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Doc. 12.-rebel raid into Indiana.

New-Albany, Indiana, June 20, 1863.
Last week a raid was made into Elizabethtown, Kentucky, by what was then supposed to be a force of guerrillas. They did little damage except to plunder the stores, and help themselves to whatever portable property struck their fancy. Horses suffered particularly, they being a self-moving article of plunder. Medicines, wearing apparel, and boots and shoes were also much in demand. After a stay of a few hours in the town the rebels moved off to the southward, and it was supposed they had retired to the Cumberland River. They stated that they belonged to Captain Hind's company of the Second Kentucky cavalry, and were attached to Morgan's brigade. They were well armed with sabres, carbines, and revolvers, and uniformed in the regular uniform of rebel cavalry. They were estimated from eighty to one hundred and thirty strong-probably much nearer the former number.

After leaving Elizabethtown nothing more was heard from them until, on Thursday last, word was brought that five hundred rebels were crossing the Ohio, near Leavenworth, sixteen miles below this point. Hardly had the news become circulated before another messenger arrived confirming the statement of the crossing, but placing the rebel strength at three instead of five hundred. The Ohio is now quite low, and at Leavenworth it spreads out for nearly a mile in width and becomes very shallow. It is at this point that boats frequently run aground during low stages of water.

After crossing the river the rebels made no delay, but pushed rapidly forward for a raid into the river counties. Crawford, Orange, and Washington counties lay before them, and into these they pushed as rapidly as possible. They moved in a compact body, throwing out scouts on each side for the double purpose of guarding against surprise and bringing in any good horses that might be found. This portion of Indiana abounds in good horses, and from indications the rebels had been well apprised of this fact. They knew the names of such farmers as had fine stock, and were earnest in their inquiries for a Mr. Braxton, who resided near Paoli, in Orange county. On reaching Paoli, about six o'clock on Friday evening, they immediately commenced a search for horses and medicines, and before leaving they ransacked every store, taking whatever they wanted. They found Mr. Braxton, and, not content with taking his best horses, made him a prisoner.

Most of their own horses were thin and broken down, and as fast as they found fresh ones they changed saddles and abandoned their former steeds. Nearly all the horses they left bore the brand of “M. C.,” such as is placed upon all the animals of Morgan's cavalry. They had evidently seen hard service.

Before arriving at Paoli the rebels entered the town of Vallini, Orleans County, the first that lay in their route after leaving the river. Here they demanded food of the citizens, and threatened to burn the town in case the demand was not complied with. The citizens were not prepared to accommodate such a large number of guests, and the delay in the preparation of dinner incensed the rebels so that they fulfilled their threat of setting the town on fire. As soon as they had done so they moved off, and by the exertions of the citizens a portion of the village was saved from destruction.

From Paoli the rebels moved toward Orleans, keeping up their system of stealing as they proceeded. Shortly after leaving Paoli they made a halt of several hours for the purpose of gathering in horses from places some distance from the road. News of their movements had spread like wildfire, and their numbers were magnified to a wonderful extent. The home guard in all the larger towns had been assembled, and made ready to meet them. Two companies from Mitchell, about one hundred strong, started as soon as they could be got together, and reached Orleans about one o'clock yesterday morning. At that time the rebels had completed their halt, and were moving toward Orleans. Hearing of their advance the Mitchell home guard moved out from Orleans to meet them. About three o'clock they encountered them three miles out from Orleans, and a brisk skirmish ensued. For fresh troops, the home guards fought well, but their enemies had the advantage of long service. The home guards were repulsed, with a loss of three wounded and twelve captured. The skirmish lasted about an hour.

The encounter with the force from Mitchell convinced the rebels that their movements were known, and they beat a retreat in the direction of Salem, without attempting to enter Orleans. Shortly after the fight they met Mr. Williams, a respectable elderly gentleman, well known in Orleans County. Mr. Williams was riding a fine horse, which the rebels coveted. They ordered him to dismount and give up his horse, and on his refusal to do so he was shot through the head and left dead in the road.

The Mitchell home guard rallied and attempted to pursue the retreating rebels; but as they were on foot their pursuit was of little avail. A full company of home cavalry from Crawford County, led by Major Woodbury, started from Leavenworth in pursuit as soon as he could muster his men. By daylight yesterday the rebels passed through Hardinsburgh, in Washington County, and, after plundering the stores in that place, left for King's Mills, in the direction of the Ohio River. Two hours after they had departed Major Woodbury came up, and, without halting, pushed on in pursuit, in the hope of overtaking the marauders at the crossing of the river. At King's Mills the latter delayed a half-hour to plunder a store, and on arriving there in pursuit Major Woodbury found he was only a half-hour behind his game.

The place where the rebels crossed the Ohio on their entrance into the State, was at Blue Island, [43] in sight of Leavenworth. They reached this point about two o'clock yesterday. They had left several of their men on the opposite bank of the river, and the plan as arranged was for the latter to be at Blue Island at daybreak this morning with a ferry-boat to take them across. The reception by the inhabitants and the pursuit by Major Woodbury not having been looked for, hastened their departure about fifteen hours, and consequently the ferry-boat was not ready at the crossing-place. At the ford they discovered a force of home guards, so strongly posted that their hope of crossing by that means was cut off. The steamer Izetta had just reached Leavenworth, and the home guard at once placed a piece of artillery on board, and moved up the stream. They opened fire on the rebels and forced them to go still higher up, where the water was deeper. A small boat happened to be passing down at the time, and the rebels hailed her in the hope of capturing her, thus obtaining means to cross the stream. As the Izetta was firing on the rebels, the descending boat suspected their character, and refused to land.

At the same time the land force of home guards moved up the bank of the river, so as to get in the rear of the rebels. These home guards were from Leavenworth, and were commanded by Major Clendenin, a resident of that place, who served in one of the earlier Indiana regiments. As soon as the rebels saw the approach of Major Clendenin's force they at once plunged into the river and attempted to reach the island by swimming. The Izetta opened upon them with her artillery, and with her small arms as soon as she came within range. At the first fire of the latter four of the rebels were killed outright, and as many more wounded, so that they were unable to swim, and were drowned in consequence.

Major Clendenin's men were not long in reaching the scene of action, and opening fire, they added to the havoc caused by the Izetta, and as the boat passed between the island and the rebels, the latter saw there was no hope of escape. They turned their horses' heads toward the Indiana shore, and threw up their hands in token of surrender. One of their number produced what had once been a white handkerchief, and waved it vigorously until he reached dry land. The leader of the band took off his sword and advanced, holding it by the belt, as he looked around for some one to whom he could deliver it. The entire mob, seventy in number, were models of dripping meekness. One only of the entire party crossed the river to the Kentucky shore. He was welcomed by a citizen of that State, who at once took him prisoner.

Just as Major Clendenin was receiving his prisoners and taking an account of the captured property, Major Woodbury with his cavalry made his appearance. They were deeply chagrined at not having been present at the capture to which they had so largely contributed. The honor of the affair is to be divided equally between Major Clendenin, Major Woodbury, and the home guard from Mitchell. The latter by their resistance, and Major Woodbury by his pursuit, completely broke up the plans of the rebels. By driving them to the river fifteen hours before the appointed time, they threw them out of the plan that had been made for crossing, and enabled Major Clendenin to complete the capture.

Five horses were lost in the attempt to cross the river, but the remainder fell into our hands. Those that were stolen from the citizens are being returned to them. The captured arms were loaded upon the Izetta, and will arrive here to-night.

The prisoners are now here, but will be sent to Louisville. They say that if their plans had succeeded, they would have broken the railway between New-Albany and Mitchell.

There is some dispute as to whether they will be held as regular prisoners of war or as guerrillas. They claim to belong to the Second Kentucky cavalry, and properly attached to the rebel army. The matter will be decided at Louisville.

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J. W. Woodbury (7)
Clendenin (6)
John G. Mitchell (5)
Lawrence Auton Williams (2)
John Morgan (2)
Braxton (2)
Hind (1)
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June 20th, 1863 AD (1)
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