HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Near Franklin, Tenn., December 17, 1864-8 p. m.
Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT:
We have pressed the enemy to-day beyond Franklin, capturing his hospitals, containing over 1,500 wounded, and about 150 of our wounded. In addition to the above, General Knipe, commanding a division of cavalry, drove the enemy’s rear guard through Franklin to-day, capturing about 250 prisoners and 5 battle-flags, with very little loss on our side. Citizens of Franklin represent Hood’s army as completely demoralized. In addition to the captures of yesterday, reported in my dispatch of last night, I have the honor to report the capture of General Rucker and about 250 prisoners of the enemy’s cavalry, in a fight that occurred about 8 o’clock last night between General Rucker and General Hatch, of our cavalry. The enemy has been pressed to-day both in front and on both flanks. Brigadier-General Johnson succeeded in striking him on the flank just beyond Franklin, capturing quite a number of prisoners, number not yet reported. My cavalry is pressing him closely to-night, and I am very much in hopes of getting many more prisoners to-morrow. Luckily, but little damage has been done the railroad, and I expect to have trains close up to the army to-morrow night. I have just heard from General Stoneman, at Kingsport, under date of the 13th instant. He left Knoxville on the 10th, overtook Duke’s (formerly Morgan’s) command on the 12th, and during the night drove him across the North Fork of Holston River. Next morning crossed the river and attacked, captured and killed nearly the whole command, taking the entire wagon train. Colonel R. C. Morgan, a brother of John Morgan, is, with many other officers, a prisoner. Duke’s command is considered completely destroyed. The fighting was done by Gillem’s command and the Thirtieth Kentucky, of General Burbridge’s command. Stoneman in motion for Bristol, where he hopes to intercept Vaughn. A part of the captured train was that lost by Gillem on retreat from Bull’s Gap. I now consider the Cumberland perfectly safe from Nashville down, and have directed the chief quartermaster to commence shipping stores up it immediately. As there is also a fair prospect for another rise in the Tennessee River, I have requested Admiral Lee to send some iron-clads and gun-boats up that river, to destroy Hood’s pontoon bridge, if possible, and cut off his retreat.
GEO. H. THOMAS,
(Same to Major-General Halleck.)
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies
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