As soon as General Jones' brigade had crossed I moved on slowly, intending to halt a short time at Surguinsville, in order to give General Jones time to reach the enemy's flank and rear, before attacking him in front. But just as my advance reached Surguinsville, it was fired upon by a scouting party of the enemy which had reached there that morning (now four and a half o'clock A. M.), as I afterwards learned. I communicated this fact to General Jones. The enemy, about thirty in number, retired precipitately on being pressed by a squadron of the First Tennessee, which constituted my advance. On arriving within two miles of Big Creek, where the enemy were understood to be encamped, we came upon a body of the enemy in a strong position, and, though not discovering more than twenty-five or thirty, furnished reason for the suspicion of a larger force masked behind the ridge and under cover of dense pine thickets. Some time was consumed in revealing their intention and force, by throwing forward flanking and skirmishing parties, before which they again retired. We moved forward without delay, and on approaching Big Creek discovered that the enemy were in the act of crossing at Russell's Ford. Colonel Carter (First Tennessee) was sent at double-quick to cut them off, which he did in most gallant style. Being cut off from the ford, the enemy took a strong position on the opposite side of Big Creek, where they had been encamped. Leaving one section of Phillips' battery, supported by three companies of the Second East Tennessee mounted infantry at Russell House, three hundred yards in front of their position, and on this side of Big Creek, Lieutenant-Colonel Trimble (Tenth Kentucky) and Major Parker (Fourth Kentucky) were brought forward and dismounted in five hundred and fifty yards of this section, and moved up. The men all went forward with the greatest enthusiasm, making no halt for balls, shells, or bullets. Colonel Carter, after intercepting their retreat by the ford, turned upon these two guns, and, advancing by a shorter route, was the first to reach them, capturing, at the same time, a large number of wagons, which had moved out to cross the river. Without halting a simultaneous advance was made by the three regiments (Tenth Kentucky, First Tennessee, and Fourth Kentucky) across Big. Creek (which, though deep and rapid, proved no obstacle) and up the hill, on which was posted their other section of artillery, supported by their main force. At this time, Captain Lowry's battery (detained by difficult roads) arrived upon the field, and engaged the battery of the enemy, delivering its fire most effectually. Immediately on crossing the creek our forces encountered the enemy in a chosen position, where, after an hour's sharp conflict, they succeeded in capturing the other section of Phillips' battery and about four hundred and fifty (450) of the enemy. The remainder endeavored to effect their escape by precipitate flight. Here I ordered forward Major Clark, Sixteenth Georgia, and Col onel Slemp, Sixty-fourth Virginia, whom I had held in reserve, mounted, and sent them at double-quick to pursue and overhaul the fugitives, which was done in the most praiseworthy manner, the Sixteenth Georgia following them across the river, and the Sixty-fourth to Rogersville. A party of these endeavoring to escape by a lower ford, was met by the Eighth Virginia, of General Jones' command, and most of them captured. In all about five hundred and fifty prisoners were taken by the forces under my command, four brass six-pounder James guns (Company M, Second Illinois light artillery), some thirty wagons loaded with all manner of quartermaster and commissary, medical, and ordnance stores, together with all their camp and garrison equipage, the horses and arms of the prisoners, all the papers appertaining to the Adjutant-General's department, containing most valuable information, etc., etc., etc. As already mentioned, our forces did not exceed twelve hundred, of which not more than six hundred were engaged actively. The forces of the enemy (commanded by Colonel Israel Garrard, Seventh Ohio cavalry) consisted of Second East Tennessee mounted infantry, about full; Seventh Ohio cavalry, five hundred and eighty strong, and Phillips' battery, all composing half of Colonel James P. T. Carter's brigade (Third brigade cavalry, Fourth division, Twenty-third army corps). Colonel Garrard, commanding, escaped with the first who crossed the river. One Major, several Captains, and one acting Adjutant-General, were among the prisoners. Our loss will not exceed ten killed and wounded. The enemy's about twenty-five or thirty. Seven wounded were paroled and left in charge of a Surgeon. Every exertion was used to secure all the captures, and the artillery and about thirty wagons were brought off safely, but owing to a want of harness for the teams, two caissons and some twenty wagons were disabled and abandoned. It was my intention to retire to where I could find a good position and obtain forage, and remain until everything valuable was secured and sent to the rear But General Jones coming up, ordered me to fall back that night beyond the river, which was accomplished by nine A. M. the next morning. Two stands of colors captured by the Fourth Kentucky cavalry, were sent up this morning. One captured by the Tenth Kentucky, was delivered to you by Brigadier-General Jones, and another taken by the First Tennessee, was afterwards stolen from the regimental wagon. No discrimination can be made in the gallantry of troops, where every corps commanded the admiration of its officers, and the gratitude of their country. Their soldierly bearing in the presence of the enemy, furnishes a just cause for pride, and receives the unqualified approbation of their commander. Those actively engaged, and those held in check, manifested alike
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Doc . 62 .-Hoisting the Black flag — official correspondence and reports.
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