A Federal View of the War in Kentucky.advance of Gen. Rousseau--incidents of the march--Hon. Humphrey Marshalls' Escapes — some Peculiarities of the War, &c.
The New York Times, a blatant champion for Lincoln and his unconstitutional acts, publishes the following letter from its correspondent in Kentucky. Though glossed over to suit the Federal side of the question, yet the account will afford some interest to the Southern reader: Camp at Nolin Creek, Ky., Oct. 23, 1861. Last Saturday afternoon, Brig. Gen. Rousseau, at the head of the Louisville Legion and the First Kentucky Cavalry, took up the line of march towards the enemy's lines. --Nothing could exceed the enthusiasm and spirit of the men as they marched out of camp with bands discoursing and banners flying, and filed beneath the overhanging maples and across the long, narrow old bridge that spans Nolin Creek, and past the clattering old, red, moss- grown mill, which in all its quiet, gray old life, never saw such a spectacle before. The cavalry went dashing forward, with the tall form of the General towering at its head, to intercept and cut off the marauding forces who have been carrying fire and sword into every household in the debatable land between the two armies. The infantry followed rapidly, for accounts rendered it probable that the enemy would not relinquish his field of plunder without a struggle, and among the deep forests and ragged, wrinkled superficies of the Bacon Creek and Green river vicinage, the cavalry could not maintain a serious conflict against infantry. By 8 o'clock, the foot had made a distance of some ten or eleven miles, and reached the railway station and little village called Upton's from its proprietor, a notorious rebel, who has influence enough to drag the whole neighborhood with him into the ranks of Jeff. Davisdom. Here Col. Buckley determined to halt the weary Legion for a few hours' rest, after their long and rapid march. He marched them down through the deserted village, from which a lone, forlorn looking son of Erin, the sole remaining inhabitant, came forth waving a red chunk of fire around his head in circles to give him a sight of the passing troops, and halted them in a skirting forest beyond. Headquarters were established in a dilapidated old log-pen; the weary troops threw themselves at fall length on the ground with their feet towards the great clambering red fires and slept while the sentinels dragged their aching limbs along their bests. It was curious to see officers whose soft limbs had been wont to press beds of down, throw themselves down on the bare earth, and go cheerfully to sleep. I heard one say to another, ‘"Well, S — let us go back and tumble a couple of Mrs. Rebel Upton's fine feather beds?"’ ‘"What!"’ was the response, ‘"and leave my men to go to h — ll, in case of a night attack? No, I shall stay here."’ ‘"Then where do you intend to sleep?"’ ‘"O, I have a capital place right in here, under a cedar tree — better than any bed in the Galt House."’ Well, thought I, the perfect gentleman makes the best soldier at last. No matter how tenderly raised, no matter how addicted to the frivolities of fashion in times of peace, if he have that innate sense of honor, and that grit which are indispensable to the perfect gentleman, he will be all the better and truer soldier for his culture and refinement. But as ‘"our own"’ had no military duties to prevent his showing his high appreciation of Mrs. R. Upton's superior and most excellent house winery, he and an aristocratic and exclusive circle of artists and reporters returned to the headquarters of secession, beat up the forlorn exile of Erin, and spreading their blankets on the splendid carpet which still covered the parlor floor, turned in for the night. At 2 o'clock in the morning a messenger arrived from Gen. Rousseau, with intelligence for Col. Buckley. The long roll was quickly beaten, and in ten minutes the entire regiment were under arms and on the march.--The full round moon was now rising in the very middle of a cloudless sky, and silvering the russet and golden leaves of autumn; the keen October wind whistled about our ears; the long, dark column, with gleaming bayonets, moved on with silent and majestic step, through shadow and moonlight, to find the enemy. Thinking it highly probable, from the tenor of the message sent back, that the cavalry would become engaged before the infantry could come up, and not wishing to miss the sight, I put spurs to my horse, and went dashing away to overtake them. And now I saw sights which indicated that fact which it seems so hard for Kentuckians to realize — that Kentucky is, indeed, the theatre of war. From the dark arms to right and left innumerable rockets were ascending to warn the enemy of our approach.-- Many of the farm-houses along the road were deserted. Most of these were the houses of Secessionists, who have fled on the approach of our army, but many of them belonged to loyal citizens, and their smashed and shattered windows, broken fences, and general desolation, bespoke in some measure, the bitter hatred and vindictive spirit which enters into the Southern side of this mighty contest. At some places whole families had left their beds and crowded down to the road to see the troops when they should pass. One of these groups were actually weeping tears of joy, and blessing God for the approach of the Union forces. I passed the house where, a few days ago, a detachment from the Thirty-ninth Indiana had a little skirmish with the enemy. It is a great, old, double log house, two stories high, standing near the roadside. Three or four hundred yards beyond it is a swell in the road flanked by a thicket of red-oak bushes. The rebels took cover in this thicket, and blazed away at our men in the house, disabling a water-bucket that set in the passage between the two piles of logs. Our fellows replied with bitter effect, shooting one rebel in the shoulder, but not seriously enough to prevent his mounting his horse and scampering away with the rest of his party. I received a full description of the whole affair, as I came back, from the man who lives at the next farm-house below, and who witnessed it all. After galloping about six miles from the place where I left the infantry, I met a horsemen goading along a lame and let-down cavalry horse. The poor fellow was scared almost out of his wits, expecting every minute to be gobbled up by the enemy. He said Gen. Rousseau had sent him back to fetch the horse, and to tell Col.. Buckley he needn't march the men any further. He said he believed the enemy were about to take the General and the cavalry prisoners, for he had gone dashing on towards Green river like a wild man, and he believed the General had sent him back to stop Col. Buckley to keep the rebels from getting him, too. I told him I looked upon the matter in a somewhat different light, so far as the General and the army were concerned; but that, as for himself, I had not eloquence to convince him that the rebels would not catch him and kill him long enough before he got back to the Legion. In reply to my question where the General and cavalry were, he pointed away towards the Green river hills, which were visible in the distance, swelling up through a shroud of fog into the clear white moonlight, and said ‘"Off over thar', somewhar; God only knows whar."’ Bidding him good night, I galloped on, knowing that my only chance of seeing the fun, if there was to be any, depended upon overtaking the cavalry very soon. A ride of a mile and a half brought me to the celebrated Bacon Creek Bridge, of which the readers of the Times. have all heard., This is one of the railroad bridges which the rebels burned; but it is somewhat remarkable that they did not destroy the abutments, although they have had an abundance of time and every opportunity to do so. Riding up out of the woods that fringe the stream, and emerging into open fields again just at a railway station, I saw a man skulking around through the shadows of the buildings, as if anxious to observe everything that passed without being seen himself. Keen for an item, I rode up the embankment, and hailed him. Seeing that he was discovered, he came forward, and then commenced some rather sharp practice in the way of cross-quizzing, each party being anxious to find out to which side the other belonged, without avowing himself. I inquired whether he had seen any horsemen pass since dark; but he professed blank ignorance on the subject, seemed greatly astonished that any horseman should pass along there at all, and, in fact, appeared to be skeptical as to the existence of such an animal as the horse. It was evident how the matter stood. He was a Union man, who thought I might be a rebel, and did not want to give me any information which would let me out of the trap into which he thought I had fallen. Pretty soon the inspiring note of the bugle was heard off among the Green river hills, and presently the cavalry came rushing back, the tall form of the General towering magnificently in the brilliant moon-light. He had been disappointed in his hope of surprising the rebel pickets. They had knowledge of his approach, and had fled. We stopped at Bacon Creek till daylight, then took a soldier's breakfast and returned to camp, having made a march of nearly 40 miles. A man who has just come in from Sassafrasville tells me there was tell scrambling among the rebels at that place when news of our advance came.--There were only some forty of them in the town, but these and their pickets were placed in boats and quietly ferried to the Southern shore. They believed the whole army was advancing against them. As to the marauding parties that we wanted to catch, they had all crossed over the river a few days before, and so saved their bacon. Gen. Rousseau penetrated almost to the bank of Green river, as far as he could go without exposing his men to the rebel batteries on the further bluff. I acquired considerable information both curious and valuable by the trip. The farmers who live along the road are pretty well posted as to motions and things in the rebel camp, but as to their numbers, they either know nothing, or will tell nothing. It is probable they are honestly ignorant on that point; but they pick up a great many incidents and anecdotes from the rebel scouts, which are not only instructive but very interesting to those who are personally acquainted with the rebel leaders. For instance, Humphrey Marshall escaped into the rebel camp by disguising himself as an honest old farmer, dressed in his own home- made-jeans, and driving a couple of cows before him. Buckner raved and cursed like maniac on learning that his silly coadjutors at Elizabethtown were burning the bridges and destroying the track on the memorable night of Sept. 17. He had no idea of stopping short of Louisville; he had men enough to crush Rousseau and his handful of raw recruits, and when he heard that the blockheads on whom he relied for stealing the trains to transport his men were actually defeating his darling scheme, his rage is described as fearful to behold. The Unionism of the professed Loyalists in these parts, is certainly a very curious sort of affair. At the first glance the whole country seems to be enthusiastic in its devotion to the Union. One reason for this seeming unanimity is the fact that all who were Secessionists in the late political campaign, have fled. But of those who remain, I am satisfied that fully one-half are at heart Secessionists, though they are all very loud in their professions of loyalty. A good many recruits are coming in, all things considered; but I have noticed that the recruiting ground, which is to do such wonders, always keeps its distance, advancing as we advance. When we were at Muldraugh's Hill, it was here; now it is in the next county below. Still, I suppose it is all right. Our Union papers insist that it is, and the North believes them. However, there is one trifling fact which is unpleasant to contemplate and rather inconvenient in its results. The greatest pains have been taken to exclude from the camp all except the most tried and undoubted Unionists. No other class can get within the lines, which embrace a considerable extent of country, upon any pretext whatever, no matter what. Yet the enemy are kept thoroughly posted as to everything that takes place here; and sometimes we find them in possession of facts which it is surprising that they should obtain. The painful truth is, that the public mind is resolved not to see this great rebellion in its true light, and will hear of nothing but what chimes with its humor. Brigadier General R. W. Johnson has arrived since my last, and been placed in command of a brigade. There are two other brigades here, commanded by Generals Wood and Rousseau. Each brigade consists of four regiments. A complete brigade of Pennsylvania troops is expected to- morrow or next day. Some Michigan regiments, and one or two more Indiana and Illinois regiments are also expected. When they get here, this division will be pretty nearly half as strong as it should be. Further changes will soon be made here. As soon as a distinguished commander can arrive from the Pacific coast, he will be placed at the head of this Department, to cope with Johnston. General Sherman will resume command of this division, and General McCook have a brigade assigned him.