4th US Cav

he Corps Commander (Gen. Wilson) says of this incident (Dec 17):†

Late in the evening, apparently exhausted with a rapid marching, the enemy took up a strong position in the open field about a mile north of the West Harpeth. It was then so dark from fog and approaching night that the men of Hatch’s division who had become somewhat intermingled with the sullen and taciturn Confederate stragglers, began to doubt that the ranks which were now looming up in their front were really those of the enemy’s rear-guard. The momentary hesitation caused by this doubt gave Forrest an opportunity to straighten his lines and to push his single remaining battery in position so as to sweep the turnpike. Hatch on the left and Knipe on the right were at once ordered to charge the enemy’s flanks, while the Fourth Regular Cavalry, under Lieut. Hedges, was directed straight against his centre. Seeing what was about to burst upon him, the battery commander opened with canister at short range, but had hardly emptied his guns before the storm broke upon him. Forrest did his best to hold his ground, but it was impossible. Hedges rode headlong over the battery and captured a part of his guns. * * * “Lieut. Hedges, outstripping his men, was captured three different times, but throwing his hat away and raising the cry, ‘The Yankees are coming, run for your lives,’ succeeded in getting away.”

*War Records XXIII, part 1, 231.
† “Battles and Leaders of the Civil War.”

Sources:

  • Spurs to Glory: The Story of the U.S. Cavalry, Merrill, James M., (Chicago: Rand McNally 1966)

Note:

Several sources incorrectly record that the action for which Hedges was awarded his Medal of Honor took place on Dec 24th. For example, this article. But Thomas’ report verifies it was on 17th Dec 1864, not the 24th.

The Wikipedia article even confuses the account with the Battle of Nashville.

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