Saturday, August 11, 2012

On to Columbia

Little can be found about the actons of the Seventeenth Kentucky Infantry during this time period.  Rembering that they had been put on alert at Reynolds' Station on August 3rd, they were likely moved to Columbia shortly thereafter.  As previously stated, Columbia was considered to be of greater strategic importance than Nashville due to it's location near the geographic center of the state.  Buell had to be reminded more than once by Governor Johnson to keep a strong contingent at the state capitol because of it's political significance, but to secure the supply lines for the planned attack on Chattanooga, Columbia was the key.

This period map depicts the town of Columbia, Tennesse and it's vicinity clearly indicating the all-important railroads and turnpikes which allowed for rapid deployment of troops and supplies to the neighboring cities and towns.  The bridge over the Duck River, a 1,000 foot span had been rebuilt  twice since February and was a critical point of defense for the Army of the Ohio.  The February  project was the primary cause of Buell's late arrival at the Battle of Shiloh, so he fully understood it's importance.

Although the Official Record has many messages describing suspected and actual enemy activity in the surrounding area, there is precious little information about what was happening in Columbia during the month of August in 1862.  At least this one congratulatory communication from Buell to General Negley, in command, has survived and indicates that there was a recent encounter of some sort in which a number of persons were captured.


Huntsville, August 11, 1862.

General NEGLEY,Columbia:

General Buell congratulates you on your success in the affair with the guerrillas. It is gratifying and valuable.  Call upon your prisoners to show evidence of belonging to the Confederate service.


Apparently captured out of uniform, these men were claiming to be Confederate soldiers to avoid the harsh treatment given captured spies or rogue warriors who would likely be hanged by the authority of a hastily assembled military tribunal.

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