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 lines. 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 a.m. and continued until about 8:30 a.m. One of Colonel Moore's units ran, which caused confusion and helped to force the Federals to fall back. By 8:30 a.m., 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 1862-January 1863 and Morgan into Kentucky, December 1862-January 1863.