The Battle of Hartsville was fought on December 7, 1862, in northern Tennessee at the opening of the Stones River Campaign the American Civil War.
The Stones River Campaign started in early November 1862 when Union General William S. Rosecrans moved his Army of the Cumberland southeast from Nashville, Tennessee, toward Murfreesboro. Confederate General Braxton Bragg, commanding the Army of Tennessee, had retreated there after his defeat at the Battle of Perryville. Bragg ordered Colonel John Hunt Morgan to move north with his cavalry and operate along Rosecrans's lines of communications, to prevent him from foraging for supplies north of Nashville. The action at Hartsville, a crossing point on the Cumberland River about 40 miles upstream from Nashville, north of Murfreesboro, was an incident in Morgan's raid to the north, before Rosecrans had the bulk of his infantry forces on the move.
Guarding the river crossing at Hartsville was the 39th Brigade, XIV Corps, Army of the Cumberland, consisting of the 106th Ohio Infantry, the 108th Ohio, the 104th Illinois, and the 2nd Indiana Cavalry. The brigade was commanded by Col. Absalom B. Moore. Under the cover of darkness, Morgan crossed the river in the early morning of December 7, 1862, with about 1,400 men, mainly Kentuckians, outnumbered by about 1,000 troops to the Union brigade. Another Union force, three times that size, was encamped 9 miles away at Castalian Springs, close enough to hear the guns, but too far away to interfere.
Morgan's attack took the Union camp by surprise. One account from a participant indicates that the Confederates were able to get past the picket line by wearing blue uniforms, another that they wore civilian clothes and posed as refugees. The attack began at 6:45 a.m. with a simultaneous artillery bombardment and an infantry attack, while cavalry struck the flanks and rear. One of Moore’s units ran after an hour, which caused confusion and helped to force the Federals to fall back. ...