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[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

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R. Cobb (6)
John H. Morgan (3)
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MQrehead (1)
James T. Morehead (1)
Thomas H. Hunt (1)
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James W. Hewitt (1)
Hewett (1)
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