men; the One Hundred and Twenty-third Illinois, Col. Ranaker, five hundred and twenty-nine men; the Thirty-ninth Iowa, Colonel Cummings, four hundred and five men; and three pieces of the Seventh Wisconsin, under Lieut. Wheelock, thirty men. In all, one thousand five hundred and thirty-four men, rank and file. Notwithstanding all were weary and worn with constant marches and arduous duties already performed, our little force pushed vigorously forward, and reached Clarksburgh, twelve miles distant, shortly after dark. As the advance-guard (the mounted infantry under Captain Davis) approached the town, they were met and resisted by a company of the enemy. They promptly dismounted, engaged and repulsed him — killing three, who were left dead on the ground. Our column immediately moved forward into, and occupied the town, without further resistance. Here we bivouacked for the night. I ascertained from scouts whom I sent out, that Gen. Forrest, with a large force — said to be his whole command — were bivouacked at Union Church, four miles west of Clarksburgh, on the road leading from McLamoresville into the Huntington and Lexington road at Parker's Cross-Roads, five miles south of Clarksburgh. One of his foraging parties represented his force at eight thousand strong, with twelve pieces of artillery. I immediately (two o'clock A. M.) sent a courier to you with a despatch, saying, in substance, that he was at the point above designated in considerable force, and that I should try to coax or force a fight out of him in the morning. My information induced me to believe that he was endeavoring to escape by way of Lexington, and hence would enter the road to that place at the cross-roads aforesaid. I determined to there intercept him. Our little force had breakfasted, and were in motion before day. The mounted infantry having been upon picket during the night, were left as rear-guard, and company A, of the Fiftieth infantry, under Lieut. Indy, was thrown forward as an advance-guard. As the advance approached Parker's Cross-Roads, it was attacked by the enemy's pickets, and immediately deployed as skirmishers, and pushed rapidly forward up the hill, the whole column following. As I got with the advance to the top of the hill, I saw what seemed a large company, or two small ones, of the enemy, retreating along the road to the west, upon whom we opened fire, and the retreat became a flight, to Dr. Williams's house, upon a hill near half a mile distant, under the shelter of which, and the outbuildings and timber around it, they rallied. Desiring to ascertain whether the enemy was there in force, two guns were ordered up, and threw a few shells into the surrounding timber, when a further retreat into the woods to the north-west followed. Lieut.-Colonel Wells, with the Fiftieth Indiana, was ordered forward, to occupy the hill upon which the house stood and the woods to the right, and reconnoitre. He threw three companies (A, D and F) forward as skirmishers, following with the remainder of the regiment, and soon took the position indicated. No enemy being found, company F, Lieutenant Jones, was sent across a skirt of woods to the north, to reconnoitre, and soon came up with and engaged a company of the enemy's mounted men, at a house a little west of north from that of Dr. Williams, and drove them back across a large field up and over the crest of a ridge. The recall was sounded, and they returned to the house. Soon the enemy was seen coming down the hill toward the house. Company F had in the mean time been joined by a part of the detachment of the Eighteenth Illinois, (the mounted infantry before mentioned,) and the two again deployed, and drove the enemy back to the top of the ridge. At this juncture, I saw the enemy deploying a line along, but behind the brow of the ridge, and the recall was sounded, and the skirmishers again rallied to the house. They had barely done so, when the enemy opened upon them with shell from a gun on his extreme right, and soon from another considerably further to the east, and the skirmishing party was withdrawn to the regiment at Williams's house. Determined to ascertain if possible the force and disposition of the enemy, two pieces of artillery were ordered forward to the edge of the woods, supported by four companies of the Fiftieth Indiana, under Major Atkinson. From these guns a fire was opened upon the enemy along the ridge. He replied with at least a full battery, and the fire for a little while was intense on both sides. Seeing that the enemy had put a heavy force in line along and just over the crest of the ridge, and having accomplished all I desired at that place and time, I ordered our fire to cease and the forces there to be withdrawn to the main column at the cross-roads. Two or three of the horses of one gun having been disabled, it was gallantly taken out by a detachment of the Fiftieth, under a heavy fire of grape and shell. The whole command was then moved south down the Lexington road, half a mile to the Red Mound, and placed in line of battle along and behind the crest of a ridge, which ran back from the road at an angle of about forty-five degrees, about half the length of the line, where it turns still more eastward. The left rested upon the road — the right upon a thick wood and ravine. The artillery was placed at the turn in the ridge. This position covered a field to the west, a considerable part of the road running south from the cross-roads, and also by our guns a portion of the road from the west to the cross-roads. The wagon-train was placed in a hollow in the rear, with two companies, one of the Thirty-ninth Iowa and one of the One Hundred and Twenty-second Illinois beyond, to protect it. These dispositions were scarcely made, indeed the artillery had not got fully into position, before the enemy, in heavy column, was seen moving from the woods
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Rebel reports and Narratives.
Doc . 91 .- General Sherman 's expedition.
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