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FOR MURRAY AND SURROUNDING COUNTIES
TOM POLK EDMONDSON
For many years the only knowledge of this battle was a poem entitled "North Georgia Scouts" written by James Maurice Thompson. Finally a Murray County historian, Conway Gregory, Jr., did extensive research on this topic and here we turn to his fascinating account of the life and death of Tom Polk Edmondson and his North Georgia Scouts.
The preceding pages included the Confederate perspective of the encounter.
Here are two official reports from the Union Army.
The first was filed April 8, 1865, in Dalton, Georgia, by Lieutenant Colonel Werner W. Bjerg, the officer that commanded the opposing Union forces involved in the incident. The second report is part of the official history of the 147th Illinois Infantry Regiment, filed with the Adjutant General.
APRIL 1-4, 1865.- Expedition from Dalton to Spring Place and the Coosawattee River, Ga., with skirmishes.
1. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Werner W. Bjerg, One hundred and forty-seventh Illinois Infantry.
HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE, SECOND SEPARATE DIVISION, ARMY OF THE CUMBERLAND, Dalton, Ga., April 8, 1865.
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report, viz:
I left Dalton on Saturday morning about 9 o'clock, the 1st day of April, in command of an expedition consisting of 300 men, infantry (One hundred and forty-seventh Illinois, in charge of Major Bush), and eighty men, cavalry (Sixth Tennessee, in charge of Major Bean), several teams, &c., and took the wagon road leading to a small town in Murray County called Spring Place; arrived at Glace Ferry on the river about 12 m. I crossed the river in a small ferry-boat, swimming the horses, and then struck for Spring Place, distant about seven miles from the ferry. Arrived there about 10 p. m. I sent a reconnoitering party of cavalry into the town, and they were fired on by picket of the guerrillas. We camped at Spring Place for the night, and next morning (Sunday) left about 8 o'clock for a place called Holly Creek, after having taken the following prisoners: A. and Z. Wilkins, Jared Fox, J. C. Henry, Charles Staples, F. C. Farmer, and Judge Ellro. About two miles from Spring Place the advance guard was attacked by Captain Williams and his gang. Captain W. was disabled. We arrived at the creek about noon same day and took dinner. Confederate soldier, Oliver Brown, was taken prisoner. We then came to Tuckner's house, where I took a horse, saddle, and one shotgun, then passed Lee Allen's house, left the Calhoun road, and took the country road to Mr. Hogan's house back on the Coosawattee River. Confederate soldier, B. Gassway, was taken prisoners before arriving at Hogan's house. We camped at this house for the might and picketed the McLoath Ford; the guerrillas were on the other side of the river and disputed our crossing. I here ascertained that there were two ferries, one above and one below the house. I then divided the expedition into two detachments, sent Majors Bush and Bean up the river about two miles, and they effected a crossing of the river in a boat in possession of one Sam. Montgomery, and while crossing they were fired upon by the guerrillas. I took the other detachment one mile and a half below and found no boat. I did, however, force citizen Fugua to tell me where it was and sent two men across for it in a small creek. I then effected a landing on the opposite side, the guerrillas constantly firing upon us from ambush. Having got the detachment across, I set fire to a small house built like a fort of logs, from which the guerrillas fired upon us by squads. I then left half of my detachment to hold the ferry and guard the teams and took the balance up the river to Shepherd's, where I met Major B., then took the whole detachment down the river, passed John Ballow's house, this being the headquarters of the gang. Found here some cartridges and other articles of no moment, and also destroyed the distillery; we then moved on and at Zachariah Wilson's our rear guard was attacked by the guerrillas. I then started for the ford where I had left a detachment; after arriving, and while crossing the river, we were attacked all afternoon by the whole gang of guerrillas, composed of forces under Major Edmonson, Captain Ridgers, Captain Willraur, Captain Tate, Captain ---, Lieutenant Ring, &c. They made several charges upon us, but were driven back each time. In one of the charges Major E., who was in command of the gang, was killed having received two wounds, one through the face and one through the back. I captured his saddle and gun. One lieutenant (name unknown) was killed, and several men killed and wounded. Having crossed the river, we marched up the river about four miles, repassing Mr. Hogan's house; bivouacked for the night about two miles from his place. Took Mr. Hogan and son, and Mr. Fugua, prisoners. Next morning about 6 o'clock I left for Tilton Ford on the Connesauga River, and while fording the river our rear guard was fired upon by a few guerrillas on the opposite side, but no damage done. We then left the ford about 4 p. m., and arrived in Dalton about 7 o'clock in the evening. Casualties on our side were three men wounded.
1. I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WERNER W. BJERD,
Lieutenant Colonel 147th Illinois Vol. Infantry and Asst. Insp. General
(Note 1: "On the morning of the 22d," should read: "On the morning of the 2d,"
Note 2: "Major Edmensten" refers to "Major Edmondson.")
On April 1st, the Regiment (except Companies A, D and K,) and two companies of Cavalry, went on a scouting expedition under command of Lieutenant Colonel Bjerg. As we entered Spring Place in the evening a few harmless shots were fired by guerrillas. On the morning of the 22d, the pickets were attacked, doing no damage, except wounding a horse of one of the cavalry, which had to be killed. Moved in a southerly direction, and after a two mile march were again attacked by the enemy, had one company deployed as skirmishers and had pretty sharp firing for a little while resulting in the retreat of our foes; marched about 16 miles and camped on the Cossawattee River. During the night shots were exchanged by our pickets with those of the enemy on the opposite side of the river. On the 3d, Major Bush, with three companies of the Regiment and one of Cavalry, moved up the river to find a crossing place and Colonel Bjerg with balance of command moved south for the same purpose. Colonel Bjerg's command found a crossing place at Pullen's Ferry, and boat hid on opposite side; two men swam across and secured it, were fired on but crossed and found a quantity of forage and provisions, indicating the place as headquarters for guerrillas. Leaving Captain Clendenin with companies B and H, and twenty Cavalry to hold place and guard the ferry, Colonel Bjerg with balance of command proceeded to find Major Bush; on return with him was attacked by guerrillas. Captain Clendenin's command was attacked twice, but repulsed. When our forces were united the enemy made a vigorous attack, but were repulsed, their commander, Major Edmesten, and several other officers and men being killed. Our loss was two wounded. We then crossed the river and after a five mile march camped for the night. On our march to camp on the 4th, were saluted with a few harmless shots from the guerrillas.
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