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Re: McMinnville (October 1863)
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Here's a good account of this engagement from the Greene County, TN Genealogy4you site.

The 4th Tennessee
(U.S.) Volunteer Infantry
at McMinnville

From various sources including the Official Report by Major Patterson: Oct.12, 1863 (in command of the 4th Tennessee (U.S.) Volunteer Infantry at the time.)

After their defeat at Chickamauga, the Union forces under the command of General William S. Rosecrans retreated to Chattanooga, and were surrounded by Confederate General Braxton Bragg's army, which had been reinforced at Chickamauga with General James Longstreet's force from Lee's army.

Deeming it unwise to attack the Federals, Bragg's force laid seige to Chattanooga, being able to control river and railroad traffic into the city, effectively cutting off the supplies to the nearly surrounded army and civilians.

The only supply route available to Chattanooga was a terrible 60 mile road that ran from the city, steeply winding over the heights of Walden Ridge, through the Sequatchie Valley to Anderson's Crossroads. Known as "the cracker-box line", the trip took from 8 to 20 days, and the mules needed nearly all that they could carry to make the journey, thus greatly limiting the amount of supplies returning to the city.

The 4th Tennessee Infantry was sent from Nashville to join the 5th Iowa Cavalry guarding supplies at McMinnville on Sept.9, 1863. On Sept.26, the 5th Iowa Cavalry pulled out, leaving the 4th Tennessee and a few locals to perform the guard duties.

The 4th consisted of approximately 400 men, 136 of which were put to guarding roads and various buildings in the town. The rest were put in the existing rifle pits around the town.

On October 1st, Confederate Major General Joseph Wheeler led 5,000 cavalrymen under Brigadier Generals William Martin and John Wharton across the Tennessee River to break the "cracker-box" line.

The 2nd of October found Wheeler splitting his command, and while he and Martin attacked Anderson's Crossroads, destroying an 800 wagon caravan, General Wharton moved on McMinnville.

The previous day (October 1st), a group of refugees which included Judge John C. Gant from Cleveland, Tennessee told Major Patterson that a large force of Confederates was approaching, (between 5,000 and 10,000) and plans were made to burn the supply warehouses the following day.

On the following day (October 2nd), several Union Military Officers arrived in the town, and reported no enemy troop activity, and the plans to destroy the supplies were put on hold.

On October 3rd, Lieutenant Farnsworth, with 20 men on horses (requisitioned previously) was sent to patrol the area and locate any enemy, but were not heard from (it was later learned they had been cut off.), and Lieutenant Allen and another 20 men were sent on the same mission.

The town was attacked by General Wharton's Cavalry on that morning, the fighting lasting an hour and a quarter, before a courier under a flag of truce brought a note demanding surrender, which Major Patterson refused, citing the unofficial and incomplete message that was received.

An hour and a quarter later, another message was received, and the terms of surrender were accepted by Major Patterson, and the Officers and men were paroled to their homes.

We do solemnly swear that we will not bear arms against the Confederate States of America, nor in any way give aid and comfort to the United States against the Confederate States, during the existence of the war between the said United States and Confederate States, unless we shall be duly exchanged for other prisoners of war, or until we shall be released by the President of the Confederate States. In consideration of this oath, it is understood that we are free to go wherever we may see fit.
Following the surrender, according to Major Patterson, there occurred "the most brutal outrages on the part of the rebels ever known to any civilized war in America or elsewhere." The Major was shocked as the cavalrymen proceeded to outfit themselves in new clothes from head to foot, taking "boots, watch, pocket-book, money, and even finger-rings, or, in fact, anything that happened to please their fancy". Patterson, observing that General Wheeler had arrived on the scene, appealed to him directly to stop the pillaging. Wheeler only replied that he could not control his men, and that they would do as they pleased. Considering the dire condition of Forrest's men, whom most of these were, and their known reluctance to obey Wheeler's orders, the General probably stated the simple truth.

The surrendered men were held many hours by their captors, and it was late night before they were allowed to begin their trek to their homes.

Due to these events after the surrender, Andrew Johnson, the Military Governor of Tennessee, on October 12, inquired of General W.S. Rosecrans whether the parole was valid or not, and Capt. James A. Garfield, Asst. Adj. General, declared the parole invalid, and the troops, which had progressed only as far as Sparta on their trip home, were ordered to rejoin Major Patterson in Nashville.

Also on October 12, the Board of Inquiry ruled that Major Michael Patterson had acted in his best judgement in surrendering the command at McMinnville, and he was ordered back to command.

On November 17th, the Colors and Standards of the 4th Tennessee Infantry were recaptured from a courier in Northern Georgia, and returned to the unit.
Research done and submitted to
Greene Co Genealogy site by Dennis Michael O'Neill.

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