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Doc. 45.-occupation of Bowling Green, Ky.

Gen. Buell's despatch.

Louisville, February 15, 1862.
To Major General-McClellan:
Mitchell's division, by a forced march, reached the river at Bowling Green to-day, making a [135] bridge to cross. The enemy burned the bridge at one o'clock in the morning, and were evacuating the place when he arrived.

D. C. Buell, Brigadier-General Commanding.

Gen. Buell's General order.

The following is a general order, issued by Gen. Buell to the troops of General Mitchell's division, after their advance upon Bowling Green:

General order no. 70.

headquarters Third division, Camp John Q. Adams, Bowling Green, February 19, 1862.
soldiers of the Third division: You have executed a march of forty miles in twenty-eight hours and a half. The fallen timber and other obstructions, opposed by the enemy to your movements, have been swept from your path. The fire of your artillery, and the bursting of your shells, announced your arrival. Surprised and ignorant of the force that had thus precipitated itself upon them, they fled in consternation.

In the night time, over a frozen, rocky, precipitous pathway, down rude steps for fifty feet, you have passed the advance-guard, cavalry and infantry, and before the dawn of day you have entered in triumph a position of extraordinary natural strength, and by your enemy proudly denominated the Gibraltar of Kentucky.

With your own hands, through deep mud, in drenching rains, and up rocky pathways, next to impassable, and across a foot-path of your own construction, built upon the ruins of the railway bridge, destroyed for their protection, by a retreating and panic-stricken foe, you have transported upon your own shoulders your baggage and camp equipage.

The General commanding the department, on receiving my report announcing these facts, requests me to make to the officers and soldiers under my command, the following communication:

Soldiers, who by resolution and energy overcome great natural difficulties, have nothing to fear in battle, where their energy and prowess are taxed to a far less extent. Your command have exhibited the high qualities of resolution and energy, in a degree which leaves no limit to my confidence in their future movements.

By order of

Brig.-Gen. Buell, Commanding Department of the Ohio.

Soldiers! I feel a perfect confidence that the high estimate placed upon your power, endurance, energy and heroism, is just. Your aim and mine has been to deserve the approbation of our commanding officer, and of our Government and our country.

I trust you feel precisely as does your Commanding General, that nothing is done, while anything remains to be done.

By order of

Cincinnati Gazette narrative.

Bowling Green, Ky., February 15.
Our victory is completed! We are now in possession of Bowling Green. Last night, at about nine o'clock, Col. Turchin's brigade, consisting of the Eighteenth Ohio, Col. Stanley, the Thirty-seventh Indiana, Major Hall Commanding, the Twenty fourth Illinois, Col. Mihialotzs, the Nineteenth Illinois, Col. Turchin, together with sections of Loomis's, Edgarton's and Simonson's batteries, and three companies of Col. Kennett's cavalry, were formed in order, and marched rapidly to a ferry, a mile and a half below the town. A single boat was there, a kind of flat-boat, upon which about fifty infantry or a score of cavalry could pass at once. The river is about a hundred yards wide at this place, and the descent to the water on one side, and the ascent from it on the other, are both difficult, even when circumstances are favorable, but were particularly so last night, on account of the frozen and snowy ground. But the passage was commenced with the utmost expedition and secrecy, and prosecuted in the same manner until almost the entire force, except the artillery, had crossed. Before daylight they were ready to march upon the town, not knowing but what they might, at any moment, meet with the enemy in formidable numbers, and not much caring if they did.

The pontoon bridge upon which it was intended that the remainder of the division should cross, could not be finished in time, and orders were issued for all the other regiments to cross at the same place with Col. Turchin's brigade. Owing to the failure of this order to reach the headquarters of Gen. Dumont, under whose command the rest of the. division had been placed, the troops did not commence marching to the ferry until six o'clock this morning. In the mean time, however, it had been ascertained that the enemy had entirely abandoned the town, and when Gen. Dumont's troops reached the ferry, it was thought unnecessary to have them cross over until the pontoon bridge should be completed.

When our forces reached the town, it presented a scene of desolation seldom witnessed. Almost all the inhabitants had gone away — the secessionists from the fear of the Union army, the Union people because they were frightened by Captain Loomis's shells. Those who remained, whether rebel or loyal, did the best, for neither class were molested, nor were their houses in any way intruded upon; but it was impossible to protect the hundreds of deserted tenements, and as many of them had been left in hot haste, and all the furniture and household goods remained in them, they were, doubtless, frequently visited and partially plundered. One house contained a large lot of sutler's stores, and of these the boys made free use, appropriating every article that they could lay their hands on. Tobacco, segars, candy, etc., will, for a few days, be found in abundance in some of the boys' quarters.

There is not as much of the town burnt as we supposed last night. The depot was fired, with the intention of destroying the locomotives and [136] other property contained therein, after it became evident that if removed at all, it would have to be done amid a storm of percussion — shells. Seven locomotives were burned in the depot, besides an immense quantity of all sorts of army material. Hundreds of gun-barrels and locks could be seen amongst the ruins, embracing the remains of almost every variety of “shoot — iron” which is used at present among civilized men. There were Mississippi rifles, Enfield rifles, rifled — muskets, smooth-bore muskets, breach — loading muskets, double and single-barreled shot-guns, and miscellaneous arms of every description. Bayonets, swords, hangers, bowie-knives, butcher-knives, and knives made of saws and files, were there in immense quantities, mingled with army stores, camp-kettles, tin pans, and everything which usually goes to make up the indestructible portion of the furniture of a camp.

I was mistaken in saying, yesterday, that the two locomotives which were on the railroad track at the time we commenced firing, both escaped. One of them was crippled so that it could not get off, and is now in our hands. The tender attached to it was loaded with wood, which was set on fire either by the rebels or by a shell from one of our cannon, and the burning of this did some damage, but the locomotive will doubtless be put in running order in a few days, if it is necessary. A large number of freight-cars and gravel-cars were taken, some of the former laden with gun-carriages and caissons. We also captured a brass six-pounder, a very pretty little piece, indeed. Somebody wishes me to say that there were two cannon amongst the spoils, but I am sorry that I cannot, as yet, feel justified in doing so. If I can ascertain to-morrow that such is the fact, I shall most gladly say so.

About five thousand dollars' worth of commissary stores fell into our hands. The quantity destroyed by the panic-stricken rebels can scarcely be estimated; but I saw a single pile of corn burning, which, judging from its size when I first found it, and from the fact that it had then been burning more than eighteen hours, must have contained at least ten thousand bushels. Two smaller piles were being consumed a short distance from the larger one. Besides corn, thousands of dollars' worth of wheat, flour, beef, bacon, potatoes, and beans, were given to the flames. It is indeed surprising that more of these things had not been removed before our arrival, as the design of the enemy to evacuate the place, was formed long since, and was actually begun as much as two weeks ago, by the withdrawal of artillery from some of the outworks.

Of course, all the buildings which contained these stores were also burned, together with a mill or two, and a few private residences — amongst which was the mansion of Hon. Warner Underwood, former member of Congress from the Bowling Green district, and brother of Judge Underwood, ex-United States Senator. The house of the Judge is upon the northern side of the river, and would, doubtless, have shared the same fate had not the vandals been suddenly and unexpectedly driven from their prey. It is hardly necessary to say that both the Judge and his brother have been unflinching Union men all their lives, and that neither the seductions of treason, nor the threats of traitors could shake their steadfast loyalty. Their devotion has cost them much, and what they have suffered has strikingly illustrated the proclamation to the people of Kentucky, which that arch — scoundrel, Simon Bolivar Buckner, issued last September: “I return amongst you, citizens of Kentucky, at the head of a force the advance of which is composed entirely of Kentuckians. We do not come to molest any citizen, whatever may be his political opinions.” Falsehood seems to be a constituent element of the rebellion, as much as plunder and outrage.

The value of the rebel property destroyed at Bowling Green, in consequence of Gen. Mitchell's brilliant dash, has been variously estimated. When I put it at a half-million of dollars, I adopt the lowest estimate that I have heard. The provisions consumed were of the utmost importance to the rebel army, and it is difficult to see how they can afford to lose them at all. The injury to their cause could scarcely be greater, if they had had a thousand men slain in battle.

The retreat of the enemy's cavalry was not accomplished without some loss. A shell or two from Loomis's unerring ten-pounder Parrotts, burst among them before they got entirely out of range, killing and wounding at least a dozen of them. These were the celebrated Texan Rangers, who have spread such terror amongst the loyal, peaceable people of Southern Kentucky, but notwithstanding their braggadocio, swell, and swagger, notwithstanding their boasted invulnerability, have never yet dared to meet even a squad of our troops in fair fight. Indeed, I might say that they have not dared to meet us at all, either on fair terms or otherwise, and their exploits have been wholly confined to plundering and stealing from unarmed citizens, burning their dwellings and insulting and abusing their women and children. Nothing could have delighted us more than the fact that, in the run from Bowling Green, a dozen of the thieving rascals were made to bite the dust.

But the value of Gen. Mitchell's conquest is not to be estimated either by the number of the enemy killed and taken, or by the amount of property they lost. It is immediately almost equivalent to the expulsion of the traitors from Kentucky, and its moral effect in discouraging them, raising the hopes of loyal men in the South, and damaging the rebel cause in the eyes of the nations of Europe, will be incalculable.

I, for one am proud to be, even in an humble capacity, a member of that division of the army which first occupied the Western Manassas of the enemy, Bowling Green.

Y. S.

Providence journal account.

Bowling Green, February 16.
The last few days have been days of excitement and trial. Last Tuesday, February 11th, Gen. Mitchell's division left their camp at Bacon Creek, [137] Kentucky, and marched to their camp called Camp Madison, one mile beyond Green River. The business of this division is transacted very secretly, and consequently thoroughly. We did not receive orders to start until until about nine o'clock the preceding evening, and being required to strike tents at five, we had a busy night. The roads were in splendid order, except near the creek and Green River, where they were very bad. Though we marched but ten miles, we were all tired enough when night arrived, as we had lain idle so long. The next night our regiment went on picket. On returning, we found ourselves ordered to march at four the next morning. The bridge at Green River had been repaired, so that we could cross by rail or wagon. We were delayed there a long time, the crossing being a tedious operation.

Thursday morning, our division — infantry, cavalry, and artillery — left Camp Madison for Bowling Green, forty-two miles distant. We made twenty miles the first day, reaching a spot one and a half miles beyond Bell's Tavern on Glasgow Junction. The railroad appears to be a little injured. All the railroad buildings were destroyed. Some were smoking when we passed. The roads the first day were in splendid order, but much obstructed by trees, which were, however, speedily removed by two companies of mechanics and engineers, who swung their axes with a will, and we were never stopped over fifteen minutes by them. The ponds along the road were filled with dead horses and cattle, as long as any cattle were to be found to fill them. We rested at noon at Cave City, which was very nearly destroyed. On the second day, we started for Bowling Green. The next morning was cold, with about an inch and a half of snow; but we were up betimes and on our way, the Nineteenth Illinois ahead as usual, with her blue flag waving triumphantly. Our road was obstructed, and was filled with signs of the rapid retreat of Hindman's forces.

We pushed on vigorously, and made the miles rapidly disappear. Hearing repeatedly that the railroad bridge was destroyed, and that the confederates would now stand this side of the river, Col. Turchin ordered the cavalry and one battery ahead. The ranks opened to the right and left, and Capt. Loomis's battery dashed by in fine style, and reached Bowling Green about ten o'clock. We heard the cannon roar, and then we hurried on and reached the banks of the river opposite Bowling Green about two o'clock, I think, thus making the forty-two miles in about thirty-seven hours. After the firing commenced, we seized every team along the road, and had the boys' knapsacks drawn by horses the rest of the way, much to the relief of our tired shoulders. Gen. Turchin fired the first shell into the town, and immediately three regiments were seen scampering on to the cars, and putting off with what they had.

But though within a mile of Bowling Green, we were powerless to interfere, for there was Barren River, wide and unfordable, between us, and both bridges destroyed. The Texas Rangers soon began to fire all the public buildings, and we were powerless to prevent it. Some fifty of us got ready, under Capt. Scott, to cross in a little skiff by parties, and try to drive out the few who remained to perform this work, but the General would not allow it. We then pitched our tents, and prepared to wait until a bridge could be erected. When snugly tucked in our blankets, the assembly beat to arms, and after much scolding — for we were very tired and foot-sore — the brigade was in ranks. We expected to march to town, but were put on the back track some three miles. We left the main road, and soon came to the river, where we built fires and rested as well as possible. Here the repairs of an old wherry were completed, and we crossed the river, protected by artillery. There was a slight snow falling, and very uncomfortably cold it was. We had a tedious time crossing. The Nineteenth and Twenty-fourth, Hecker's Illinois, crossed first. We pushed on slowly to within a mile or two of the town, where we halted, waiting for the rest. But the boys, getting almost frozen, declared that they had rather be shot than frozen, and we then pushed on, seeing no enemy, but rather fearing a ruse, and that they would return upon us in large force. But no enemy appeared, and we were soon surrounding the fires, some of which had been burning for several days. All the public buildings, and several warehouses filled with pork, beef, coffee, etc., are destroyed. A pile of grain, thirty feet by twenty, was burning when we arrived. Four engines and several cars were also burnt. This was their depot, and the cars had been carrying away provisions for a week. Still, immense quantities were destroyed — boxes of guns, large numbers of Bowie-knives roughly fashioned of iron, and every conceivable kind of shooting apparatus, and all sorts of hardware for cooking and other uses, in immense quantities. I learn that we were not expected for a week, and we took them by surprise. Our artillery made such quick time, that they received their first news of our approach in the shape of a cannonball, which struck the building in which Hardee was, and caused him to make double-quick time out of town. We anticipated, for the first twenty-four hours, an attack from the confederate forces, as we had but only four regiments and some cavalry; but we have the town safe and fast now.

The citizens seem to be out of heart, and do nothing. No alarm was given at a fire last night, arid you would not have known, in the back part of the town, that there was any fire. Bowling Green had a population of about two thousand five hundred. There are now about one thousand inhabitants.


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