April 17, 1862.--capture of Union refugees near Woodson's Gap, Tenn.
Reports, etc.No. 1.-Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith, C. S. Army, with instructions in reference to enlistment of Union refugees. No. 2.-Capt. H. M. Ashby, Company C, Fourth Battalion Tennessee Cavalry.
No. 1.-report of Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith, C. S. Army, with instructions in reference to enlistment of Union refugees.
Hdqrs. Department of East Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn., April 18, 1862.A body of 700 Union men en route for Kentucky were attacked to-day [yesterday] by Captain Ashby above Fincastle. After a short battle 400 were taken prisoners, whom I will send south to-morrow. Where shall they go I General Carter claims by a flag of truce a like party captured some weeks since to be Federal troops.
Knoxville, Tenn., April 23, 1862.Sir: On the 17th instant 475 Union men of East Tennessee were captured en route for Kentucky, and sent, by Major-General Smith's order, on the 20th instant, to Milledgeville, Ga. Some of them expressed a wish before leaving to enlist in the Confederate States Army. They were not permitted to do so, because of the apprehension that they might [not] be faithful here to their oath of allegiance. Elsewhere they may make good soldiers. Remembering your request, the majorgeneral commanding directs me to say that you have whatever authority he can give you to proceed to Milledgeville, Ga.. and enlist as many of them as consent for service in South Carolina, or elsewhere except in East Tennessee. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
No. 2.-report of Capt. H. M. Ashby, Company C, Fourth Battalion Tennessee Cavalry.
Knoxville, Tenn., April 26, 1862.Sir: According to your order of the 16th I left Knoxville at 4 p. m., with about 40 men from my company and the same number of Captain Bradley's, and proceeded to Clinton, where I was joined by 40 men of Captain Gillespie's company, under Lieutenant King. I marched all night, reaching Jacksborough about sunrise next morning. Five miles above Jacksborough, at Big Creek Gap, I left Captain Bradley, with his command, to reconnoiter the country between that point and Fincastle, 5 miles above Big Creek Gap. there to await furother  orders. With the remainder of my command I pressed on to Woodson's Gap, 6 miles beyond Fincastle, where I detached Lieutenant Gibbs, of my company, with 10 men, to guard the road coming into Woodson's Gap from the direction of Clinch River. I then pressed forward with the remnant of my command to watch some passes a few miles above. In a short time a courier from Lieutenant Gibbs informed me that he had captured the advance guard of the tories, when I immediately changed direction and returned to Woodson's Gap. The tories had by this time come in full view, with an apparent force of from 700 to 800 men. I at once ordered Lieutenants Owens and Gibbs, of my company, to attack them in the rear with 25 men, while I charged them in front, thereby preventing their crossing to Cumberland Mountains. After an hour's fight I succeeded in capturing 423 prisoners, killing about 30 and wounding the same number. Five members of my company were seriously wounded during the engagement; among the number Lieutenant Gibbs. Captain Bradley's company was not engaged in the fight, having been left, as stated above, at Big Creek Gap. Officers and men under my command behaved with great gallantry. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Hdqrs. Dept. East Tennessee, April 27, 1862.Respectfully forwarded. The energy and gallantry evinced on this occasion by Captain Ashby is consistent with his whole military career. He is commended to the notice of the Department as an efficient cavalry officer, worthy of advancement.
E. Kirby Smith, Major-General, Commanding.