Particulars of Van-Dorn's recent victory.
A correspondent of the Savannah Republican
gives an interesting account of Van Dorn
's recent victory near Franklin, Tenn.
He left Spring Hill
on the 5th instant, with his entire force, except Crosby
's brigade, having learned that the enemy were in force this side of Franklin
The letter says:
Just as the forces were placed in position Forrest
rode up to Van-Dora
and expressed doubts about the enemy's approach and the propriety of taking position, but just at this juncture his own pickets on the right commenced skirmishing with a squadron of Yankee cavalry.
The skirmishers of the enemy were then visible upon the opposite range of hills, distant about six hundred yards, and our skirmishers were withdrawn to within a hundred yards of our position.
The enemy took position very cautions, and commenced marching upon the pike in column, but a few well-directed shots from King
's rifled pieces compelled them to file off into the woods and await the arrival of their artillery, which was soon placed in a grove at the base of the bill which they had formed upon, and which at once opened upon King
's section on the turnpike, but far overshot the mark.
They then changed the range of their rifled pieces so as to command the hill upon the left of the pike, opposite our battery, and thraw several shell with remarkable precision into the position occupied by Generals Van
, and Armstrong
and staff, and your correspondent.
We quickly "changed our base" and spread out so as to avoid making a target of the party.
Up to this time but little skirmishing had occurred in our immediate front, but a cavalry reconnaissance of the enemy was pushed back by Forrest
, and retired to within supporting distance of their infantry on the extreme fight.
Just then regular firing of musketry commenced upon our left, and Whitfield
reported that he was hard pressed, when one of Armstrong
's regiments, held in reserve, was ordered to his support until Crosby
should come up. The enemy then made a cavalry demonstration upon our right, to distract our attention from the left, which then commenced pressing heavily, and upon which they directed two piece of artillery.
's entire brigade was then rapidly crossed from the right of the pike to the left, to the assistance of Whitfield
, the enemy having advanced to within a hundred yards of his forces and taken position behind the railroad embankment which ran through the centre of the valley.
Upon this point the enemy then directed the whole of their artillery fire, and a section of King
's battery was brought up and placed upon the hill just in rear of our forces, and commanding the railroad.
So soon as Armstrong
's brigade got into position as infantry they, together with Whitfield
's, dashed impulsively forth from their position, and drove the enemy from the railroad to the base of the opposite mountain, their earliest passion.
The Federal had now fallen back to an excellent position, and we had given up the advantage of our own and pursued them to theirs.
Our men charged through the valley on both sides of the pike, and reached the base of the hill, driving the Yankees
to the summit, up which they charged, but were repeatedly repulsed.
Upon the left Whitfield
's Texans had to attack the enemy in strong position upon the brow of the hill, and the Yankees
retained tire until within close quarters.
when they poured in a severe volley, which compelled the Texans
to retire, and they would have been pursued to the railroad and severely punished by the enemy had it not been for the timely placing of one of our guns in position by Maj. M. M. Kimmell
, of Van Dorn
's staff, giving us the advantage of an enfilading artillery fire.
The piece opened and the arm proved so accurate that the Yankee
column was at once broken, and the Texans
rallied and returned to the charge.
Upon the right, too. Armstrong
's brigade pushed the enemy to the summit of their line of hills, but were once or twice driven back.
The enemy then crossed his forces from the hills upon the right of the pike to their right on the left, and, accompanied by their artillery, slowly retired to the brow of the range of hills, stubbornly disputing every step.
, who was upon the extreme right, and who had scarcely been engaged, was directed to dismount his brigade and pass them across the pike in the rear of the enemy and come around over the crest of the hills upon their rear and right flank.
A part of King
's battery was taken up the pike and advanced by hand each time as the enemy retired, directing well aimed shots at their heavy lines.
The engagement had now lasted three hours, with varied success, and at this time we had gradually drove the enemy from the crest of the lower hills to a still stronger position upon the higher ones — driving him over towards the other road, where Forrest
had been directed to come upon his rear.--The fighting had continued sharply and the gaining of each position had required a severe struggle, and occasionally met with a repulse, the enemy appearing to be determined to hold out, and finally drive us back.
's brigade new came up in good time and galloped along the pike in full view of the enemy, and filed off into the valley at the left of the pike.
At this moment the enemy's artillery ceased, and King
's battery was placed upon an eminence their forces five minutes before occupied, and being well served forced a still further retreat of the enemy.
now commenced advancing round upon their extreme right flank, and for a time all firing ceased.--Our men upon the slope of the hills, of which the enemy occupied the crest a little northwest, then commenced advancing in the finest line of battle of the day, but though the enemy were in good position and easy range, they fired not a shot.
's guns were heard upon their rear, and the Yankees run
up a white flag, when Van-Dorn
sent to ascertain the nature of it, and it was learned that the entire force of the enemy upon the ground laid down their arms and surrendered unconditionally.
A wild, joyous about broke from our gallant men, and the Yankees
grounded arms, and their five regiments of infantry, numbering 2,200 men, were marched forth prisoners.
They were under the command of the senior Colonel Coburn
, from Indiana
, who says he was compelled to surrender by the cowardly retreat of an Ohio regiment of infantry and three regiments of cavalry and the battery of artillery, which we did not succeed in getting.
The regiments capitulated were from Indiana
, and Wisconsin
So soon as the surrender was effected, I rode over every portion of the field and counted our own and the Yankee
dead and wounded.
The disparity in numbers was astonishing, for everywhere I found four and five dead Yankees to one Confederate.
The hill upon the left of the pike, which had been so hotly contested, and from which they drove us back, contained more of the unfortunate than any other portion of the field.
Upon it I counted forty of the enemy's slain.
Up to the last few charges all of the enemy's wounded had been removed by their excellent hospital corps, and sent off in the ambulances to Franklin
Their ambulances, wagon train, and ammunition train stampeded and left them without ammunition.
The loss of the enemy I estimate at 110 killed, 300 wounded, and 2,200 prisoners, who surrendered as many fine new Enfield rifles and cartridge boxes.
Our own loss is 30 killed and 125 wounded--nearly all in Armstrong
's and Whitfield
Among the killed we mourn Col. Earl
, of the 31 Arkansas
, one of our most fearless and experienced officers, who fell while leading his, regiment against the enemy in strong position upon the hill.--And the whole command is called upon to mourn the loss of our gallanted officer, Capt. Watson
, of Gen. Armstrong
's staff, who was instantly killed while leading a charge of one of his regiments.
W. is a son of Judge Watson
, of Holly Springs, Miss.
, and leaves a bereaved wife to lament and deplore her loss.
Parson Clouch, Chaplain
's brigade, was also killed while behaving most gallantly.