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Doc. 11.-battle of Middle Creek, Ky.

Col. Garfield's despatch.

headquarters Eighteenth brigade, Prestonburg, Ky., January 11.
Capt, J. B. Fry, A. A. G.: I left Paintsville on Thursday noon, with one thousand one hundred men, and drove in the enemy's pickets, two miles below Prestonburg. The men slept on their arms. At four o'clock, yesterday morning, we moved toward the main body of the enemy at the Forks of Middle Creek, under command of Marshall. Skirmishing with his outposts began at eight o'clock, and at one o'clock P. M. we engaged his force of two thousand five hundred men, and three cannon posted on the hill. Fought them until dark. Having been reenforced by seven hundred men from Paintsville, drove the enemy from all their positions. He carried off the majority of his dead, and all his wounded. This morning, we found twenty-seven of his dead on the field. His killed cannot be less than sixty. We have taken twenty-five prisoners, ten horses, and a quantity of stores. The enemy burned most of his stores, and fled precipitately. To-day I have crossed the river, and am now occupying Prestonburg. Our loss, two killed and twenty-five wounded.

J. A. Garfield, Colonel Commanding Brigade.

Col. Garfield's official report.

headquarters Eighteenth brigade, camp Buell, Paintsville, January 14.
Capt. J. B. Fry, A. A. G., Chief of Staff:
dear sir: At the date of my last report, (January eighth,) I was preparing to pursue the enemy; the transportation of my stores from George's Creek, had been a work of so great difficulty, that I had not enough provisions here to give my whole command three days rations before starting. One small boat had come up from below, but I. found I had only enough provisions here for three days rations of hard bread for one thousand five hundred men. Having issued that amount, I sent four hundred and fifty of Col. Wolford's and Major McLaughlin's cavalry, under command of Lieut.-Col. Letcher, to advance up Jennie's Creek, and harass the enemy's rear, if still retreating. At the same time, I took one thousand one hundred of the best men from the Fortieth and Forty--second Ohio, and the Fourteenth and Twenty-second Kentucky, (three companies of Col. Lindsay's regiment, the Twenty-second Kentucky, had arrived the evening before,) and at noon started up the Big Sandy toward Prestonburg. After advancing ten miles, the enemy's pickets fired on our advance, and retreated. At eight o'clock we reached the mouth of Abbott Creek, one mile below Prestonburg. I then found that the enemy was encamped on the creek three miles above, and had been supplying himself with meal at a steam-mill in the vicinity. I sent back an order to Paintsville to move forward all our available force, having learned that another boat-load of stores had arrived. I then encamped on the crest of a wooded hill, where we slept on our arms, in the rain, till four o'clock in the morning, when I moved up Abbott Creek one mile, and crossed over to the mouth of Middle Creek, which empties into the Big Sandy, opposite Prestonburg. Supposing the enemy to be encamped on Abbott's Creek, it was my intention to advance up Middle Creek, [28] and cut off his retreat, while the cavalry should attack his rear. I advanced slowly, throwing out flankers, and feeling my .way cautiously among the hills. At eight o'clock in the morning, we reached the mouth of Middle Creek, where my advance began a brisk skirmishing with the enemy's cavalry, which continued until we had advanced two and a half miles up the stream, and to within a thousand yards of the forks of the creek, which I had learned the enemy were then occupying. I drew up my force on the sloping point of a semi-circular hill, and at twelve o'clock sent forward twenty mounted men, to make a dash across the plain. This drew the enemy's fire, and, in part, disclosed his position.

The Fifty-fourth Virginia regiment (Col. Trigg) was posted behind the point of the same ridge which I occupied. I immediately sent forward two Kentucky companies, to pass along this crest of the ridge, and one company, (Forty-second Ohio,) under command of Capt. F. A. Williams, together with one under Captain Jones, (Fortieth Ohio,) to cross the creek, which was nearly waist-deep, and occupy a spur of the high rocky ridge in front, and to the left of my position. In a few minutes, the enemy opened fire from one six and one twelve-pounder. A shell from the latter fell in the midst of my skirmishers on the right, but did not explode. Soon after, the detachment on the left engaged the enemy, who was concealed in large force behind the ridge. I sent forward a reenforcement of two companies to the right, under Major Burke, of the Fourteenth Kentucky, and ninety men, under Major Pardee, of the Forty-second Ohio, to support Capt. Williams.

The enemy withdrew his Fifty-fourth Virginia across the creek, and sent strong reenforcements to the hills on the left. About two o'clock I ordered Col. Craner, with one hundred and fifty men from the Fortieth and Forty-second Ohio and Twenty-second Kentucky, to reenforce Major Pardee. Meantime the enemy had occupied the main ridge to a point nearly opposite to my position, and opened a heavy fire on my reserve, which was returned with good effect. In order to prevent more effectually his attempt to outflank me, I sent Lieut.-Col. Monroe, of the Twenty-second Kentucky, with one hundred and twenty of his own and the Fourteenth Regiments, to cross the creek a short distance below the point I occupied, and drive back the enemy from his position. This he did in a gallant style, killing fifteen or twenty. Inch by inch, the enemy, with more than three times our number, were driven up the steep ridge nearest the creek by Colonel Craner and Major Pardee. At four o'clock, the reenforcements under Lieutenant-Colonel Sheldon, of the Forty-second Ohio, came in sight, which enabled me to send forward the remainder of my reserve, under Lieutenant-Colonel Brown, to pass around to the right, and endeavor to capture the enemy's guns, which he had been using against us for three hours, but without effect. During the fight he had fired thirty rounds from his guns, but they were badly served, as only one of his shells exploded, and none of his shots, not even his canister, took effect. At half-past 4 o'clock he ordered a retreat. My men drove him down the slopes of the hills, and at five o'clock he had been driven from every point. Many of my men fired thirty rounds. It was growing dark, and I deemed it unsafe to pursue him, lest my men on the different hills should fire on each other in the darkness. The firing had scarcely ceased, when a brilliant light streamed up from the valley to which the enemy had retreated. He was burning his stores and fleeing in great disorder. Twenty-five of his dead were left on the field, and sixty more were found next day thrown into a gorge in the hills. He has acknowledged a hundred and twenty-five killed, and a still larger number wounded. A field-officer and two captains were found among the dead. Our loss was one killed and twenty wounded, two of whom have since died. We took twenty-five prisoners, among whom was a rebel captain. Not more than nine hundred of my force were actually engaged, and the enemy had not less than thirty-five hundred men. Special mention would be invidious, when almost every officer and man did his duty. A majority of them fought for five hours without cessation. The cavalry under Lieut.-Col. Letcher did not reach me until the next morning, when I started them in pursuit. They followed six miles and took a few prisoners, but their provisions being exhausted, they returned. A few howitzers would have added greatly to our success. On the eleventh, I crossed the river and occupied Prestonburg. The place was almost deserted. I took several horses, eighteen boxes quartermaster's stores, and twenty-five flint-lock muskets. I found the whole community in the vicinity of Prestonburg had been stripped of every thing like supplies for an army. I could not find enough forage for my horses for even one day, and so sent them back to Paintsville. I had ordered the first boat that arrived at Paintsville to push on up to Prestonburg, but I found it would be impossible to bring up our tents and supplies until more provisions could be brought up the river. I therefore moved down to this place again on the twelfth and thirteenth, bringing my sick and foot-sore men on the boats. I am hurrying our supplies up to this point. The marches over these exceedingly bad roads, and the night exposures, have been borne with great cheerfulness by my men, but they are greatly in need of rest and good care. I cannot close this communication without making honorable mention of Lieut. J. D. Stubbs, Quartermaster of the Forty-second Ohio, and Senior Quartermaster of the brigade. He has pushed forward the transportation of our stores with an energy and determination which has enabled him to overcome very many and great obstacles; and his efforts have contributed greatly to the success of the expedition and the health and comfort of my command. In a subsequent report I will communicate some facts relative to my command, and also in regard to [29] the situation of the country through which the enemy has been operating.

Very truly your obedient servant,

J. A. Garfield, Colonel Commanding Brigade. W. H. Clapp, Lieut. and Acting A. A. G.

Cleveland Herald account.

Cleveland, O., Jan. 16.
Capt. Willard, of Company F, Forty-second Regiment, arrived here last night on his way home to Ravenna. He was not in the Prestonburg fight, being detained by sickness a few miles back of Paintsville, but obtained many incidents of the battle from those who were in it.

Prestonburg is about twelve miles beyond Paintsville. After the cavalry skirmish at the latter place, Col. Garfield pushed on with the advance of his brigade for Prestonburg. Before reaching that place, he found the enemy posted on and behind a range of hills. The Federal force forming the advance was less than seven hundred, but Col. Garfield at once prepared to make an attack.

A body of the enemy was posted on a commanding hill, and it became necessary to dislodge them. The Fourteenth Kentucky volunteered for the service, as they knew the nature of the ground. Said Col. Garfield: “Go in, boys; give them--Hail Columbia!”

The hill was cleared, and soon the reserve of the brigade came in at the double quick. As soon as he saw them, Col. Garfield pulled off his coat and flung it up in the air, where it lodged in a tree, out of reach. The men threw up their caps with a wild shout, and rushed at the enemy, Col. Garfield, in his shirt-sleeves, leading the way.

As the Federal troops reached the top of the hill, a rebel officer shouted in surprise: “Why, how many of you are there?” “Twenty-five thousand men, d — n you!” yelled a Kentucky Union officer, rushing at the rebel. In an instant the rebels broke and ran in utter confusion.

Several instances of personal daring and coolness are related. A member of Capt. Bushnell's company in the Forty-second was about to bite a cartridge, when a musket-ball struck the cartridge from his fingers. Coolly facing the direction from which the shot came, he took out another cartridge and exclaimed: “You can't do that again, old fellow.”

Capt. Willard says that the two men killed on our side were Kentuckians. The loss of the enemy is not known. In addition to the twenty-seven bodies found on the field, a number of human bones were found in several of the houses burned by the rebels in their retreat from Prestonburg. A rebel officer reported at a house where he called during his flight, that they had killed six hundred Federals, and lost two hundred and fifty of their own men. It is not unlikely that the killed, wounded, and deserted will amount to that number, as numerous desertions took place previous to the battle.

The rebels burned most of their camp equipage and baggage. Some arms fell into the possession of our forces, and a large number of knapsacks and overcoats. The property found was wretchedly poor, the coats being made almost entirely of cotton.

Acting Adj.-Gen. Clapp writes to the same paper from Prestonburg, January 11th, giving the following list of wounded. The two Union soldiers killed belonged to the Fourteenth Kentucky.

David Hall, Co. A, Forty-second Regiment, severely in shoulder.

Sherman Leach, Co. A, Forty-second Regiment, slightly in the leg.

Wm. Gardner, Co. G, Forty-second Regiment, dangerously in the neck.

Jacob James, Co. G, Forty-second Regiment, dangerously in abdomen.

Fred. Coffin, Co. F, Forty-second Regiment, dangerously in the thigh.

Charles Carlton, Co. F, Forty-second Regiment, very dangerously, leg amputated.

Jacob Griffith, Co. H, Forty-second Regiment, slightly in the elbow.

Henry Forney, Co. C, Forty-second Regiment, very slightly.

Frank Miller, Co. A, Fortieth Regiment, in the foot, slightly.

Second Lieut. Thos. Lilley, Co. A, Fortieth Regiment, severely in the arm.

James W. Rose, Co. B, Fourteenth Kentucky Regiment, in thigh, badly.

W. Chapman, Co. E, Twenty-second Kentucky, slightly in the neck.

Alexander Bell, Twenty-second Kentucky, severely in arm.

The enemy is in full retreat toward Abington, Va. Our men are too much exhausted to follow. The Big Sandy Valley is effectually cleared of rebels.

Colonel Garfield's address.

The following address to the citizens of the Sandy Valley, was issued by Col. Garfield, after he had driven off Humphrey Marshall:

headquarters Eighteenth brigade, Paintsville, Ky., Jan. 16, 1862.
Citizens of the Sandy Valley:
I have come among you to restore the honor of the Union, and to bring back the Old Banner which you all once loved, but which, by the machinations of evil men, and by mutual misunderstandings, has been dishonored among you. To those who arc in arms against the Federal Government, I offer only the alternative of battle or unconditional surrender. But to those who have taken no part in this war, who are in no way aiding or abetting the enemies of the Union-even to those who hold sentiments averse to the Union, but yet give no aid and comfort to its enemies — I offer the full protection of the Government, both in their persons and property.

Let those who have been seduced away from the love of their country to follow after and aid the destroyers of our peace, lay down their arms, [30] return to their homes, bear true allegiance to the Federal Government, and they shall also enjoy like protection. The army of the Union wages no war of plunder, but comes to bring back the prosperity of peace. Let all peace-loving citizens who have fled from their homes, return and resume again the pursuits of peace and industry. If citizens have suffered from any outrages by the soldiers under my command, I invite them to make known their complaints to me, and their wrongs shall be redressed and the offenders punished. I expect the friends of the Union in this valley, to banish from among them all private feuds, and let a liberal-minded love of country direct their conduct towards those who have been so sadly estranged and misguided. Hoping that these days of turbulence may soon be ended, and the better days of the Republic soon return:


J. A. Garfield, Colonel Commanding Brigade.

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