sixteenth, indications that the enemy had left our front being apparent, I sent my skirmishers forward and found the rifle pits occupied by the enemy's sharpshooters vacant By direction of the General commanding, I then sent the skirmishing line to the hill south, and about one mile from the one we had taken the day previous. Finding no enemy there, the whole command was ordered forward. We marched about one mile and a half towards the south and then moved in a westerly direction, my left connecting with the right of Colonel Morgan's brigade. We halted on the hill east of the T. and A. railroad until the General commanding could communicate with the right of the army. When this was done I was ordered to move to the east side of the Franklin pike and connect with the left of General Wood's (Fourth) corps. This was done without material damage, though the enemy opened on us from two batteries on Overton Hill. Immediately upon getting my command into position, I reported the fact to General Wood, who said he was about to make a charge, and desired me to support his left. At about three o'clock P. M. his command started, and after they had proceeded about forty yards, I moved the left regiment. The Twelfth United States colored infantry was obliged to move about eighty yards in column, as there was a dense briar thicket on the left, which it could not penetrate. After passing this thicket it was my intention to halt the command, until I could see what was on General Wood's left, and how it would be best to charge the works. The deploying of the Twelfth regiment at double quick caused the other regiments to think that a charge had been. ordered, and they immediately started at double quick. Being under a heavy fire at the time, I thought it would cause much confusion to rectify this, so I ordered the whole line to charge. The Hundredth regiment was somewhat broken by trees, which had been fallen. The Twelfth regiment United States colored infantry, and the left wing of the Hundredth regiment United States colored infantry, passed to the left of the enemy's works, they making a sharp angle there. This gave the enemy an enfilading and rear fire on this portion of the command. It being impossible to change front under the withering fire, and there being no work in front of them, I gave orders for that portion of the command to move by the left flank to the shelter of a small hill a short distance off, there to re-organize. The right wing of the Hundredth regiment moved forward with the left of the Fourth corps, and was repulsed with them. The Thirteenth United States colored infantry, which was the second line of my command, pushed forward of the whole line, and dome of a the men mounted the parapet, but having no f support on the right, were forced to retire. These troops were here, for the first time, under such a fire as veterans dread, and yet, side by side with the veterans of Stone River, Missionary Ridge and Atlanta, they assaulted probably the strongest work on the entire line, and though not successful they vied with the old warriors in bravery, tenacity, and deeds of noble dating. The loss in the brigade was over twenty-five per cent of the number engaged, and the loss was sustained in less than thirty minutes. While re-organizing my command, the troops on the right had broken the enemy's line, which caused them to retreat from Overton Hill. The enemy on Overton Hill was considerably reinforced, during the attack, on account of the firmness of the assault, and which naturally weakened the enemy's left and made it easier for our troops to break their line at that point. Under orders from the General commanding we moved down the Franklin pike and bivouacked on the left of the army. December seventeenth, we marched to the north bank of the Harpeth river, opposite Franklin, in pursuit of the enemy. December eighteenth, marched about three miles south of Franklin, where orders reached us to return to Franklin, and from there to move to Murfreesboro. We arrived in Murfreesboro on the twentieth of December at about noon, the men completely worn down, having accomplished by far the hardest march that I ever experienced. The rain had fallen almost constantly, and every brook had overflown its banks and assumed the proportions of a river. The mud was ankle deep, and when we arrived at Murfreesboro, over fifty per cent. of the command were in need of shoes. On the twenty-third of December, 1864, moved from Murfreesboro by rail, and on the twenty-sixth of December disembarked from the cars about nine miles east of Decatur, Alabama, and moved within a mile of the Tennessee river, near the mouth of Flint river. Was placed in command of the Second provisional division, consisting of the First and Second colored brigades and reserve brigade. On the twenty-seventh, in accordance with orders from the General commanding, I moved my command to the river, and embarked them on transports. We were landed on the opposite shore, and a bridge which had been prepared was thrown across a lagoon (which still separated us from the main shore) by the men of the Eighteenth Ohio volunteer infantry. Too much praise cannot be given to this regiment for the skill and energy displayed in the laying of this bridge. Skirmishers were sent across this lagoon immediately upon landing, and in wading the water was up to their necks. Before noon the whole command was across, and I pushed it forward, driving the enemy before until I reached a point at which I had been directed to halt and await further orders from the General commanding.
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Table of Contents:
Doc . 16 . operations in Tennessee .
Doc . 19 . the siege of Suffolk, Virginia .
Doc . 36 . General Rousseau 's expedition.
Doc . 59 . battles of Spottsylvania , Va: battle of Sunday , May 8 , 1864 .
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