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Doc. 147.-the surrender at Brentwood.


Cincinnati commercial account.

Franklin, Tenn., March 28, 1863.
the cavalry engagement between our forces, under General Green Clay Smith, and the rebels under Cols. Stearns and Wheeler and Gen. Forrest, near Franklin, Tenn., deserved more than a passing notice. Considering the disparity of the numbers on each side, and the complete success of our forces, it was one of the most brilliant affairs of the war. Early on the morning of the twenty-fifth, information was received by Gen. Granger that a large rebel cavalry force had crossed Little Harpeth, about six miles from camp, with the evident purpose of attacking Brentwood, a station on the railroad, about nile miles from Franklin. Gen. Smith was ordered to take a force of cavalry and find out the location of the enemy and his intentions. With parts of the Ninth Pennsylvania, Sixth Kentucky, Fourth Kentucky, and Second Michigan cavalry, numbering five hundred and forty-five men in all, he started in pursuit. On arriving at Brentwood, General Smith found the camp and railroad bridge at that place in ruins, Col. Bloodgood having surrendered his command after little or no resistance. Gen. Smith learned that the enemy were three thousand strong, and had gone (driving their prisoners in front, and loaded with plunder) in the direction of Columbia, Tenn. He pressed on in pursuit, and soon compelled the enemy to abandon the ambulances and ammunition wagons he had captured, and also two ambulances of his own.

After a pursuit of about nine miles the enemy were overtaken, and formed in line of battle. Gen. Smith disposed his little force for a charge, and when all was ready, he took off his hat and shouted: “Now, boys, go in!” And in they went They broke the enemy's line at every point of attack, killing great numbers with their Burnside carbines and Colt rifles before getting in sabre distance. The rebels broke in confusion, appearing to be panic-stricken. They would gather in groups, until the true aim of our boys, with the deadly Burnside, would make them scatter to the neighboring trees. It getting too hot for them, they started again, this time relieving themselves of all surplus weight. Their track was literally covered with Federal clothing, sutlers' goods, etc., which they had stolen at Brentwood. General Smith drove them six miles. During the race they made three stands, but in every instance were scattered by the invincible charges of our boys, who were now crazy with excitement. Here another road came in, and in that road appeared a rebel force of two thousand five hundred rebel cavalry, under Col. Wheeler. They consisted, in part, of Texan Rangers, mounted on red, white, gray, and speckled horses and mules, and yelling like devils. Here was a fix. Flanked for three quarters of a mile by this new force, who were coming down like an avalanche, with the old force in front, inspired and encouraged by reenforcements, the “situation” was any thing but pleasant. Here was an emergency which required the qualities of a great general, and they were not wanting. Gen. Smith had the recall sounded, and slowly and sullenly commenced falling back in a slow walk. Had he started on a run, his command would inevitably have been lost. But he had the advantage of position, and well he availed himself of it. Behind fences and such natural fortifications as he could find, he formed lines of battle in the rear, and sufficiently checked the advance of the overwhelming hosts. The Second Michigan, with their Colt's rifles, had to fire three successive volleys in one furious charge of Wheeler's motley crew, before they turned tail. The [482] powder from the last discharge flashed in the faces of the rebel horses, and they turned and fled. This rear line would then fall back behind another, and so on for two miles, when the rebels getting sick of it or fearing reenforements, abandoned the pursuit, and Gen. Smith brought his command into camp without losing a man as prisoner, bringing in forty-seven of the enemy.

The enemy suffered severely in killed and wounded. Our men were well armed, and every volley told with fearful effect. They lost fully four hundred men, many horses, and two ambulance wagons, and were compelled to destroy many more.

During the engagement many evidences of personal daring occurred, which I have not time to mention. Col. Watkins of the Sixth Kentucky, knocked a rebel from his horse with the butt of his pistol while the rebel was aiming at one of our men. Lieut. Williams of the same regiment, got cut off from his command, with fifteen others. They cut their way through the rebel lines and arrived safely at Nashville, taking six prisoners on their route. Lieutenant Clay Goodloe, of Gen. Smith's staff, in returning from delivering an order, found himself surrounded by rebels, and had to run the gauntlet. After emptying his holster pistols, he lay flat upon his horse, relying upon spurs and his “Lexington.” They brought him safely home, but he has a bullet-hole through his pants to remind him of the amiable intentions of his Southern brethren respecting himself.



Chaplain Pillsbury's account.

RA<*>NE, Wis., April 14, 1863.
Editors Chicago Tribune
Having been present at the time of the surrender, and also in company with the prisoners till the ninth day following, I will furnish the public with a brief statement of the facts in the case.

A remnant of the Twenty-second regiment Wisconsin volunteers, numbering in all, officers, teamsters, and sick, I think, five hundred and twenty men, was stationed at Brentwood, nine miles south of Nashville, and about the same distance north of Franklin, for the protection of the railroad. We must have had less than four hundred men fit for duty.

Two miles south of us a remnant of the Nineteenth Michigan, numbering in all two hundred and thirty men, were stationed to protect a bridge. We had neither artillery nor cavalry at either post.

On the morning of the twenty-fifth of March a messenger notified Col. Bloodgood that the Nineteenth Michigan was attacked, and that the enemy were tearing up the railroad track. With all possible despatch, Col. Bloodgood. with so many men as he deemed it prudent to take from the camp, started to assist the Nineteenth. On reaching the summit of a small elevation of land, about one fourth of a mile from camp, a large body of the enemy appeared in full view, upon the other side, forming in line of battle on each side of the street. Our men were immediately ordered to deploy to the right and left as skirmishers, and the order was quickly obeyed.

At this point a flag of truce appeared, coming up from the enemy's lines, and Major Smith was sent out in advance to meet it. He received a written message, stating that we were entirely surrounded by a large force of General Forrest's command, demanding an immediate and unconditional surrender, and stating that upon refusing to comply, we should be cut to pieces. The answer returned was: “Come and take us.”

The enemy soon advanced, and when sufficiently near, they were fired upon by our men, and a very sharp contest was kept up on both sides about ten minutes. A piece of artillery was now discovered in position to shell our camp, and rebel cavalry were moving down the hills, and in large bodies rapidly approaching us from all directions. A flag of truce was sent out from our lines, the firing ceased, and our forces were surrendered. Our loss was three wounded in the engagement. The enemy, to my knowledge, had one killed and five wounded.

The enemy's force consisted of three brigades, commanded by Generals Forrest, Armstrong, and Stearns, and a battalion of Independent Scouts, under the command of Major Sanders, numbering in all not less than five thousand men.

An attempt was made to give notice of the attack at Franklin or Nashville, but the wires had been cut. Colonel Bloodgood had no reasons to expect assistance from either point, and he had nothing to do with the surrender at the bridge, though your correspondent says he surrendered that post without firing a gun. That point was subsequently surrendered, but only when there remained no possibility of successful resistance.

Perhaps some men might have fought longer than Col. Bloodgood fought; but to have done so, in my judgment, would have been a reckless sacrificing of life to no purpose.

Officers in command at each point considered themselves exposed to a raid of this kind, and made commendable efforts to obtain an additional force of artillery, but without success. With two pieces of artillery our position might have been maintained till the arrival of reenforcements, and a very different result might have followed.

Many will think that a charge of negligence rests somewhere, and the communication of your correspondent appears a little like an effort to cast shadows over Col. Bloodgood for the purpose of drawing attention from the really guilty head.

In the absence of Colonel Bloodgood, he being still (as I suppose) in the hands of the enemy, I considered it my duty to make this simple statement of facts.

Respectfully yours,

C. D. Pillsbury, Chaplain Twenty-second Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers.

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