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Doc. 28.-report of General Negley.

Report of General Negley.

headquarters United States forces, camp Nashville, Tenn., November 5, 1862.
sir: This morning at two o'clock Forrest's rebel cavalry, numbering about three thousand, with artillery, made an attack on our picket-line on the south, between the Franklin and Lebanon pikes. The picket-line on the Murfreesboro road gradually withdrew, with the purpose of bringing the enemy under the guns of Fort Negley, two of which were opened upon the enemy, and speedily drove him beyond the range.

Almost simultaneously with the attack on the south, John Morgan's forces, twenty-five hundred strong, with a piece of artillery, made a dash on Col. Smith's command on the north side of the river, with the evident intention of destroying the railroad and pontoon-bridges. After a sharp contest, in which several companies of Illinois troops behaved with great gallantry, Morgan was repulsed, leaving a stand of regimental colors in our hands, five killed, and nineteen wounded. He then burnt an old railroad building in Edgefield, and retreated to Gallatin.

Finding the enemy on the south taking a position beyond our picket-lines, Col. Roberts, with two regiments of infantry and one section of artillery, was ordered to advance on the Murfreesboro road, while I took the Sixty-ninth Ohio infantry, with parts of the Seventy-eighth Pennsylvania, Fourteenth Michigan, Colonel Stokes's and of Wynkoop's cavalry, and two sections of artillery, numbering in all about one thousand four hundred, and pursued that portion of the enemy on the Franklin pike. They were speedily driven from every position by our artillery, until we reached a distance of seven miles from the city. Col. Stokes's cavalry was here ordered to charge upon the enemy's rear, and then retreat with the view of bringing him to a stand. But the main body of the enemy, with their artillery, had suddenly turned into a lane to the left; while our cavalry, in the excitement of the chase, pursued a small portion of the enemy within five miles of Franklin, capturing some prisoners, killing several, and taking a drove of cattle. Previous to the return of Stokes's cavalry the enemy appeared in considerable force upon our left, in front, and rear, with the evident intention of cutting off the cavalry and our retreat.

The infantry and artillery were immediately moved forward a mile to the support of our cavalry, which was ordered to rejoin the column immediately.

Upon receiving intelligence from my videttes that the enemy were in force a mile to our rear, masking a battery close to the road, the head of our column was immediately faced to the rear and hastened forward to the position occupied by the enemy, fortunately getting our artillery into position and action, forcing the enemy to retire, which he did in great confusion and with considerable loss; after which he succeeded in getting his artillery into position, and a brisk firing ensued for about half an hour, during which time our forces had to be frequently shifted to avoid their range.

Ascertaining that the enemy greatly outnumbered our forces, and were aiming to make a charge on both our flanks, the troops were slowly retired upon favorable grounds toward the city; at the same time the cavalry were so disposed as to divert the coming charge of the enemy on our rear, and lead them upon the Fourteenth Michigan infantry. The object succeeded admirably, an entire regiment of cavalry making the charge, receiving a fire so destructive as to drive them back in great disorder. The enemy then planted several guns on the turnpike, which were driven off before they could load their pieces.

Our forces were retired in good order toward the city, the enemy making one more attempt to get in our rear nearer the city, but were immediately driven off by a regiment of infantry and a section of artillery which had been ordered forward is a reserve.

The concerted plans of the enemy, who had Hanson's brigade of four Kentucky regiments and two Tennessee regiments of infantry and five batteries of artillery, were defeated, and our troops enabled to give additional proof of their efficiency and valor.

As we did not reoccupy the field of action, the enemy's total loss is unknown, but is represented by prisoners to have been large. Twenty-three prisoners were captured, including two captains Morgan's artillery. Our casualties of the day were----killed, twenty-six wounded, and nineteen missing.

I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Jas. S. Negley, Brigadier-General Commanding. To Lieut.-Col. Ducat, Chief of Staff.

Philadelphia press account.

Nashville, Tenn., Nov. 6, 1862.
The rebels have at last made a demonstration upon this city. For the past three or four days the secessionists here have been exceedingly hilarious, and some of the more bold of that class have made bets that Nashville would fall before the arrival of Rosecrans. I heard a man say, on Sunday night last, that the immense railroad bridge which spans the Cumberland would suffer the same fate that the same structure did in February, before another Sabbath came around.

We are so used to rebel bombast, however, that as far as I am concerned no serious attention was paid to the stereotyped rumors.

But, notwithstanding, a bona-fide attack was made upon us yesterday morning. About two o'clock A. M., our pickets were driven in upon the Murfreesboro, Franklin, and Nolinsville pikes, and [176] more or less skirmishing ensued, until our men arrived under cover of our forts.

Hardly had they effected their escape, when the enemy brought out two twelve-pounders upon the Murfreesboro pike, in full view of our gunners upon St. Cloud Hill, and commenced firing away, the first shot striking at a distance of a quarter of a mile from the base of the elevation.

At the same time, two guns, which were not visible, opened upon us from the Franklin pike. The guns upon the Murfreesboro road, after the first two shots, directed their fire toward General Palmer's camp, occasionally kicking up quite a dust within musket-shot of the General's Headquarters.

Finding that they could accomplish nothing in that location, and fearing to advance closer, the rebels directed their fire toward Mr. John Trimble's residence; and, after several shots, succeeded in unroofing the smoke-house upon his grounds, and producing quite a commotion among his stock and negroes.

Simultaneously with these demonstrations of the rebels upon the pike leading from South-Nashville, Morgan, at the head of about two thousand five hundred cavalry, came dashing down the Gallatin pike, and through Edgefield, capturing all of our pickets across the river, consisting of companies D, F, and G of the Fifty-first Illinois regiment, and sending them to the rear. It was the intention of Morgan, no doubt, to destroy the railroad bridge, at least, thinking that our attention was wholly absorbed by the events which were transpiring in South-Nashville. But, before the rebels arrived within gunshot, Colonel Smith's regiment, which is encamped in Edgefield, was in line of battle, most of his men having but little clothing on. Morgan, however, persisted in his attempt to obtain possession of the bridge. Seeing this, Col. Smith ordered his men to fire, an act which was quickly returned by the rebels, a portion of whom dismounted, and assisted in placing a howitzer in position, which had just arrived. At this juncture, Colonel Wood, with his regiment, arrived, and formed in line of battle, and Lieut. Beech, who has charge of the guns near the bridge upon this side of the river, brought his pieces to bear upon Morgan, who, perceiving it, beat a retreat, leaving six killed and nineteen wounded. Our loss was one killed and eleven wounded--two severely. Lieut. Frazer, of company F, Fifty-first Illinois, lost his right arm. Morgan destroyed an old building near the Edgefield depot, and several broken-down cars which were standing upon the track, as an evidence, I suppose, that he had been around.

During all this time, the rebels upon the Southern pikes were still firing at our forts, but as yet had been unanswered. Gen. Negley hoping that the artillery, with adequate support, might be induced to advance. After a reasonable time, however, he gave Capt. White orders to discharge a few shells in that direction from his thirty-two-pounders, and almost immediately three of the Rodman guns opened, and at the fourth fire dismounted one of the enemy's pieces, the other being taken to the woods. The guns were then turned in the direction of the Franklin pike, and quite a brisk cannonading took place between the rebels at that and the guns of Fort Negley. By this time General Palmer advanced about a mile upon the Murfreesboro pike, with two regiments of infantry and two pieces of artillery, and after forming his column into line of battle, commenced shelling the woods upon both sides of the road, and advanced slowly up the pike, marching a regiment upon each side of the road, Col. Wood taking the left and advance. This was the last I saw of the doings in that direction, as General Negley ordered three regiments of infantry — the Sixty-ninth Ohio, Colonel Cassilly; Fourteenth Michigan, Col. Wood, and the Seventy-eighth Pennsylvania, Col. Sirwell--Stokes's cavalry, Seventh Pennsylvania cavalry, Colonel Wynkoop, and portions of two batteries of artillery, under Capts. Houghtaling and Marshall, the General taking command in person. The whole force moved with alacrity upon the pike toward Franklin; the batteries shelling the woods upon both sides of the line of march, Col. Wynkoop's battalion acting as skirmishers.

After proceeding about two miles the General ordered two pieces of artillery to be placed upon a hill of fine command, and masked. As no enemy was seen, they were subsequently removed, and shortly afterward arrived with the column.

About five miles from the city is the residence of Mr. John Overton, a wealthy rebel, who, in a speech delivered in this city a year ago last June, said he was worth five millions of dollars, all of which should be sacrificed in the establishment of a Southern Confederacy. As the column approached the house of this rebel a large body of the enemy's cavalry were seen resting upon a hill a short distance off, who were charged by Stokes's cavalry. Col. Stokes was absent about an hour, during which time the main body moved slowly and rested at intervals, making a final halt about eight miles from the city, when they were soon joined by Stokes, who had captured eleven prisoners and ninety head of cattle.

Gen. Negley immediately gave orders to return, Stokes's cavalry taking the right, and Col. Cassilly the rear.

We had proceeded but a short distance when an orderly dashed among the General's staff-officers, informing Negley that a large force of the enemy were about a mile distant, on our right and front, resting in a ravine.

The whole body moved at double-quick, and in a moment the entire fence upon the right, for a quarter of a mile, came down with a crash, by the Fourteenth Michigan. Marshall's battery got a position first, but as the view was obstructed by a dense clump of trees, it was limbered up and moved to a better location. In the mean time Col. Sirwell skirmished to the right, and received a volley from the enemy, but not until Houghtaling's battery had thrown four shells, the first piece being discharged exactly seven minutes after the General received the news of the rebel situation. But a few moments elapsed before the [177] Wiard guns, which did such good service at Shiloh, under Captain Marshall, got to work, and both batteries threw at least forty shells before the enemy made any artillery demonstration; but when they got at it they worked lively, throwing solid shot, which fell fast among our men, causing many a head to dodge as they went whirling, whizzing, cracking, and humming through the air. They threw solid shot mostly, their design being to dismount our guns, knowing that our defences in the city would be injured by the loss of even one gun.

The cannonading was very brisk for about an hour. At the expiration of that time the rebels threw a few shells, one of which burst over a tree in front of where the General and his staff were standing, fragments of which dropped among the party, one piece tearing a hole in the General's pants, and another piece actually taking off a shoulder-strap from the coat of one of his staff-officers.

During the firing Col. Wynkoop's men acted as skirmishers upon the left, their experience all over the State making them proficient in that critical duty.

Col. Stokes's whole force occupied a position across a field, about a sixth of a mile in the rear of our batteries; Colonel Sirwell's regiment skirmished upon the right, while the Sixty-ninth Ohio supported Capt. Marshall's guns, and the Fourteenth Michigan the battery of Capt. Houghtaling. Although the enemy's shots were rather distasteful, as far as I saw, every body behaved well.

I saw General Negley, and conversed with him several times during the fight, and he expressed his delight and satisfaction at the behavior of his troops, speaking very highly of the captains of the two batteries, upon the manner in which they changed positions.

The veteran Colonel Wynkoop has got used to the roaring of gunpowder, and exhibited the coolness which is his second nature. I saw a ball strike about five yards in front of him, ricochet, and pass over his head, leaving dust on his cap.

Col. Cassilly, of the Sixty-ninth Ohio, and his adjutant, (Boynton,) formerly an actor attached to the Boston theatre, behaved excellently.

At least a dozen balls struck in front of Stokes's cavalry, some bounding over them, and others rolling under the legs of their horses, but no man left his position or exhibited perceptible uneasiness.

The movements of the enemy and the progress of the battle showed conclusively that the rebels were in large force, and had at least twice the number of guns we had. The general shifted his position, after an hour's fighting, every five minutes, fighting his way till under cover of our fortifications, when the enemy retired.

All of our first half-dozen shells exploded in the midst of the enemy, and their loss must have been at least two hundred killed and wounded. Our prisoners say twenty-five or thirty were killed and wounded at our first fire, which took them unawares. We lost three killed, eleven wounded, none missing, and took upwards of a hundred prisoners, among whom seven officers.

B. C. T.

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