New York Times headlines, November 29, 1864

Gen. Beauregard’s Army at Pulaski Gen. Thomas Falls Back to Duck River Beauregard Reinforced by Dick Taylor Gen. Hood Sick at Florence, Ala. Beauregard’s Entire Army 43,000 Strong Brief Description of Prominent Points in Middle Tennessee.; THE SITUATION.

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Friday, Nov. 25, 1864. Only a few days have transpired since my last letter; but during that time the relative positions of our own and BEAUREGARD’S armies have experienced changes of material interest. On Saturday last, BEAUREGARD’s advance was at Waynesboro, Tenn., as you will recollect, under Gen. FRANK CHEATHAM, of this city. This advance comprised one corps. The other two corps, respectively commanded by Gens. STEWART and LEE, were at Florence, Ala., and Corinth, Miss. BEAUREGARD’s headquarters being at the latter place, and HOOD’s at Florence. On Tuesday, the whole rebel army, reinforced by DICK TAYLOR, with nine thousand men, was in motion. Almost the entire force having reached Tennessee, FRANK CHEATHAM, with his corps and about three thousand of FORREST’s cavalry, moved toward Pulaski, and were encamped on the night of the 22d within twenty miles of that place. This is quite correct, and is known at all headquarters. In the way of receiving information, the rebel leaders have very little advantage of us in this section of the country, as our officers and soldiers know every foot of the ground hereabouts; while, in addition, we are surfeited with news brought in by reliable Union men, who are quite numerous in Middle Tennessee. Northern Alabama and Northern Mississippi. The movement is a formidable one, by the way, and, evidently, BEAUREGARD means business. He has, no doubt, left Corinth, as HOOD’s illness requires his presence in the field. HOOD is suffering with rheumatism, it is said, but still remains at Florence. From a multiplicity of sources, we learn that the rebel officers boast of striking Nashville. By a glance at the map, it will be seen that they menace us to no inconsiderable degree; and, had our army remained at Pulaski, a flank movement on their part could have been easily performed — our line of communication would have been threatened, and Nashville placed in imminent danger. As it is, everything is all right on our side, as will be seen. Leaving the movements of the enemy, on Tuesday night, Gen. THOMAS issued orders for his army to fall back from Pulaski to Columbia, Tenn., the commencement of which took place Wednesday morning, and while I write, nearly our whole army is this side of Duck River, which passes Columbia, about a mile to the north. Thus, you see, it draws’ the rebel army from its base, and places a great obstacle, in the shape of a river, between our own and BEAUREGARD’s army. As most any one would naturally conjecture, matters cannot remain this way long; and, in all probability, a great battle will occur in a short time upon the soil of Tennessee, the thunders of which will echo along the banks of Stone River, and die away reverberating among the cedar forrests and mountain spurs of the old battle-field itself. There are various opinions rife regarding the enemy’s intentions. Some think that BEAUREGARD is going to pitch right in and whip THOMAS and take Nashville. Others think that he is going to pitch right in and not whip THOMAS, and not take Nashville. Some think that at this late day, he will make an attempt, via Huntsville and the Cherokee country, to catch SHERMAN, while others think that he will pass to our left, and attempt to place his army upon the Chattanooga Railroad, between our forces here and those at Bridgeport. In the latter case, he would take many risks of having his army cut off, and again, we have a move ahead of him should he attempt scheming in any such unmilitary manner. And, this sure, I do not believe he will go Shermanward. So, in my opinion, it resolves itself down that he must fight, or retreat in the same way he came. Time will develop this, and further speculation is unnecessary and useless. The most serious aspect presented thus far is the loss to us again of Northern Alabama and portions of Middle Tennessee, where a great many true men reside, and where a great deal of work by Government has been expended. Very little Government property, however, will be abandoned, as no supplies or anything of that sort have accumulated directly south of Nashville since the Forrest raid some six weeks ago. From all that I can learn, especially since the junction formed by DICK TAYLOR’s army, BEAUREGARD’s forces are numerically stronger than has generally been reported. We must not deceive ourselves; and I think I about hit the exact number when I put it at 43,000, all told, as follows: Stephen D. Lee’s corps, about…………..6,000 Stewart’s corps, about……………………………6,000 Frank Cheatham’s corps, about………………8,000 Dick Taylor’s army………………………………….9,000 Forrest’s cavalry…………………………………..14,000 Total…………………………………………………….43,000

FORREST, it will be remembered, is a Lieutenant-General, and has all the cavalry in BEAUREGARD’s army, as well as his old independent command, under his sole charge. It is known that he has been reinforced from various sources, and the figure given above, although it may seem quite large, is certainly not in excess of his command of horse, well armed and equipped. As the war has again been transferred to Middle Tennessee, I will give you a brief description of some of the most important prominent points. Columbia, at which place the Federal army, under Gen. GEORGE H. THOMAS, is at present located, is situated in Maury County, upon a slight eminence, upon the south bank of Duck River, about forty-five miles south from Nashville. This place was first captured by Gen. BUELL, in March, 1862, and held by Gen. NEGLEY until the retrograde movement of the former in September of the same year. From that time it remained in rebel possession until Gen. ROSECRANS advanced upon Tullahoma, in July, 1863, since which time it has remained in our hands. It is the seat of justice of one of the most flourishing counties in the State, and before the war, contained three thousand inhabitants. It is the centre of a fine cotton-growing county, and is the home of the Polks and the Pillows, and other celebrated families. Nearly all of Maury County was put to cotton this year. Duck River is an east branch of the Tennessee, and at this time of the year it is very deep and difficult to ford. It rises in the mountains near the line of Marion County, and pursues a comparative course of 150 miles northwest, through the counties of Franklin, Bedford, Maury, Hickman, Williamson, Dickson and Humphreys, passing the towns of Columbia, Shelbyville and Centreville. It is navigable for boats following the bends about 100 miles, and is declared a public highway as high as Shelbyville. Franklin, at which place are our reserves, is a beautiful town upon the Nashville and Decatur Railroad, 18 miles from this city. It is situated in Williamson County, upon the south bank of Big Harpeth River, and contained a population before the war of nearly 2,000 people. No place, I believe has changed hands so often as this, it having been at least a dozen times, first in rebel then in Federal possession. Big Harpeth River has its source in Bedford County, and flows northwest through Williamson, past the town of Franklin, enters Davidson County, and falls into the Cumberland River 35 miles below, this city, after a general comparative course of 60 miles. Pulaski, at which place the rebel army under Gen. BEAUREGARD is at present located, is the seat of justice of Giles County, and before the war was a flourishing town, containing nearly 3,000 inhabitants. It is pleasantly situated on Richland Creek, a north branch of the Elk River, and is 70 miles by rail south of Nashville. It is 44 miles northwest of Huntsville, Ala., and 50 miles east northeast of Florence. Ala. In conclusion, I will add that ere this, in all probability, the towns of Huntsville, Athens and Decatur, all situated in Northern Alabama, the former the home of JERE CLEMENS, are in rebel possession. BENJAMIN C. TRUMAN.

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