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[49] not contend against artillery without he had some himself. I told him I did not want him to retreat without having seen the enemy; that he must have a skirmish with them, and feel their strength, before falling back to Columbus; that I did not want the command disgraced by retreating without seeing the enemy, which it would be if the reports should prove false, or he found that he had fallen back before a small number of men.

I then told Colonel Hawkins I must leave, for my orders were not to endanger the train, but to save it. The train consisted of nine cars and a locomotive, and was loaded with stores from Union City belonging to the Government and to the railroad company, and one hundred and fifty contrabands, (railroad hands.) The last words I said to Colonel Hawkins were, that if he found he could not whip the enemy, he should immediately retreat to Columbus. He said that if he did not fall back, he would hold the place until reenforcements reached him. I told him I would immediately push forward reenforcements; that the garrison at Columbus consisted of only one thousand one hundred men in all, and that nine hundred and odd of them were negroes, who had never been in a fight, and that reeforcements would have to come from Cairo. I wrote a telegraphic despatch at the time to General Brayman, giving all the facts. But while it was being sent, the wires were cut, and we did not get the half of it through.

I then started to return to Columbus with the train, with the distinct understanding with Colonel Hawkins that he should either hold Union City until reenforcements should arrive, or fall back to Columbus. The State line bridge was burning as I crossed it with the train, the evident intention of the rebels being to capture the train. I succeeded, however, in getting it through to Columbus safe.

Colonel Lawrence, commanding at Columbus, had telegraphed General Brayman that communications with Union City were cut off; that I was on the opposite side of the bridge, and that Colonel Hawkins was probably attacked. General Brayman immediately forwarded reenforcements to Columbus, taking two thousand men belonging to General Veatch's command, then on their way up the Tennessee River. He had received telegraphic orders from General Sherman not to take any of those troops out of their proper course, but forward them as soon as possible up the Tennessee. As transports were not ready for them, and as General Brayman could go to Union City and back again before transportation would be ready, he concluded to use some of the troops for the purpose of reenforcing Union City. The movement was made with as little delay as possible. He arrived at Columbus about ten or halfpast ten o'clock on the morning of the twenty-fourth, and immediately proceeded on a railroad train towards Union City. Upon arriving within about seven miles of Union City, we were informed by citizens and some scouts, that Colonel Hawkins had surrendered at eleven o'clock of that day; that the rebels had destroyed all the works and the government property, and had retreated. General Brayman, being fully convinced that Union City had been surrendered, every thing there destroyed, and that the enemy had fled, returned to Columbus, and from thence to Cairo, with the troops ready to be forwarded up the Tennessee in obedience to the orders of General Sherman.

Question. Will you now state what you know in relation to the attack on Paducah?

Answer. About eight o'clock on the night of the twenty-fifth of March we received a telegraphic despatch from the operator at Metropolis, stating that a big light was seen in the direction of Paducah; that it looked as if the town or some boats were burning. The despatch also stated that the telegraph repairer had come in and reported that he had been within two miles of Paducah, and had heard firing there. We had received, previous to this, no intimation from Colonel Hicks, commanding at Paducah, that the place was in danger of an attack. In obedience to instructions from General Brayman, I immediately got on a despatch boat, furnished by Captain Pennock, of the navy, and with Captain Shirk, of the navy, proceeded to Paducah. We found, on our arrival there, that General Forrest, with his command of about six thousand five hundred men had attacked Paducah in the afternoon, about three o'clock, the troops under Colonel Hicks having only about fifteen minutes notice of their coming. Colonel Hicks's scouts had returned from the road over which the rebels had come in, and reported that they had heard nothing of the enemy. They were just about sending out new scouts when the rebels dashed into the town, driving our pickets in, and driving our troops into the fort. As the rear of the battalion of the Sixteenth Kentucky cavalry were marching into the fort they were fired upon by the rebels.

After fighting a short time, the rebels sent in a demand, under flag of truce, for the unconditional surrender of all the forces under Colonel Hicks's command, and all the Government property, statting that if he should comply with the demand, his troops should be treated as prisoners of war; if not, then an overwhelming force would be thrown against him, and no quarter would be shown him. Colonel Hicks replied by stating that he had been placed there by his Government to hold and defend the place and the public stores there, and that he should obey the command of his superior officer, and do so; that he was pre pared for the enemy, and should not surrender.

Forrest then again attacked the fort, making three different charges. Our troops, both black and white, behaved in the most gallant and meritorious manner, fighting most bravely. After fighting until half-past 7 or eight o'clock in the evening our ammunition began to run short, so much so that men and officers began to count their cartridges. Colonel Hicks had only three thousand rounds of small ammunition left when Forrest made the second demand for a surrender.

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