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- The Army of the Cumberland - 6/43 -


was the main actor.

Chapter IV.

Morgan's and Forest's Raids.

On April 11th, Halleck arrived at Pittsburg Landing and at once reorganized the troops in his command, designating the divisions of his army as the right wing, centre, left wing, reserves, and cavalry under Major-Generals George H. Thomas, D. C. Buell, John Pope, and J. A. McClernand and Brigadier-General A. J. Smith respectively. Thomas's command comprised four divisions of the "Army of the Tennessee," and his old division of the "Army of the Ohio." The remainder of the army was under the command of Buell. After the fall of Corinth, the enemy breaking his large force into several smaller commands rendered necessary a similar disposition of the Federal forces. Buell was ordered with his command to enter into a campaign looking to the occupation of East Tennessee. One division of his army under O. M. Mitchel left Nashville about the middle of March under orders to proceed to Murfreesboro and repair the railroad bridges burned by Johnston on his retreat. On Colonel Duffield's reporting with the Twenty-third brigade, Mitchel pressed forward to Shelbyville and from there by a rapid movement on the 7th of April he occupied Huntsville, Ala., with Turchin's brigade, Kennett's Ohio cavalry, and Simonson's battery, capturing 170 prisoners, 15 locomotives, and 150 passenger and freight cars, and a large amount of army stores. On the 8th, Mitchel ordered Sill with his brigade to proceed east along the line of the railroad to seize Stevenson, the junction of the Nashville and Chattanooga, and Memphis and Charleston Railroads, and directed Turchin with his command to move west and take possession of Decatur and Tuscumbia. This was successfully done, and Mitchel was in possession of over one hundred miles of this important link connecting Corinth with Richmond in the heart of the enemy's territory. He then posted his troops at the more prominent points, ready to move to any place threatened by the enemy.

On April 29th, Mitchel, hearing of the advance of the force under Kirby Smith from Bridgeport against the command beyond Stevenson, moved as rapidly as possible by rail from Huntsville to resist him. He found the enemy had attacked the detachment posted five miles west of Bridgeport, and that his troops had driven the enemy's advance back across Widow's Creek. The bridge over this creek had been burned by the enemy on their retreat. Mitchel strengthened the detachment and engaged the attention of the enemy by an apparent effort to cross this creek, while with his main force he advanced on Bridgeport by a detour by the left and drove that portion of the enemy in the town across the Tennessee River. In their retreat the enemy set fire to the bridge reaching from the west bank of the river to the Island. This bridge Mitchel succeeded in saving, but the bridge east of the Island was completely destroyed. General Mitchel then turned his attention to that part of the enemy's force at Widow's Creek, which he succeeded in capturing, taking in all some three hundred and fifty prisoners. Early in May, Mitchel, who had been placed in command of all the troops between Nashville and Huntsville, ordered General Negley with the Seventh Brigade, belonging to McCook's division--who had been left at Columbia on the advance of the main army upon Savannah--to make an advance against General Adams with a brigade of troops at Rogersville, Ala. At the same time Mitchel sent Colonel Lytle from Athens, Ala., to cooperate with Negley. On the 13th, the enemy learning of the approach of the Federal forces, retreated across the Tennessee River. This placed Mitchel in complete position of that portion of Alabama north of that river. On May 29th, Mitchel concentrated Negley's command from Columbia, Turchin's brigade from Huntsville, and the Eighteenth Ohio under T. R. Stanley from Athens at Fayetteville for an expedition against Chattanooga under the command of Negley. These troops passed through Winchester, Cowen, and University Place to Jasper. Advancing upon the latter place, the head of his column, under Colonel Hambright, encountered a brigade of the enemy's troops under General Adams. The enemy was driven from the place after a sharp engagement, leaving his supply and ammunition trains. His loss was 18 killed, 20 wounded, and 12 prisoners. Leaving Jasper, Negley arrived on the north bank of the Tennessee, opposite Chattanooga, on the 7th. Negley, on the evening of that day and the morning of the next, bombarded Chattanooga, and made a demonstration of crossing the river and attacking the town. General Duke says: "The commandant of the place, General Leadbetter, had two or three guns in battery and replied, when the gunners, who were the most independent fellows I ever saw, chose to work the guns. The defence of the place was left entirely to the individual efforts of those who chose to defend it, and nothing prevented its capture but the fact that the enemy could not cross the river."

Negley then withdrew and encamped his command at Shelbyville.

General G. W. Morgan, under orders from Buell, assumed command of the forces in Eastern Kentucky early in April. Acting under his orders he proceeded to Cumberland Ford and commenced operations at once against Cumberland Gap. This gap is situated in the Cumberland range on the boundary line between Kentucky and Tennessee, near the Western Virginia line, is a deep depression in the mountain range, making a natural roadway through it, and is the centre of all the roads in that section of country. It is a stronghold protected by nature with abrupt slopes on the mountains, frequently so steep as to be almost perpendicular, with the ranges much broken by spurs, knobs, and ravines, protected by parallel ranges of less height in close proximity on the east and west. Morgan, after encountering the enemy in several skirmishes, determined either to compel him to fight or retreat. He sent General Spears with three brigades to Pine Mountain, on the road to Big Creek Gap. General Kirby Smith, commanding the enemy's forces in East Tennessee, placed General Barton's command of two brigades of infantry in Big Creek Gap, and then advanced with some eight thousand men under his immediate command to cut Spears off, and to threaten the Federal forces at Cumberland Ford. Morgan, under orders, withdrew Spears, but learning a few days later from Buell of the operations of Negley's command before Chattanooga, and that Kirby Smith had proceeded with a part of his command to the relief of that place, resumed the advance. Negley's movements had caused Smith to suspend his operations, but when he heard of Negley's withdrawal he proceeded at once to execute his plans against Morgan. On June 18th, the latter, finding that Kirby Smith had taken his entire command away from Cumberland Gap, marched his troops up Powell's Valley and late in the evening of that day reached the fortifications, found the Gap empty, and took possession. This natural stronghold had been extensively fortified by the rebels, who regarded the position of their troops such as to prevent the success of any attempt on the part of the Federal forces to obtain possession without a battle. The enemy were completely out-maneuvred, and General Morgan had the satisfaction of occupying this fortress without the loss of any of his command.

In the early part of May, the rebel Colonel John H. Morgan's command of some five hundred men, in the neighborhood of Pulaski, Tenn., captured a wagon train with about four hundred Federal troops, mostly convalescents going to Columbia. On the night of the 5th, Morgan reached Lebanon and quartered his entire force in houses in the town. On the evening of the 6th, Dumont with his command from Nashville, joined by that of Duffield from Murfreesboro, surprised and attacked Morgan's troopers, completely routing them after a severe engagement. Morgan with a few men under his immediate command escaped after a chase of twenty-one miles from Lebanon, crossing the Cumberland River on a ferry. Dumont had with him detachments of Wynkoop's Seventh Pennsylvania cavalry, of Wolford's First Kentucky cavalry and of Green Clay Smith's regiment of Kentucky cavalry. Morgan's loss was 150 men captured, with the same number of horses. The balance of his command was dispersed. Wolford and Smith were both wounded, and the Federals lost 6 killed and 25 wounded. On the 11th, Morgan with his men that had escaped, and two new companies, made a raid on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad at Cave City, captured a freight train of forty-eight cars and burned it. He also captured a passenger train, which had a few Federal officers on it. His object was to rescue the men of his command taken prisoners at Lebanon, but in this he failed, as they had been sent North by boat.

From this place Morgan reported with his command at Chattanooga to refit, prepatory to his first extended raid into Kentucky. Here he was joined by two full companies of Texan cavalry under Captains R. M. Gano and John Huffman, both native Kentuckians, who, on reporting at Corinth, had asked to be ordered on duty with Morgan and his command, enlarged from a squadron to a full regiment. After he had obtained all the recruits he could at Chattanooga he set out for Knoxville, to further increase his command and to re-arm. It was at this place that he received the two mountain howitzers which were used so effectively in the first raid into Kentucky, and which just before his command started on the Ohio raid were taken from it by Bragg's ordnance officers. This came near raising a mutiny, and the only consolation that Morgan's men had was that Bragg lost the guns within two weeks after they were taken away from them. In the latter part of June, Colonel Hunt, of Georgia, reported at Knoxville with a regiment of "Partisan Rangers," nearly four hundred strong, ordered to accompany Morgan on his contemplated raid, making the strength of his entire command 876 effective men.

Morgan set out from Knoxville on the morning of July 4, 1862, taking the road to Sparta, one hundred and four miles due west from Knoxville, which was reached on the evening of the third day of this march. The Union men of East Tennessee frequently gave these raiders medicine of their own prescription, lying in wait for them and firing upon them from the bushes. This was a new experience for these freebooting troopers, who wherever they went in the South were generally made welcome to the best of everything, being regarded as the beau-ideals of Southern chivalry. On the 8th, Morgan's command reached the Cumberland River at the ford near the small village of Celina, eighteen miles from Tompkinsville, where a detachment of the Ninth Pennsylvania, 250 strong, was encamped under command of Major Jordan. Morgan learned at Knoxville the fact that a Federal force was at this point, and was told the particulars of it on his arrival at Celina, and he now wished to surprise and capture the entire command. Sending a detachment under Gano by the right to cut off Jordan's retreat, at five o'clock in the morning of the 9th Morgan moved to the attack. Jordan posted himself on a thickly wooded hill and fired several volleys at the rebels as they advanced over an open field, but being outnumbered was routed with a loss of four killed, six wounded, and nineteen prisoners. The enemy's loss was several wounded, among them Colonel Hunt, who died a few days later from the effects of his wound. Morgan paroled the prisoners and then left for Glasgow, reaching there at one o'clock that night, where they were received with open arms by the citizens, breakfast cooked for the entire command, and three days' rations prepared for them. From here the command marched


The Army of the Cumberland - 6/43

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