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headquarters post of Paducah, Paducah, Kentucky, April 6, 1864.
Sir: I have the honor to report in relation to the late engagement with the rebel General Forrest. On the twenty-fifth instant my scouts came in at about twelve o'clock M., bringing no news of the enemy's whereabouts. I immediately ordered out others, and directed them to proceed on the Mayfield road. They had gone but three miles when they were met by Forrest's advance-guard, who fired upon them. They hurriedly fell back and gave the alarm, and in less than ten minutes after they reported, the enemy were driving in my pickets, who opened a skirmish-fire and fell back to Fort Anderson, according to previous instructions. I immediately ordered the little force under my command to double-quick to the Fort, which order was promptly obeyed; yet, before they could reach there, such was the impetuosity of the attack, that their rear was fired into by the enemy.

At two P. M. the enemy took position surrounding the Fort, and a sharp fight commenced, which in a few minutes became furious, and continued for about one hour, when it was announced that a flag of truce was approaching. I immediately ordered my men to cease firing, and sent out to meet the bearer, from whom I received the following demand for a surrender:

headquarters Forrest's cavalry corps, Paducah, Kentucky, March 25, 1864.
Colonel: Having a force amply sufficient to carry your works and reduce the place, and in order to avoid the unnecessary effusion of blood, I demand the surrender of the Fort and troops, with all public property. If you surrender, you shall be treated as prisoners of war; but if I have to storm your works, you may expect no quarter.

N. B. Forrest, Major-General Commanding Confederate Troops. Colonel Hicks, Commanding Federal Forces at Paducah.

To which I replied as follows:

headquarters post of Paducah, Paducah, Kentucky, March 25, 1864.
I have this moment received yours of this instant, in which you demand the unconditional surrender of the forces under my command. I can answer that I have been placed here by my Government to defend this post, and in this, as well as all other orders from my superior, I feel it to be my duty as an honorable officer to obey. I must, therefore, respectfully decline surrendering as you may require.

Very respectfully,

S. G. Hicks, Colonel Commanding Post. Major-General N. B. Forrest, Commanding Confederate Forces.

While the flag of truce was near the Fort, and during its pendency, the enemy were engaged in taking position and planting a battery. As soon as the answer was returned they moved forward, and our forces opened on them, and the fight became general. They attempted to storm our works, but were repulsed. They rallied and tried it again, and met the same fate. They made a third effort, but were forced to abandon their design. It was in this last struggle that Brigadier A. P. General Thompson (confederate) was killed.

I now discovered, on examination, that my ammunition was growing short, and out of thirty thousand rounds, (the amount we commenced the fight with,) twenty-seven thousand had been already expended. In this emergency I ordered the remainder to be equally distributed; the men to fix their bayonets; to make good use of the ammunition they had, and, when that was exhausted, to receive the enemy on the point of the bayonet, feeling fully determined never to surrender while I had a man alive. When this order was repeated by the officers to their respective commands, it was received with loud shouts and cheers.

The enemy's sharp-shooters in the mean time got possession of the houses around and near the Fort, from which position they picked off some of my gunners, shooting nearly all of them in the head.

Toward dark the enemy took shelter behind houses, in rooms, and hollows, and kept up a scattering fire until half-past 11 o'clock, when it entirely ceased, and the rebel General with-drew his command out of the range of my guns, and went into camp for the night.

On the morning of the twenty-sixth the enemy again made a demonstration by surrounding the Fort in the distance. As soon as I discovered this, I ordered Major Barnes, of the Tenth Kentucky cavalry, to send out squads to burn all the houses within musket-range of the Fort, from which the sharp-shooters had annoyed us the day previous.

While the houses were burning General Forrest sent in a second flag of truce, with the following communication:

headquarters Forrest's cavalry corps, near Paducah, Kentucky, March 26, 1864.
Sir: I understand you hold in your possession in the guard-house at Paducah a number of confederate soldiers as prisoners of war. I have in my possession about thirty-five or forty Federal soldiers who were captured here yesterday, and about five hundred who were captured at Union City. I propose to exchange man for man, according to rank, so far as you may hold confederate soldiers.


N. B. Forrest, Major-General Commanding Confederate Forces. Colonel S. G. Hicks, Commanding Federal Forces at Paducah, Ky.

In answer to which I sent the following:

headquarters post of Paducah, Paducah, Kentucky, March 26, 1864.
Sir: I have no power to make the exchange. If I had, I would most cheerfully do it.

Very respectfully,

S. G. Hicks, Colonel Fortieth Illinois Infantry, Commanding Post. Major-General N. B. Forrest, Commanding Confederate Forces.

With the above General Forrest sent a list of the names of the prisoners captured, (!) all of

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