Scouting in the West.
Captain Morgan's official reports.
The New Orleans Picayune produce Capt. John H. Morganne
official reports of his successful scouting expeditions, which we append.
They are worthy of preservation as a part of the history of our revolution:
Murfreesboro', Tenn., March 10, 1862.
With a view of determining the enemy's position and his movements, Lieut. Col. R. C. Wood
, of Adam
's Mississippi Cavalry, myself, ten Texas Rangers, of Terry
's late command, and fifteen of my squadron, left here on the 7th inst., at two P. M., and proceeded in the direction of Nashville
Marching eighteen miles, and avoiding the pike, we encamped for the night.
Early on the morning of the 8th, having procured suitable guides, we resumed our march and entered the Federal
At half a mile from a cavalry camp, which we were compelled to pass in full view, we captured five men belonging to the 18th Ohio, Col. Smith
Their arms — Enfield
rifles — were also secured.
Passing the cavalry camp, we continued our march in the direction of Nashville
Having obtained a suitable position in the woods, opposite the Lunatic Asylum
, where we had a good view of the pike, operations commenced.
Seeing a wagon train with its guard approaching, Col. Wood
, myself, and four men, wearing United States
overcoats, rode down to the pike, stopped the train, and made twenty-three prisoners. The horses and mules were cut from the wagons, and the prisoners mounted and sent back to the party in the woods.
This continued until we had accumulated ninety-eight prisoners, among them Gen. Damont
's Aid and several other officers.
Returning in three parties with the prisoners, one party, consisting of sixty prisoners and ten guards, commanded by Lieutenant Owens
, of my command, was attacked and pursued by the 4th regiment Ohio
After a pursuit of fifteen miles, during which the prisoners were abandoned, Lieut. Owens
succeeded in reaching the river with his party, and, plunging in from a steep bank, swam the river with their horses and made their escape — the river arresting the progress, of the enemy.
During the pursuit many shots were fired by the enemy, but without effect.
Two of the prisoners who resisted officers were shot.
Four of Lieut. Owens
's men, who were in danger of being overtaken, turned off in the woods, and as yet have not made their appearance.
, with fourteen men and twenty-eight prisoners, succeeded in crossing the country and reaching our pickets near Murfreesboro
' the same night, having passed within a mile of the enemy's cavalry.
Returning, alone, in the direction of Murfreesboro
', I encountered a picket of six men, who surrendered to me, on being summoned, and delivered up their arms.
Being joined by a man, of my command, Mr. Spalding
, with four additional prisoners, the next morning we joined Col. Wood
's party and returned to Murfreesboro
' We have thirty-eight prisoners, who have been sent forward.
We have a large number of horses and miles, sables, pistols, saddles, harness, &c., which I shall distribute to the men of the command here, who need them.
There are no indications of an advance on the part of the enemy.
Their force is about 60,000.
Their advance, a regiment of cavalry; is eight miles this side of Nashville
, on the Murfreesboro
A sergeant among the prisoners, who seems to be an intelligent man, can give you some interesting details.
I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of a portion of my command on the 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th inst. At about 4 o'clock P. M., on the 18th inst., with Col. Wood
and a detachment of 40 men, I left Murfreesboro
' for Gallatin
, having learned that no Federal forces remained at that place.
The chief objects of the expedition were to intercept the mail, to destroy the rolling stock on the road, to make prisoners, and to obtain information of interest to the service.
Our destination was kept secret, and the command having been sent from Murfreesboro
' in separate parties, by different roads, to unite at some distance from town, it was impossible that the enemy could be apprised of the movement until after the blow was struck.
A citizen of Murfreesboro
', whose seal and loyalty is undoubted, made the necessary arrangements of runners to keep us perfectly posted as to any movements that might be made with the view of cutting us off.
Our first march, conducted mostly at night, carried us about two miles beyond Lebanon
next morning continued the march, crossing the Cumberland
at Canoe Branch Ferry, and reached Gallatin
about 4 P. M.--Leaving the command just outside the town, Lieut.
, Col. Wood
, of Wirt Adams
's cavalry, myself and the men, disguised as Federal, entered and took possession.
, myself, and two men, galloped to the depot and secured the telegraph operator, his instruments, books, &c. Among the papers found are several orders of Gen. Buell
's, some in cipher, which please find enclosed.
We secured also, a few minutes after, as it came in, an engine and tender, carrying a number of carpenters to repair the road.
They were made prisoners, but were released as we left the town.
As soon as the citizens were made aware that we were Confederate troops, facility was afforded us to carry out our plans — Upon securing the engine, we at once commenced to accumulate all the rolling stock (a large quantity) on the main track, preparatory to burning.
When this was complete, the fire was applied, and in the course of an hour all except the engine was rendered permanently useless.
That night, having picketed securely, we remained in Gallatin
The next morning we destroyed the water tank, and taking the engine, the Colonel
and myself proceeded some miles up the road, with a view of discovering any approach of the enemy, or the mail train.
In the meantime a 1st Lieutenant
and four privates of Grider
's regiment, (Federal,) on their way to Nashville
, were taken prisoners by our pickets.
The mail train being some hours behind time, and learning that our presents might have become known, we concluded to with draw and return to Murfreesboro
Shortly after leaving Gallatin
we learned that a party of twenty of the enemy, in charge of three prisoners, were approaching Gallatin
by the Scottsville
It was determined to out them off. Pushing the prisoners, with a guard, across the Cumberland
, we returned to effect the capture.
We had taken our position on the road, so as to secure the capture of all; but, unfortunately, when within half a mile of them, they were warned of danger by a negro, and fled precipitately to the woods, Capt. Austin
, in command of the party, making his escape on a horse out from a buggy.
It being too dark to follow, we remained picketing the road until morning.
No further opportunity offering, we resumed our march, and after travelling about sixty miles, reached Murfreesboro
' about 2 o'clock next morning.
We were made acquainted just before reaching the town that a body or Federal cavalry had ridden through the evening before, and that the enemy was in large force near by.--We remained about twelve miles from town, long enough to ascertain their exact locality, and then passed safely through, within two miles of their infantry.
We reached Shelbyville
about 4 o'clock P. M. to day, the men and horses a good deal jaded.
Yesterday seven transports passed down the Cumberland
, carrying the remnant of Gen. Thomas
is division; as our party had not entirely crossed, we did not fire into them.
From all we could learn, the enemy has commenced to move.--A large body of cavalry was seen on the road to Columbia
It is believed that the enemy have sent a large force down the Tennessee
by boats, and will also move in force across the country.
It is reported in Nashville
that they intend to end the campaign before June.
The prisoners will be sent forward in the 2 o'clock train to-morrow.
I have omitted to mention that before leaving Gallatin
the engine was destroyed, thus leaving but one on the road.
I have ascertained, beyond doubt, that Love, a man of my command, who was taken prisoner in the affair of the 8th instant, (since dead,) was shot by the enemy after being taken.
The whole country through which we passed turned out in masses to welcome us. I have never before witnessed such enthusiasm and feeling.
Men, women, and children, never, wearied in their efforts to minister to our wants.
All expressed themselves gratified at the presence of Southern soldiers in their midst.
A handsome flag was presented us by the ladies of Gallatin
, and some accompanied us even to the ferry.
Upon our return a number of Col. Eaton
's regiment were enabled to accompany us.