Page:Memoirs of Henry Villard, volume 1.djvu/266

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236

HENRY VILLARD

[1862

command of General Halleck. The railroads being destroyed, there remained for General Buell only the long march from Nashville to Savannah, for which he accordingly prepared.

The orders for the march were issued on March 14. Five divisions — to wit, the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth, under Generals Thomas, McCook, Nelson, Crittenden, and Wood, aggregating thirty-seven thousand effective men — were to move under the direct command of General Buell, while the Third, under General Mitchel, and the newly-formed Seventh, under Brigadier-General G. W. Morgan, were to remain behind to protect Nashville and clear middle Tennessee of rebels, and to take possession of and repair the railroads in that portion of the State. The route to be followed led first in a southerly direction to the considerable towns of Franklin and Columbia, thence turned to the southwest as far as Lawrenceburg, and from this point almost due west through Waynesboro' to Savannah, a total distance of about one hundred and ten miles. On March 15, a cavalry force was sent to save the bridges at the two first-mentioned places, but they had already been destroyed. McCook's division started the next day as the head of the army. The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and First divisions followed in the order mentioned, with an interval of a day between them.

I accompanied General McCook by invitation, messing with his division quartermaster. I was well mounted on a fine-looking, strong black horse that I had bought at a low price at Nashville. General Buell had no instructions to hasten, and hence we moved at a moderate pace. The marching, too, was easy at first, over the fine turnpikes from Nashville to Columbia. The country was rolling, picturesque, and well cultivated, the home of large slaveholders living in fine brick mansions on their broad plantations until frightened off by the invaders. The crossing of the stream at Franklin was not difficult, but when we reached Columbia, thirty-five miles from