The 39th Brigade, XIV Army Corps, was guarding the Cumberland River crossing at Hartsville to prevent Confederate cavalry from raiding. Under the cover of darkness, Brigadier General John H. Morgan crossed the river in the early morning of December 7, 1862. Colonel Absalom B. Moore, commander of the 39th Brigade, stated in his after action report, that Morgan's advance had worn Union blue uniforms which got them through the videttes.
Morgan approached the Union camp, the pickets sounded the alarm, and held the Rebels until the brigade was in battle line. The fighting commenced at 6:45 am and continued until about 8:30 am. One of Moore's units ran, which caused confusion and helped to force the Federals to fall back. By 8:30 am, the Confederates had surrounded the Federals, convincing them to surrender.
This action at Hartsville, located north of Murfreesboro, was a preliminary to the Confederate cavalry raids by Forrest into West Tennessee, December 1862January 1863, and Morgan into Kentucky, December 1862January 1863.
By mid 1862, Union gains in the Mississippi Valley and in Tennessee and Kentucky had brought the Confederacy to a point of strategic crisis. This valuable addition to the growing literature on the Civil War in the West tells how the Union then failed to press home its advantage while the Confederacy failed to force Kentucky into the Confederacy. The climax of these events was the little-known Battle of Perryville, in which a greatly inferior Southern force under Braxton Bragg managed a draw against Don Carlos Buell's Union army but also effectively terminated the Confederate invasion of Kentucky. McDonough has researched thoroughly and written clearly, making this book informative and accessible to a wide range of Civil War students.
Cozzens follows up his magisterial account of the Battle of Chickamauga, This Terrible Sound (1992), with an equally authoritative study of the Chattanooga campaign that followed it. Braxton Bragg (who sometimes seems unfit to have been at large on the public streets, let alone commanding armies) failed to either destroy or starve out the Union Army of the Cumberland. In due course, superior Northern resources and strategy--not tactics; few generals on either side come out looking like good tacticians--progressively loosened the Confederate cordon around the city. Finally, the Union drove off Bragg's army entirely in the famous Battle of Missionary Ridge, which was a much more complex affair than previous, heroic accounts make it. Like its predecessor on Chickamauga, this is such a good book on Chattanooga that it's hard to believe any Civil War collection will need another book on the subject for at least a generation.