction, capturing in all six pieces of artillery, all their wagons, ambulances, stores, &c., and a large number of horses, equipments, &c., five hundred and six prisoners. In this engagement I only claim for my brigade that they did their part most admirably, and are entitled to the reputation they had previously so richly merited; and I fully accord to Colonel Morrison's brigade an equal share of all the glories won, for the gallant part acted by them in the engagements. Without their co-operation, so brilliant a success would have proven a failure, as the enemy were but a few miles from a large infantry force to support them. My loss was one man killed and three captured. A few horses were wounded. Brigadier-General Vaughn had kindly volunteered his services, which were invaluable to me, and his gallantry and daring charge upon the enemy has endeared him to my brigade, and caused them all to regard him as one of the bravest of the brave. In the engagement of the twenty-third my loss was five wounded; the loss of the enemy not known. In the engagement of yesterday, my loss was three wounded and five missing. Two horses were wounded. The enemy left some twelve or fifteen dead and wounded upon the field, and are known to have had three commissioned officers and several privates killed and a number wounded. The conduct of the men and officers, both cavalry and artillery, was very fine during all the engagements. I am, Major, very respectfully, Your obedient servant,
Major J. J. Reeves, A. A. G.:
Major J. J. Reeves, A. A. G.:
G. G. Dibrell, Colonel, commanding Brigade.