the corps were passed over, marched three miles, and encamped for the night on the northern bank of Duck River. During the night of the twentieth the weather became bitterly cold. Wednesday, the twenty-first, operations were suspended, and the corps remained quietly in camp, as the pontoon train, detained by the swollen streams, the inclement weather, and the miserable condition of the roads, had not been able to get to the front. The day was bitterly cold, and the rest which the command gained by lying in camp was much needed after their arduous and laborious service of the many preceding days. During the night of the twenty-first, between midnight and daylight, the pontoon train came up and reported. I had, as early as the evening of the twentieth, encamped a brigade (the First brigade of the Third division Colonel Streight, commanding) on the margin of the river, ready to lay down the bridge the very earliest moment that it could be done. So soon as it was light enough to work, the morning of the twenty-second, a sufficient number of pontoons (they were canvas) were put together to throw across the river a detachment of the Fifty-first Indiana to clear the opposite bank of the enemy. The service was handsomely performed by the detachment, and quite a number of prisoners was the result of the operations. So soon as the opposite bank was cleared of the enemy, Colonel Streight commenced to lay down the bridge, and completed the work with celerity; though, owing to the inexperience of the troops in such service, and the extreme coldness of the weather, more time was consumed in doing it than could have been desired. So soon as the bridge was completed, passed over the infantry of the corps; and during the time which intervened before the hour designated by the commanding General for the cavalry to commence crossing, succeeded in getting over most of the artillery, and a sufficiency of the ammunition and baggage trains, to permit the corps to continue the pursuit. After crossing the river I moved the corps a mile out of the town of Columbia, which stands on the southern bank of the river, and encamped it for the remainder of the night. During the evening of the twenty-second, the commanding General informed me that he wished the pursuit continued by the Fourth corps and the cavalry conjointly, so soon as the cavalry had crossed the river; that he wished the Fourth corps to press down the turnpike road, and the cavalry to move through the country on either side the corps. Friday, the twenty-third, I rested near Columbia, waiting for the cavalry to complete its passage of Duck River, till midday, when, the cavalry not being yet over, I informed the commanding General I would move the corps a few miles to the front that afternoon, encamp for the night, and wait the following morning for the cavalry to move out, with which, as already stated, I had been instructed to co-operate. While at Duck River we learned that the enemy had thrown several pieces of artillery into the river, being unable to get them across. We also learned that his rear guard was composed of all the organized infantry that could be drawn from his army, which was placed under the command of General Walthall, and his cavalry, commanded by General Forrest. After advancing some five miles south of Columbia, the afternoon of the twenty-third, the head of the corps came on a party of the enemy posted advantageously in a gap, through which the highway passed, with enclosing heights on either side. I ordered Brigadier-General Kimball, commanding the leading division, to deploy two regiments as skirmishers, to bring up a section of artillery, and with this force to advance and dislodge the enemy from the pass. The service was handsomely and quickly performed. One captain of cavalry and one private certainly killed, and four privates captured, were among the known casualties to the enemy. It being now nearly nightfall, the corps was halted to await the completion of the crossing of the cavalry. On the following morning, the twenty-fourth, I was detained till twelve M. waiting for the cavalry to come up and move out. Shortly after the cavalry had passed out through my camp, Brevet Major-General Wilson sent me a message to the effect that he had found the ground so soft that he could not operate off the turnpike, and. begging that I would not become impatient at the delay he was causing in the movement of my command. At twelve M. the road was free of the cavalry, when the corps was put in motion, and marched sixteen miles that afternoon, and encamped two miles south of Linnville. During all this period of the pursuit, and indeed to the end of it, the rear guard of the enemy offered slight resistence, and generally fled at the mere presence of our troops. Sunday morning, the twenty-fifth, the corps followed closely on the heels of the cavalry, passed through Pulaski, from which the cavalry had rapidly driven the enemy's rear guard, and encamped for the night six miles from the turn in the Lamb's Ferry road. The corps marched sixteen miles on the twenty-fifth, the last six miles on a road next to impracticable, from the depth of the mud. As we could not have the use of the turnpike further south than Pulaski, I ordered all the artillery of the corps, but four batteries, to be left at Pulaski, using the horses of the batteries left to increase the horses of the pieces taken with the command to eight, and of the caissons to ten horses each. I also ordered that only a limited number of ammunition wagons, carrying but ten boxes each, should accompany the command. These arrangements were necessary, on account of the condition of the road on which the enemy had retreated. Without extra teams to the artillery carriages, and lightening the usual load of an ammunition wagon, it would have been impracticable to get the vehicles along; a vigorous pursuit
This text is part of:
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 .
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.