Extract from the Philadelphia Inquirer: Details of the Battle of Hoover’s Gap and the Tullahoma Campaign
IMPORTANT FROM TENNESSEE.
Brilliant Movement of Gen. Rosecrans’ Army—The Enemy Driven Out of All Their Strong Positions—Their Retreat to Tullahoma—Particulars of the Battle at Hoover’s Gap.
Head-quarters of the Army of the Cumberland, Manchester, Tenn., Monday, June 28.—General Reynolds, at 8 A. M. yesterday, took possession of this place.
At 6 P. M. General Granger occupied Shelbyville.
The Rebels, after slight resistance, evacuted their several positions, retreating on lines of which Tullahoma is the concentric point.
General Rosecrans has removed the restriction on the use of the telegraph. I send a synopsis of the brilliant movement, which despite meteorological and topographical difficulties, have resulted with but slight losses to us in taking possession of the towns, gaps and thoroughly fortified lines lately held by the Rebels.
The movement was begun on the 24th, in the midst of a heavy rain, which has continued ever since, with but slight intermission.
The enemy’s advance posts were found on all the roads leading south, not more than nine miles distant from Murfreesboro’.
On the left, Butler’s First Kentucky Cavalry were driven rapidly through Hoover’s Gap to Beech Grove, and had not time to place their artillery in the unfinished works of the Gap. Two companies were cut off and scattered among the hills.
Stewart’s Division moved from Fairfield on the alarm being given to Beech Grove, and engaged the head of Thomas’ Corps under Col Wilder.
A brisk engagement between Wilder’s mounted infantry and Bates’ Rebel Brigade ensued, in which the enemy attempted to flank us, but were repulsed by the Seventeenth Indiana Volunteers with heavy loss
Our loss was about fifteen killed and fifty wounded. The fight lasted four hours. The Rebels had two guns disabled by Lilly’s and Harris’ Batteries.
The battle ended with night, the Rebels being still in possession of Beech Grove and the ridge of hills diagonally crossing the roads to Fairfield and Manchester, and Ewing Valley and Garrison’s Fork, through which our course lay on Thursday.
The Rebels threw up earthworks and planted Dardien’s battery to rake Hoover’s Gap, in which Gen. Thomas’ corps was massed. Late in the evening they opened, from five points, a heavy cross fire upon our position, but were soon silenced by Loomis’, Church’s and Harris’ batteries.
On Friday, General Rousseau made a flank movement to the right, for the purpose of getting upon the Fairfield road, and cutting the Rebels off from their line of retreat.
The regular brigade, Major Coolidge commanding, in the absence of General King (ill at Murfreesboro’), had the advance of the flanking force, and made a rapid and brilliant charge upon Bates’ Rebel Brigade, forming the Rebel left, driving it in great confusion for half a mile, and causing the Rebel right to hastily evacuate the Beech Grove works, retreating in great haste towards Fairfield.
Colonel Walker, through fear of being flanked by a force apparently moving on his right, but really retreating, failed to move his brigade as far as the Fairfield road, and the enemy escaped. They threw away everything but their guns, strewing the country with blankets and knapsacks.
General Rousseau pursued to Fairfield, and the enemy retreated thence to Tullahoma.
General Reynolds, in the meantime, moved forward, and the next day occupied Manchester, taking thirty prisoners, among whom are three officers.
On the centre, Clayborn’s Division was encountered at Liberty Gap, and a severe engagement of an hour’s duration ensued. Having accompanied the left, I can give no details of loss, which is estimated at about 300. The total loss is unknown.
Colonel Gowan, Second Arkansas, and Major Claybrook, of Clayborn’s Staff, were killed.
Miller’s and Wallace’s Brigades were chiefly engaged. The loss of the former was heavy. The latter’s loss was light. General Miller was seriously wounded.
On the right a cavalry engagement, of which I have no particulars, took place on the 24th, between Generals Mitchell and Forrest, in which the former found himself outnumbered. General Stanley went to Mitchell’s aid, and Forrest retreated.
General Granger moved forward, finding Polk’s Corps, reported 18,000 strong, in his front. According to orders, the centre and right kept retired, and did not attempt to push the enemy.
As soon as Manchester was taken and the Rebel right turned, the centre retreated, and General Granger remained quiet, but the Rebels, finding us in Manchester, evacuated Wartrall and Shelbyville.
Had not the constant rains of the past four days, and the difficulties of bad roads, retarded our entire left, we should have succeeded in forcing Bragg from his line of retreat to Tullahoma, and thence toward the river, or compelled him to fight us west and north of Tullahoma.
As it now stands, he is safely retreating on Tullahoma. Hardee is on the Wartrace, and Polk on the Shelbyville road. They will be in front of Tullahoma to-night, assuming a defensive position and await the attack.
The Army of the Cumberland to-night will be within reach of them, and then—. Of what will follow I will be silent.
General Granger met with a grand reception from the loyal citizens of Shelbyville. Flags floated from the buildings of the citizens, and men, women, and children, welcomed with tears and shouts of joy the flag which they had not seen for ten months, and the most extravagant demonstrations of joy were made.
General Granger captured 300 men, 20 officers and three pieces of artillery, and then pushed on in pursuit of the Rebel train nine miles ahead.