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Doc. 52.-expedition to Hartsville, Tenn.

Report of General Braxton Bragg.1

headquarters army of Tennessee, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, December 22, 1862.
General S. Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector-General, Richmond, Virginia:
Sir: Having been informed by acting Brigadier-General John H. Morgan, whose cavalry brigade covered my front in the direction of Hartsville, Tennessee, that the enemy's force at that point was somewhat isolated, I yielded to his request and organized an expedition under him for their attack. On the fifth instant Hanson's brigade, of Breckinridge's division, was moved forward on the road towards Hartsville, and halted at Baird's Mills, a point nearly due east from Nashville, and half way to Hartsville, when it was joined by Morgan's cavalry force. Two regiments, the Second and Ninth Kentucky infantry, with Cobb's Kentucky artillery, moved from this point, with the cavalry, at 10 P. M. on the sixth, to attack the enemy at Hartsville. Early on the morning of the same day, Hanson, with the remainder of his brigade, moved as directed, on the road towards Nashville, for the purpose of a reconnoissance and to cause a diversion.

At the same time that the troops above named left their camps near here, Major-General Cheatham, with two brigades, moved out on the Nashville road, halted at night at Lavergne, fifteen miles, and on the next day, in conjunction with, General Wheeler's cavalry, made a strong demonstration on the enemy's front.

These movements had the desired effect, and completely distracted the enemy's attention from the real point of attack. Learning that a foraging train of the enemy was on his right flank, Cheatham detached Wheeler with a cavalry force to attack it, which he did in his usual dashing and successful manner, capturing eleven wagons and fifty-seven prisoners. Under cover of these feints. Morgan, by an extraordinary night march, reached the point of his destination about sunrise, and in a short, but warmly contested engagement,killed, wounded, and captured the entire command of more than two thousand officers and men.

I enclose herewith the reports of General Morgan and the subordinate commanders, and take great pleasure in commending the fortitude, endurance, and gallantry of all engaged in this remarkable expedition. It is a source of personal and official gratification to perceive that the department has recognized the services of the gallant and meritorious soldier who led the expedition, by confirming my previous nomination of him as a Brigadier-General.

Two sets of infantry colors and one artillery guidon, taken at Hartsville, are also forwarded with this report. A third set of infantry colors was presented by its captors to the President, on his recent visit to this place.

I am, sir, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

Braxton Bragg, General, commanding.

Report of General John H. Morgan.

Morgan's headquarters, cross-roads near Murfreesbord, December 9, 1862.
Colonel Brent, Chief of Staff:
Sir: I have the honor to lay before you, for the information of the General commanding, a report of the expedition against the Federal forces at Hartsville.

I left these headquarters at 10 A. M., on the sixth instant, with one thousand four hundred of my command under the orders of Colonel Duke; the Second and Ninth Kentucky infantry, commanded by Colonel Hunt; Captain Cobb's battery of artillery; two small howitzers, and two rifled Ellsworth guns, belonging to my own command.

At Lebanon I received information that no [628] change had been made in the number of the Federals at Hartsville, their number being still about nine hundred infantry and four hundred cavalry, with two pieces of artillery. I found afterwards that their force had been considerably underrated.

I proceeded with the infantry and artillery to Purcell Ferry on the Cumberland River, sending the cavalry, under the orders of Colonel Duke, to pass at a ford some seven miles below the point where we were to “rendezvous.” I passed my troops with great difficulty, there being but one boat; and about half-past 5 on the morning of the seventh I arrived at Hague Shops, two miles from the Federal camp. I found that Colonel Duke, with his cavalry, had only just marched up, having crossed the ford with difficulty, and that one regiment of his command, five hundred strong (Colonel Gano's), had not yet reported. Major Stoner's battalion had been left on the other side of the Cumberland, with two mountain howitzers, to prevent the escape of the enemy by the Lebanon road, and Colonel Kenneth's regiment had been ordered to proceed to Hartsville to picket the road leading to Gallatin, and to attack any of the Federals they might find in that town, to take possession of the Castilian Springs, Lafayette and Carthage roads, so as to prevent the escape of the enemy. This reduced my force considerably, but I determined to attack, and that at once; there was no time to be lost; day was breaking, and the enemy might expect strong reinforcements from Castilian Springs, should my arrival be known. Advancing, therefore, with the cavalry, closely followed by the artillery and infantry, I approached the enemy's position. The pickets were found and shot down. The Yankee bivouac first appeared to cover a long line of ground, and gave me to suppose that their number was much greater than I anticipated. On nearing the camp the alarm was sounded, and I could distinctly see and hear the officers ordering their men to fall in, preparing for resistance. Colonel Duke then dismounted Colonel Clarke's and Colonel Chenault's regiments, in all about seven hundred and fifty men, drawing them up in line in a large field in the front, and a little to the right of the enemy's line which was then forming, and seeing that the artillery and infantry were in position, he ordered his men to advance at the double-quick, and directed Colonel Chenault, who was on the left, to oblique so as to march on the enemy's flank.

His men then pressed forward, driving the Federals for nearly half a mile, without a check, before them, until their right wing was forced back upon their own left wing and centre.

Colonel Duke then ordered a halt until the infantry had commenced their attack on the Federal left wing, which caused a retreat of the whole line. At this juncture Lieutenant-Colonel Hoffman and Major Steele, of Gano's regiment, came up with about one hundred men of that regiment, who had succeeded in crossing the ford, and threw their small force into the fight. My dismounted cavalry, under Colonel Duke, had only been skirmishing, previously to this, for about twenty minutes; but seeing that Colonel Hunt, with the infantry, was pressing hard upon the Federal's left, he ordered an advance upon the right wing and flank of their new line; it gave way and ceased firing, and soon after surrendered.

Colonel Duke reports that his men fought with a courage and coolness which could not be surpassed.

Colonels Clarke and Chenault led on their men with the most determined bravery, encouraging them by voice and example.

The timely arrival of Lieutenant-Colonel Hoffman and Major Steele, and the gallant manner in which they showed themselves into the fight, had a very decided effect upon the battle at the point at which they entered. The artillery, under Captain Cobb, did most excellent service, and suffered severely from the enemy's battery, which fired with great precision, blowing up one of his caissons and inflicting a severe loss on that arm.

The infantry conducted themselves most gallantly; the Second Kentucky suffering most severely.

Colonel Bennett's regiment, as I said before, was not in the fight, having been sent on special service, which was most efficiently performed, four hundred and fifty prisoners having been taken by them, and twelve Federals killed.

Thus, sir, in one hour and a half, the troops under my command, consisting of five hundred cavalry (Colonel Gano's, Colonel Bennett's regiments and Major Stoner's command not participating in the fight), seven hundred infantry, with a battery of artillery, in all about one thousand three hundred strong, defeated and captured three well-disciplined and well formed regiments of infantry with a regiment of cavalry, and took two rifled cannon, the whole encamped on their own ground and in a very strong position, taking about eighteen hundred prisoners, eighteen hundred stand of arms, a quantity of ammunition, clothing, quartermasters' stores, and sixteen wagons. The battle was now over. The result exceeded my own expectations, but still I felt that my position was a most perilous one, being within four miles in a direct line and only eight by the main Gallatin road of an enemy's forces of at least eight thousand men, consisting of infantry, cavalry, and artillery, who would naturally march to the aid of their comrades on hearing the report of our guns. I, therefore, with the assistance of my staff, got together all the empty wagons left by the enemy, loaded them with arms, ammunition, and stores, and directed them immediately to Hart's Ferry

There was no time to be lost. The pickets placed by my assistant Adjutant-General on the Castilian Springs road sent to report the advance of a strong body of Federals, estimated at five thousand men.

I sent to Colonel Clarke's regiment to make a show of resistance, ordering Colonel Gano's regiment, which had arrived, in support. In [629] the meantime I pressed the passage of the ford to the utmost.

This show of force caused a delay in the advance of the enemy, who had no idea of the number of my men, and probably greatly overrated my strength, and gave me time to pass the ford with infantry, artillery, and baggage wagons. The horses of my cavalry being sent back from ( the other side of the Cumberland River, to carry over the infantry regiments, it was time to retreat. The enemy attacked our rear, but was kept at bay by the two regiments before specified, aided by four guns I had previously ordered to be placed in position on the south side of the Cumberland, looking forward to what was now taking place. The banks of the river, on both sides, are precipitous, and the stream breast deep, but our retreat was effected in excellent order. We lost not a man, except three badly wounded, that I was reluctantly forced to leave behind. Cavalry, infantry, guns, and baggage train safely crossed, with the exception of four wagons which had been sent by another route, and which are still safely hidden in the woods, according to accounts received to-day.

In justice to my brave command, I would respectfully bring to the notice of the General commanding, the names of those officers who contributed, by their undaunted bravery and soldier-like conduct, to the brilliant success which crowned the efforts of the Confederate arms.

To Colonel Hunt, of the Ninth Kentucky, commanding the infantry, I am deeply indebted for his valuable assistance. His conduct, and that of his brave regiment, was perfect, and their steadiness under fire remarkable.

The Second Kentucky also behaved most gallantly and suffered severely--sixty-two men killed and wounded, three regimental officers left dead on the field, sufficiently testified to their share in the fight, and the resistance they had to encounter.

Colonel Clarke's regiment paid also a high price for its devotion. It went into the field two hundred and thirty strong, had six officers, with twenty-one non-commissioned officers and privates killed and wounded, besides six missing.

Colonel Duke, commanding the cavalry, was, as he always has been, “the right man in the right place.” Wise in council, gallant in the field, his services have ever been invaluable to me.

I was informed by my Adjutant-General that Colonel Bennett, in the execution of the special service confided to him, and in which he so entirely succeeded, gave proofs of great gallantry and contempt of danger.

I owe much to my personal staff. Major Llewellyn, Captains Charlton Morgan and Williams, and Lieutenant Tyler, acting as my Aides-de-Camp, gave proof of great devotion, being everywhere in the hottest fire, and Major Llewellyn received the sword of Colonel Stewart, and the surrender of his regiment. Captain Morgan and Captain Williams' horses were killed under them, and Lieutenant Tyler was severely wounded. My Orderly Sergeant, Craven Peyton, received a shot in his hip, and had his horse killed by my side.

I must have forgiveness if I add, with a soldier's pride, that the conduct of my whole command deserved my highest gratitude and commendation.

Three Federal regimental standards and five cavalry guidons fluttered over my brave column on their return from the expedition. With such troops victory is enchained to our banners, and the issue of a contest with our Northern opponents, even when they are double our force, no longer doubtful.

I have the honor to be, sir,

With the highest respect,

Your most obedient servant,

John H. Morgan, Brigadier-General.

Report of Major-General Breckinridge.

headquarters Breckinridge's division, December 11, 1862.
Major Thos. M. Jack, A. A. General:
Sir: I have the honor to forward a report from Colonel R. W. Hanson, commanding First brigade of my division, covering the report of Colonel Thos. H. Hunt, who commanded the Second and Ninth Kentucky regiments and Cobb's battery, in the recent expedition (under command of Brigadier-General Morgan) against Hartsville; and also, the reports of Major Hewitt and Captain Morehead, commanding, respectively, the Second and Ninth Kentucky, and of Captain Cobb, commanding the battery.

I beg to call attention to the officers and men specially named for gallantry, and to suggest, respectfully, that the troops engaged in this expedition deserve mention in orders for conduct, which, in fortitude and daring, has not been surpassed during the war.

Very respectfully,

John C. Breckinridge, Major-General, commanding.

Report of Colonel R. W. Hanson.

headquarters First brigade, camp near Murfreesboro, December 11, 1862.
Colonel Buckner, Assistant Adjutant-General:
In pursuance of the order of General Bragg, I proceeded, with my command, on the fifth instant, to Baird's Mill, and remained two days, making, as directed, reconnaissance towards Nashville. General Morgan designated the Second and Ninth Kentucky and Cobb's battery as the troops he desired to accompany him upon the Hartsville expedition. They were detached under command of Colonel Hunt. I enclose, herewith, his report of the battle of Hartsville, and the reports of his subordinate officers. I wish to call attention to the honorable mention that is made in Major Hewitt's and Colonel Hunt's reports of the gallant conduct of Sergeant Oldham, of the Second Kentucky regiment, with the hope that the proper steps may be taken to procure for him the proper reward of his conduct. [630] Sergeant Oldham was the color-bearer of the Second Kentucky regiment at the battle of Donelson, and acted with great gallantry upon that occasion. He is a suitable man for a lieutenancy, being well qualified as well as truly brave.

R. W. Hanson, Colonel, commanding Brigade.

Report of Colonel Thomas H. Hunt.

headquarters Ninth Kentucky regiment, camp near Murfreesboro, December 8, 1862.
To Captain John S. Hope, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General:
Captain: I have the honor to report that the detachment from the First brigade, Breckinridge's division, consisting of the Second Kentucky regiment, Major James W. Hewitt, commanding, three hundred and seventy-five strong; Ninth Kentucky regiment, Captain James T. Morehead, commanding, three hundred and twenty strong, and Cobb's battery, placed under my command, as senior officer, with orders to report to General Morgan, left Baird's Mill where the brigade was in bivouac, on Saturday the sixth instant, about one and a half o'clock P. M. Marching in the rear of the cavalry force until we arrived in the vicinity of Lebanon an exchange was made, when the infantry mounted the horses and rode five or six miles. The command reached Cumberland River about ten o'clock. The infantry, artillery, and a small portion of cavalry, crossed at--------Ferry, the balance of the cavalry crossing at a ford a few miles lower down the river. The two boats used for crossing were of small capacity and in miserable condition, but by constant bailing they were kept afloat, and by five o'clock in the morning the command was safely over.

The march of five miles to Hartsville (where the battle was fought), yet to make, over bad roads for artillery, was not accomplished until after sunrise, and the purpose of General Morgan to surprise the enemy was defeated. When we approached in sight of their camp we found their infantry already formed, occupying a very strong position on the crest of a hill with a deep ravine in front, and their artillery in battery. The troops under my command were placed in position west of the enemy's camp, while under a heavy fire from their battery, and sharpshooters thrown out from their right, but these latter were quickly driven in by the dismounted cavalry.

The Second regiment having been formed on the left of the Ninth, was now ordered forward to support and follow up the success gained, by the cavalry skirmishers. That they had hot work to accomplish is shown by their heavy loss in killed and wounded.

In the meantine Captain Cobb, with his battery, was not idle. He was doing good execution and the enemy responded with effect, one of their shells striking and blowing up a caisson. As the ground was cleared of the enemy opposite our left, he (Captain Cobb) was ordered to take a new position with his battery in that direction, and at the same time the Ninth Kentucky regiment was ordered forward to engage the enemy's left.

My whole command was now engaged. The crest of the hill was reached, and here commenced a desperate struggle, as the contestants were only from thirty to fifty paces apart, where they fought for the space of ten minutes, when the order to charge was given and most nobly was the command responded to. The enemy broke and were driven to the river cliff, where they were completely surrounded by my force in front, and the dismounted cavalry on their flanks and rear, and where they surrendered at discretion.

It was a continued success from the corn mencement. In about one hour and a half from the time the first gun was fired they surrendered, and more prisoners were brought off than we had men in the action. Large quantities of commissary and quartermasters' stores were also secured, a section of artillery, and a large number of small arms with the usual supply of ammunition.

General Morgan had made most skilful disposition, which, with the good fighting qualities of the troops engaged, secured success. I cannot speak in too high terms of praise of the troops, and I scarcely know which most to admire, their patient endurance on the march or courage in the battle. They marched fifty miles in cold winter weather, the ground covered with snow, crossed and recrossed the Cumberland River, fought a largely superior force, strongly posted within six miles of their supports, and brought off the prisoners, all within the space of thirty hours. Captain Cobb, with his officers and men, had a most laborious time in getting their pieces and horses across the river, and it was only by the best directed exertions they succeeded at all. Where officers and men all behaved so well it is impossible for me to single out individual cases as peculiarly worthy of commendation. I cannot, however, refrain from mentioning Lieutenant Joseph Benedict, who acted as my Aid on the occasion. He was the right man in the right place.

I enclose herewith copies of the reports of Major Hewett, Captain MQrehead, and Captain Cobb, and would bring to your attention the fact that the former commends Color-Sergeant John Oldham for his gallant bravery.

The following is a summary of the loss sustained by my command:

Second Kentucky regiment8543
Ninth Kentucky regiment7101
Cobb's Battery370


Included in the above are of the Second Kentucky regiment, Chas. H. Thomas, First Lieutenant, and John W. Rogers, Second Lieutenant, Company C, killed; T. M. Horne, First Lieutenant, Company A, mortally wounded; Second Lieutenant A. J. Pryor, Company D, Lieutenant Harding, Company K, wounded. Of Ninth Kentucky, Second Lieutenant Dandridge Crockett, killed, First Lieutenant J. W. Cleveland, wounded.

I am, sir, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

Thomas H. Hunt, Colonel, commanding Detachment.

Report of Major Hewitt.

headquarters Second Kentucky regiment, camp Murfreesboro, Dec. 9, 1862.
Colonel Thomas H. Hunt:
Sir: I have the honor to report that, in pursuance of your orders, I formed my regiment on the left of the Ninth Kentucky, opposite the enemy's camp near Hartsville, a portion of General Morgan's cavalry being at the same time on my left. When the orders came for me to advance, I ordered my regiment forward, and after passing the fence the nature of the ground was such that I deemed it advisable to deploy my regiment, and therefore gave the order to deploy. In this way we drove the enemy from their first camp and continued to drive them until they surrendered. The officers, without an exception, behaved in the most gallant style. They were continually in advance of their men, urging them forward; and where all behaved so well, it would be impossible to particularize. Each seemed to vie with the other in deeds of gallantry. The whole command, I am pleased to say, behaved in a most unexceptionable manner. I cannot conclude my report without reference to Color-Sergeant John Oldham, whose conduct and courage during the whole engagement elicited the encomiums of both officers and men. Appended is a list of the killed, wounded, and missing, all of which I respectfully submit.

Your obedient servant,

James W. Hewitt, Major, commanding Twenty-second Kentucky regiment.


Report of Captain James T. Morehead.

Ninth Kentucky regiment, camp near Murfreesboro, December 10, 1862.
To Colonel Thomas H. Hunt, Commanding Infantry:
Sir: At twelve o'clock, on Saturday the sixth instant, I, as senior captain, was placed, by your orders, in command of the Ninth Kentucky regiment, which had, the day before, moved to Baird's Mills, eighteen miles from Murfreesboro, and was at that time about to march against the enemy, reported to be at Hartsville, Tennessee.

The weather was excessively cold, the snow having fallen the day before to some depth, and the road was very rough; notwithstanding, the men marched steadily during the day and all night, and reached the immediate neighborhood of the enemy, near Hartsville, at sunrise. The enemy occupied a strong position in front of his encampment, his line of battle stretching along the crest of a hill, which was separated from our forces by an intervening hollow or ravine. Our line of battle was formed with Cobb's battery on the right, supported by the Ninth Kentucky regiment directly in its rear. On our immediate left was the Second Kentucky regiment, and still further to the left a portion of two regiments of dismounted cavalry, under Colonel Duke. The enemy occupied with his sharpshooters the woods and ravines in front of the left wing of our line, and opened a brisk fire on us. Against them the dismounted cavalry deployed as skirmishers, and soon succeeded in dislodging and driving them back upon the main body of the enemy. The Second Kentucky regiment was ordered forward, and the Ninth left in support of the battery. In a few minutes after I was ordered to advance, and moved the regiment, in double-quick, in the direction of the main body of the enemy, going over, in our route, very rough ground, and through a deep ravine. Ascending the hill the regiment advanced to the right of the Second Kentucky, halted, and immediately became engaged, at less than fifty paces, with the enemy. After fighting for a short time, I ordered a charge, which was made with such gallantry by the regiment, that the left wing of the enemy's line gave way and commenced retreating in confusion. Pressed closely by the Ninth Kentucky, they passed through their camps and took refuge under the brow of a hill on the bank of the river, and in rear of their artillery. The regiment continued to move rapidly on and captured the two pieces of artillery and a stand of colors, charged the line of the enemy and drove them to the brink of the river, compelling their immediate surrender. Here we captured Colonel Moore, commanding Brigade, who, in reply to a question from Captain Crouch, answered that he surrendered himself and all the men around him, meaning the whole force. The battle was now fairly won, the firing had ceased, save a few scattering shots here and there. I immediately formed the regiment again in line of battle, had order restored, stragglers collected, and the men kept in their places. I sent details from all the companies to look after the dead and wounded, and detailed Company “H,” Captain Bosche, to guard the One hundred and sixth Ohio regiment captured by us. The prisoners being collected, I was ordered to detail Companies “A and C,” to guard them, and afterwards Company “G.” The regiment recrossed the river and began its march towards Lebanon, Tennessee. Too much praise [632] cannot be given to the officers and men for their spirit and patient endurance under a march of almost unexampled hardship and rapidity, and for their gallantry and good conduct in action.

The regiment had in battle an aggregate of three hundred and twenty men. The casualties were as follows, viz.:

Company A--Lieutenant Thomas McCaing, commanding; one private wounded.

Company B--Captain Crouch, commanding; one private wounded.

Company D--Lieutenant Beale, commanding; one private wounded.

Company G--Lieutenant Daniel, commanding; one private missing; one private wounded.

Company H--Captain E. Bosche, commanding; one private missing and one corporal killed.

Company I--Captain John Desha, commanding; three privates killed, and two lieutenants (J. W. Cleveland and W. T. Casey) and three privates wounded.

Company K--Lieutenant Gaines, commanding; killed Lieutenant D. S. Crockett, and one private.

Total: Killed, seven; wounded,ten; missing, nine.

All of which is respectfully submitted,

James T. Morehead, Captain, commanding Ninth Kentucky Regiment.

Report of Captain Cobb.

Report of Killed and Wounded in Captain R. Cobb's Company of light Artillery, in the Action near Hartsville, Tennessee, on Sunday, the seventh December, 1862.
Killed: Sergeant W. E. Etheridge; Privates David Watts and Sanderfer. Total 3.

Wounded and left on the field on account of severity of wounds:--Corporal James Donoh; Privates T. C. Carnhill, B. F. Perdue, Henry Williams. Total 4.

Wounded and not left :--Private John Leonard (slightly), John Thomas, R. F. Lear. Total 3.

Total killed and wounded, 10.

Respectfully submitted,

R. Cobb, Captain, commanding Battery.

Killed, Wounded, and Missing.
Ninth Kentucky Regiment610117
Second Kentucky Regiment864678
Colonel Gano's Regiment of Cavalry  11
Colonel Clarke's Regiment of Cavalry224632
Colonel Chenault's Regiment of Cavalry14 5
Colonel Bennett's Regiment of Cavalry13 4
Cobb's Battery37 10
General Morgan's Staff 2 2
Non-commissioned Officers513422

A true copy from files in this office.

Geo. Wm. Brent, A. A. General.

1 see rebellion record, volume 6, page 245, documents.

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