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[369] closed the scene and the troops rested from their labors.

As the Fourth corps pursued the enemy on the Franklin pike, General Wilson hastily mounted Knipe's and Hatch's division of his command, and directed them to pursue along the Granny White pike, and endeavor to reach Franklin in advance of the enemy. After proceeding about a mile they came upon the enemy's cavalry under Chalmers, posted across the road and behind barricades. The position was charged by the Twelfth Tennessee cavalry, Colonel Spalding commanding, and the enemy's lines broken, scattering him in all directions, and capturing quite a number of prisoners, among them Brigadier-General E. W. Rucker.

During the two days operations there were four thousand four hundred and sixty-two prisoners captured, including two hundred and eighty-seven officers of all grades, from that of Major-General, fifty-three pieces of artillery. and thousands of small-arms. The enemy abandoned on the field all his dead and wounded.

Leaving directions for the collection of the captured property, and for the care of the wounded left on the battle-field, the pursuit was continued at day light on the seventeenth. The Fourth corps pushed on toward Franklin by the direct pike, while the cavalry moved by the Granny White pike to its intersection with the Franklin pike, and then took the advance.

Johnson's division of cavalry was sent by General Wilson direct to Harpeth river, on the Hillsboroa pike, with directions to cross and move rapidly toward Franklin. The main column, with Knipe's division in advance, came up with the enemy's rear guard, strongly posted at Hollow Tree Gap, four miles north of Franklin. The position was charged in front and in flank simultaneously, and handsomely carried, capturing four hundred and thirteen prisoners and three colors. The enemy then fell back rapidly to Franklin, and endeavored to defend the crossing of Harpeth river at that place; but Johnson s division coming up from below on the south side of the stream, forced him to retire from the river bank, and our cavalry took possession of the town, capturing the enemy's hospitals, containing over two thousand wounded, of whom about two hundred were our own men.

The pursuit was immediately continued by Wilson toward Columbia, the-enemy's rear guard slowly retiring before him to a distance of about five miles south of Franklin, where the enemy made a stand in some open fields just north of West Harpeth river, and seemed to await our coming. Deploying Knipe's division as skirmishers, with Hatch's in close support, General Wilson ordered his body-guard, the Fourth United States cavalry, Lieutenant Hedges commanding, to charge the enemy. Forming on the pike in column of fours, the gallant little command charged with sabres drawn, breaking the enemy's centre, while Knipe's and Hatch's men pressed back his flanks, scattering the whole command, and causing them to abandon their artillery. Darkness coming on during the engagement enabled a great many to escape, and put an end to the day's operations.

The Fourth corps, under General Wood, followed immediately in rear of the cavalry as far as Harpeth river, where it found the bridges destroyed and too much water on the fords for infantry to cross. A trestle bridge was hastily constructed from such materials as lay at hand, but could not be made available before night-fall. General Steedman's command moved in rear of General Wood, and camped near him on the banks of the Harpeth. Generals Smith and Schofield marched with their corps along the Granny White pike, and camped for the night at its intersection with the Franklin pike. The trains moved with their respective commands, carrying ten days supplies and one hundred rounds of ammunition.

On the eighteenth the pursuit of the enemy was continued by General Wilson, who pushed on as far as Rutherford's creek, three miles from Columbia. Wood's corps crossed to the south side of Harpeth river, and closed up with the cavalry. The enemy did not offer to make a stand during the day. On arriving at Rutherford's creek, the stream was found to be impassable on account of high water, and running a perfect torrent. A pontoon bridge, hastily constructed at Nashville during the presence of the army at that place, was on its way to the front, but the bad condition of the roads, together with the incompleteness of the train itself, had retarded its arrival. I would here remark that the splendid pontoon train properly belonging to my command, with its trained corps of pontonniers, was absent with General Sherman.

During the nineteenth several unsuccessful efforts were made by the advanced troops to cross Rutherford's creek, although General Hatch succeeded in lodging a few skirmishers on the south bank. The heavy rains of the preceding few days had inundated the whole country and rendered the roads almost impassable. Smith's and Schofield's commands crossed to the south side of Harpeth river, General Smith advancing to Spring Hill, while General Schofield encamped at Franklin. On the morning of the twentieth General Hatch constructed a floating bridge from the debris of the old railroad bridge over Rutherford's creek, and crossing his entire division, pushed out for Columbia, but found, on reaching Duck river, the enemy had succeeded the night before in getting everything across, and had already removed his pontoon bridge. Duck river was very much swollen, and impassable without a bridge. During the day General Wood improvised a foot-bridge over Rutherford's creek, at the old road bridge, and by nightfall had succeeded in crossing his infantry entire, and one or two of his batteries, and moved forward to Duck river.

The pontoon train coming up to Rutherford's creek about noon of the twenty-first, a bridge was laid during the afternoon and General

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