Doc. 52.-General Vance's expedition.
Richmond Examiner account.
Richmond, Jan. 29.we have some interesting particulars of the recent expedition of the North-Carolina forces into East-Tennessee, which terminated so disastrously, and resulted, among other misfortunes, in the capture of General Vance, who was in command. General Vance crossed the Smoky Mountain at the head of Lufty, with about three hundred and fifty-five cavalry, two pieces of artillery, and one hundred and fifty Indians. The force had great difficulty in crossing; the soldiers had to take the horses out of the wagons to get down the mountain over a perfect sheet of ice for three miles. After getting to the foot, part of the command was left, while General Vance, with about one hundred and seventy-five men, started to Sevierville on a reconnoissance. When in about two miles, he heard of a Yankee train of wagons being there. Our small force immediately charged and captured seventeen wagons, one hundred mules, and twenty-six prisoners. The enemy were then within four miles of our force, and General Vance at once started out with the captured property. This was about three P. M. The General thought it was impossible to get back over the Smoky Mountain, and endeavored to make his way to the Cattaloocha road, on the head of Cosby Creek. He immediately despatched to Thomas (who was the senior officer in command) to send Colonel Henry, with the balance of the command and artillery, by the road around the base of the mountain, to meet him on Cosby. The force with General Vance travelled that night until twelve o'clock, when they found the road in their front blockaded. They then had to lay by until daylight, when they cut out the blockade, and reached Cosby about one P. M.; but, instead of finding Henry there, they found a despatch from him saying that, upon consultation with Colonel L. Thomas, he had concluded the route was impracticable, and would fall back across the Smoky Mountain. So there was General Vance, with the captured property, prisoners, etc., and only about one hundred and seventy-five men. These had not been on the creek one hour before they were attacked by a Yankee cavalry force about four hundred strong. Our command was completely dispersed, the property recaptured, half the men taken prisoners, among them General Vance and part of his staff. The fight occurred on Thursday, the fifteenth, about half-past 2 P. M. Our men were perfectly panic-stricken, and made no fight at all. The General escaped from the house where he was, and got across the creek, and was endeavoring to get to the advanced-guard, when he was captured. The enemy did not stop at all, but dashed on toward the front. One of our officers in the affair writes as follows:
We succeeded in rallying the men on a little point, which was a pleasant position, but the men were so frightened, that they only stood one fire and broke. It was the worst stampede I ever saw or heard of. Nearly every man lost his horse.