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[758] crossed in safety. Reaching the old stage road, nothing could be heard of Colonel Giltner's command, but I determined to turn the position of the enemy at the mouth of Big Creek, by way of the Carter's Valley road, my brigade crossing the old stage road for this purpose. Soon a messenger overtook me with tidings of Colonel Giltner, also reporting about one hundred Federal Tennessee home guards at Kincael's. Pushing ahead part of the Eighth Virginia cavalry to surround and capture this force, they encountered near where the home guards were expected a scout of fifty men from the Second Tennessee Federal regiment. The attack was made with such vigor that but seventeen men of this force escaped this onset.

Moving on briskly to the junction of the roads, the Eighth regiment turned east on the old stage road, and took position on the first eminence. As it was now long after Colonel Giltner should have made his attack, and no engagement could be heard, I felt assured the enemy must have made his escape, but moved the Eighth across the river road from Big Creek to Dodson's Ford, in hopes of intercepting fugitives. The men of the Twenty-seventh battalion Virginia cavalry, under Captain J. B. Thompson, were ordered to charge into Rogersville, and in so doing captured upwards of one hundred prisoners and some army supplies. For the same reason the Eighth was ordered to the river road. Colonel Witcher was ordered with his own and the Thirty-seventh battalion of Virginia cavalry to Smith's Ford. The Thirty-sixth battalion Virginia cavalry was held in reserve near town, and the Twenty-first regiment Virginia cavalry in the position first held by the Eighth regiment. The Twenty-seventh battalion Virginia cavalry was ordered, after the captures in Rogersville, by the railroad to the river. After these dispositions had been made, a party of fifty-five home guards (Federals) attacked the town from the west, but were easily dispersed by a small party under Lieutenant W. M. Hopkins, A. D. C.

After all the prisoners had been collected and marched out east of the town, the wagons loaded, hitched to, and driven to the forks of the main roads, was heard the first firing in the direction of Big Creek. The Twenty-first regiment was immediately ordered up the old stage road, with directions to be guided by the firing and to join in the battle. The Thirty-sixth battalion was ordered up from town, and all the other commands were recalled in haste. The old stage road being open, the Twenty-first having moved across towards the river, a party of one hundred and twenty-five of the enemy attempted to escape towards Rogersville, but were intercepted and all captured by the timely arrival of Witcher's, Claiborne's, and Smith's commands.

By this time firing had ceased in front, and I felt assured of the surrender of the enemy, as proved to be the case. Two hundred and ninety-four prisoners were taken by my brigade acting alone. The Eighth Virginia took nine wagons and teams, seven of which were secured. The remainder of the command took three wagons and two ambulances, all of which were secured.

From Colonel Comes' report, it will be seen the roads west of the position of the enemy were held by the Eighth Virginia cavalry, and a large part of the five hundred and fifty-six prisoners taken here were taken by the Eighth, and sent in charge of an officer to Colonel Giltner. Had Colonel Giltner made a prompt and bold attack that would have discovered the position of the enemy before my dispositions were made under the impression of his having abandoned his position, it is believed none would have escaped. The unaccountable delay doubtless has proved very detrimental to our interests.

To Captain McKinney, of General Jackson's staff; to Mr. W. H. Watterson, clerk of my brigade quartermaster; and to Mr. Phipps, and other guides, my thanks are especially due for their activity, energy, and judgment on this occasion. To Lieutenant W. M. Hopkins, of my personal staff, I am under great obligations for the efficient discharge of his official duties.

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant

W. E. Jones, Brigadier-General.

Report of Colonel Giltner.

headquarters Second cavalry brigade, near Kingsport, Tennessee, November 10, 1863.
Major T. Rowland, A. A. G.:
I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the troops under my command during the recent expedition into the enemy's lines:

In obedience to orders from district headquarters, I moved out of Kingsport at six P. M., on the fifth instant. You are already furnished with the general order containing the different corps of the command, and their order of march. The whole force did not exceed twelve hundred, as the return of my Adjutant-General for that day exhibits. Such was the secrecy with which the movement was conducted that not only the citizens, but the officers, had no idea of its contemplation until it had progressed considerably towards its execution. Some delay occurred in crossing the river, on account of the darkness of the night, and the difficult passage of the horses and artillery over a bad ford. All was, however, soon in order, and the march continued in a cold, chilling rain, without further obstacle until we were unexpectedly halted by the passage of Brigadier-General Jones' brigade across our road to the Carter's Valley road upon our right. I did not see General Jones, but learned from his staff officer that this change in the original plan was rendered necessary by the impracticability of the road to, and across the river, at the ford he proposed at first to cross.

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