42 Series I Volume XVI-I Serial 22 - Morgan's First Kentucky Raid, Perryville Campaign Part I

Page 42 KY., M. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA. Chapter XXVIII.

And again as follows:

Of course you will instantly recall your absent troops. I will probably bring the Second Kentucky by rail to march from here. We will advance to attack in the Sequatchie Valley. I can hardly think the enemy will attempt the march across to McMinnville-at least not immediately. It appears to me that he will rather endeavor get into North Alabama, and perhaps strike across to Decherd. if we advance to Altamont we may thwart hi in both and preserve our communications with Decherd and Nashville. If we concentrate at McMinnville we lose North Alabama and Decherd. What think you? The great difficulty is in moving in the mountains with our trains. Of course we must cut loose from everything but our ammunition trains and subsistence for about six days, most of it in haversacks.

His answer to the first is the dispatch dated the 22d, at McMinnville, referred to in his testimony, and is in these words:

By all means concentrate here. The enemy cannot reach Nashville by any other route across the mountains unless by Sparta. At Altamont I am positively informed the enemy would have an equal advantage with ourselves. Here we will have a most decided advantage; and by being here, should he march by Sparta, we can meet him either there or at Allen's Ford, across Caney Fork. He is obliged to pass this place or Sparta to reach Nashville. I have six days' rations and plenty of ammunition. Did you get my dispatch of to-day? I cannot think that Bragg is coming here either by the Hill or Therman road. My reconnoitering party went into Dunlap yesterday.

His answer, of the same date, to the second is as follows:

We can get neither forage nor water at Altamont. It will be as difficult for us to march across the mountains as the enemy to come either to Altamont or this place into East Tennessee. I think our communications with Nashville will be better preserved by holding Decherd with a division, to enable us to concentrate either there, if threatened, or at this place. I have also information that Tupelo has been abandoned, and the most of the enemy at that place have been sent to Chattanooga. I therefore do not apprehend an attempt to regain North Alabama.

Upon further information that the enemy was advancing rapidly on the Therman road I answered him on the 23rd as follows:

There is no possibility of our concentrating at McMinnville. We must concentrate in advance and assume the offensive or fall back at last to Murfreesborough. I deem the former the wisest, and we will act accordingly. I wish you therefore to move by a forced march to Altamont, there to form a junction with McCook, Crittenden, and Schoepf. McCook and Crittended started for Tracy City from Jasper Yesterday. I presume they are now at Tracy City, though possibly not. Schoepf will march at once. The junction must be formed to-morrow, and any division meeting the head of the enemy's column first must at least hold it in check until a larger force arrives.

One battery to a division will, I think, be ample in the mountains. McCook and Crittended have with them six batteries. Leave all of yours, therefore; at least don't take more than two. It will be necessary to leave some force with them, at least two regiments, and they should be covered with breastworks to-night without fail.

I shall order Schoepf's batteries here to be similarly disposed of. There must be no delay or failure. The enemy's advance was at the top of Warden's Ridge, 10 miles from Chattanooga, night before last, and talked of being at McMinnville to morrow. That is hardly possible, but they must be met at the earliest possible moment. Communicate with McCook to-night by a trusty scout. The distance is 32 miles. He may possibly not be at Tracy City. If not, look for him on the road to Battle Creek. If you think best you may send your artillery to this place, which will release the force that would be required to protect them there; though if they will be safe there is some advantage in having a force at McMinnville. Take no wagons except what will be necessary to carry rations and cooking utensil. I shall probably leave here with Sill's brigade to-morrow for Tracy City to join you. Communicate always in cipher by telegraph to this place and to this place and by courier through Tracy City. Schoepf sends a report that Hardee is advancing on the Dunlap road. Answer, so that I may know exactly what you do. Your staff officers make mistakes in the use of the cipher.

I apprehend that further comment on this subject is unnecessary. The dispatch in question was in answer to my own inquiry, and had reference to the relative merits of McMinnville and Altamont as battle


Page 42 KY., M. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA. Chapter XXVIII.

 

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