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[293] was marched at once to the Covington and Lexington depot, and put on a train for Paris. I was placed by Col. Jones under command of Capt. Whittlesey, senior Captain, with directions to obey his orders. By his orders my company was detailed and left along the railroad to guard bridges in squads of seven, five, and ten men. I was placed at bridge near Kizer's station, twelve miles beyond Cynthiana, with fifteen men, the last of my company, at four A. M., Wednesday. Captain Whittlesey went on to Paris, from whence he said he would send us rations and orders by two o'clock P. M., none of which reached us.

At five o'clock P. M., a Lieutenant in charge of Stoner bridge sent an earnest request for assistance. His messenger reported the bridge attacked by cavalry, and two men killed. The bridge was three miles beyond us. We went over the stone-ballasted railroad on the double-quick, and found the cavalry had made a feint, but did not attack. Marched back to Kizer's station at seven o'clock P. M., and found a special train and order from Col. Landrum to the Lieutenant-Colonel of the Eighteenth Kentucky, to report at once at Cynthiana, as they expected an attack that evening. This order also recalled all bridge-guards beyond Cynthiana. I gathered some twenty-six of my men on the way down, and arrived at Cynthiana at nine o'clock P. M. We were quartered in the Academy.

On Thursday, the seventeenth instant, some of our bridge-guards this side of Cynthiana came in to buy provisions, and at two o'clock we mustered, including some of Capt. Whittlesey's men and new recruits, about forty men. We then made a roll of the company, there were so many of them together for the first time. There were still some fifteen men on bridge duty this side of Cynthiana.

While engaged in writing a report to Colonel Jones, was ordered to call out my company for battle, at which call three fourths of my men were in line for the first time. The Adjutant led us on the double-quick to the battle-field, about two miles from our quarters. We took position on a hill commanding a pike leading into town, with orders to guard that road. I here gave the men their first drill, for many of them the first drill they ever had. While thus engaged, it might have been about fifteen or twenty minutes after our arrival, a body of cavalry rode directly toward us, and approached to within about three hundred feet. Not knowing but that they might possibly be Union forces falling back on the town, we ordered a halt, at which they wheeled to retreat. I gave the order to fire, which my boys quickly obeyed. This was the opening volley of the battle, killing three men and two horses. The enemy then fell back, and we saw no more of them.

In a very little while we received an order from Col. Landrum to come and defend a bridge leading into town by another road. We double-quicked back to town, the aid leading us toward the bridge directly through the depot. This building was crowded with people, soldiers, citizens, Home Guards, etc., who were firing on the bridge, distant from it perhaps about eight hundred feet. This bridge was already occupied by Morgan's battery of two guns, which were throwing shot and shell on the depot and buildings adjacent. With difficulty we forced a passage through the depot; owing to the crowd and confusion our men got separated, and when we emerged on the other side less than half the company were with us. Those who remained in the depot formed in squads, and fought on their own hook. We advanced toward the bridge, about a square, in the face of a shower of grape and canister and musket-balls, and took position with a fragment of a company which was stationed behind a cooper's shop, which commanded the bridge at a different angle from the depot. We fought here about thirty minutes, our boys loading and firing as fast as they could, when we received an order to fall back and form behind the depot. Here we found Colonel Landrum endeavoring to form the men. There were around me at this time about twelve of my own company, some Home Guards, and some of Metcalfe's cavalry on foot, making about thirty men. The Colonel collected several similar squads, making in all perhaps one hundred and fifty men. We took a position on a hill right over the town, from which we were quickly shelled, and retreated across the country, the cavalry in hot pursuit. We made a stand at every fence. The Colonel behaved with the greatest possible coolness and gallantry. As he was the only one on horseback, he was the centre of mark for all the enemy's balls, and he was continually rising in his stirrups as if to make himself more conspicuous to their aim, but he seemed to bear a charmed life. He several times cried out, “The enemy are retreating,” and did every thing he could to encourage the men and to keep them together. In spite of his efforts, we found we had less and less men at every stand. At last we formed behind a haystack for a final effort, mustering at this time less than forty men, all told. I should judge we were by this time one and a half or two miles from the depot. On our flank now were seen approaching a body of horsemen, first perceived by the Colonel, from his being on horseback. He cried out: “There are our men, boys; these are Union forces; we have help at last.” A general shout went up, and the firing went on with renewed vigor. A terrific volley of musketry right in the midst of our diminished ranks, revealed our fatal mistake. Five of our men dropped at this fire. The rest fell back to the nearest fence.

Utterly exhausted, I found I could no longer keep with them. I dragged myself along in their rear, loading my gun as I went. I had about half crossed the field when four men rode down on me. When about one hundred (100) feet distant, I took deliberate aim, fired and missed, and threw down my empty gun. I think this was about two hours from the time the first shot was fired. I expected, of course, to be shot instantly,

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