stirrup leather, trudged on through the slush and ice to keep from freezing.
Daylight found us several miles south of Lebanon
and the strong Federal command concentrated there to catch us, but we kept on without halting, for another heavy column was reported moving out from Mumfordville and Glasgow
to intercept us at Columbia
, before we could recross the Cumberland River
About ten o'clock on the morning of December 31st, as the rear guard was crossing Rolling Fork
some five or six miles south of Lebanon
, there occurred an incident of more than ordinary interest.
Captain Alexander Tribble
, Lieutenant George B. Eastin
, and a private soldier were sent on a detour to New Market
, four or five miles from the line of march, to secure a supply of shoes which were reported stored at that point.
As they were returning to overtake the command, they were pursued by a squad of Federal cavalry.
Being well mounted, the three kept a safe distance ahead of their pursuers.
Glancing backward over a long, straight stretch of road, they observed, as the chase proceeded, that all but three of their pursuers had checked up, and they determined at the first favorable place to ride to one side and await the approach of their pursuers and attack them.
The place selected was the ford at the river.
At this point Eastin
checked his horse and turned sharply to the right, concealing himself under the bank.
continued into the middle of the stream, which here was about fifty yards wide, and stopped his horse where the water was about two feet deep.
For reasons satisfactory to himself, the private soldier kept on, leaving the two officers to confront the three Federals, who now were in sight, coming at full speed toward the river and from fifty to one hundred yards apart.
The leading Federal was Colonel Dennis J. Halisy
of the Sixth Kentucky Cavalry.
As he came near Eastin
, the latter fired at him with his six-shooter, which fire Halisy
Both missed, and as Eastin
now had the drop on his adversary,