Doc. 132.-Colonel Gallup's expedition into Western Virginia.
camp Louisa, Lawrence Co., Ky., Feb. 20, 1864.On the twelfth instant our District Commander, Colonel Gallup, with his usual sympathy for suffering Unionists, sent a scout over into Western Virginia to rid the citizens of the unscrupulous Colonel Ferguson, who, with his plundering band, had pillaged the country until even the women and children were brought to starvation. This impudent rebel, knowing that Virginia was not in this district, and therefore not under the protection of our gallant Colonel, sent him word that he would quarter there until March, but would not molest our troops provided we would let him alone. Colonel Gallup treated the message with that silent contempt it deserved. His silence was taken for acquiescence by the other party. So the wily old fox was allowed to play around until he met with an unpleasant surprise in the capture of himself and command. This happened  in the following manner: At dark on the evening of the twelfth, a portion of these troops left camp under the lead of the District Commander, and marched all night in an easterly course. At dawn next morning the force was divided into two detachments. Colonel Gallup, at the head of one, pursued a trail which led toward Wayne Court-House, ordering his senior Captain, J. C. Collins, with the other, to scout through the hills in the opposite direction, and follow any track which he supposed would bring him in collision with the enemy. This enterprising young officer, whose quickness of perception is equalled by his celerity of action, is as sharp-scented on a rebel trail as the hound in chase of a hare. He was attended by Captain William Bartrum, who is as quiet and unassuming as he is faithful and resolute, and the trusty Lieutenant Osborne. These officers at the head of companies B, G, and H, soon succeeded in discovering among the dead leaves signs of marching cavalry, which led some eight miles further into the uninhabited hills, to a famous rebel rendezvous known as the Rock House. This is a concealed recess, sheltered by an orchard and overhanging rock in the side of a steep cliff which bounds it on the west. On the northern and eastern sides the surface slopes to the edge of the cave, where there is an almost perpendicular offset of some fifteen or twenty feet. In this place, and in the ravine a few steps below, the rebels were busy chopping wood, cooking rations, and guarding prisoners. When our forces reached the summit of the hill, Captain Collins ordered the strictest silence, deployed his men in skirmishing line, directing them, when they had silently surrounded the cave, to give a shout as the signal of attack. As soon as the signal was given, Captain Bartrum stepped to the edge of the precipice and demanded an unconditional surrender. The astonished rebels instantly sprang toward their guns, whereupon our boys opened on their ranks a scathing fire, which soon brought them to terms. The fight lasted about four minutes, with mortal effect, twelve men being killed, and four others wounded--three of them mortally. Not one of the attacking party was harmed. The only sad feature in the affair was the killing of three Union prisoners who were in the hands of the rebels--Captain Pinckard, Assistant Quartermaster, of General Scammon's staff, from Alton, Illinois; Lieutenant Griswold, of the Thirteenth Virginia; and a private whose name has escaped me. Fifty prisoners were taken, sixteen Union prisoners released, eighty stand of arms captured, with all their ammunition, horses, and subsistance. Colonel Ferguson was captured apart from the command by Stephen Wheeler, a private of company G. In the battle of Rock House such accurate and fatal shooting was done, that of sixteen wounded men, only two are now living, and one must die; the counties of Wayne and Logan are cleared by it of the plundering guerrillas who had been infesting them. The results of this success are more important than that of Middle Creek, inasmuch as a larger number were killed and captured here than in that engagement — this work gratuitously done by the generous and efficient Colonel Gallup. His command has captured over one thousand prisoners in this valley, and he is still pushing the work vigorously along. Lieutenant Preston, of the Thirtieth, who was sent up Sandy on a scout a short time since, returned on the twenty-second with eleven prisoners. Reuben Patrick, a contract scout, brought in a rebel captain and ten privates the same day. Lieutenant Brown, of company G, Fourteenth, with twenty-five men, left on the eighteenth for Cat's Fork, to break up a thieving band which had been disturbing that quarter. He returned the following day, having killed one and captured two of the marauders. Captain Charles A. Wood, of Louisville, of the Fourteenth, is having fine success in recruiting veterans in this brigade. Lieutenant-Colonel Brown, of Frankfort, is now in command of the Fourteenth. In camp he is jolly, genial, and generous, and his military qualities are best estimated by those who have seen his commanding coolness in the excitement of battle, and his unshrinking intrepidity when exposed to a heavy fire. The regiment is proud of him, and may well be of such a “noble Roman.” Major Yates, Medical Director of this district, informed the writer to-day that he had seen a deserter from the rebels whom he knew to be reliable. This man brings news that John Morgan is collecting a force of twenty thousand cavalry at Abingdon, Virginia, preparatory to a raid into this State.