which could not easily be crossed under the fire of Schofield
So he concluded to leave General Lee
, with two divisions at Columbia
, who was ordered to make demonstrations as if to cross the river, while he would cross the river a few miles above, and intercept the rear of Schofield
at Spring Hill
, twelve miles in rear, on the Franklin pike
Our command moved up and crossed the river (fording it) on the evening of the 28th, about eight miles from Columbia
, and early next morning made a detour through a rough country, skirmishing most of the time until, shortly after noon, we reached the beautiful country near Spring Hill
I remember distinctly the beautiful day, and as we got in sight of the little village of Spring Hill
the old rugged veterans of Cheatham
's corps came marching up on our left with their battle-flags waving in the mellow sunlight, and we felt that a long-sought opportunity had at last arrived.
's guns at Columbia
kept up lively music, admonishing us that he was meeting his part of the contract.
We were satisfied that a few minutes — at most an hour — would be ample time in which to place our command across the pike, and then the surrender of Schofield
would follow as night follows day. The command under Hood
had crossed the river that morning about four miles above Columbia
in front, followed by Stewart
's division of Lee
We had but little artillery, as the roads were too rough for moving it.
It was about 3 or 4 o'clock when everything was ready to advance.
Every soldier realized that we would have a fight, but the result was not a question.
The Federals only had one division at Spring Hill
, numbering about four thousand men, while we had two corps and a division of infantry and the greater part of Forrest
Our force was fully sixteen thousand men, and I think nearer twenty thousand, and it was a fair open field fight.
It was said at the time, and I have always believed it to be true, that General Forrest
asked permission to place his command across the pike, but was refused.
's corps was put forward and deployed as if they were going to do all the work and have all the glory.
I remember how anxiously we sat on our horses on a hillside overlooking the fertile fields around Spring Hill
, and expected, in vain, to at least see the battle.
But alas I night came on and we went into camp, at first cautioned not to make fires, but in a little time were asleep before good fires, having plenty of forage for our horses from the adjoining fields.
was permitted to march by that night without firing