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[24]

camp Buell, near Paintsville, Johnson Co., Ky., January 20.
On the morning of the 7th of January the command, composed of the Forty-second Ohio and the Fourteenth Kentucky, and Major McLaughlin's squadron of Ohio cavalry, making an effective force of about fifteen hundred men, broke up their camp on the Muddy Creek, and moved into Paintsville, the county-seat of Johnson County, Kentucky. While on the march we were reenforced by a battalion of the First Virginia cavalry, under Colonel Bolles, and by three hundred of the Twenty-second Kentucky, raising our force to about twenty-two hundred men. The enemy, under Humphrey Marshall, numbering five thousand men, and having a battery of four pieces, learning of our approach, and also of that of the Fortieth Ohio and of four hundred of Colonel Wolford's cavalry by the way of Mount Sterling and the valley of the Paint Creek, had, two days previously, after burning large quantities of grain, broken up from his intrenched camp, three miles south of this point, and effected his retreat to the heights on Middle Creek, distant from here fifteen miles and from Prestonburg two miles, leaving a corps of observation at the mouth of Jennie Creek, three miles west from here, of three hundred cavalry, and a large force of infantry, about seven miles up Jennie Creek, to protect and facilitate the passage of his trains.

Immediately on our arrival Colonel Garfield, learning of the position of the aforesaid cavalry, but unaware of the whereabouts of the other divisions of the rebel force, immediately commenced the erection of a pontoon or floating bridge across the Paint, and at four P. M. crossed with eight companies of the Forty-second Ohio, and two companies of the Fourteenth Kentucky, with a view of making an armed reconnoissance, and if possible of cutting off and capturing the cavalry. At two P. M. he had despatched Colonel Bolles' cavalry and one company of the Forty-second, under the command of Captain S. M. Barber, with orders to give a good account of the aforesaid cavalry. But later in the day, on learning of the possibility of cutting them off, had sent orders to Colonel Bolles not to attack them until he had had time to get in their rear. Not receiving the last orders, and indeed before they were issued, Colonel Bolles, in obedience to the first orders, crossed the Paint by fording, and vigorously assaulting the enemy soon put them to an inglorious flight up the valley of Jennie. In their haste, followed as they were up the narrow road by the gallant cavalry, they strewed the road with their equipments, while here and there a dead body showed that they were losing men as well. The pursuit was kept up for seven miles, right into the infantry division guarding the train, who, stationed on either side of the road that did not permit more than two to ride abreast opened a heavy cross-fire on the cavalry, compelling them to fall back, and finally to retreat, which they did in good order, having inflicted a loss of twenty-five in killed and wounded, according to rebel account, and losing but two in killed, and one wounded. Meanwhile Colonel Garfield, with his command, having tarried a short time to fully explore the enemy's deserted fortifications, (consisting of lunettes, breastworks, riflepits and a fort situated on the top of a conical hill,) and wholly unaware of what had taken place, pressed forward to the hoped for consummation of the march. But few miles had been traversed, however, when the evidences of a hasty retreat became so apparent that all were convinced that the game had flown. The object of the march having been thus thwarted, an early return to our camp at Paintsville became our aim, and we accomplished it at the dawn. A harder march was, I venture say, never endured by troops in the same length of time. At nine A. M. on the eighth, the Fortieth and Wolford's cavalry joined us, raising our effective force to about twenty-four hundred, after deducting Ball's cavalry, which, in obedience to orders, returned to Guyandotte. On the 9th, Colonel Garfield determining on a pursuit of the enemy, detailed from the Forty-second and Fortieth Ohio, and Fourteenth Kentucky each three hundred men, and from the Twenty-second Kentucky two hundred men, and taking the immediate command, supported, however, by Colonel Craner of the Fortieth, and Major Burke of the Fourteenth, and detaching Colonel Wolford's and Major McLaughlin's cavalry up Jennie's Creek, marched up the river road leading to Prestonburg. Early on the morning of the tenth, Colonel Sheldon of the Forty-second Ohio, in command at the camp, received a dispatch from Colonel Garfield stating that he had found the enemy, and asking reenforcements. In compliance with the order, at six A. M. on the tenth, Colonel Sheldon marched with eight hundred men, and all the day they eagerly pressed their weary way. As Colonel Garfield had stated, he had found the enemy two miles from Prestonburg, on Middle Creek, in a chosen position among the hills, with between four and five thousand men and four pieces of artillery. The Fifth Virginia regiment, Colonel Trigg, armed with Mississippi rifles, Colonel John S. Williams's Kentucky regiment, Colonel Moore's Kentucky regiment, armed with Belgian rifles, Markham and Wicher's cavalry, and the Fourth Virginia infantry, lay in full strength on the hills at the forks of the creek, while their dogs of war seemed to forbid all approach. Nothing deterred by the formidable position and number of the enemy, Colonel Garfield not fully aware of their exact locality, sent forward a cloud of skirmishers, with a view of drawing the enemy's fire, and thus ascertaining his whereabouts. This not fully succeeding, at about twelve M. he sent forward his escort of cavalry, some twenty strong, in headlong charge. This accomplished the object, for the enemy, thinking our whole force upon them, now opened with musketry, shot and shell upon the cavalry, and a small party of the skirmishers under Adjutant Olds of the Forty-second, then in a corn-field immediately in front of the position of Colonel Williams's Kentucky regiment, and flanked on the left by the artillery and Trigg's Virginia regiment. The cavalry made a hasty


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