previous next

[363] constructed by his men, and two small boats belonging to one of the gunboats, and then moved off in the direction of Clifton. Major-General Schofield, with the advance of the Twenty third corps, arrived in Nashville on the fifth, and was immediately started toward Johnsonville by rail, reaching that place the same night, and finding the enemy had already retreated. Directions were then sent General Schofield to leave a sufficiently strong force for the defence of that post, and with the balance of his command proceed to carry out the instructions already given him, namely, to join the Fourth corps at Pulaski, and assume command of all the troops in the vicinity, watch the movements of Hood, and retard his advance into Tennessee as much as possible, without risking a general engagement, until Major-General A. J. Smith's command could arrive from Missouri, and Major-General J. H. Wilson could have time to remount the cavalry regiments dismounted to furnish horses for Kilpatrick's division, Which was to accompany General Sherman in his march through Georgia.

At this time I found myself confronted by the army which, under General J. E. Johnston, had so skilfully resisted the advance of the whole active army of the Military Division of the Mississippi from Dalton to the Chattahoochee, reinforced by a well-equipped and enthusiastic cavalry command of over twelve thousand men, led by one of the boldest and most successful cavalry commanders in the rebel army.

My information from all sources confirmed the reported strength stated of Hood's army to be from forty to forty-five thousand infantry, and from twelve to fifteen thousand cavalry. My effective force at this time consisted of the Fourth corps, about twelve thousand, under Major-General D. S. Stanley; the Twenty-third corps, about ten thousand, under Major-General J. M. Schofield; Hatcher's division of cavalry, about four thousand; Croxton's brigade, two thousand five hundred, and Capron's brigade, of about twelve hundred. The balance of my force was distributed along the railroad, and posted at Murfreesboro, Stevenson, Bridgeport, Huntsville, Decatur, and Chattanooga, to keep open our communications and hold the posts above named, if attacked, until they could be reinforced, as up to this time it was impossible to determine which course Hood would take advance on Nashville, or turn toward Huntsville. Under these circumstances it was manifestly best to act on the defensive until sufficiently reinforced to justify taking the offensive.

My plans and wishes were fully explained to General Schofield, and, as subsequent events showed, properly appreciated and executed by him.

From the first to the tenth of November the enemy's position at Florence had remained materially unchanged. He had laid a pontoon bridge by mooring it to the piers of the old railroad bridge at that place, and had crossed over one corps of infantry (S. D. Lee's) and two divisions of cavalry; the other two corps (Stuart's and Cheatham's) were still on the south side of the river. His cavalry had pushed out to Shoal creek, skirmishing continually with Hatch's and Croxton's commands along the line of that stream, but showing no disposition to advance beyond.

General Sherman's uncertain position at Kingston, Georgia, where he still remained in camp, had much to do with detaining the enemy, doubtless causing considerable speculation as to his future movements. On the twelfth of November communication with General Sherman was severed, the last despatch from him leaving Cartersville, Georgia, at 2:25 P. M. on that date. He had started on his great expedition from Atlanta to the sea-board, leaving me to guard Tennessee or to pursue the enemy if he followed the commanding general's column. It was therefore with considerable anxiety that we watched the forces at Florence, to discover what course they would pursue with regard to General Sherman's movements, determining thereby whether the troops under my command, numbering less than half those under Hood, were to act on the defensive in Tennessee, or take the offensive in Alabama.

The enemy's position at Florence remained unchanged up to the seventeenth November, when he moved Cheatham's corps to the north side of the river, with Stuart's corps preparing to follow. The same day part of the enemy's infantry, said to be Lee's corps, moved up the Lawrenceburg road to Bough's Mill on Shoal creek, skirmishing at that point with Hatcher's cavalry, and then fell back a short distance to some bluffs, where it went into camp.

The possibility of Hood's forces following General Sherman was now at an end, and I quietly took measures to act on the defensive. Two divisions of infantry, under Major-General A. J. Smith, were reported on their way to join me from Missouri, which, with several one-year regiments then arriving in the department, and detatchments collected from points of minor importance, would swell my command, when concentrated, to an army nearly as large as that of the enemy. Had the enemy delayed his advance a week or ten days longer, I would have been ready to meet him at some point south of Duck river, but Hood commenced his advance on the nineteenth, moving on parallel roads from Florence toward Waynesboro, and shelled Hatch's cavalry out of Lawrenceburg on the twenty-second. My only resource then was to retire slowly toward my reinforcements, delaying the enemy's progress as much as possible, to gain time for reinforcements to arrive and concentrate.

General Schofield commenced removing the public property from Pulaski preparatory to falling back toward Columbus. Two divisions of Stanley's corps had already reached Lynnville, a point fifteen miles north of Pulaski, to cover the passage of the wagons and protect the railroad. Capron's brigade of cavalry was at Mount

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
November 17th (1)
November 12th (1)
November 10th (1)
22nd (1)
19th (1)
5th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: