no cavalry anywhere near to drive him away.
I could not take time to go with or send infantry to find out where he was. But I had with me my headquarters troop and as gallant an aide—Captain William J. Twining
—as ever wore spur.
was the same gallant and accomplished aide and officer of the corps of engineers, now dead, who afterward made the famous ride of one hundred and ten miles, through the enemy's country in North Carolina
, to carry a despatch from me to Sherman
He was a commissioner of the District of Columbia at the time of his death.
I ordered them to go at full gallop down the pike to Franklin
, and to ride over whatever might be found in their way. I sat motionless on my horse at Thompson's Station
until the clatter of hoofs on that hard road died out in the distance, and I knew the road was clear.
I did not tell the brave Twining
the object of that ride, but simply to report the situation to General Thomas
by telegraph from Franklin
, and if any troops were at that place, as had been reported, to order them forward at once.
I had not yet determined whether I could continue the retreat that night, or whether it might be necessary to fight Hood
at Spring Hill
the next day. In either case the troops at Franklin
, if any were there, might be useful.
Upon returning to Spring Hill
near midnight, I found my column from Duck River
there in compact order.
As the road was clear and the Confederates
all sound asleep, while the Union
forces were all wide awake, there was no apparent reason for not continuing the march that night.
A column of artillery and wagons, and another of infantry, moved side by side along the broad turnpike, so that if the redoubtable Forrest
should wake up and make his appearance anywhere, he would be quickly brushed away.
It was reported that he did attack somewhere in the night, but I heard nothing of it at the time, perhaps because I was sleeping quietly on my horse as we marched along!