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[286] in sight on the double-quick. It was a noble spectacle to see them rushing on to the extreme point of danger, with their colors flying, and hear their loud shouts mingling with the rattling of musketry. Parts of the Seventh Ohio cavalry had previously been dismounted and brought to bear against the increasing number of rebels, no doubt with considerable effect, still not dislodging them.

The Tennesseeans seemed wild to get at them, and rushing into the woods with the most audacious bravery, provoked a fire, which, if better directed by the enemy, must have inflicted sore loss upon us. The next was a volley from our own men, mingling its noise with the shouts of our own brave fellows, who were determined on driving back the impudent foe. The rattle of musketry for a little while was incessant. Each Tennesseean picked his man, and blazed away at him until the gray-back either fell or used his legs to get away.

One section of the howitzer battery was now ordered up to the front, and soon mingled its roar with the incessant rattle of musketry and the shouts of the combatants. The contest was sharp, short, and decisive. It was no child's play, for the enemy, who had advanced upon us with so much audacity, was now compelled to leave the wood as rapidly as he came into it, and seek safer positions in the rear. It was now past sundown; night was rapidly drawing its curtain about the scene of strife. The firing had, with the exception of an occasional shot, ceased. The enemy, who came on with the consciousness of being able to gobble us up at one mouthful, had not found a savory meal, and had retired to safer positions in the direction of Monticello.

The wounded were brought to Captain West's, and laid down in his yard, while such attentions were given them as the circumstances would allow. The surgeons were particularly active. Wherever duty called they went, without regard to their own safety. Among those most active I noticed Surgeon Smith, of the Second Ohio cavalry, who was, much to our regret, left behind to take care of Lieutenant Case and one or two other wounded men, who, it was thought, could not be removed with safety. Of course we cannot regret that means were taken to relieve the wants of our wounded, and to see that they would be properly cared for, but that there was a seeming necessity of leaving any one behind. It was but one mile to Mill Springs, and to that place the very few that could not have been taken in ambulances might have been carried on litters, and crossed in canoes to the other side. That this was not done by those whose duty it was to look after such matters is highly unfortunate.

It was now about dark. Such of the wounded as could not ride on horseback were placed in ambulances, and the march for the river again taken up. We made four miles and bivouacked. This morning at two o'clock the column was again placed in motion, and reached Waitsboro a little after daylight.

The Seventh Ohio cavalry, under the command of Colonel Garrard, was our rear-guard from the time we left the battle-field till we reached the river. They had a responsible post, but the enemy had already been taught a sufficient lesson, and gave us no trouble whatever.

On arriving at the river the forces were halted, in accordance with the command of General Carter, hoping the enemy might come on and give us fight; but no rebel was to be seen, and our men finally crossed the Cumberland at their leisure, and marched to their camps to rest from as hard labor as they are usually called upon to endure.

I this evening tried to telegraph you a complete list of our losses, with some details of the fight, but the lightning interrupted, and up to the hour of writing it has not been sent.

Some persons, who do not understand the object of the expedition, are inclined to look upon our return as unfavorable, thinking that it was the intention to hold that country. Such could not be further from the truth. The object of those who projected it was obtained, and the reconnoissance was a complete success. It is true there was some hard fighting, and we sustained some losses; but the former the soldier came to do, and the latter is unavoidable in war, while the fact that we inflicted a greater loss upon the enemy is a matter of congratulation.

I cannot speak in too praiseworthy terms of the gallantry of our men. Wherever they had any thing like a chance they drove every thing before them. The East-Tennesseeans are deserving of special praise. It is simple justice to say that they threw themselves against the enemy with such bravery and enthusiasm that nothing could withstand them. Many a poor fellow fell a victim before their unerring aim.

Colonels Kautz and Carter were in the thickest of the fight, and were as cool, apparently, as if their troops were on parade. The forces of the enemy were the principal part of the command of General Pegram, who evidently commanded in person.

The losses inflicted upon them we cannot now ascertain. They lost ten killed during the day, that were seen; but the heaviest loss, no doubt, took place in the thick woods that our men had not time to examine. It would be safe, I think, to say they lost twenty killed, and a proportionate number wounded. Our losses will not vary much from the telegram, to wit, four killed, twenty-six wounded and six missing. We had wounded one captain and two lieutenants. We wounded and paroled two lieutenants and captured one. Lieutenant Case was badly wounded in the left breast. He fell while gallantly discharging his duty to his country.

The people of Monticello, supposing we were coming in force, expressed, in private, much gratification at the prospect of being relieved from the rebel army.

One negro that I saw exclaimed as he approached us, “Glory to God, I'se so happy now,” clapping his hands with delight and thankfulness, and continuing: “It's been cloudy dis many a day, but its cleared away now, and I sees de sun shine again.”


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