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[431] race was one of the most ludicrous incidents of the war, though the laugh was rather the heartier on the wrong side.

The Army of the Cumberland remaining quiet at Chattanooga, Bragg (or his superiors) conceived the idea of improving his leisure by a movement on Burnside, which Longstreet was assigned to lead. Burnside had by this time spread his force very widely, holding innumerable points and places southward and eastward of Knoxville by brigades and detachments; and Longstreet, advancing silently and rapidly, was enabled to strike1 heavily at the little outpost of Philadelphia, held by Col. F. T. Wolford, with the 1st, 11th, and 12th Kentucky cavalry and 45th Ohio mounted infantry--in all about 2,000 men. Wolford had dispatched the 1st and 11th Kentucky to protect his trains moving on his right, which a Rebel advance was reported as menacing, when he found himself suddenly assailed in front and on both flanks by an overwhelming Rebel force, estimated at 7,000, whom he withstood several hours, hoping that the sound of guns would bring him assistance from London in his rear; but none arrived; and he was at length obliged to cut his way out; losing his battery and 32 wagons, but bringing off most of his command, with 51 prisoners. Major Delfosse, leading the 12th Ky., was killed. The 1st and 11th Kentucky, under Maj. Graham, having proceeded four miles westward from Philadelphia, found their train already in the hands of the enemy, and recaptured it; chasing its assailants for some distance, and capturing quite a number of them; when our men in turn encountered a superior force, and were chased nearly to Loudon, losing heavily. We took 111 prisoners this day, and lost 324, with 6 guns; the killed and wounded on either side being about 100. Our total loss in prisoners to Longstreet southward of Loudon is stated by Halleck at 650.

The enemy advancing resolutely yet cautiously, our troops were withdrawn before them from Lenoir and from Loudon, concentrating at Camp-bell's Station--Gen. Burnside, who had hastened from Knoxville at the tidings of danger, being personally in command. Having been joined by his old (9th) corps, he was now probably as strong as Longstreet; but a large portion of his force was still dispersed far to the eastward, and he apprehended being flanked by an advance from Kingston on his left. He found himself so closely pressed, however, that he must either fight or sacrifice his trains; so he chose an advantageous position and suddenly faced2 the foe: his batteries being all at hand, while those of his pursuers were behind; so that he had decidedly the advantage in the fighting till late in the afternoon, when they brought up three batteries and opened, while their infantry were extended on either hand, as if to outflank him. He then fell back to the next ridge, and again faced about; holding his position firmly till after nightfall; when — his trains having meantime obtained a fair start — he resumed his retreat, and continued it unmolested until safe within the sheltering intrenchments of Knoxville. Our loss in this affair was about 300; that of the enemy was

1 Oct. 20.

2 Nov. 6.

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