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Doc. 138.-fight at battle Creek, Tennessee.

When I arrived at this interesting point, I immediately set to work to learn the particulars of Colonel Sill's movements in the neighborhood of Jasper. He was sent there subsequent to the abortive operations in front of Chattanooga, for the purpose of affording protection to the Unionloving citizens of Marion County. He remained there from the eleventh to the twenty-first of June. His force was very small at that time, and the rebels, emboldened by what they considered their success upon the seventh and eighth instant, were making threatening demonstrations around him. To his original force, consisting of the Thirty-third Ohio, three companies of the Tenth Wisconsin, two sections of Edgarton's battery, the two pieces of artillery captured at Bridgeport, and two hundred and fifty men from the Fourth Ohio and Fourth Kentucky cavalry, were added, while he was still at Jasper; the Second Ohio and six companies of the Twenty-fourth Illinois.

Col. Sill had learned that the enemy, having crossed the river at Chattanooga, were advancing upon him in great force, and his scouts reported their cavalry fifteen hundred strong. Jasper furnishes but a poor position for defensive purposes, as there are several roads leading into it by which an enemy might advance; and Colonel Sill could not afford to divide his small force for the purpose of guarding them all. To have done so would have been to sacrifice the different portions in detail. More than this, Col. Sill received his supplies by way of Stevenson. His wagons, in passing from the latter place to Jasper, were compelled to cross Battle Creek, near its mouth, upon a pontoon-bridge, and then to skirt for some distance the right bank of the Tennessee. The rebels, well understanding the nature of the country, planted a battery of two twelve-pounders upon the left bank of the river, opposite Battle Creek, in such a way that they could completely command the road along which the wagons going from Stevenson must necessarily pass.

Such being the condition of things, Col. Sill, an officer prudent and cautious as he is otherwise excellent, determined to march to the mouth of Battle Creek and take up a position there, which would not only enable him to receive supplies without interruption, and to command the Tennessee, but would furnish an excellent basis for operations against any rebel force which might attempt to molest the people of Jasper.

Upon Friday, the twentieth of June, Col. Sill sent four companies of the Twenty-fourth Illinois down to Rankin's Ferry, six miles from Jasper, to hold the enemy in check in case he should attempt to cross at that point. Colonel Mihalotzy commanded this force. At night a number of the rebels crossed the river some distance above the ferry, and about daylight the next morning attempted to surprise the small body of soldiers posted there. Our pickets, however, were too vigilant for this. They discovered the rebels upon their first approach; a smart skirmish ensued, and the enemy, finding himself baffled in his main object, withdrew under cover of the woods, losing, according to the reports of some contrabands who came across the river next day, about forty men killed and wounded.

Of the Twenty-fourth, Captain August Kovats, company F, was wounded severely in the leg; Second Lieutenant Hugo Gerhardt, company F, in the leg, and private Henry Schaefer, company F, in the leg and face. Privates Christian Schmidt, company H, Hermann Schultz, company D, and Charles Bergmann, company A, are missing.

Colonel Mihalotzy's force, after this skirmish, went back to Jasper, and as soon as he had returned, Colonel Sill's entire force commenced its march to Battle Creek. Opposite the mouth of this stream the enemy had, as has already been stated, two twelve-pounders, from which they opened fire upon our men as they were commencing to cross the creek. Edgarton immediately put two of his pieces in position to reply, and at the same time companies A and B of the Second Ohio regiment were deployed as skirmishers along the bank of the Tennessee.

The firing was kept up in quite a lively style for some time, until a shell from Edgarton's battery struck plump upon one of the enemy's pieces, and placed it hors du combat. The rebels immediately abandoned both their cannon, and betook themselves to rapid flight.

In the mean time a considerable body of rebel infantry had shown themselves lower down the river, and commenced discharging their muskets at such of our troops as had passed the creek. [543] The river at this point flows almost due south, and Battle Creek enters it running in a southeasterly direction. Captain Edgarton, as soon as the enemy's infantry made its appearance, immediately crossed the creek, planted his guns in a new position, and so disgusted the fellows upon the other side of the river, by flinging amongst them a dozen rounds of shell and shrapnel, that they incontinently took to their heels.

Of course we cannot ascertain the enemy's loss, but it must have been considerable; and so thoroughly frightened were they, that they have not since troubled us, except to fire an occasional shot across the river, from behind a rock or a tree, taking good care, however, to keep their carcasses well concealed.

Our loss consisted of one man wounded — John Eckhart, company B, Second Ohio, shot in the right breast. One of Capt. Edgarton's horses was killed.

Col. Sill, throughout these operations, has exhibited much prudence and ability, and has been well supported by those under his command. The position he occupies at the mouth of Battle Creek is, for defensive purposes, one of the finest I ever saw. A thousand men could hold it against five times their numbers, whether it were assailed upon the north or south, or from the east, across the Tennessee. A huge mountain upon the west runs parallel with the river, and just at the mouth of the creek sends down a mighty spur to within a few hundred yards of the Tennessee. North of this spur the creek comes wandering along through a gorge so narrow as to admit nothing save itself to pass.

Between the mountain and the river, the road from Stevenson to Jasper passes, as also an unfinished branch railroad running from Bridgeport to the latter place. Upon the other side of the Tennessee is a narrow belt of cleared land, then a line of low hills, and then the fine valley through which runs the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. Beyond this, a range of the Cumberland Mountains rears itself, extending far away both up and down the river, until its great masses are lost in the blue distance.

South of the point where Colonel Sill has his headquarters, the mountain upon the west bank of the river recedes, and a beautiful “cove” is formed, in which a number of our troops are encamped.

Y. S.

--Cincinnati Gazette.

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