The Fight at Brentwood, NY Evening Post coverage – March 1863

The March 26th NY Evening Post had the following article covering the action at Brentwood, March 25, 1863.

Serious Losses of the Rebels in Killed and Wounded – One and Fifteen Prisoners Captured.

Philadelphia, March 26 – The Press of this city has a special dispatch of the Brentwood, Tennessee fight, which says that over fifty rebels were buried by our troops; that one hundred were wounded; that we took one and fifteen prisoners; and that are loss was twenty killed and wounded and missing, including four officers.

Official records report:

Numbers 9. Report of Brigadier General Nathan B. Forrest, C. S. Army, commanding First Division, First Cavarly Corps.



I respectfully submit the following report of expedition to Brentwood:

On the 24th ultimo I ordered Colonel [J. W.] Starnes, commanding Second Brigade, to proceed with his command in the direction of Brentwood, leaving Franklin on the left and crossing Harpeth River at Half-Acre Mill, 6 miles east of Franklin, and to pass through fields and by-roads thence to Brentwood, ordering him to throw out a squadron on the pike and railroad between Brentwood and Franklin, cutting the telegraph wires, and tearing up the track of the railroad, sending two regiments forward to attack the stockade, and posting the balance of the Third [Fourth] Tennessee Regiment so as to cut off any retreat of the enemy toward Nashville and Triune. He was ordered to bring on the attack at daylight on the 25th, at which time I was to join him with General Armstrong’s brigade, with the Tenth Tennessee Cavalry, temporarily attached to his brigade, which marched on Brentwood via Hillsborough and the Hillsborough pike. I failed to reach Brentwood with General Armstrong’s command at the appointed hour, owing to delay in getting the artillery across Harpeth River. I arrived there, however, at 7 o’clock in the morning, sending one squadron of the Tenth Regiment down the Hillsborough pike to protect my rear, and another to the left and rear of Brentwood to prevent any retreat of the enemy toward Nashville, and give me timely information of any re-enforcements from Nashville. With the other six companies of the Tenth Tennessee and my escort, I moved to the right of the road running from Hillsborough pike to Brentwood, ordering General Armstrong, with this brigade and a section of Freeman’s artillery, to move to the left of that, and attack the Federals at Brentwood.

After disposing of my troops as stated, I moved rapidly on with my escort to the Franklin pike, capturing a courier with a dispatch to the commander of the Federal forces at Franklin, asking for help. I found he enemy had thrown out his skirmishers on the pike and on the surrounding hills. A flag of truce was sent in, demanding an immediate and unconditional surrender. The colonel commanding replied that we must come and take him. By this time the other six companies of the Tenth Tennessee, commanded by Major [William E.] De Moss, had arrived at the pike. He was ordered to dismount his men and attack in front, while messengers were sent to General Armstrong to move up and open upon them with his artillery in the left and rear. Major De Moss promptly attacked them. As soon as this was done, with my escort I moved rapidly to the right of the pike, and, gaining a high position, found the enemy were preparing to make their escape toward Nashville. My escort was ordered to advance to the pike and engage them. By this time the firing in front between the enemy and Major De Moss became general. The enemy had been driven inside of their works, and I ordered my escort to charge them. Just as this order was given, and General Armstrong had taken position on the left, the enemy hoisted a white flag, and surrendered, with all their arms, wagons, baggage, and equipments.

I ordered General Armstrong to send off the prisoners, arms, wagons, &c., as quickly as possible to the Hillsborough pike, and to destroy by fire all the tents, camp equipage, &c., that could not be transported. With the Fourth Mississippi Cavalry, and the Tenth Tennessee and the pieces of artillery, I moved on the stockade at the bridge across Harpeth River, about 2 miles south of Brentwood. After getting position and firing one gun, they surrendered. We captured there 275 prisoners, 11 wagons, 3 ambulances, with all their arms and equipments.

We moved off as soon as possible to the Hillsborough pike, after destroying the railroad bridge and all the tents and supplies which could not be removed.

Before leaving Brentwood to attack the stockade, I ordered Colonel [J. H.] Lewis, of the First [Sixth] Tennessee Cavalry, to dash down the pike with his command toward Nashville. He ran their pickets in at Brown’s Creek, capturing some negroes and a sutler’s wagon within 3 miles of the city. He there turned to the left with his regiment, making a circuit around Nashville from the Franklin to the Charlotte pike.

Before the rear of my command reached the Hillsborough pike, they were attacked by a force of Federal cavalry. They succeeded in getting possession of several of the wagons captured at the stockade, and cut out and stampeded the mules.

As soon as the lines were formed, the enemy were repulsed and driven back to Brentwood; but having no harness or mules for them, several of the wagons were burned, and not knowing what forces might be marching on us, I deemed it expedient to move off with the prisoners as rapidly as possible.

I will here remark that Colonel Starnes reached the stockade at daylight; but, not knowing the force of the enemy, and being without artillery, and ignorant of the whereabouts of my portion of the command, moved over to the Hillsborough pike, where he remained until after the capture was made.

I refer you to official report of killed and wounded on our side, which is very small indeed. The enemy lost about 15 killed and 30 wounded and 800 prisoners. We captured and brought away 3 ambulances and harness, 9 six-horse wagons and harness, 2 two-horse wagons and harness, 60 mules, and 6 horses, which were placed in chargee of Major [N. C.] Jones, assistant quartermaster First Brigade,who was ordered to turn them over to quartermaster at Columbia. Many of the men in the command who were unarmed got guns on the field, and many who had inferior guns, muskets, shot-guns, &c., exchanged them on the field, placing (or, at any rate, so ordered) their old guns in the wagons in lieu of them.

I ordered Colonel [J. H.] Edmondson’s regiment and [E. J.] Sanders’ battalion to take charge of the prisoners and wagons, and proceed direct to Columbia, via Williamsport. With the balance of the division I moved toward Spring Hill, regulating my march so as to keep on the flank of the commands with the prisoners, so as to meet promptly any attempt at recapture by the enemy’s forces at Franklin.

Respectfully submitted.



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