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[43] strength from all our forces in that part of Kentucky, resolved to anticipate it;1 and, at midnight after the next day,2 advanced with his entire available force, consisting of six Tennessee, one Alabama, and one Mississippi regiments of infantry, six cannon, and two battalions of cavalry, to strike and surprise the three or four Union regiments which he was assured were alone posted between him and Somerset. He struck them as he had expected, but did not surprise them; Gen. Thomas having taken the precaution to send out strong pickets of infantry on the roads leading toward the enemy, with a picket of cavalry still farther in advance. These were encountered by Crittenden's vanguard before daylight3 but, after firing, retired slowly and in good order, and reported to Col. M. C. Manson, commanding the advance brigade, who in ten minutes had his two regiments--10th Indiana and 4th Kentucky, Col. S. S. Fry--in readiness; and the Rebels, in that hour of darkness, necessarily proceeded with caution, doubling themselves as they advanced. Thomas was of course at the front, having ordered up his remaining regiments, within ten minutes afterward.

The charge of the Rebels was desperate, and the battle raged with great fury for nearly two hours, during which the muskets of the combatants were often fired through the same fence. Barely five Union regiments in all — the 10th Indiana, 2d Minnesota, 9th Ohio, 4th Kentucky, and 1st Kentucky cavalry, with Kinney's battery — were seriously engaged; but the 12th Kentucky, and two or three Tennessee regiments, reached the field just as the day was won by a charge of the 9th Ohio on our left flank with fixed bayonets, supported by a galling fire from the 2d Minnesota in front, under which the Rebels gave way and fled, scarcely halting until they reached their intrenched camp by the river; leaving one gun on the battle-field and another by the way.

In the heat of the battle, when the combatants were scarcely separated by an open space, Gen. Zollicoffer was shot by Col. Fry, and fell dead on the field, where his body was left by his followers. Col. Fry's horse was shot dead directly afterward. Col. Robert L. McCook, 9th Ohio, was wounded in the leg, and also had his horse shot. The Rebels lost 192 killed, 62 wounded and captured, besides those carried off by them, and 89 taken unhurt. Our loss was 39 killed, and 207 wounded.

It rained, as usual, and the roads were horrible; but the victors, considerably reenforced, were, before 4 P. M., in front of the intrenchments at Camp Beech Grove, within which the flying Rebels had taken refuge an hour or two before. Shelling was immediately commenced on our side, feebly responded to on the other; and this continued until 7 at night, when our soldiers desisted and lay down to rest. Gen. Schoepf's brigade came up that night, and were so disposed by Gen. Thomas as to make sure of the capture of

1 A Rebel letter to the Louisville (Nashville) Courier, says:

The enemy in front occupied Somerset with several regiments, and Columbia with an equal force. On the 17th and 18th, it rained so much that Fishing creek could not be crossed; and so the Somerset force of several thousand could not join the force from Columbia before the 20th.

2 Jan. 18-19.

3 Sunday, Jan. 19.

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