the fast approaching darkness made it necessary to halt for the night. In the pursuit the Third division captured five pieces of artillery. The batteries of the corps advanced with the infantry in the pursuit, and by timely discharges increased the confusion and hastened the flight of the enemy. The corps bivouacked eight miles from Nashville, and within a mile of. the Brentwood Pass, which was under our guns. By the day's operations the enemy had been driven from a strongly intrenched position by assault, and forced into an indiscriminate rout. In his flight he had strewn the ground with small arms — bayonets, cartridge-boxes, blankets, and other material, all attesting the completeness of the disorder to which he had abandoned himself. The captures of the day were fourteen pieces of artillery, nine hundred and eighty prisoners, two stands of colors, and thousands of small arms. It may be truthfully remarked that military history scarcely affords a parallel of a more complete victory. At 12:30 A. M., of the seventeenth, instructions were received from the commanding General of the forces to move the Fourth corps as early as practicable down the Franklin pike in pursuit of the enemy. At six A. M., of the seventeenth, I directed division commanders to advance as early as practicable, move rapidly, and if the enemy should be overtaken, to press him vigorously. The night had been rainy and the morning was dark and gloomy. It was hence nearly eight A. M. before the column was well in motion, but it then advanced rapidly. The instructions of the commanding General, received during the night, informed me that the cavalry would move on my left during the day; it did not, however, get to the left before I moved, and at ten A. M. I was detained a short time in permitting a portion of the cavalry to get to the front, which was necessary in order that it might reach the position assigned to it in the order of march. After this brief delay I pushed rapidly forward, and, although the road was very heavy, reached Franklin at 1:20 P. M. The whole line of march of the day bore unmistakable evidence of the signalness of the victory our arms had achieved and the completeness of the rout. The road was strewn with small arms, accoutrements, and blankets. The enemy had destroyed all the bridges over the Big Harpeth at Franklin, and as the rain of the previous night and that morning had swollen the stream so as to make it impassable by infantry without a bridge, it was necessary to halt to build one, the pontoon train not having come up. Colonel Suman, Ninth Indiana, nobly volunteered to build the bridge, and, thanks to his energy and ingenuity, and the industry of his gallant regiment, it was ready (though he had few conveniences in the way of tools, the scantiest materials, and the stream was rising rapidly) for the corps at daylight, the morning of the eighteenth. This service was the more useful, as well as the more gratifying, as our cavalry (which, from reaching the Harpeth earlier on the seventeenth, had been able to ford it) was sharply engaged with the enemy's rearguard, several miles in front, and the whole corps was burning with impatience to get forward to join in the conflict. The corps was pushed rapidly across the Harpeth, pressed forward, and marched eighteen miles that day, though the road was very heavy and many crossings had to be made over the streams. Near nightfall it passed in front of the cavalry and encamped a mile in advance of it. The weather was very inclement. During the night of the eighteenth the rain poured down in torrents, and the morning brought no improvement to the weather of the night. During the night I received instructions from the commanding General of the forces, informing me--first, that the cavalry then encamped in my rear would move at six A. M., pass to the front; and, secondly, that I should move at eight A. M. The cavalry had not all passed at eight A. M., but at the appointed hour the corps was in motion. The rain still fell in torrents, flooding the earth with water, and rendering all movements off the pike impossible. The head of the column advanced three and a half miles and arrived at Rutherford Creek. This is a bold and rapid stream, usually fordable, but subject to rapid freshets; and the heavy rains of the preceding twenty-four hours had swollen it beyond the possibility of being crossed without bridges. To construct these it was necessary we should first occupy the opposite bank of the stream. As the head of the column approached the creek the hostile fire from the southern bank was opened with artillery and musketry. To clear the enemy from the opposite bank at the turnpike crossing where the bridge for the passage of the artillery and trains had to be constructed, it was necessary to pass troops over either above or below; and as the pontoon train was not yet up, every expedient that ingenuity could devise was resorted to to effect the desired object. Rafts were constructed and launched, but the current was so rapid that they were unmanageable. Huge forest trees, growing near the margin of the stream, were felled athwart the stream, with the hope of spanning it in this way and getting some riflemen over; but the creek was so rapid and the flood so deep that these huge trees of the forest were swept away by the resistless torrent. In these efforts was passed one of the most dreary, uncomfortable, and inclement days I remember to have passed in the course of nineteen years and a half of active field service. Late in the afternoon, some dismounted cavalry succeeded in crossing the creek on the ruins of the railroad bridge, and drove off the enemy from its southern bank. During the night and the early forenoon of the following day (the twentieth) two bridges for infantry were constructed across the stream, one at the turnpike crossing, by Colonel Opdycke's brigade of the Second division, and the other by General Grose's, of the First division. So soon as these were completed the infantry of
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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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