previous next

[28] and cut off his retreat, while the cavalry should attack his rear. I advanced slowly, throwing out flankers, and feeling my .way cautiously among the hills. At eight o'clock in the morning, we reached the mouth of Middle Creek, where my advance began a brisk skirmishing with the enemy's cavalry, which continued until we had advanced two and a half miles up the stream, and to within a thousand yards of the forks of the creek, which I had learned the enemy were then occupying. I drew up my force on the sloping point of a semi-circular hill, and at twelve o'clock sent forward twenty mounted men, to make a dash across the plain. This drew the enemy's fire, and, in part, disclosed his position.

The Fifty-fourth Virginia regiment (Col. Trigg) was posted behind the point of the same ridge which I occupied. I immediately sent forward two Kentucky companies, to pass along this crest of the ridge, and one company, (Forty-second Ohio,) under command of Capt. F. A. Williams, together with one under Captain Jones, (Fortieth Ohio,) to cross the creek, which was nearly waist-deep, and occupy a spur of the high rocky ridge in front, and to the left of my position. In a few minutes, the enemy opened fire from one six and one twelve-pounder. A shell from the latter fell in the midst of my skirmishers on the right, but did not explode. Soon after, the detachment on the left engaged the enemy, who was concealed in large force behind the ridge. I sent forward a reenforcement of two companies to the right, under Major Burke, of the Fourteenth Kentucky, and ninety men, under Major Pardee, of the Forty-second Ohio, to support Capt. Williams.

The enemy withdrew his Fifty-fourth Virginia across the creek, and sent strong reenforcements to the hills on the left. About two o'clock I ordered Col. Craner, with one hundred and fifty men from the Fortieth and Forty-second Ohio and Twenty-second Kentucky, to reenforce Major Pardee. Meantime the enemy had occupied the main ridge to a point nearly opposite to my position, and opened a heavy fire on my reserve, which was returned with good effect. In order to prevent more effectually his attempt to outflank me, I sent Lieut.-Col. Monroe, of the Twenty-second Kentucky, with one hundred and twenty of his own and the Fourteenth Regiments, to cross the creek a short distance below the point I occupied, and drive back the enemy from his position. This he did in a gallant style, killing fifteen or twenty. Inch by inch, the enemy, with more than three times our number, were driven up the steep ridge nearest the creek by Colonel Craner and Major Pardee. At four o'clock, the reenforcements under Lieutenant-Colonel Sheldon, of the Forty-second Ohio, came in sight, which enabled me to send forward the remainder of my reserve, under Lieutenant-Colonel Brown, to pass around to the right, and endeavor to capture the enemy's guns, which he had been using against us for three hours, but without effect. During the fight he had fired thirty rounds from his guns, but they were badly served, as only one of his shells exploded, and none of his shots, not even his canister, took effect. At half-past 4 o'clock he ordered a retreat. My men drove him down the slopes of the hills, and at five o'clock he had been driven from every point. Many of my men fired thirty rounds. It was growing dark, and I deemed it unsafe to pursue him, lest my men on the different hills should fire on each other in the darkness. The firing had scarcely ceased, when a brilliant light streamed up from the valley to which the enemy had retreated. He was burning his stores and fleeing in great disorder. Twenty-five of his dead were left on the field, and sixty more were found next day thrown into a gorge in the hills. He has acknowledged a hundred and twenty-five killed, and a still larger number wounded. A field-officer and two captains were found among the dead. Our loss was one killed and twenty wounded, two of whom have since died. We took twenty-five prisoners, among whom was a rebel captain. Not more than nine hundred of my force were actually engaged, and the enemy had not less than thirty-five hundred men. Special mention would be invidious, when almost every officer and man did his duty. A majority of them fought for five hours without cessation. The cavalry under Lieut.-Col. Letcher did not reach me until the next morning, when I started them in pursuit. They followed six miles and took a few prisoners, but their provisions being exhausted, they returned. A few howitzers would have added greatly to our success. On the eleventh, I crossed the river and occupied Prestonburg. The place was almost deserted. I took several horses, eighteen boxes quartermaster's stores, and twenty-five flint-lock muskets. I found the whole community in the vicinity of Prestonburg had been stripped of every thing like supplies for an army. I could not find enough forage for my horses for even one day, and so sent them back to Paintsville. I had ordered the first boat that arrived at Paintsville to push on up to Prestonburg, but I found it would be impossible to bring up our tents and supplies until more provisions could be brought up the river. I therefore moved down to this place again on the twelfth and thirteenth, bringing my sick and foot-sore men on the boats. I am hurrying our supplies up to this point. The marches over these exceedingly bad roads, and the night exposures, have been borne with great cheerfulness by my men, but they are greatly in need of rest and good care. I cannot close this communication without making honorable mention of Lieut. J. D. Stubbs, Quartermaster of the Forty-second Ohio, and Senior Quartermaster of the brigade. He has pushed forward the transportation of our stores with an energy and determination which has enabled him to overcome very many and great obstacles; and his efforts have contributed greatly to the success of the expedition and the health and comfort of my command. In a subsequent report I will communicate some facts relative to my command, and also in regard to

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Prestonburg (Kentucky, United States) (4)
Paintsville (Kentucky, United States) (2)
Kentucky (Kentucky, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Pardee (3)
F. A. Williams (2)
Craner (2)
Daniel Trigg (1)
J. D. Stubbs (1)
Sheldon (1)
Niell G. Monroe (1)
John Letcher (1)
G. R. G. Jones (1)
Erhardt Burke (1)
John A. Brown (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
11th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: