New York Times Headlines, December 24, 1864

GEN. THOMAS’ ARMY.; Particulars of Hood’s Defeat and Flight. Eighteen General Officers and Seventeen Thousand Men Disabled. FIFTY-ONE CANNON CAPTURED. Hood’s Pontoons on the Tennesse Out of Reach of Our Gunboats. OUR ARMY STILL PURSUING. The Advance Across Duck River. HOOD’s ADVANCE AT PULASKI. THE VERY LATEST. THE BATTLE OF NASHVILLE. THURSDAY’S FIGHT. FRIDAY’S FIGHT.

Special Dispatch to the New-York Times. FRANKLIN, TENN., Thursday, Dec, 22. The rebel retreat from Franklin to Duck River beggars all description. HOOD told his Corps Commanders to get off the best way they could with their commands. FRANK CHEATHAM told his aunt, Miss PAGE, that HOOD was ordered to Nashville against his own wishes, but he blames HOOD for not attacking SCHOFIELD at Spring Hill. HOOD ordered BATE to attack at Spring Hill, and he didn’t do it. The rebel army is now beyond Columbia. During the rebel tarry in front of Nashville they captured but two locomotives and ten cars. The railroad is but little injured, and trains are running up to Spring Hill, but two small bridges destroyed. Trains were run to Murfreesboro’ on Sunday. Telegraphic communication is all right with all points. But two small trestles are destroyed on the Johnsonville road. Johnsonville itself was not destroyed. The rebel lose, during the campaign, was 17,000 men, fifty-one cannon captured and eighteen general officers. The killed, at Franklin, numbered 1,400 the wounded 3,800 and 1,000 prisoners were taken. In the battles before Nashville and retreat to Columbia there were 3,000 killed [and wounded and 8,000 prisoners. The Federal loss in the battle at Franklin was 2,000, before Nashville not 4,000. The total Federal loss will not reach 7,000, with two generals slightly wounded. HOOD has a pontoon bridge above the shoals on the Tennessee River, where our gunboats can’t reach it. HOOD marched on Franklin with 40,000 men, including cavalry, and 65 pieces of artillery. He lost just half his general officers, and counting in deserters which are coining in and stragglers which are being captured, he will lose nearly half his men. The rout is complete, although his army is not quite annihilated. B.C. TRUMAN.

NASHVILLE. Friday, Dec. 23. The latest accounts from the front locate Gen. THOMAS headquarters at Rutherford Hill, yesterday morning, eight miles this side of Columbia. Since that time our forces have crossed Duck River, and have moved to a point south of Columbia. Our cavalry forces crossed at Hunter’s Ford, below Columbia, and dashed into the town, the enemy meanwhile retreating without firing a shot. We captured about fifty stragglers. The rebel force was, at last accounts, at Pulaski, yesterday morning. They are probably some distance south of that place to-day. They are closely followed by our cavalry. No particular damage was done to the town of Columbia by the passage through it of the two armies. At least one-third of HOOD’s armies are without arms and equipments, everything which impedes their flight having been thrown away. Rebel deserters and prisoners report the only effective corps of HOOD’s army to be S.D. LEE’S. FORREST effected a junction with HOOD at Columbia on Tuesday evening. The water on the Shoals is fifteen feet deep, and at a stand-still.

NASHVILLE, Friday, Dec, 16 — Midnight. The readers of newspapers do not know what correspondents suffer sometimes in mind. For Instance, imagine a poor fellow taking the chances of a battle all day, then riding several miles in the dark, with mud up to his horse’s belly, to find “the wires down east of Louisville,” This has been the case with the subscriber, and others, for the past two days. The fighting yesterday and to-day, as I have stated in a telegram which, may be, you have never received, has been grander and more magnificent in detail than anything I have ever witnessed upon a field of battle. Early in the morning the enemy’s line of battle was within musket shot of Nashville, with both flanks resting upon the river, with Gen. FRANK CHEATHAM’S corps on the rebel right, crossing the Lebanon, Murfreesboro and Nolensville Pikes; STEPHEN D. LEE’S corps in the centre, crossing the Franklin, Granny White and Hillsboro Pikes, and STEWART on their felt, crossing the Harding and Charlotte Pikes, and resting on the river a few miles south of the city, and commanded by HOOD in person. Our forces were commanded by Gen. THOMAS, and moved upon the enemy in the following order: A.J. Smith upon the right, STEEDMAN on the left, and WOOD in the centre, with SCHOFIELD in reserve, and most of our cavalry, under Gens. JOHNSON, HATOR and WILSON, on the right. Beside, we had gunboats assisting in the protection of our ranks, which rested on the river. A.J. Smith moved out the Sixteenth Corps about 8 o’clock, and skirmished with the enemy until a little before 1 o’clock, with little or no loss to either side, making about a mile in that time. WOOD moved out the celebrated Fourth Corps about the same time, and charged two lines of works and captured them before he took his dinner. Gens. BEATY’S and ??? divisions ??? with great ??? and enthusiasm, and were received in gallant manner by the rebels, who fought with their accustomed desperation. But two rebel batteries were brought to bear upon the two divisions, while six batteries of field artillery, and all the big guns on Fort Negley, and guns upon Casino and Confiscation, for more than an hour, were employed in hurling destruction into the rebel ranks. Immediately in front of Mrs. ACKLIN’s house the charge was made with unbounded spirit. POST’S brigade and a battery of artillery piled into the lines head over heels, and captured one hundred men and a section of artillery. Gen. STEEDMAN moved out his men, composed of a portion of his own division, detachments of troops belonging to the different corps with SHERMAN, and two brigades of colored troops, respectively commanded by Cols. THOMPSON and MORGAN. Gen. STEEDMAN’S orders were to make a vigorous attack, for two reasons: Gen. THOMAS desired to get possession of a nasty fort upon our extreme left, which commanded our line for two miles to the right, and further, to deceive HOOD, as SMITH and SCHOFIELD were to turn the enemy’s left, had any attempt to crush STEEDMAN taken place. But the rebels did not await the second charge of the two colored brigades, which went right up to the summit of the hill without much wavering, driving the enemy a Quarter of a mile, and capturing nearly a hundred prisoners. Up to noon STEEDMAN’S troops were pretty actively engaged, the white and the black men, shoulder to shoulder, pitching in like fury, regardless of all considerations of color. At noon STEEDMAN had moved nearly a mile and a half, and had commenced to swing his extreme left in a little from the river. On our extreme right, our cavalry had about all they could conveniently attend to during the forenoon, experiencing slight repulses, owing to the fine positions of the enemy. Our infantry and cavalry got some very rough handling just about this time, but were helped out of their dilemma by the gunboats, which came along in the nick of time. The Carondelet threw about fifty 64-pound shells into the rebel left, driving the troops resting on the river in great confusion, and silencing a battery of artillery. In the afternoon STEEDMAN was not so busily engaged as he had been during the early part of the day. His troops, however, were under fire all the while, and behaved with great gallantry. During all these charges, the colored troops hardly gave way. They were admirably handled by Cols. THOMPSON and MORGAN, both brave young men, and as they tugged up the hill the white soldiers upon either side rent the air with vociferations. The negroes, too, as they dashed inside of the works, shouted, screamed, yelled and threw up their hats, notwithstanding they had left nearly two hundred of their comrades behind, the bleeding victims of rebel shot and shell. As I said above, of the grand charge which I have described, STEEDMAN moved with little opposition, as the rebels, in contracting their lines, necessarily abandoned some strong positions in his front. WOOD’S corps stood the brunt of the fight in the afternoon, and added new laurels to its well-known and well-earned fame. A little before 3 o’clock, the Second and Third Divisions made two glorious charges upon a long line of rude rifle-pits. An entire battery of brass guns were captured, but most of the troops ran away, and but few prisoners were captured. Before dark another line of works were taken, WOOD’S corps sustaining a loss of over one hundred men killed and wounded during the charge. He was above an hour from the commencement to the conclusion of this charge, during which time the enemy made very little use of his artillery. At dark the Fourth Corps was four miles from Nashville, having taken half a dozen lines of works, several cannon, and toward four hundred prisoners. Although WOOD’S corps did the hardest fighting in the afternoon, A.J. SMITH, in conjunction with the cavalry and a portion of SCHOFIELD’s corps, made a multiplicity of brilliant movements, resulting in the capture of two batteries of artillery, nearly a thousand prisoners, a wagon train, and Gens. LER’s and CHALMER’s headquarters’ trains. This was in a great measure owing to the sagacity and skill of Gen. A.J. SMITH, who seems as much at home upon a field of action as one might well imagine. Portions of SCHOFIELD’s corps were also eminently interested in the saking of the batteries, as were also HATCH’s and JOHNSON’s divisions of cavalry. The gunboats kept up their thundering all the latter part of the afternoon, and did considerable execution upon the enemy’s left. At dark firing ceased, with the exception that our artillerists threw an occasional shell into the rebel lines. The enemy had been pushed over three miles all round since daylight, although at times the fighting was of the most stubborn character. The victory was one of the superbest of the war. Our troops drove the enemy at all points, extending our territory three miles south of our position in the morning. Some five distinct lines of rebel works were taken on the left and centre, and the rebel left broken. We captured eighteen guns, with caissons, &c., all in complete order. We also captured 1,600 prisoners, a large amount of small arms, and a number of wagons. It is believed that our own and the enemy’s loss in killed and wounded, is about the same, each side losing between 1,200 and 1,500. The rebels used very little artillery, but used what they did to a purpose. The captured guns were all smooth bores but four, and of excellent workmanship. On account of the rolling condition of the country and the thinness of the forests, the movements of the troops upon both sides were witnessed to much advantage. At one time the entire front of STEEDMAN’s and WOOD’s troops and two corps of the enemy, could be seen distinctly from a safe position. Gens. Thomas, Smith, Schofield, Wood, Steedman, Wilson and other general officers, were upon the field all day. No general officer was injured, although WOOD like to have lost his head by a cannon ball twice. In point of splendor and magnincent results, today’s affair was even more glorious than yesterday’s. During the night, Gen. HOOD contracted his lines in a remarkable degree, resting his right a short distance east of the Franklin pike, and his left on the Harding pike, making his line of battle less than four miles from flank to flank, although it was double that number of miles in extreme length, owing to its zig-zag order upon and near the Franklin pike. He also retired his army from a naturally weak position and disposed his forces at the base of a range of detached spurs of the Cumberland. It was evident that he intended to make another stand, and it was also evident that the preservation of his rear and his line of retreat upon the Franklin pike, were objects of his particular attention. Gen. THOMAS evidently knew what HOOD’s programme was as well as HOOD himself, and at daylight moved STEEDMAN out rapidly upon the left, with orders to swing in and cross the Murfreesboro’ and Nolensville pikes. This was done with rapidity, but no captures were made owing to the rebel evacuation of their works on our left during the night. WOOD and A.J. SMITH moved up to within musket shot of the rebel lines, while SCHOFIELD was held partly in reserve on the right and partly in a position to make a rapid dash in conjunction with our cavalry, upon the enemy’s left, should the situation suggest such a demonstration. All this transpired before 9 A.M. I went out upon the Granny White pike, a little before night, and watched the movements of our right and the enemy’s left until noon. The enemy had a very fine position at the base of a range of hills, extending from the Granny White to to the Harding pike. He was protected by a line of works which had been hastily constructed near the edge of the woods. GARRARD’s and MCARTHUR’s divisions had to advance through an open field over a mile in length. After getting within four hundred yards of the rebels our column went down upon their bellies, and crawled up some fifty or sixty yards closer. Three batteries followed up these two divisions, and when they halted commenced shelling the woods back of the rebel line and some houses on the pike, from behind which about fifty sharpshooters were banging away. Up to near 11 o’clock this was the order of things in front of SMITH. About that time the rebels snowed their heads in great numbers above the works, and acted as though they intended to charge the three batteries. They came out of their works shortly after, and our batteries were retired temporarily to a safer position. Just before 12 SMITH’s whole corps from right to left made a desperate charge, but could not carry the works. About half past 12 the attempt was again made, and a portion of the works were carried. MCARTHUR ordered up two six-gun batteries upon his left, and one battery upon the right of his division, his own and GARRARD’s men made a charge, the three batteries being advanced so that an enfillading fire could be got in. The whole manoeuvre was grand in projection and execution. The artillery did frightful work along the rebel line, our infantry carrying the works during a temporary panic, which was caused by the vigorous hurling of grape and canister into the rebel ranks. In this charge over two hundred of the enemy were captured. SMITH’s whole line then advanced, his right swinging around a little from off the Hardin pike and a portion of the Twenty-third corps falling and making up the gap between the Sixteenth and HATCH’s division of cavalry. It was now quite 1 o’clock, and a most terrible cannonading had opened all along our left and centre. Knowing that WOOD and STEEDMAN had a certain amount of work to perform to bring up with SMITH. I went over upon the left and centre, where I spent the afternoon until dark, and witnessed, in an unsafe position, more thrilling sights than I have ever seen before. The rebel bullets were whizzing quite uncomfortably, but their artillery, which is the thing that generally produces the demoralization, remained comparatively quiet, and I, in company with two other correspondents, took the chances of the former. The Sixth Ohio, and a battery of the Fourth Regular Artillery, took a position upon an open field, about fifty feet in the rear of our infantry; to the right of BEATTY’s division a Michigan battery and two Ohio batteries, took up a position in an open field, near and upon WOOD’s extreme right, while two batteries got in on the left. From 1 till 2 o’clock these thirty-six guns shelled the rebel position, which was very strong in WOOD’s front, and particularly strong in front of STEEDMAN. At precisely 2 o’clock it commenced to rain, and rained hard during the balance of the day. A little after 2 the Third and First Divisions of WOOD’s corps made a desperate charge upon the rebel line which was located upon a slight elevation. The firing lasted fully twenty minutes, when the rebels retired in considerable disorder, leaving their dead and wounded and forty odd prisoners in our hands. The rebels had parallel works on this hill, and the two divisions, without orders, with the wildest enthusiasm, charged the other line of works in the face of a deadly volley of musketry and a shower of grape from four Napoleon guns. Really, I discovered no signs of wavering, and the whole drama was in full show. In ten minutes after they rushed into the works, captured three hundred men and the battery, which was ??? splendid one of four guns. Every member of the battery — the Second Louisiana — was either killed, wounded or captured. SMITH and WOOD were now on an even line, and a frowning-looking eminence, topped with strong works, three regiments of Tennessee infantry and STAMFORD’s Mississippi battery ??? before STEEDMAN, who, at this juncture, was in conversation with Wood. Capt. TRACY informed me that the two colored brigades would be ordered to storm the hill. I crossed the Franklin pike to see Col. THOMPSON, commanding one of the colored brigades, who is a particular friend of mine, when I heard the orders given for the assault. Immediately the two brigades of colored men started up the hill. I crossed back to the right of the Franklin pike, where I could see the whole movement, without placing myself in too great danger. When within about a hundred yards of the crest of the hill the lour guns and the infantry poured a broadside into the negroes, when a frightful panic took place upon STEEDMAN’s right, resting on the pike. The movement ceased for a few moments, when a couple of our batteries commenced an enfilading fire, and the assaulting party, with an additional brigade of white troops, again attempted the ascent. The rebel infantry blazed away at a fearful rate, and the artillery discharged sixteen shots of cannister, which made the assaulting column reel, waver and almost fall back. This was the most exciting picture I had ever seen so close, as I stood, in company with Capt. BOYD, of Gen. MILLER’s Staff, about two hundred feet to the right of the assaulting party. After a manly struggle, with the loss of over two hundred men killed and wounded in the colored brigades, including eight officers; the party reached the top, and with a yell, went over the works, captured the entire battery and nearly three hundred prisoners. The guns were of the James pattern, were manufactured at Columbus, Ga., and were quite warm when I arrived. Every caisson had been smashed by our artillery, and most of the horses killed, although the guns were in good order. The men composing this battery stood like men to their post — 32 out of 70 being killed and wounded. Every officer was killed. As soon as the hill was taken, the colored troops pitched after the retreating rebels, chasing them through a valley nearly a mile. Firing wholly ceased upon the left, which had swung around nearly a mile and a half in two hours. WOOD’s corps carried another line of works, without much opposition, however, although POST’s and STRAIGHT’s brigades pitched in like good fellows. This was a little before 4 o’clock, and, when all was quiet upon the left and centre, a tremendous crash took place upon the right. It only lasted about ten minuses, but the firing was awful during that time. I started to go over to the right, but when half way over, met Capt. BURROUGHS, of Gen. THOMAS’ staff, who told me that SMITH had made a glorious charge, and with the assistance of SCHOFIELD, had taken twelve guns, two general officers, and fifteen hundred prisoners. As I told you in the start, SCHOFIELD had a certain plan to carry out if the opportunity presented itself. It did, While SMITH was making a charge, SCHOFIELD threw his whole corps away round to the right, and shut up toward A.J. SMITH’s corps in front, the two corps grabbing the number of guns and prisoners stated above in the operation. Darkness came abruptly on, and hostilities ceased. As near as I can judge our loss is about two thousand in Killed and wounded. The enemy’s loss in killed and wounded is smaller. We captured about four thousand prisoners and two general officers. Gens. SMITH and SCHOFIELD captured 12 guns, and I saw WOOD’s and STEEDMAN’s corps capture a like number, while HATCH captured a section of artillery on our extreme right. I started for the city a little before 7 o’clock, at which time all was quiet at the front, and all of our dead, and our own and the rebel wounded had been cared for. Our front occupied a position between eight and nine miles from the city. Rebel prisoners admit their defeat, and deplore their great loss in artillery and prisoners. Orders were issued last night for 5,000 rations for prisoners. Gen. JACKSON, captured by SMITH, is a Major-General, and is an old man. SMITH is a middle-aged man, and pays a high compliment to our troops, who, he says, are brave in a fight and magnanimous after victory. LOSSES. The following summing up of the relative losses of both armies during the two days’ fight may be considered quite accurate: Rebel killed and wounded, Thursday…. 1,500 Rebel killed and wounded, Friday……. 2,000 — 3,500 Rebel loss in prisoners, Thursday…… 1,600 Rebel loss in prisoners, Friday……….. 4,000 — 5,600 and two general officers. Rebel loss of cannon, Thursday…………… 18 Rebel loss of cannon, Friday……………… 26 — 44 The Federal loss in killed and wounded in the two days’ fight, I think, will exceed the enemy’s by a thousand. No prisoners are reported taken by the rebels. Total rebel loss………………………….. 8,100 Total Federal loss……………………….. 4,500 Allowing our loss in killed and wounded to be one thousand more than the enemy’s even, gives us the advantage of 3,600 men, 2 general officers, 44 cannon, 5,000 small arms, &c., &c. BENJAMIN C. TRUMAN.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s