The Dashing operations of our cavalry in rear of Rosecrans.
On Christmas day the First Alabama cavalry, occupying the advance posts near Lavergne, Tennessee
, was driven in by an advance brigade of the enemy.
So soon as the intent one of the enemy became known Gen. Wheeler
slowly withdrew his cavalry towards Mur turning upon him at every convenient point, and delaying his approach by successive gallant skirmishes.
After a resistance of three days our cavalry retired behind the infantry lines and took its position upon the right wing.
Then came the brilliant operations in the enemy's rear, of which a correspondent of the Montgomery Advertiser
gives the following history:
At 1 P. M., the night of the 29th, Gen. Wheeler
with a command of his old brigade, under Col. W. W. Allen
, a regiment of Gen. Pegan
's brigade under Col. Carter
, and a section of Roberts
's battery, started upon an expedition from the right wing, the purpose of which was not known nor even guessed.
Passing around the left of the enemy he pushed forward by a circuitous by-read, and early on the morning of the 30th intersected the Jefferson pike
, in the rear of the Federal
army.--Far away to the Southeast
we heard distant cannonading, which told us that the enemy was feeling the strength of our lines.
Before us we saw moving along the pike a long train of Federal wagons hurrying to the battle-field.
Detaching Col. Carter
to intercept their advance.
fell upon their rear with a charge and a whoop which spread consternation among the guards and teamsters.
Quick as thought the traces were out, Rushpins removed, the fore wheels cut down, and fire set to at least fifty wagons laden with the baggage of officers, with company stores, ammunition, and clothing.
Every soldier who wished provided himself with comfortable clothing, boots, hats, overcoats, overalls, pistols, revolving rifles, saddles bridles, horses, mules, or what else might suit his fancy or comfort.
"To saddle and away" before the roar of Carter
's pieces in the rear should bring up superior forces of the enemy.
Over stock and rock, hills, fences, and ravines burning wagons behind us, roaring artillery far to the right of us, home strung to the saddle bow, mules with tattered traces scouring the country around us. We cave too with the sport of a Christmas holiday towards the village of Lavergne
The Yankee pickets had promised to give the 1st Alabama a Christmas ball.
Blegg was giving them the made while we were dancing to Wheelers quickstep.
Right upon Lavergne
we rushed through the woods on all sides — scores of Yankees were seen flying about the streets, while teamsters forseek their wagons and endeavored to escape, but escape was impossible, Five hundred prisoners surrendered; one hundred and fifty richly-laden wagons were consigned to the flames; one thousand mules and horses were carried off or stampeded.
's large rent, containing the wardrobe, &c, of his military family, was sacrificed to the flames.
The wagon of the chief paymaster
was burned, containing the accounts and vouchers for the army of the West and one million dollars in Federal "". The booty was rich and the men felt as though they had entered the den of the forty thieves.
Everybody had prize.--a horse, watch, negro, rifle, sword, or flag.
Your correspondent had the hands of dining upon Gen. McCock
's Christmas turkey, without so much as saying "by your leave sir." We were now upon the main Nashville pike, and every moment might being the enemy upon us.
So again to saddle and again away.
At a gallop we secured the hills and until approaching night brought as upon the village of Nolensville
Fifty wagons more before us — again a charge, a stampede, a line of flame along the pike, and one hundred prisoners of war. Thus three times we had struck the main arteries of the enemy.
The result of the expedition being 230 wagons heavily laden, 1,000 mules and horses and 700 prisoners of war, the entire loss of the enemy falling little short of $1,000,000. Of course, the burnt Treasury notes was only the loss of so much paper.
That night we bivouacked five miles from Nolensville
At early dawn of the 31st we passed around the right wing of the enemy to the music of artillery, and threw ourselves on the enemy's flank with an impetuous charge.
The enemy was not surprised.
He received with a battery on front and an en fire on each flank of the column.
quickly wheeled from the flank and threw his brigade against the front of the enemy's right.
The 1st Alabama leading the way, Captain Elmore
's squadron gallantly cleared the woods of skirmishers, driving them back upon line of cavalry.
charged with his regiment, supported nobly by John T. Morgan
, and others.--The Federal cavalry was thrown in confusion upon the line of infantry.
We had accomplished our purpose — had marched against a superior force of the enemy's cavalry and beaten him in upon field.
But eager to win new , we rushed upon the infantry, and were received by a volley which emptied many a saddle Colonel Allen
is severely wounded and forced to ave the field — His regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Hundrey
, wearied out by a two days never stands its ground and pours an volley into the enemy.
For two hours the battle raged Lieuts. G. S. Allen
, of Capt. Hadeson
's squadron, are killed.
Many others of the regiment have bitten the dust.
The of evening was still brightened by the flash , and the ceaseless blaze of rifles seemed a of fire files tangled in a velvet "screw." In the midst of it all, Gen. Wheeler
, our little corporal, as he was called at Point, dashed about for personal safety.
Just as night come on waved his hand and bade us give them a good night.
With a last blaze or rifles we out the old year, and bivouacked on the battle field with the dead and dying around us. The great battle of the 31st, was over the enemy driven for miles from the field; five thousand prisoners taken, forty pieces of artillery captured, the battle ground shown with dead and dying.
The new year opened with Wheeler
hurrying around the enemy's right Lavergne
Performing a circuit of twenty miles, again upon the enemy's rear, and waving his hat, dashed upon the wagon trains, which seemed now to be moving towards Nashville
This time the trains were defended by a stoong body of cavalry, has it fled before the charge, and left in our hands seventy-five wagons, two hundred prisoners, and a battery of artillery.
The scenes of the first raid were reenacted.
Moving back around the enemy's right we rested the next day within of the and unsuccessful cannonade against the enemy's left wing.
On the following day we attempted a thud raid upon the rear, out fell back in consequence of the enemy's having guarded his trains with a brigade of infantry and cavalry.
We drove the cavalry before us, but were unable to displace the infantry, which resisted us behind the shelter of their wagons.
In this attack Major Prentice
was wounded, and we regret to say Lieut J. A. Whiting
is among the missing.
Just at this point a courier reached Gen. Wheeler
ordering his return.
We hastened back slept two hours on the battle field, and then slowly and sadly wended our way in fear of the retreating army of Gen Bragg