1st TN Cavalry


The following detail is taken from:

December 14th, 1864
Special Field Order No. 342
Laid out the plan of attack on Hood’s troops General Smith’s Sixteen Corps and Wilson’s cavalry took the right General Wilson formed his cavalry in the following order: Hatch’s Fifth Division on the right of the Sixteenth Corps; Croxton’s brigade of McCook’s First Division to the right of Hatch. General Johnson’s Sixth Division was on Croxton’s right.

December 15th, 1864
The effective force of General Wilson’s corps was twelve thousand, five hundred men and eighteen guns. It was a fine body of men, but very deficient in horses, many being wholly unfit for active service. Around 9am, Thomas started his attack on Hood outside Nashville. Steedman, on the left moved first, then General Smith, then Wilsons cavalry.

Croxton’s brigade had been standing in line of battle during the morning just outside of the entrenchments near the Nashville & Northwestern Railroad. About 10am Croxton threw out a strong line of skirmishers and moved his brigade out between the Charlotte turnpike and the Nashville & Northwestern Railroad.

Croxton was ordered to move his brigade from the Charlotte turnpike across the country to the Hillsboro turnpike, and in doing so, skirmished most all the way. Shortly after crossing the Harding turnpike, Croxton encountered a portion of Chalmers’s division. The First Tennessee was in the advance and was marching left in front when they were fired upon by the enemy by a stone wall. Lt. Colonel Dyer was ordered to dismount his regiment and dislodge the enemy and in a few minutes the regiment was over the fence in line ready to move. At the command “forward,” the men raised the yell and moved forward under a brisk fire, and in a few minutes reached the stone wall, and springing over succeeded in capturing a portion of the Fifth Mississippi Cavalry.

Darkness set in and Croxton’s brigade was ordered to bivouac near the Hillsboro turnpike which they were glad to do as they had been in the saddle since morning.

Wilson’s cavalry had fought during the day infantry and cavalry, had cleared their front, covered the extreme right of Thomas’s infantry, and not only enveloped Hood’s flank, but had taken it in reverse, had completely turned his left flank and swept everything before them, and at night bivouacked near his line of retreat.

December 16th, 1864
Wilson moved his troops forward dismounted and by noon was east of the Granny White turnpike and had completely turned Hood’s left flank, and cut off his line of retreat by this route. Stewart made several attempts during the forenoon to drive back Wilson’s dismounted cavalry and retake the ground lost, but was unsuccessful and was repulsed without difficulty.
Thomas’s charging troops pushed Hood out of his works and the enemy fled toward the Franklin turnpike in great confusion. Wilson’s cavalry was delayed in the pursuit, caused by the troops being so far from the led horses, as the men leading them made slow progress over the hills and dense forests. Croxton’s brigade, which had been in reserve, was not moved to the right of Hammond’s brigade of Knipe’s division, and in making this move captured several prisoners.
As soon as Wilson’s men gained their horses the pursuit was begun, with the commands of Hatch, Knipe and Croxton on the Granny White turnpike and Johnson on the Hillsboro turnpike. Everything indicated a rout, and after moving a short distance the leading division, Hatch’s, encountered Chalmers’ division about dark.
This was called the great cavalry battle of the west, and it is exceedingly doubtful if there was a single battle of the war where so much gallant and meritorious service was rendered by that arm of the service.

December 17th, 1864
The cavalry continued the pursuit. At Brentwood, Croxton’s brigade was ordered t take the Wilson turnpike where the enemy was again routed and fell back toward Franklin. Croxton’s brigade skirmished with Hood’s rear guard most of the way to Franklin. Hood attempted to make another stand at Franklin, but again his flanks were turned and he fell back toward Columbia. Croxton and Hatch moved to the left of Franklin, swimming Harpeth River at McGavock’s Ford and encamped for the night near Douglass Church on the Lewisburg turnpike.

December 18th, 1864
Wilson continued the pursuit south from Franklin with great energy, moving on all the roads, and continued to harass the flanks and rear of Hood’s army.


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