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[144]

There were approximately twelve thousand mounted troops with Bragg's army at Murfreesboro in December, 1862. General Joseph Wheeler, Chief of Cavalry, with one division, operated directly with Bragg during the battle. On December 17th Forrest, with three thousand men, was sent into western Tennessee to destroy the railroads in the rear of Grant's army in western Tennessee and northern Mississippi. Morgan with two brigades, Duke's and Breckinridge's, thirty-nine hundred in all, with two light batteries of seven pieces, left Alexandria, Tennessee, December 22, 1862, his object being to destroy the Louisville and Nashville Railroad and interrupt Rosecrans' communications with the North.

Four hundred unarmed men did duty as horse-holders until arms were captured. There were no sabers. The veterans of a year or more had provided themselves with one or two Colt's army pistols; a few had cavalry carbines, while a larger number were armed with double-barreled shotguns. The greater portion carried long-barreled rifles of the Enfield, Austrian, or Belgian make.

Morgan's troopers were mostly young men from eighteen to thirty-five years old, well mounted, at home on horseback, and there were no better fighters in the world.

They started with three days cooked rations. Every man carried his own ammunition, two extra horseshoes, twelve nails, one blanket in addition to the saddle-blanket, and an oil-cloth or overcoat. With the exception of the artillery which was double-teamed, there was nothing on wheels.

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