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[283] back at once and rejoin me — I at this time having ascertained that it would, in all probability, be necessary for me to go about twenty-three miles instead of fifteen, the distance I at first expected, but did not expect to be able to get through the first day.

Under these circumstances he proceeded somewhat faster than the infantry could march, consequently when he arrived some twenty-two miles from Decatur, (ten miles from where he left us,) he was probably not more than five or six miles ahead of my regiment; but it being very hot in the middle of the day, we halted to rest, expecting the cavalry to rejoin us as ordered. In direct disobedience to my orders, the cavalry spent about an hour's time in scouting about the country after they had escorted the guides to within three miles of the mountains, after which they stopped at a Mr. Menter's house and ordered dinner, where they spent about three hours more. The captain was warned, when he first arrived in the neighborhood, that forty of the enemy's cavalry were within six miles of him, yet with these facts before him, as I have above shown, he spent nearly four hours in the neighborhood, and at Menter's house — a sufficient time to have returned to Decatur, if necessary, much less to rejoin me. At about half-past 5 o'clock he was attacked by upward of forty of the enemy's cavalry and guerrillas. Here, again, his conduct seems to have been very injudicious, for, although there were several log buildings that he could have held against any force the enemy could bring to bear against him, yet, instead of occupying them, after exchanging a few shots, in which one of his men was wounded, and two of the enemy killed and two wounded, he ordered a retreat across the field, which seems to have been accomplished very precipitately, especially, when taking into consideration the fact that the enemy did not pursue him but a few rods, and that, too, on foot. Four of his men got lost from the balance. He proceeded in a westerly, circuitous route to Decatur, where he arrived the evening of the same day, with twelve of his men.

In the mean time, I had arrived to within two miles of the place where he was attacked, before the enemy had left, and think I would have been in time to have done them justice, had I not halted to chastise some guerrillas that had the impudence to fire into my rear-guard; but, as it was, we arrived just in time to see the chivalry put spurs to their horses and leave hurriedly to the eastward, thus showing conclusively that the enemy did not follow our cavalry. We bivouacked that night twenty-three miles from Decatur, and within one mile of where the skirmish took place.

The next day was spent in ascertaining what we could relative to the extent of the damage done to the cavalry, and in notifying the people in the mountains that they could now have a chance to join the Union army. I ascertained the loss of our cavalry in the engagement to be one man missing, who, when last seen, some two miles from where the skirmish took place, was wounded in the thigh, not seriously, and one taken prisoner, one horse killed and one disabled.

Three cavalry men came in early in the morning without horses, but our boys succeeded in finding the horses and equipments near where they were left. The captain's sword was also found about one hundred rods from where the fight occurred.

I soon became convinced that the time set for me to return was insufficient to fully accomplish the object of my mission. The news of the defeat of our cavalry spread over the country like a fire on a prairie, causing great consternation among the Union people and boldness on the part of the guerrillas.

The guides became frightened, and it was very difficult to induce them to leave my command; however, after laboring under all these difficulties, we succeeded in bringing back with us one hundred and fifty volunteers. Several small parties that started to join us failed to get there in time. One party, numbering thirty-four men, were within twenty miles of us at daylight the morning we left; and although a messenger arrived giving me that information when we had marched but a short distance on our return, yet I was ordered to return within four days time, and could wait no longer.

At eleven o'clock A. M. yesterday, we took up our line of march for Decatur, and when we had proceeded about four miles from our encampment, we were informed that the enemy's cavalry, about five hundred strong, were posted at the crossing of the roads, about one mile ahead. The country being thickly wooded, I had nothing to fear from mounted men, but supposing that they might dismount and act as infantry, I deployed companies A and F on each side of the road, in advance, as skirmishers, at the same time ordering company D forward in the road, to form a reserve, and also to deploy six men in advance to act as signal men. One company, having been previously detailed to act as rear-guard, they too were ordered to throw out skirmishers on the flanks, to avoid an undiscovered approach from either of these directions.

The Alabamians had previously been placed next to the rear-guard. Having advanced the skirmishers and advance reserve four hundred yards, I ordered the whole battalion to move forward, each individual and company to keep their relative positions. In this order we proceeded, but as we approached the position occupied by the enemy, they fled before us without firing a gun. It now became apparent to me that the intention of the enemy was to harass our march, and as the country was mostly wooded, I concluded to continue the march in the order above referred to, thus avoiding the possibility of running into an ambuscade, or of being surprised.

The enemy fell back as we approached for about two miles, where they turned eastward. For some time afterward I was expecting a demonstration upon our rear, and made preparations accordingly; but we proceeded to march in this manner for twelve miles, frequently relieving

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