To the accompaniment of music from the bands, Saturday, March 25, brought another early start. The First and Second Brigades broke camp around 7:00 a.m. and resumed the procession to Jonesboro. The 15th Pennsylvania, a regiment that knew the area well, took the lead. The journey turned out to be as boring as usual, but at least the scenery was pleasant. A later visitor to the region remembered East Tennessee this way: “It is a country of pleasant hills, bounded and broken into mountains.… A few first-class farmers have comfortable painted or brick houses, while scattered everywhere over the country are poverty-stricken, weather-blackened little framed dwellings and log huts,” he wrote. The sharp eyes of cartographer Angelo Wiser did not fail to note the surrounding woods either.
“Frank” Frankenberry enjoyed this land of plenty. He spent the day in charge of the pack train and marched between brigades, just behind Reagan’s battery. Stopping by the roadside, Frankenberry bought a chicken for twenty-five cents. That night, in bivouac on a rebel farm, the signalman made chicken soup for supper. He washed it down with a glass of cold milk, and then grabbed a bar of soap to wash away his own dirt.
The day was eventful in other ways. That afternoon, as the Federals neared Babb’s Mill, about sixty Confederates from Vaughn’s Brigade materialized. The Federals attacked immediately, and Weand later remembered the result with satisfaction. “Company E of our regiment had the advance, and charged with such spirit that they [the enemy] were driven off, leaving four prisoners in our hands,” he wrote. Other witnesses claimed the capture of as many as nine “Johnnies” in the skirmish. Whatever the actual total, the Federals suffered little. Only one Union horse went down, pitching its rider headlong into a ditch. Later, Company F also encountered the enemy while scouting. The Federals pursued but the four enemy troopers escaped.
For more, see Chris J. Hartley, Stoneman's Raid, 1865.
(c) Chris J. Hartley