(C.S.A.) Major-General C.H. Steven’s official after-battle report of the battle of Franklin

Headquarters Stevenson’s Division,
In the field – January 20th, 1865.

Major, — I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my division during the recent campaign in Tennessee:

The march from Palmetto to the front of Columbia was without incident worthy of mention, except, perhaps, the demonstration upon Resaca, Georgia, in which my command acted with spirit in the skirmishing which resulted in driving the enemy within their works. My loss was numerically insignificant at this point, but amongst the killed was numbered the gallant soldier and genial gentleman, Colonel F.K. Beck, Twenty third Alabama regiment. By his fall my division lost a chivalrous soldier and his native State one of her worthiest sons.

Upon our arrival in front of Columbia, my position in line was assigned from the right of the Mount Pleasant pike, the front of the division in line of battle. The investment was characterized by nothing of interest, as far as my division was concerned. A desultory skirmish fire was kept up most of the time. My losses here were few.

On the night of the 27th November, my scouts reported that there were indications that the enemy were evacuating Columbia. I immediately increased the number of scouts, and about an hour before day sent forward the Eighteenth and Third Tennessee regiments (consolidated), under the command of Lieutenant Colonel W.R. Butler. He found the reports of the scouts to be correct, and occupied the town without opposition. I then moved forward my division, except Cumming’s brigade (commanded on the campaign by Colonel E.P. Watkins, Fifty sixth Georgia), which, by General Lee’s order, was sent down the river to press those of the enemy who had taken that route, and endeavor to save the railroad bridge, which, however, had been fired before their arrival.

In the fort at Columbia we secured a large amount of howitzer and small arm ammunition and two siege howitzers. Colonel Butler had immediately upon gaining possession of the town sent a force to the ford of Duck river. The enemy’s skirmishers were found to be in large force on the opposite bank and the enemy in position behind works about three quarters of a mile from the river. He immediately moved down his command, and skirmished with them briskly. The Sixtieth North Carolina, coming up soon after, was sent further up the bank of the river to a point from which they obtained a flanking fire upon the enemy. This drove them back from the immediate bank of the river. Orders were soon after received to discontinue the skirmishing. On the night of that day, General Hood, with Cheatham’s and Steuart’s corps and Johnson’s division of Lee’s corps, crossed Duck river some miles above Columbia, and pushed for the enemy’s rear, leaving General Lee, with Clayton’s and my division to occupy the enemy in front until he should have reached his position, then to force a crossing of the river and attack the enemy as he attempted to extricate himself.

The greater part of the next day was spent in preparations for this movement. The bank of the river was quite steep on the side held by the enemy. A pontoon boat, in charge of Captain Ramsay, engineer, was taken down the river under a galling fire, launched, and could there, under the cover of our artillery and skirmish fire, be used without much exposure in ferrying our troops. This was done with all practicable rapidity, the troops as they crossed forming under the cover of the steep bank to which I have alluded. About an hour before sunset I had succeeded in crossing three (3) regiments of Pettus’ brigade, Brigadier General Pettus in command. The Twentieth Alabama regiment (Colonel I.M. Dedman) of his brigade had previously been sent up the bank of the river to obtain a flanking fire upon the enemy, and the Thirtieth Alabama (Lieutenant Colonel F. R. Elliott) was retained on the Columbia side to cover the ford in case of any failure.

Everything being made ready, I directed General Pettus to advance, and his command dashed forward at the word, driving the enemy before them by a charge which elicited the warmest admiration of all who witnessed it. Their loss was slight; that of the enemy so considerable that to explain the affair, the commander of the enemy saw fit to attribute to an entire division an attack made by three (3) of its regiments. Having driven the enemy within their main line, General Pettus halted, selected a position to prevent the enemy from interrupting the laying of the pontoons, and was subsequently reinforced by the rest of his brigade and by Holtzclaw’s brigade of Clayton’s division. The pontoon bridge was then laid with all practicable expedition. During the night General Pettus reported that the enemy was retiring, and he following with his skirmishers. This was as anticipated, and orders had already been given by General Lee to have everything in readiness to move, coupled with the statement that General Hood had advised him that he was between the enemy and Nashville, near Spring Hill. At daybreak I put my division in motion, in rear of Clayton’s.

Upon arriving at Spring Hill, we were informed that from some cause, which has not been explained, the enemy had been suffered to pass unattacked along the road commanded by the troops which the Commanding General took with him. We were then ordered to push on to Franklin. My division was halted about dusk in three miles of that place, and took no part in the battle. During the night the division was put in position, preparatory to an assault, which it was announced was to be made by the entire army at daybreak.

The enemy, however, evacuated the town before the hour for the assault. We then advanced to within a few miles of Nashville, and threw up a line of works — my position being on the right and left of the Franklin pike. Several new lines were built, but my position with regard to the pike remained unchanged.

Until the opening of the battles around Nashville, nothing of interest transpired in my command, except the part taken by my skirmishers, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel J.B. Bibb, Twenty third Alabama, in a demonstration made by Lee’s corps. The enemy’s skirmishers were driven by a greatly inferior force from all of their entrenched positions. My skirmishers were handsomely handled, and did their work with a dash and gallantry which deserve praise. Just before this demonstration, Palmer’s brigade (consolidated from Brown’s and Reynold’s old brigades), was detached and ordered to report to Major General N.B. Forrest in front of Murfreesboro’. It remained so detached from the division until it reached Bear creak, on this side of Barton’s station.

On the 15th of December the battle in front of Nashville opened. Except some unimportant skirmishing, my division took no part in that day’s fight; although its position was frequently shifted, and the line greatly attenuated, to fill vacancies in the works caused by the withdrawal of the troops. On the next day the enemy advanced early in heavy force in front of the new line, which we had constructed late the previous night, my division extending its entire length, part of it in two and part in one thin rank, from a short distance to the left of the Franklin pike. The skirmishers of the right of Lee’s corps, Clayton’s and mine maintained their positions so well, though in small force, that in their subsequent accounts, the enemy have seen fit to magnify the affair with them into a desperate assault by two corps upon our first line, which was finally successful, but attended with heavy loss. Soon afterward their forces advanced to the assault, principally upon a part of General Clayton’s line and upon Pettus’ brigade of my division — exposing, in their assault upon Pettus, their flank to a fire from Cumming’s brigade. Their success the previous day had emboldened them, and they rushed forward with great spirit, only to be driven back with dreadful slaughter. Finding at last that they could make no impression upon our lines, they relinquished their attempts, and contented themselves with keeping up an incessant fire of small arms at long range, and an artillery fire which I have never seen surpassed for heaviness, continuance and accuracy. This state of things continued until evening — doing, however, but little damage, my men keeping closely in the trenches, and perfectly cool and confident.

Towards evening General Lee sent me information “that things were going badly on the left,” and that “it might be necessary to retire under cover of the approaching night.” I at once hurried off orders for the artillery horses — which had been removed some distance to the rear to protect them from the fire of the enemy’s artillery, under which they could not have lived half an hour — to be brought up. (It is proper to observe that about the middle of the day mist and rain arose, which entirely prevented my seeing anything that was going on beyond my own line.) The messengers had hardly gone for the horses before the break which, commencing some distance beyond the left of Lee’s corps, extended to my line. Seeing it, the men on my left commenced leaving the works; but, at the call of their officers, returned at once, and held the line until the enemy were in fifty steps of them on their flank and pouring a fire into them from the flank and rear.

When the true situation of affairs became apparent, and it was evident that the whole army, with the exception of my division and Clayton’s, had been broken and scattered, the order for their withdrawal was given — an effort being made to deploy skirmishers from my left brigade, at right angles to the works, to cover in some measure the movement. Amidst the indescribable confusion of other troops, and with the enemy pouring in their fire upon their flank and from the front (having rushed towards the break and then forward, when they perceived that the troops on my left had broken), it was impossible to withdraw the command in order, and it became considerably broken and confused. Many of them were unable to get out of the trenches in time and were captured. All this happened in as short a time as it has taken to describe it. The artillery horses of Rowan’s battery on the left of my line could not be brought up in time, and one of the guns of Cuput’s battery was lost by being driven at full speed against a tree and the carriage broken. The different brigade and regimental commanders had sent off their horses, there being no protection for them near the breastworks, and being thus unable to move about more rapidly than the men, were prevented from reforming their commands as quickly as could have been desired and extricating them from the throng of panic stricken stragglers from other commands who crowded the road. This was done at last, and the line of march taken up for Franklin. On the way I received orders from General Lee to leave Pettus’ brigade at Hollow Tree Gap, to assist in bringing up the rear, and to proceed with Cumming’s brigade and bivouac near the battle field at Franklin, leaving guards upon the road to stop the stragglers of the army.

The next morning, by General Lee’s order, I returned with Cumming’s brigade to Franklin, and was there joined by General Pettus with his brigade, which had that morning before reaching Franklin captured a stand of colors. Soon after crossing the Harpeth, Lieutenant General Lee was wounded. When about three miles from Franklin, General Lee moved off with the rest of the corps, and directed me to take command of the cavalry, commanded by Brigadier General Chalmers, which, with my division, was to constitute the rear guard.

The enemy did not press us heavily until we arrived near Johnson’s house, five or six miles north of Spring Hill. Here I formed my line, having about seven hundred (700) infantry, with the cavalry on my flanks. The enemy advanced rapidly upon me, attacking <shv3_166>me in front. I found it impossible to control the cavalry, and, with the exception of a small force on the left, for a short time, to get them into action. I may as well state that at this point, as soon as the enemy engaged us heavily, the cavalry retired in disorder, leaving my small command to their fate. The enemy, perceiving the shortness of my line, at once threw a force around my left flank, and opened fire upon it and its rear. This was a critical moment, and I felt great anxiety as to its effect upon my men, who, few in numbers, had just had the shameful example of the cavalry added to the terrible trial of the day before. I at once ordered Colonel Watkins to prepare to retire fighting by the flank, and General Pettus to move in line of battle to the rear, with a regiment thrown at right angles to his flank, thus forming three (3) sides of a square. Watkins drove the enemy in his front in confusion, moved at the order which was given on the instant of success by the flank, and charged those on his flank and drove them also.

I halted again in about half a mile, formed a line upon each side of the pike, Pettus on the right, Watkins on the left, each with a regiment formed on his flank perpendicularly to his line to the rear, and having made these dispositions moved again to the rear. The enemy soon enveloped us in front, flanks and rear, but my gallant men, under all their charges, never faltered, never suffered their formation to be broken for an instant, and thus we moved driving our way through them, fighting constantly until within a short distance of Spring Hill, where we found that Major General Clayton, hearing of our situation, had turned and moved back to our assistance. Here I halted for a time, and Holtzclaw’s brigade of Clayton’s division was formed upon Watkins’ left flank in the manner which I have described. While here the enemy made several attacks, and opened upon us with artillery, but were readily repulsed. This was some time after dark. We finally moved off, and after marching about a mile further, finding that the enemy had evidently become disheartened and abandoned his attacks, I placed the whole command again upon the pike and marched in the ordinary manner until I reached the bivouac of the remainder of the corps.

I desire here to record my acknowledgments to the officers and men of Holtzclaw’s brigade, commanded on the occasion by Colonel Jones, for the timely aid which they so gallantly afforded.

Lieutenant General Lee was pleased to acknowledge, in grateful and complimentary terms, the services of my division upon this occasion, and I make no vain boast when I, too, thank them for their conduct, and declare that never did a command in so perilous a position extricate itself by the force of more admirable coolness, determination and unflinching gallantry.

On that night I was directed by Lieutenant General Lee to assume command of his corps during his disability.
I am greatly indebted to my staff: Major John J. Reeve, Assistant Adjutant General; Surgeon H.M. Crupton, Medical Director; Major J.E. McEleath, Assistant Quartermaster; Major J.H.F. Mayo, C.S.; Major H.M. Mathews, Ordnance Officer; Captain G.D. Wise, Assistant Inspector General; Captain Charles Vidor, Assistant Quartermaster; Lieutenant H.T. Botts, Aid de Camp; Lieutenant G.A. Hayard, Aid de Camp; also Captain W.H. Sikes, Forty fifth Tennessee regiment, and Lieutenant W.E. McElwee, Twenty sixth Tennessee regiment, temporarily on duty at my headquarters, for their most efficient and valuable services, and for their untiring efforts to assist me during this arduous and trying campaign.

I have the honor to be,
very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,

C. H. Stevenson,
Major General.

Major J. W. Ratchford,
Assistant Adjutant General, Lee’s Corps

(C.S.A.) S.D. Lee’s official after-battle report of the battle of Franklin

Columbus, Mississippi, January 30th, 1865.

Colonel —

I have the honor to offer the following as my official report of the operations of my corps during the offensive movement commencing at Palmetto station, Georgia, September 29th, 1864. It is impracticable now, in consequence of the movement of troops and my temporary absence from the army, to obtain detailed reports from my division commanders.

As a corps commander, I regarded the morale of the army greatly impaired after the fall of Atlanta, and in fact before its fall the troops were not by any means in good spirits. It was my observation and belief that the majority of the officers and men were so impressed with the idea of their inability to carry even temporary breastworks, that when orders were given for attack, and there was a probability of encountering works, they regarded it as recklessness in the extreme. Being impressed with these convictions, they did not generally move to the attack with that spirit which nearly always insures success. Whenever the enemy changed his position, temporary works could be improvised in less than two hours, and he could never be caught without them. In making these observations, it is due to many gallant officers and commands to state that there were noticeable exceptions, but the feeling was so general that anything like a general attack was paralyzed by it. The army having constantly yielded to the flank movements of the enemy, which he could make with but little difficulty, by reason of his vastly superior numbers, and having failed in the offensive movements prior to the fall of Atlanta, its efficiency for further retarding the progress of the enemy was much impaired; and, besides, the advantages in the topography of the country south of Atlanta were much more favorable to the enemy for the movements of his superior numbers than the rough and mountainous country already yielded to him. In view of these facts, it was my opinion that the army should take up the offensive, with the hope that favorable opportunities would be offered for striking the enemy successfully, thus insuring the efficiency of the army for future operations. Those opinions were freely expressed to the Commanding General.

My corps crossed the Chattahoochee river on September 29th, and on October 3d took position near Lost mountain, to cover the movement of Stewart’s corps, on the railroad, at Big Shanty and Altoona. On October 6th, I left my position near Lost mountain, marching via Dallas and Cedartown, crossing the Coosa river at Coosaville October 10th, and moved on Resaca, partially investing the place by four P.M. on October 12th. The surrender of the place was demanded in a written communication, which was in my possession, signed by General Hood. The commanding officer refused to surrender as he could have easily escaped from the forts with his forces and crossed the Oustenaula river. I did not deem it prudent to assault the works, which were strong and well manned, believing that our loss would have been severe. The main object of appearing before Resaca being accomplished, and finding that Sherman’s main army was moving from the direction of Rome and Adairsville towards Resaca, I withdrew from before the place to Snake Creek gap about midday on the 13th. The enemy made his appearance at the gap on the 14th in large force and on the 15th it was evident that his force amounted several corps. Several severe skirmishes took place on the 15th, in which Deas’ and Brantley’s brigades of Johnson’s division were principally engaged. This gap was held by my command till the balance of the army had passed through Matex’s gap, when I followed with the corps through the latter. The army moved to Gadsden, where my corps arrived on October 21st. At this point clothing was issued to the troops, and the army commenced its march towards Tennessee. My corps reached the vicinity of Leighten, in the Tennessee Valley, October 29th. Stewart’s and Cheatham’s corps were then in front of Decatur. On the night of the 29th I received orders to cross the Tennessee river at Florence, Alabama. By means of the pontoon boats two brigades of Johnson’s division were thrown across the river two and a half miles above south Florence, and Gibson s brigade of Clayton’s division was crossed at south Florence. The enemy occupied Florence with about 1,000 cavalry, and had a strong picket at the railroad bridge. The crossing at this point was handsomely executed and with much spirit by Gibson, under the direction of General Clayton, under cover of several batteries of artillery. The distance across the river was about one thousand yards. The troops landed, and, after forming, charged the enemy and drove him from Florence. The crossing was spirited, and reflected much credit on all engaged in it. Major General Edward Johnson experienced considerable difficulty in crossing his two brigades, because of the extreme difficulty of managing the boats in the shoals. He moved from the north bank of the river late in the evening with one brigade, Sharp’s Mississippi, and encountered the enemy on the Florence and Huntsville road about dark. A spirited affair took place, in which the enemy were defeated with a loss of about forty killed, wounded and prisoners. The enemy retreated during the night to Shoal creek, about nine miles distant. The remainder of Johnson’s and Clayton’s divisions were crossed on the night of the 30th and on the morning of the 31st.

Stevenson’s division was crossed on November 2d. My corps remained in Florence till November 20th, when the army commenced moving for Tennessee, my command leading the advance and marching in the direction of Columbia via Henryville and Mount Pleasant. I arrived in front of Columbia on the 26th, relieving Forest’s cavalry then in position there, which had followed the enemy from Pulaski.

The force of the enemy occupying Columbia was two corps. They confined themselves to the main works around the city, and their outposts and skirmishers were readily driven in. On the night of the 27th the enemy evacuated Columbia and crossed Duck river. Stevenson’s division of my corps entered the town before daylight. After crossing, the enemy took a strong position on the opposite side of the river and entrenched, his skirmishers occupying rifle pits 250 yards from the river. There was considerable skirmishing across the river during the day, and some artillery firing, resulting in nothing of importance.

On the morning of the 29th Johnson’s division of my corps was detached and ordered to report to the General Commanding. I was directed to occupy and engage the enemy near Columbia, while the other two corps and Johnson’s division would be crossed above and moved to the rear of the enemy in the direction of Spring Hill. The entire force of the enemy was in front of Columbia till about midday on the 29th, when one corps commenced moving off — the other remaining in position as long as they could be seen by us, or till dark. I had several batteries of artillery put in position, to drive the skirmishers of the enemy from the vicinity of the river bank, and made a display of pontoons — running several of them down to the river, under a heavy artillery and musketry fire. Having succeeded in putting a boat in the river, Pettus’ brigade of Stevenson’s division was thrown across, under the immediate direction of Major General Stevenson, and made a most gallant charge on the rifle pits of the enemy, driving a much superior force and capturing the pits. The bridge was at once laid down and the crossing commenced. During the affair around Columbia the gallant and accomplished soldier, Colonel R. F. Beckham, commanding the artillery regiment of my corps, was mortally wounded while industriously and fearlessly directing the artillery firing against the enemy. He was one of the truest and best officers in the service.

The enemy left my front about 2:30 A.M. on the morning of the 30th, and the pursuit was made as rapidly as was prudent in the night time. The advance of Clayton’s division arrived at Spring Hill about 9 A.M., when it was discovered that the enemy had made his escape, passing around that portion of the army in that vicinity. My corps, including Johnson’s division, followed immediately after Cheatham’s corps towards Franklin. I arrived near Franklin about 4 P.M. The Commanding General was just about attacking the enemy with Stewart’s and Cheatham’s corps, and he directed me to place Johnson’s, and afterwards Clayton’s, division in position to support the attack. Johnson moved in rear of Cheatham’s corps. Finding that the battle was stubborn, General Hood directed me to move forward in person, to communicate with General Cheatham, and, if necessary, to put Johnson’s division in the fight. I met General Cheatham about dark, and was informed by him that assistance was needed at once. Johnson was immediately moved forward to the attack, but owing to the darkness and want of information as to the locality, his attack was not felt by the enemy till about one hour after dark. This division moved against the enemy’s breastworks under a heavy fire of artillery and musketry, gallantly driving the enemy from portions of his line. The brigades of Sharp and Brantley (Mississippians), and of Deas (Alabamians), particularly, distinguished themselves.

Their dead were mostly in the trenches and in the works of the enemy, where they fell in a desperate hand to hand conflict. Sharp captured three stand of colors. Brantley was exposed to a severe enfilade fire. These noble brigades never faltered in this terrible night struggle. Brigadier General Manigault, commanding a brigade of Alabamians and South Carolinians, was severely wounded in this engagement, while gallantly leading his troops to the fight; and his two successors in command, Colonel Shaw was killed and Colonel Davis wounded. I have never seen greater evidences of gallantry than was displayed by this division, under command of that admirable and gallant soldier, Major General Ed. Johnson. The enemy fought gallantly and obstinately at Franklin, and the position he held was for infantry defence one of the best I had ever seen. The enemy evacuated Franklin hastily during the night of the 30th. My corps commenced the pursuit about 1 P.M. on December 1st, and arrived near Nashville about 2 P.M. December 2d. The enemy had occupied the works around the city. My command was the centre of the army in front of Nashville; Cheatham’s corps being on my right and Stewart’s on my left.

[Editor’s note: Nashville battle content removed].
I have the honor to be, yours respectfully,

Stephen Dill Lee,
Lieutenant General.
Colonel A. P. Mason, A.A.G

C.S.A. General John Bell Hood (1831-1879)

Throughout the summer of 1864, General Joseph E. Johnston, commander of the Army of Tennessee, conducted a campaign to slow the advance of General William T. Sherman’s march to Atlanta. Disgusted with Johnston’s inability to stop Sherman’s progress, President Jefferson Davis replaced Johnston with Hood.

In July 1864, when Hood assumed command of the Army of Tennessee, he had more than 50,000 soldiers. By November, battle casualties reduced the number to less than 30,000. The worst was yet to come. Hood’s campaign through Middle Tennessee in the early winter of 1864 reduced the Army of Tennessee by another 13,500 men. The army accumulated 7,000 casualties assaulting the Union’s earthworks at Franklin. Two weeks later, on the outskirts of Nashville, the Confederate army lost another 6,500 men in a vain attempt to defeat a Union army three times its size. By Christmas 1864, the Army of Tennessee had been reduced to a mob of armed men.

Excerpted from John Bell Hood (1831-1879) in The Encyclopedia of Tennessee History and Culture, online edition.

Use is in accordance with “fair use” set by copyright regulations.

C.S.A General Patrick Cleburne, KIA at Franklin

Major general in the Army of Tennessee, Patrick R. Cleburne was born on St. Patrick’s Day in County Cork, Ireland, and immigrated to the United States in 1849. Cleburne settled in Helena, Arkansas, where he rose in social position and community esteem through diligent work, uncompromising honesty, and loyalty to his friends.

In the spring of 1861 Cleburne cast his lot with the Confederacy, explaining to his brother that although he owned no slaves, he would fight with the friends who had always supported him. The citizens of Helena elected Cleburne captain of the local militia. Drawing upon his three years of experience in the British army, Cleburne quickly advanced to the rank of colonel in the Fifteenth Arkansas Infantry Regiment. Within a year, he was a brigadier general in command of a brigade of General William J. Hardee’s corps in General Albert S. Johnston’s Army of Mississippi.”


“The final chapter in the life of the Irish general was written at the battle of Franklin. As the Confederate army prepared for its assault on the Union earthworks at Franklin, one of Cleburne’s brigade commanders predicted that few of his soldiers would return to Arkansas. Cleburne reportedly replied, “[I]f we are to die, let us die like men.” (1)

As Cleburne’s troops made their assault up the Columbia Pike, the general had two horses shot from under him. Finally, as he advanced on foot to within fifty yards of the Union works, a single minie ball pierced his chest. Two days before the battle, as the army passed St. John’s Episcopal Church, near Columbia, Cleburne had commented that it would be worth dying to be buried in a place so beautiful. His body was laid to rest in the churchyard after the battle of Franklin. Later it was removed to his adopted home of Helena, Arkansas.”

Source citation: The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture (online)

*Killed at the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee; division composed of the brigades of Polk, Wood and Deshler, and the light batteries of Calvert, Semple and Douglass; division afterwards composed of the brigades of Polk, Lowry, Govan and Granberry, and again of the brigades of Wood, Johnson, Liddell and Polk; Army of Tennessee.

Source: Southern Historical Society Papers

December 2nd New York Times account of the Battle of Franklin




A Severe Battle at Franklin, Tenn.




The Rebels Desperately Assault Our Works.


They are Repulsed with Fearful Carnage.


Six Thousand Rebels Killed and Wounded.




Our Loss Less Than One Thousand.




Full and Graphic Account from Our Special Correspondent.


Washington, Thursday, Dec.1.

The following official dispatch concerning the report of the victory in Tennessee, has been received at headquarters:

FRANKLIN, Tenn., Wednesday, Nov.30.

Major-Gen. Thomas:

The enemy made a heavy and persistent attack with two corps, commencing at 4 P.M., and lasting till after dark. He was repulsed at all points with heavy loss — probably of five or six thousand men. Our loss is probably not more than one-fourth of that number. We have captured about one thousand prisoners, including one Brigadier-General.




Special Dispatch to the New-York Times.
Thursday, Dec.1.

Gen. SCHOFIELD yesterday fought one of the prettiest fights of the war, resulting most disastrously to the rebels, with little loss to ourselves. After three days’ skirmishing, the rebels crowded our first line of works yesterday afternoon, and at 4 P.M. made a most desperate attack on our right and centre, forcing our lines to our breastworks, which were thrown up from river to river in an open field on the Cumberland Pike, which ran through the centre of the field.

At least half the rebel force engaged endeavored to pierce our centre, and come down vicuously on WAGNER’S Division, which, after desperate fighting, fell back, and MANY’S rebel division, of FRANK CHEATAM’S corps, got inside our works and captured two guns. Our centre was not broken, however, and, better still, Gen. WAGNER successfully rallied our troops, wgho charged on the enemy, recaptured the two guns, and drove the division over the breastworks, capturing one entire brigade and its commander.

At 4:30 o’clock the battle was waged with unabating vigor, the enemy having made during a half hour several attempts to break our centre.

The Federal position was a magnificent one, and the result of these four days’ work were magnificently grand.

All thi s while the rebels had appeared in front of our right. The plan was to pierce our centre and crush our right wing before dark. A portion of our infantry were engaged three-quarters of an hour firing on the rebel columns who stood their ground like madmen. During the every charge made on our right and centre, volleys of grape and cannister were hurled into their lines, and only darkness prevented their sacrifice being more awful. It is said that no canister shot was used by the rebels during the day, but fired shot and shell.

After the first break of WAGNER’S division and its recovery, our line never budged a step. All was quiet after 10 P.M. It was not only one of the prettiest but cleanest battles of the war. The excessive slaughter of the enemy was owing to our wholesale use of cannister and grape, and our selection of ground. The battle was fought in an open field, with no trees or undergrowth, or other interruption. The enemy’s loss in killed and wounded approximates 7,000, and we have over 1,200 prisoners, and one general officer and several field officers. The Colonel of the Fifteenth Mississippi, a Northern man, of Illinois, was wounded and taken prisoner. Four-fifths of his regiment were killed, wounded or captured. Our loss does not reach a thousand, hors du cambat. Gen. Bradley, of Illinois, while gallantly leading his troops, was severly wounded in the shoulder. Our loss in field officers is very small. Our troops behaved handsomely. SCHOFIELD commanded on the field, STANLEY on the right, and Cox on the left. Gen. Stanley was wounded slightly in the neck, but remained on the field and is all right to-day.

I have told you all along the programme of Gen. Thomas would electrify you, and this is but the epilogue of the battle to come off.

After our dead, wounded and prisoners were cared for, our army fell back to this point, and are in line of battle while I write. Up to this time, 3 P.M., the enemy has not made his appearance. The Third Corps of Veterans are in readiness, and a battle is expected before daylight to-morrow. All Government work is suspended, and all are under arms, from Gen. DONALDSON down to the unscientific laborers.

The falling back of our troops was accomplished at 8 o’clock this morning, and bridges burned across Harpeth River to retard the transportation of rebel supplies. The calvary was handled prettilt by Gen. WILSON, between Spring Hill and Triune.

A.J. SMITH’s corps is in line of battle, and the situation is particularly grand. Forts Negley, Morton, Cairo and Houston are alive, and the infantry movement perfectly satisfacoty. Something must immediately transpire, as Gen. THOMAS is ready to strike no matter how the rebels move.