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[356]

Chapter 40:


After the battle at Murfreesboro, in Tennessee, a period of inactivity ensued between the large armed forces, which was disturbed only by occasional expeditions by small bodies on each side. On March 5, 1863, an expedition of the enemy, under Colonel Colburn, was captured at Spring Hill, ten miles south of Franklin, by Generals Van Dorn and Forrest. Thirteen hundred prisoners were taken. In April another expedition, under Colonel Streight, into northern Georgia, was captured near Rome by our vigilant, daring cavalry leader, Forrest. This was one of the most remarkable, and, to the enemy, disastrous raids of the war. Seventeen hundred prisoners were taken. In June some movements were made by General Rosecrans, which were followed by the withdrawal of our forces from middle Tennessee, and a return to the occupation of Chattanooga. At this time General Buckner held Knoxville and commanded the district of east Tennessee; General Samuel Jones commanded the district of southwest Virginia, his headquarters at Abingdon, Virginia. Between the two was Cumberland Gap, the well-known pass by which the first pioneer, Daniel Boone, went into Kentucky, and the only one in that region through which it was supposed an army, with the usual artillery and wagon train, could march from the north into east Tennessee or southwest Virginia. It was therefore occupied and partially fortified, which, with the precipitous heights flanking it on the right and left, would, it was hoped, suffice against an attack in front, and prove an adequate barrier to an advance on our important line of communication in its rear, which Buckner and Jones were relied on to defend.

On August 20th Brigadier General I. W. Frazier, an educated soldier in whom I had much confidence, assumed by assignment the

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