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BREAKING UP CAMP AT MURFREESBORO.
advance into Southern Tennessee and Georgia stood revealed, the caution of Rosecrans appeared to be vindicated. But all signs pointed to an early advance, and we waited to hear the word "forward,” which at last came on June 24th, and our long encampment at Murfreesboro was over.
This record should not be closed, however, without a word upon the religious interest which prevailed at that time. For some months increased attention had been given to religious services throughout the army, and quite a number of the leading officers sustained Sabbath services at their headquarters. Gen. McCook had preaching every Sabbath afternoon, which was attended by many Generals and regimental officers of his corps. Series of night meetings were also held, and a large number of the men made professions of religion. At the Chaplains' meetings, held every Monday morning, the reports from the different regiments were highly encouraging. The last Sabbath before we marched, thirty were baptized in Stone River. On that day the Chaplain of the 36th, on going to the camp on Salem pike, where the regiment was, found that the place selected for the pulpit had been carefully and beautifully ornamented by an arch of evergreens, giving evidence at once both of the interest and taste of those who had prepared it. After an interesting service, thinking to enjoy the privilege of hearing a sermon, he went to Gen. McCook's headquarters, but the appointed preacher having failed, at the General's request the Chaplain officiated. Before another Sabbath both officers and men were once more amid the excitements and confusions of a campaign.
ON TO THE TENNESSEE.
HE ENEMY'S center was Tullahoma, while its
wings extended to Shelbyville, which was strongly fortified, and McMinnville. The country through which we were now to operate presented increased difficulties in the way of
military operations, as we were gradually nearing the mountain region, penetrable only through certain passes, which of course it was necessary to seize, but were comparatively easy for the enemy to hold unless they were maneuvered out of them by superior strategy and celerity of movement.
On Wednesday, June 24th, the army left Murfreesboro in three columns, Thomas on the right, McCook in the centre, and Crittenden on the left. Our brigade being out on the Salem pike, had its preparations made the day before. Early in the morning the pickets were drawn in, and after breakfast the brigade joined the rest of the division near the “Board of Trade Bridge,” and we marched out on the Shelbyville pike. The army was in fine spirits and hopeful of success. We had scarcely started, however, before it began to rain, inaugurating what might truly be called “the campaign of mud and slush.” About six miles out we struck the enemy's lines, and at the distance of nine miles we were
THE ENEMY ENCOUNTERED.
halted for several hours while the cavalry skirmished, supported by two regiments of our brigade. The enemy used artillery in checking us, and two or three shots fell in front of our regiment. Soon a part of Thomas' corps came up and went forward toward Shelbyville, while our division was turned eastward on a dirt road, on which we marched about six miles and went into camp in a dense wood. The headquarters' wagon not coming up, the officers were in poor plight. The rain poured down all night and next day, and though we were up at three o'clock A. M. no orders came until three P. M. We could hear, however, the sound of firing in the advance, where Johnson's Division was taking Liberty Gap, which they did in fine style, not, however, without considerable loss. The next day we were up at three o'clock, marched a little way, and then halted until eleven o'clock. Again it commenced to rain—if rain it might be called which came in such torrents that rubber was no protection—and the water varied from ankle to waist deep, with mud in proportion. The men pronounced it the hardest they had ever seen. We went through Liberty Gap, captured the day before, and camped at the entrance of Hoover's Gap, on the McMinnville pike, having marched only about four miles. Next day, the 27th, we were up at three o'clock, and reached the Manchester pike, where we found our train and rations. We made a halt for some time, then leaving the pike, struck off to the right, through a small town called Bedford. Here our division encountered some force of the enemy,
and for about half an hour the 36th was thrown out to the left as a protection. We soon went forward, however, and turning east again, marched on until nine o'clock, when, thoroughly exhausted, we went into camp in an orchard, about two miles from the Manchester pike.
On the 28th (Sunday), we struck the pike about nine o'clock, and went into camp near Manchester about eleven o'clock. The
day was fine, and the boys used it to bathe and wash up, for which they had unusual facilities, there being a dam with a fifty feet fall. All they had to do was to stand under the descending water and their clothes were cleansed from the mud with which they had been covered. This day's rest helped the troops much, and we were encouraged by learning that our forces occupied Shelbyville the day before. In the evening, arrangements were made for a union service of all the regiments in the division camped together. The Chaplain of the 36th preached the sermon to a vast audience, gathered in an immense circle. At the close, those who desired to give themselves to the Lord's service were invited to step into the center, where they kneeled as prayer was made for them.
It was a solemn sight, for soldiers do not commonly profess such an interest unless they deeply feel it.
On Monday, 29th, we resumed the march about noon, the inev itable rain beginning to fall just as we left camp, and pouring in torrents as we plowed our way along. We had to make several halts to rest, for sometimes the battery and wagon wheels sank so deep that it seemed almost impossible to move them. We went into camp about seven o'clock and remained there all next day, as it was impossible to move artillery. As we were now within a few miles of Tullahoma, of whose great strength we had been hearing for months, there was much speculation as to what reception we should meet there. We marched again about two o'clock July 1st, and had scarcely gone a mile before we learned that the enemy had evacuated. A rapid march was made under a burning sun—so hot that a large number of men fell out-and our division was the first to enter Tallahoma. We found the deserted fort, with several sixty-four pound siege guns spiked and quite a quantity of tents and ammunition. Next day we started
FORDING ELK RIVER.
at five o'clock and began to receive into our lines a number of prisoners, who represented themselves, and large numbers of their comrades, as disgusted with the war and determined to desert to us rather than leave the state as Bragg was preparing to do. About ten o'clock we made a long halt at Estelle Springs, and finally found it necessary to leave the direct road in order to ford Elk River, the enemy having burned the bridge. This was a difficult and dangerous operation, as the recent rains had swollen the river to a roaring torrent, and the enemy were on the other side. We commenced crossing about six o'clock. It was a ludicrous sight to see so many men wading the stream, with their clothes and accoutrements raised in the air, to keep them out of the water, which with some men came almost to the neck. The current was so rapid, that in places it was difficult to urge horses through, but at last they became so accustomed to it that some of them made a number of trips, carrying over special friends. We went into camp at eight o'clock, having marched fifteen miles.
Starting next morning at six o'clock, we soon came in sight of Winchester, and the rear guard of the enemy could be plainly
A line of battle was at once formed, with Company B thrown forward as skirmishers to support the cavalry, who charged into town, capturing fifty prisoners. After wading a stream waist deep, the infantry stacked arms in Winchester. At another stream beyond, our cavalry received a check, and the infantry was formed again in line of battle, but the enemy soon retired and we advanced, wading another stream and passing a house where a small boy had been accidentally killed in the skirmish. We continued our march till we reached the foot of the Cumberland Mountains, and went into camp at Cowan Station at six o'clock. Further pursuit being fruitless, the Nine Days' Campaign ended