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Chapter 4: campaign of the Army of the Cumberland from Murfreesboro'to Chattanooga.

We left General Rosecrans and the Army of the Cumberland at Murfreesboroa, after the Battle of Stone's River, at the beginning of 1863, where he established a fortified depot of supplies. General Bragg, his opponent, had taken a strong position north of the Duck River,1 his infantry extending from Shelbyville to Wartrace, his cavalry on his right stretched out to McMinnville, and on his left to Columbia and Spring Hill, on the railway between Nashville and Decatur. General Polk's corps was at Shelbyville. Hardee's Headquarters were at Wartrace, and his troops were holding Hoover's, Liberty, and Bellbuckle Gaps. Bragg's main base of supplies was at Chattanooga, on the Tennessee River, with a large depot at Tullahoma.

In nearly these repective positions the two armies lay for almost six months, but not in idleness. Although Rosecrans had the most men, Bragg was his superior in cavalry, and this gave the latter a vast advantage, because of the relation of that arm of the service to his adversary's supplies. These were chiefly drawn from far-distant Louisville, over a single line of railway, through a country whereof a majority of the inhabitants were hostile to the Government. For that reason, Rosecrans was compelled to keep heavy guards at bridges, trestle-work, and culverts, to prevent their destruction by raiders and resident enemies. The consequence was that at no time while the two armies confronted each other, from January to June,

could Rosecrans have brought into the field to fight his foe a number of troops equal to that of his antagonist.

Rosecrans reorganized his army, and divided

Jan. 9.
it into three corps, known as the Fourteenth, Twentieth, and the Twenty-first, commanded respectively by Generals Thomas, McCook, and

A. McDowell McCook.


Crittenden, and a reserve and cavalry corps.2 The winter floods in the Cumberland favored him, and as rapidly as possible he collected large stores at Nashville by the river steamers, and made Murfreesboroa a depot for ample supplies. Finally, he obtained a sufficient number of horses and mules to warrant him in, moving southward. Before considering that important act, which took place late in June,

let us take a brief survey of the doings of the cavalry and mounted infantry of the two armies curing the suspension of operations in full force.

At the beginning of February, General Wheeler, Bragg's chief of cavalry, with four thousand five hundred mounted men, and having General Wharton and Colonel N. B. Forrest as brigadiers, concentrated his forces at Franklin, a little below Nashville, on the road between that city and Decatur, for the purpose of attempting the recapture of Fort Donelson, which, it was known, had not been repaired since it was taken by Grant.3 It had not even been occupied, for it was of little account, excepting as a defense against gun-boats coming up the river. The little village of Dover, near by, had been partially fortified; and when Wheeler approached, the garrison, under Colonel A. C. Harding, consisted of only about six hundred effective men, mostly of the Eighty-third Illinois, with a section of Flood's battery (four guns) and a 32-pound siege-gun mounted upon a turn-table, and commanded by N. Grant Abbey, then a private in the Eighty-third Illinois.4

The chief object of the Confederates at this time was to interrupt the navigation of the Cumberland, and thus seriously interfere with the transportation of supplies for Rosecrans's army to Nashville, by way of the river. Forrest had been at Palmyra for the same purpose; and now, at a little past noon on the 3d of February,

he demanded the surrender of Fort Donelson and the garrison. Harding was weak in numbers, but strong in heart. He defied his foe; and when the

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