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[591] slight one on my hand, from a shell which exploded within a few feet, enveloping me completely in smoke and dust.

Fifty men will cover our loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners--ten men being killed. We killed twenty-five of the rebels.

I have been holding the enemy in check for four days, though their forces are greatly superior to mine, and are posted on both sides of me, less than fourteen miles distant, and may each attack me at any hour. I had determined, however, to fight before giving up the advanced position I then held, hoping that reinforcements, forage, and provisions would arrive. During the four days my horses had been fed with corn but twice. The country south of Big Hill is entirely destitute, and subsistence for cavalry must be sent from Lexington. To supply one cavalry regiment at the Gap one hundred wagons will be required.

I had a narrow escape. Shortly after the above encounter, while with Col. Oden, some distance behind our men, a hundred rebels dashed down the road after us. Fortunately I had placed about two hundred Tennessee infantry in the bushes on the roadside, who fired on the enemy as they were seizing us. Several of them were killed and wounded, the rest driven back, and we saved. At the time the Tennesseeans fired there was not a man of my regiment in sight. In company with my deliverers I hastened to the camp, where I found about two hundred men, and tried to rally them. The enemy appeared again in five or ten minutes, when my force ran pell mell at the first fire. The Tennesseeans, however, showed good courage, and checked the rebel approach, killing several by their well-directed fire.

They also took some prisoners, who say that their command consisted of two regiments of cavalry, having one battery of three pieces of cannon. They were reported to number about one thousand two hundred men.

The odds were fearful--twelve to one--but I was determined to have a fight, and would not leave my position unless driven from it. I think we did exceedingly well under the circumstances.

The enemy pursued us to this place, where we arrived about ten o'clock. Shortly after they sent in a flag of truce, demanding an unconditional surrender of myself and the town. I replied that I would not surrender, and would fight it out. I sent their flag-bearer out of town, and immediately despatched runners out on the Lexington road to hasten Col. Link, who was approaching from that direction. He arrived about twelve o'clock with reinforcements, and the enemy concluded to postpone their attack, and to-day retreated.

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