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[572] had been ordered back from Athens, some eighteen miles west to Philadelphia, which lies six miles from Loudon Bridge, in order to be in supporting distance of that strong position — had been constantly on the lookout there with scouts and patrols up till Tuesday morning of the twentieth instant, when a flag of truce passed through our lines from General Burnside to the confederates. On account of the usages of war, we sent no menacing force forward to a reconnoissance, but sent out some forage wagons for corn. They had gone out but a few miles when they were rushed upon and captured by the enemy. Colonel Wolford immediately sent the First and Eleventh Kentucky cavalry, and part of the Twelfth, to recapture them, which was accomplished, but was not all held. Just at this time an attack was fiercely made upon the town on the east, north, and west sides, including all the approaches, and was defended by the Forty-fifth Ohio, mounted men, on the west, and the Twelfth Kentucky cavalry on the east, and a small part of the First and Eleventh on the north, while the small howitzer battery, commanded by Captain Laws, was stationed on the high hill which sets in the south of the town. Picket skirmishing commenced at twelve o'clock, and in thirty minutes the lines engaged, and continued firing with more or less volume for an hour, when it was ascertained that two brigades at least surrounded our position, and cut off the return of the First and Eleventh. As our danger had been telegraphed to General White at Loudon, and our guns in hearing of his quarters, Colonel Wolford naturally expected reenforcements from there; hence he encouraged his men to a stubborn stand, which was responded to cheerfully and maintained with indomitable courage. The Forty-fifth Ohio fought gallantly, more than once charging the rebel lines with fatal effect. The battery fought a Georgia regiment single-handed, who were five times repulsed by canister shot with fearful loss. The Twelfth, on the east, led by Major Delfosse, had several times broke the rebel lines and scattered their front, which was filled up by reserves, until it became a hand-to-hand affray, in many instances, of capturing and recapturing prisoners. Thus continued the contest of unequal numbers till four long hours had passed, our ammunition wagons captured, the cartridge-boxes depleted, while horses and men were fatigued, and yet no reenforcements came. In this dilemma, Colonel Wolford ordered his undaunted band to charge the eastern line with sabre and every available instrument, and taking the lead himself, they soon cut themselves out of their fearful surroundings, bringing off some eighty-three prisoners and many horses, yet not without the loss of some valuable lives and serious casualties. Major Delfosse, of the Twelfth, was shot dead just as he gave orders to charge.

Captain Harrison took command, and led the Twelfth in the gallant charge on double lines of reserves of the enemy, and, being assisted by the Forty-fifth Ohio and commandants of the battery, went through. While this was being done the First and Eleventh were fighting manfully a force some miles north of the town, and so moved as to join Colonel Wolford soon after cutting the rebel lines, when the whole brigade fell back slowly toward Loudon Bridge, fighting back the approaching foe, who checked pursuit when in about two miles of the bridge. Night coming on, every thing became quiet. It was ascertained that our whole brigade of over two thousand men had lost about four hundred and twenty-five men, and that of these the Forty-fifth Ohio had lost one hundred and eighty-one, the Twelfth Kentucky cavalry ninety-two, and the First and Eleventh Kentucky cavalry the balance, in killed, wounded, and missing. As the enemy held the battle-ground, our information is defective, but from the best sources we know of but eight were killed dead on the field, and about eighty wounded. The Forty-fifth lost about forty-five and the Twelfth Kentucky thirty of this number, they being subject most of the time to a strong enfilading fire, and occupying the most dangerous position as a body. The rebel loss was heavy, as we learned they buried thirtyseven, besides hauling off several wagon loads after filling all their ambulances. They also sent back from Sweetwater several wagons next morning to remove the disabled from the field. Colonel Wolford estimates their casualties at over six hundred in killed, wounded, and missing. Many of our wagons were destroyed with our camp and garrison equipage; most of our men, however, saved their horses and arms. It is some gratification in our loss to know that our enemy added little or no strength to himself by it. Our boys were cheerful and more than willing to go at them again, which they did in fine style in two succeeding days, driving the rebels several times back and reoccupying our old ground for at least a temporary season.

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