At an early hour next morning our troops were in position, ready and anxious for the foe approaching; but none appeared, and our scouts soon ascertained that, immediately after the fight, the enemy retreated toward Virginia, having burned up most of the property captured. They also learned that our loss was not so severe as at first reported, and does not, I think, exceed five killed, twelve wounded, and one hundred and fifty prisoners. In addition to this, we lost four guns of the Second Illinois battery and the entire train. It appears that our forces were surprised early in the morning, and almost surrounded before they were aware that an enemy was near. Being greatly scattered, they were unable to fight with any show of success, while the rebels, confident in their overpowering numbers, pushed forward with a valor worthy of a better cause. Twice they charged the battery, and twice they were repulsed with heavy loss; but closing up their heavy ranks, they again returned to the attack. This time our little band was unable to withstand the impetuosity of their charge, and the guns that had held them at bay for more than an hour fell into their hands. Then ensued a scene of the wildest confusion. No way of escape was opened to our men but the river. Into this they plunged, and, although the rebels made every effort to effect their capture, the greater number escaped. A worse whipped set of men are seldom seen. Many had lost their hats, coats, arms, and horses, and all were indignant that they should have been humiliated by a defeat.
Richmond Enquirer account.
Richmond, Nov. 18, 1863.A correspondent, likely to be well informed, sends us the following detailed account of this operation, which was not only creditable in itself, but has gone far to give a new turn to confederate fortunes in East-Tennessee: The affair at Rogersville, East-Tennessee, affords some mitigation of the general ignoring of the campaign there. A series of movements of the most unfortunate and disgraceful character, illustrated by the retreat of General Williams, glorious to him and his command, but wholly shameful to those responsible for his exposed position, the only other matter of commendation, justifies this sweeping phrase. A true relation of these will, doubtless, fill a dark page in history. Let us turn to the brighter point, and present to your readers the truth. A few days since, information of a reliable character was received by General Ransom of the exact position, numbers, and condition of the Yankees at Big Creek, four miles east of Rogersville. The nearest supporting force being at Greenville, he conceived the idea of cutting them off by a rapid night march of cavalry upon their front and rear. Brigadier-General Jones, accordingly, was directed to put his brigade in motion, so as to bring himself, on Thursday evening, within a night's march, by the south side of Holston River, down the valley of Buck Creek; while Colonel Giltner, commanding Brigadier-General Williams's brigade, was to move from Kingsport and its vicinity, on the north side of the river. During the afternoon of the fifth Colonel Giltner concentrated his command, and went into camp at Kingsport, and ordered his force to move at six o'clock P. M. Owing to great difficulty in passing the fords, it was nearly eleven o'clock when the column had passed the river, with a march of twenty-one miles between them and the enemy's camp. The intense darkness of the night, with rain, made the march one of great difficulty and discomfort, but it was cheerfully encountered by officers and men, who seemed to have no doubt of the success which awaited them. At Lyons's Store the head of the column encountered the brigade of General Jones, who was understood to have started for Dodson's and Smith's fords, in the Holston, below Rogersville. He, finding great obstacles in the way of his advance, had determined to cross the river at Long's ford, and take the Carter's Valley road to Rogersville, in the rear of Garrard's camp. This transferred him to the right, instead of the left of the army, and brought him by the north of the Yankee position, instead of by the south, to the rear or west of it. Colonel Giltner had received information of a home guard camp, on the Carter's Valley road, by a citizen, whom he sent at once to General Jones, and by means of his information he was enabled to surprise their camp about daylight, where he captured some thirty or forty prisoners. At Surgeonsville the enemy's pickets were driven in. Owing to a failure on the part of the advance-guard to charge them promptly, and the delay consequent in bringing up a company to pursue them, they were enabled to escape. Captain Fulkerson, of Colonel Carter's command, being ordered forward, pursued them some three miles, to the farm of Dr. Shields, where he was ordered to halt and hold his position. Colonel Giltner halted the head of his column at Miller's, eight miles from Rogersville, and went forward to reconnoitre the enemy's position. Finding them posted, apparently in force, on the hill beyond Spears's, he waited for his column to close up, and to give time to General Jones to get into position, and rode back to observe the road and ascertain if it was covered from observation by the enemy. Finding it was so, and securing information of General Jones's progress, he ordered the column to advance as soon as the artillery should close up, and rode to the front. Here he found that the force of the enemy had disappeared. Captain Fulkerson had been sent by the right to turn this position, and soon ascertained the fact that they had left this point, and that the way was open. The advance charged down the hill, urged to a sharp trot. A mile in advance, finding thick pine woods, the advance formed as skirmishers, and advanced through the fields to the right of the road, where they soon discovered the enemy's wagons crowded in the main road, while some one of the advance called out that the Yankees were escaping by the ford-Russell's or