Doc. 88.-surrender at Murfreesboro, Ky.
Colonel Duffield's official report.
Murfreesboro, Tenn., July 23, 1862.Colonel: Although I had not yet formally assumed command of the Twenty-third brigade, yet as Brig.-Gen. Thomas L. Crittenden and the other officers of his command have been captured and forwarded to Chattanooga, permit me to submit the following report of such portion of the attack on this post, made on the thirteenth inst., as came under my own personal observation: I arrived here, after an absence of two months, on the afternoon of the eleventh inst., coming down on the same train with Brig.-Gen. Thomas L. Crittenden, the newly-appointed commander of the post, and found that several material changes had been made in the location and encampment of the Twenty-third brigade since my departure. Instead of camping together, as it had done, it was separated into two portions several miles apart. The brigade had never been drilled as such, nor a brigade guard mounted. Each regiment furnished its quota of officers and men, and watched certain roads; and worse than all, the commanding officers of the respective regiments were on ill terms with each other, and the feeling upon one occasion had broken out into an open personal quarrel. The result was a great lack of discipline between the two regiments, manifesting itself in the personal encounters of the men when they met upon the street. There was no order and no harmony. The parts of the machine did not fit well, and the commanding officer seems either not to have possessed the will or the ability to adjust them. Gen. Crittenden and myself, immediately after our arrival, visited the several camps, discussed the impropriety of a divided command, and decided upon concentration; but as neither of us had assumed command, we deferred it until the morrow. But on the morrow the blow fell, and the danger we anticipated became a reality. Gen. Crittenden made his headquarters in town, while I preferred camping with my own men, and therefore pitched my tent with the five companies of the Ninth Michigan volunteers. The force then at Murfreesboro was as follows: Five companies Ninth Michigan volunteers, Lieut.-Col. Parkhurst, two hundred strong, together with the first squadron Fourth Kentucky cavalry, eighty-one strong, were camped three fourths of a mile east of the town upon the Liberty Turnpike. One company, B, Ninth Michigan volunteers, Capt. Rounds, forty-two strong, occupied the Court.-House; the other four companies, Ninth Michigan volunteers, having been ordered to Tullahoma a month since, while nine companies of the Third Minnesota volunteers, Colonel Lester, (one company being on detached duty as train-guard,) four hundred and fifty strong, and Hewitt's battery, First regiment artillery, (two sections,) seventy-two strong, accupied the east bank of Stone's river, at a distance of more than----miles from the encampment of the detachment of the Ninth Michigan volunteers. Orders were received from Nashville the evening of the twelfth inst., directing the first squadron Fourth Kentucky cavalry to proceed at once to Lebanon. The total effective strength of the command at Murfreesboro on the morning of the thirteenth inst., did not therefore exceed eight hundred and fourteen men, including pickets. The attack was made at daybreak on the morning of the thirteenth inst., by the Second cavalry brigade C. S.A., Brig.-Gen. N. B. Forrest, over three thousand strong, consisting of one Texas regiment, Lieut.-Col. Walker, the First and Second Georgia regiments, Cols. Wharton and Hood, one Alabama regiment, Col. Saunders, and one Tennessee regiment, Col. Lawton. The noise of so many hoofs upon the macadamized roads at full speed was so great that the alarm was given before the head of their column reached our pickets, about a mile distant, so that our men were formed and ready to receive them, although they came in at full speed. The Texans and a battalion of the Georgia regiment, in all over eight hundred strong, attacked the detachment of the Ninth Michigan volunteers. So fierce and impetuous was their attack that our men were forced nearly to the centre of their camp. But they fell back steadily and in order, with their faces to the foe. But upon reaching the centre  of our camp, their line was brought to a halt and after twenty minutes of nearly hand-to-hand fighting, the enemy broke and fled in the wildest confusion, followed in close pursuit by one company as skirmishers. A squadron of cavalry launched at their heels at this time would have utterly routed and annihilated them. Indeed, so great was their panic, that their officers were unable to check the fugitives for a space of seven miles; and Col. Lawton, commanding the Georgia regiment, was subsequently arrested by General Forrest for misconduct under the fire of the enemy. During this attack, both officers and men, with one single exception, behaved very handsomely. There was no excitement, no hurry, no confusion; every thing was done calmly, quietly, and in obedience to orders. But it is with the deepest shame and mortification I am compelled to report that one officer of Michigan has been guilty of gross cowardice in the face of the enemy. Capt. John A. Taner, of company K, Ninth Michigan volunteers, at the first alarm left his quarters, abandoned his company, and fled from his command under the enemy's fire, and I therefore enclose you herewith charges preferred against him for violation of the fifty-second Article of War. Capt. Charles V. De Land, company C, Ninth Michigan volunteers, deserves especial mention for cool and gallant conduct throughout the entire action, and the fearless mode in which he led his company as skirmishers in pursuit of the enemy when repulsed. Also First Lieut. Hiram Barrows, of company A, same regiment, for the tenacity with which he held his ground, although sorely pressed by the enemy. The loss of the detachment of the Ninth Michigan volunteers has been very severe for the number engaged, amounting to one officer and twelve men killed, and three officers and seventy-five wounded. The enemy's loss has been much more severe than our own. More than double the number of their dead were buried with ours, and their wounded are found in almost every house. Among their wounded are a colonel and a major, two adjutants and a surgeon. I enclose you herewith the surgeon's report of the killed and wounded of the Ninth Michigan volunteers. Not having been present at the subsequent surrender of the detachment of the Ninth Michigan volunteers, under Lieut.-Col. Parkhurst, I can only state the facts as reported to me, which show that this force, isolated and reduced by killed and wounded to less than seventy-five men, after having held their ground from four A. M. to one P. M., were compelled to surrender or be cut to pieces by the entire force of the enemy. I am reliably informed that company B, Ninth Michigan volunteers, under command of First Lieut. Wright, held the Court-House against an incessant attack by a greatly superior force, from four A. M. to half-past 7 A. M., and did not surrender till the enemy had possession of the lower story of the building, and had started a fire with the evident intention of burning them out. Of the surrender of the Third Minnesota volunteers, and Hewitt's battery, under command of Col. Lester, I cannot speak from personal knowledge, nor have I received any information from sources sufficiently reliable to warrant my communicating to you any details. Indeed, I would much prefer not to do so. The circumstances of the causes reported bear painfully upon the honor of a brother officer, now a prisoner, and therefore unable to defend himself. I enclose you herewith a list of killed and wounded of the Third Minnesota volunteers, furnished me by the assistant-surgeon of that regiment, amounting to two killed and eight wounded, one of whom was killed and two wounded in line, the remainder in camp. In the early part of this attack, I received two gunshot wounds, one passing through the right testicle, the other through the left thigh. These, although bleeding profusely and very painful, did not prevent me from remaining on the field with my own regiment, until the attack was repulsed; when, fainting from pain and loss of blood, I was carried from the field, and was, therefore, not a witness of what subsequently occurred. At noon of the same day, I was made prisoner by Brig.-Gen. Forrest, but in my then helpless condition was released upon my parole not to bear arms against the confederate States until I am regularly exchanged. I remain, Colonel, your obedient servant,
General Buell's order.
headquarters army of the Ohio, in camp, Huntsville, Ala., July 21, 1862.On the thirteenth instant the force at Murfreesboro, under command of Brigadier-General T. T. Crittenden, late Colonel of the Sixth Indiana regiment, and consisting of six companies of the Ninth Michigan, nine companies of the Third Minnesota, two sections of Hewitt's Kentucky battery, four companies of the Fourth Kentucky cavalry, and three companies of the Seventh Pennsylvania cavalry, was captured at that place by a force of the enemy's cavalry, variously estimated at from eighteen hundred to thirty-five hundred. It appears from the best information that can be obtained that Brigadier-General Crittenden and Colonel Duffield, of the Ninth Michigan, with the six companies of that regiment and all of the cavalry, were surprised and captured early in the morning, in the houses and streets of the town, or in their camp near by, with but slight resistance, and without any timely warning of the presence of the enemy, The rest of the force, consisting of the Third Minnesota and the artillery, under Colonel Lester, left its camp and took another position, which it maintained, with but few casualties, against the feeble attacks of the enemy until about three o'clock, when it was surrendered and marched into captivity.  Take it in all its features, few more disgraceful examples of neglect of duty and lack of good conduct can be found in the history of wars. It fully merits the extreme penalty which the law provides for such misconduct. The force was more than sufficient to repel the attack effectually. The mortification which the army will feel at the result is poorly compensated by the exertion made by some, perhaps many of the officers, to retrieve the disgrace of the surprise. The action fit to be adopted with reference to those who are blamable, especially the officers highest in command, cannot be determined without further investigation. In contrast to this shameful affair, the General commanding takes pleasure in making honorable mention of the conduct of a detachment of twenty-two men of companies I and H, Tenth Wisconsin regiment, under the command of Sergeants W. Nelson and A. H. Makisson. The detachment was on duty guarding a bridge east of Huntsville, when it was attacked, on the twenty-eighth of April, by a force of some two or three hundred cavalry, which it fought for two hours, and repulsed in the most signal manner. Such is the conduct that duty and honor demand of every soldier; and this example is worthy of imitation by higher officers and larger commands. By command of Major-General Buell.
James B. Fry, Colonel and Chief of Staff.
Account by a participant.
Nashville, July 25, 1862.For some days previous to the engagement, our scouts had been scouring the country, and so effectual had their labors proved that they had filled Murfreesboro jail with rebel prisoners. Many of these prisoners had violated their oaths, and expiate their crime on the gallows. In view of this appalling fact, their sympathizing neighbors exhausted every scheme to effect their escape. They improved every favorable opportunity to carry intelligence to the enemy, and implore him to rescue their relatives from their justly merited fate. For a whole week previous to the fight, our officers had received daily news of the intentions of the enemy and his proximity to our camp, but they scorned the source from whence it came, and settled themselves down under the conviction that these were negro fables entirely unworthy of their attention. Since the departure of Duffield, the brigade has been under the command of Colonel Leicester, who had separated the regiments, in consequence of a jealous feeling which had sprung up between them, and located them three miles apart. This piece of generalship, in connection with the policy of our Provost-Marshal, who, in common with many other patriots, believed that the most effectual way to bring a rebel back to loyalty was to pet him, undoubtedly caused our disaster. The Provost-Marshal, with a view to serve his country in the best possible manner, freely lavished his passes upon every rebel applicant, thereby giving the enemy knowledge of our exact location and strength, and enabling him to strike successfully at us when we were illy prepared to receive the blow. On the evening of the twelfth, a negro came into camp with the startling intelligence that he had discovered three thousand cavalry, encamped on the Woodbury pike, about six miles from Murfreesboro. This important information was received like all other negro news, and our officers rested the safety of the regiment on the diligence of the pickets, and turned into their beds with a full belief that all would be well; but morning came, and ere Morpheus had yielded up his sleepy victims, the clatter of horses' hoofs and the sharp crack of the enemy's rifles fell fearfully upon their ears. The enemy managed to capture the pickets before they could give the alarm, and marched noiselessly into the town. We had no knowledge of their approach until they charged through our camp with irresistible fury, and hurled their death-shots into our slumbering tents. At this moment Colonel Duffield sprang into the centre of the combat, and received two wounds, in a vain endeavor to rally the men. Crittenden was captured in his bed, and Parkhurst succeeded in partly forming the men into a hollow square after fifty of our number had been killed or wounded. The rebels having emptied their guns, fell back to reload; this gave us a chance to load our guns and fix bayonets. When they made the second charge we were better prepared to meet them, and hurled such a volley of bullets into their advancing columns that they were forced to retire; but they soon rallied again, and with overwhelming numbers drove us from our position. Captain De Land then threw out his company as skirmishers, and did fearful execution. From this moment the men sought shelter behind the trees and fought on their own hooks; but it was madness to contend against such odds. Oh! how we longed for the arrival of the Minnesota Third; but it never made its appearance. The continued firing at the Court-House plainly indicated that the rebels had met a more formidable resistance in that quarter. It appears our boys had secured themselves in the Court-House and were dealing death-blows on every side, from the windows; but their triumph was of short duration, for the rebels set fire to the house and threatened to roast them alive if they did not surrender. This circumstance compelled them to yield; but they had the satisfaction of knowing that they had laid sixty rebels dead in the streets previous to giving up their arms. The battle continued feebly in various parts of the town until eleven o'clock A. M., when parkhurst surrendered his regiment and sent Colonel Leicester a despatch requesting him to use every possible exertion to hold his position, and if he should fail to do so to fight his way to Nashville. The enemy then divided forces, sending one part to succor those engaged with the Minnesota Third, while the other busied themselves in destroying the Federal property. They destroyed all of our camp equipage and clothing, set fire to the depot, packed our men into our wagons, and sent them  out of town under a strong guard; after which they gathered up the loose mules and horses and drove them away. The citizens carried our wounded to the hospital, and the enemy's to private houses. It appears that Colonel Leicester had received the alarm in time to form his regiment and march it just far enough to allow the enemy to fall in upon his rear, drive out his camp guard, and burn his magazine. The rebels then made a charge upon the battery, but a discharge from the right wing sent them back in dismay. He then held a council of war and concluded to surrender his regiment and the battery without resistance. In vain did his Lieutenant-Colonel try to persuade him to desist from this cowardly act, but to no purpose; he and some of his poltroon officers sold their regiment, when they might have maintained their position and retrieved the day. The men were well armed, well disciplined, and were eager to fight; but their Colonel faltered, and dared not lead them on to victory. The loss of our regiment was fifteen killed and seventy-five wounded. The whole number engaged was one hundred and fifty at the camp, and seventy-five provost-guards. The Minnesota Third had six hundred effective men, a battery of four guns to support them, and lost one killed and seven wounded. The sick and wounded officers were all paroled on the spot, the rest were marched to Meminville with the soldiers, where the soldiers were paroled and sent back to Murfreesboro. They arrived in Nashville a few days ago, where they intend to remain until they are sent North. I was fortunate enough to get to the hospital and evade the parole. I shall soon join my company, which is now located in Tallahassee, with four others, under the command of Major Fox. After the rebels had completed their damnable work of destruction, they left the town and compelled the citizens to bury the dead. This shameful disaster is attributable to the mismanagement and cowardice of Colonel Leicester; had he left the regiments and battery in a condition to support each other, they might have whipped the enemy and saved the Government nearly a million dollars. Yours truly,
The Texas Rangers in the fight.
Knoxville, Tenn., July 21.gentlemen: Another most brilliant victory is added to the history of our struggle for independence. Hereafter the thirteenth of July will be a day enshrined in the memory of Southern patriots. The most successful expedition had been planned, and for days was moving forward from Chattanooga. On Saturday, at twelve o'clock, the command, about sixteen hundred strong, left the vicinity of McMinnville, and after a march of fifty miles the gray dawn of the quiet Sabbath found the command all safely within two miles of Murfreesboro. Being halted here for a few minutes the arms were examined and the plan of attack agreed upon. Again the word was given and they moved forward. The Texas Rangers had led the advance during the entire march, and they still occupied the position. In a few minutes more a gun was fired and the pickets on the Woodbury pike were their prisoners. Then commenced this daring charge in good earnest. Colonel Forrest had assigned the attack on the first encampment to Col. John A. Wharton and his daring rangers, together with Colonel Lawton and the Second Georgia cavalry, whilst he was to lead the remainder against the other forces. The Texans were now fully in earnest, and they spontaneously awoke the still morning with their usual terrific yell, which enlivened the charge; and when Colonel Wharton, at the head of the column, reached the point where he was to turn to the right, he led his men and dashed forward. By some means the regiment was here divided, and only one hundred and twenty men, of all those assigned to this important work, were found with him — the remainder of the regiment and Col. Lawton's regiment following Col. Forrest. Supposing his whole force with him, he at once charged through the brigade wagon-yard and through the Seventh Pennsylvania cavalry, a portion of it being here — probably one hundred and twenty-five--then into the Ninth Michigan, which was just beyond and already formed in a hollow square to receive the charge. The fire being now exhausted, and the support failing to come up, they re-loaded in face of the enemy, and bravely charged on foot. Thus did this Spartan band fight on foot or mounted, as circumstance justified, for four long hours. Supposing all the while that reenforcements would come to their relief, they heroically battled against four times their number, who had the advantage of position and long-range guns, at every point, inflicting terrible havoc upon the enemy. During one of these foot charges, the colonel, being mounted and leading his intrepid band, received a severe flesh-wound in his arm. But, nothing daunted, he still retained command until some time after, when Lieut.-Colonel Walker came up, when he turned it over to him. He soon effected a union with the remainder of the regiment, and with Major Thomas Harrison, led until the final surrender at eleven o'clock. During these four bloody hours, this small number, soon reduced below a hundred, did the work assigned to a thousand men, and undoubtedly to their gallantry, persistent determination, and unflinching charges upon these camps, is mainly attributable the final glorious issue. No blame can be imputed to the other three fourths of the regiment, that kept them from participating in this most honorable and desperate conflict, for they were by some strange blunder led to another part of the field, where their fighting was unavailing. Surely, if gallant bearing and glorious success, gained by desperate fighting, is ever rewarded in this great struggle for home, happiness and liberty, then should “Murfreesboro” be inscribed in golden letters upon their battle-flag by order of the commanding General. Modern times do not furnish an instance where such a badge of honor and distinguished valor  has been more heroically won, or more dearly purchased. But let the figures tell the story of their deeds of daring, and the brilliant success of that noble band of one hundred and twenty. During the different charges they killed and wounded thirteen of the Pennsylvania cavalry, and in the camp of the Ninth Michigan one hundred and three, as their officers acknowledge. Among these Lieut. Chase was killed, and George Duffield was severely wounded. He gives Col. Wharton credit for shooting him, and then pays him a well-merited compliment in saying that he is the bravest man he ever saw upon the field of battle. Well might he say this when hearing the clear voice of the gallant Colonel crying out above the din of musketry, “Charge them, my men, charge them!” as they rushed, time after time, with renewed courage upon their lines. But this result was not accomplished until every fifth man was killed or wounded. During this continuous engagement they brought out over one hundred prisoners and fired the brigade-wagons — thus destroying a considerable amount of forage — at the same time securing a large number of mules. Then the surrender of the whole command took place; some three or four hundred were surrendered from this encampment. It was here the principal fighting took place during the morning, and this decided the glorious victory of the day. For, although the Georgians gallantly received the fire at the Court-House, where the enemy was protected, yet, whilst pouring a deadly fire into their ranks, he, in return, suffered but little. They made a charge upon the battery, but were repulsed, and it was surrendered with the remainder. This was Captain Hewitt's celebrated Kentucky battery; whilst the Minnesota Third had no general attack. But of this hundred and twenty, who were thrown, unsustained, upon greatly superior numbers, every man seemed to feel the responsibility of his position, and nobly did each one do his duty. Among the most active and daring, and at the same time most conspicuous, was Adjutant Royston, whose chivalric bearing was observed wherever duty called and danger was to be met. He was cool on all occasions, and a stranger to fear. Upon Col. Wharton was conferred the honor of bringing the prisoners through to this city, where they arrived safely to-day. He was accompanied by company B, of the Texan rangers. Among the forty-five officers is found Gen. T. T. Crittenden, of Indiana, with one colonel, two lieutenant-colonels, one major, eleven captains and twenty-nine lieutenants. Col. Forrest had previously paroled about eleven hundred privates. Over three hundred mules and horses, with some fifty wagons, were captured. With these a splendid lot of arms, some ammunition, stores, etc. A large amount of quartermaster and commissary stores was destroyed. In brief, every thing was brought away or destroyed, thus making a clean sweep. It was a complete surprise to the enemy and a perfect success for our cavalry. We hope that many such may follow in quick succession, until Tennessee shall be delivered from the power of the oppressor, and be once more free.
To the Editors of the Richmond Enquirer:
To the Editors of the Richmond Enquirer: