SIR: In accordance with directions from division headquarters, I have the
honor to make the following report of the part taken by my command in the
recent pursuit of Wheeler's rebel cavalry:
While encamped near Winchester, Tenn., having received very positive
information that the enemy intended to destroy our line of railroad
communication between Nashville and Chattanooga, I moved with my command
(Fifth Iowa Cavalry) to the support of the forces stationed at Elk River
Bridge, judging that to be one of the most exposed points on the line.
Upon my arrival (October 5, 1863, at 10 a.m.), I communicated with
Major-General Granger for orders. At 5 p.m. I received an order from
General Rosecrans to collect all the cavalry at Murfrees-borough and
elsewhere to pursue Wheeler and Forrest; to keep on their flank and join
By 10 p.m. one battalion of the Third Ohio Cavalry, Major Howland
commanding, from Decherd Station, was reported for the march.
At daylight on the 6th, I moved up the railroad, passing Tullahoma at 12
m., and reaching Duck River Bridge at 3 p.m. At this point I found
Colonel Coburn, with an infantry force, who reported the enemy at
Wartrace, burning the bridge, destroying railroad track, &c., and
requested me to move on, stating that he would follow with infantry by
At 5 p.m. attacked and drove the enemy from the burning bridge; pushed
him through the town of Wartrace, attacked the main body, consisting of
General Martin's division, drawn up in force beyond a creek and ravine,
dislodged and pursued him till after dark, killing and wounding some 30;
of my command 1 killed and 1 wounded.
Returned to Elk River at 11 p.m. for forage and rations. Found that
Major-General Butterfield had arrived in the meantime with a considerable
force of infantry and assumed command. Here I was joined by Colonel
Galbraith, with six companies of the First Middle Tennessee Cavalry.
October 7.--Under orders from General Butterfield, I moved on Shelbyville
in co-operation with two other columns, moving upon different roads, the
report having reached General Butterfield that the enemy was occupying
the town in force.
On my arrival at Shelbyville, 12 m., I learned that part of General
Crook's command had already passed through, was up with the enemy, and
skirmishing when last heard from. Communicated with General Butterfield,
whose column had not yet arrived, and as
soon as relieved from his command moved on toward Farmington,
joining the main cavalry command trader General Crook near that point
about 10 p.m., Colonel Galbraith's command having been left at
Shelbyville by order of General Mitchell.
October 8.--By direction of the general commanding, I followed in rear of
the column with my command, camping at night near Pulaski, where, by
Special Field Orders, No. 1, from division headquarters, the First and
Third Brigades were consolidated and placed under my command.
October 9.--Brigade leading column, Fifth Iowa Cavalry in advance, came
up with enemy's skirmishers about 10 a.m.. and soon found the enemy in
some force (supposed to be Kilpatrick's brigade), with temporary
barricade erected on west side of Sugar Creek. By a well-executed saber
charge of the Fifth Iowa Cavalry, 85 prisoners were captured, 13 of the
enemy killed, a number wounded, and the remnant of his force dispersed in
On our side I man wounded. Camped near Rogersville, Ala., after having
pursued the enemy to and beyond Elk River and finding that his force had
succeeded in crossing the Tennessee at a ford. Of the operations of my
command from the 10th instant to the present time I deem it unnecessary
to speak. Owing to the length and rapidity of our marches my horses are
much jaded, and will require some considerable time and rest before they
will again be fit for active operations.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
W. W. LOWE,
Colonel Fifth Iowa Cavalry, Commanding.
ACTING ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL,
Second Cavalry Division, Brownsborough, Ala.