previous next

[249] of the doughty Major, were all somewhat suggestive of that eventful period in the history of your usually bustling, business city, when some two or three thousand ragged rebels frightened the entire commonwealth of Ohio nearly out of all propriety. The comparison, however, ceases with the suggestion, since our fears were not altogether groundless.

With the exaggerated relations of stragglers and runaways, growing from bad to worse, as passed around among the hosts of anxious and terror-stricken gossips, was joined the sullen boom of artillery, hour after hour, even into the night, ringing in our ears. The consciousness that a desperate foe was in fierce contest with our gallant boys within two miles of us; rumors of disaster below, toward Loudon, where our chief, with his veterans of the Ninth army corps, alone interposed between us and the malignant foe, resolved upon our destruction; and the hourly arrival of dead and wounded, were all circumstances but ill calculated to allay the fears of the timid or encourage the bold. The danger is still imminent, but the first nervous excitement having abated, we are beginning to look at the conditions and their results, probable and possible.

Our situation having at no time since “the occupation” been a bed of roses, we have been gradually attaining a state to look very calmly at the ugliest position which the fates and furies may have assigned us. While thus taking a physiognomical view of the facts, nothing is more apparent than the intention of the rebels to crowd us out of a situation which we have been at a vast trouble and expense to get into, or the alternative of an indefinite residence in some Dixie prison. To accomplish this, the rebels are straining every nerve and exhausting every available means for one last, mighty, decisive effort. If they succeed, they gain vast resources in time and supplies for recuperation. If they fail, they are lost for any other campaign in middle Dixie. The exhaustion and demoralization of the rebellion in this region will be irretrievable. Their plans are excellent, and thus far well executed, but it is the belief of well-informed military people that their means will prove insufficient. Still, our chief reliance is upon Grant. Burnside can probably take care of himself, but Bragg is an insurmountable rock ahead of the profitable occupation of East-Tennessee, and the destinies of Bragg remain with Grant. Our situation just now, though perilous and gloomy enough, is by no means hopeless. Almost surrounded by enemies active and vigilant, if we cannot extricate ourselves in a very few days, our animals will perish of starvation. In this aspect of affairs, it is not the cue of the rebels to precipitate matters, but on the other hand the time required to starve us will bring an issue between Grant and Bragg, which, if favorable to us, will terminate in the utter demolition of the rebels in our front.

The forces which crossed the Little Tennessee on Friday night and attacked our advance at Maysville on Saturday, were the brigades of Wheeler and Forrest, estimated at five thousand cavalry and mounted infantry. Yesterday afternoon they were in line of battle, and skirmishing with Sanders till dark. Colonel Adams, with the First Kentucky and Forty-fifth Ohio, distinguished himself by the most gallant and daring conduct throughout, and to-day followed the retreating rebels five miles.

The punishment and flight of the First Kentucky on Saturday was caused by a mean artifice on the part of the rebels. They had captured the Eleventh Kentucky in the morning, and stripping them completely, were arrayed in their uniform. Seeing them at the edge of a wood, and mistaking them for the Eleventh, Adams pushed a charge quite into the body of the rebel forces, and just as the First Kentucky had raised their caps to cheer their friends, as they supposed, the miscreants opened a terrific fire upon them. Indignant, surprised, and surrounded, there was nothing left but speed, and the wonder is how so many escaped. Adams, who, by the way, has always been the brains and right hand of Woolford's cavalry, declares that he will never believe another rebel, will take no more prisoners, and intends to fight against treason in this war and the next, and the one after that indefinitely. He rallied his boys, made a speech to them, and upon their return to the field nearly monopolized the fighting. Twenty-five men of the First Kentucky were killed and wounded. Among the number are Captain G. W. Drye, wounded; Lieutenant Phil. Roberts, wounded; Captain Kelly, killed; Lieutenant Cann, missing; Lieutenant Peyton, missing. Of the Forty-fifth Ohio, ninety-one were killed, wounded, and missing, among whom are Captain Jennings, wounded; Captain Ayler, wounded; Lieutenant Macbeth, wounded; Lieutenant Wiltshire, wounded; Lieutenant Mears, wounded.

The conduct of the rebels was barbarous in the extreme. All prisoners, dead, and wounded were stripped. Four dead bodies of the Forty-fifth were found quite naked. One wounded officer, while unconscious, was aroused by efforts to cut off his finger, to obtain a gold ring. He was stripped to his shirt and drawers. Such is the venomous malignity of these desperadoes, who term themselves Southern chivalry, that bodies are mutilated, prisoners are outraged, and all are robbed.

In Burnside's front, Longstreet is pressing, and skirmishing has been constant for the last three days. The train of White's division was burned, by order of General Burnside, to-day, and a section of Benjamin's battery was captured, making the third we have lost in the last ten days, namely, Laws's, Phillips's, and Benjamin's. The two armies are seventeen miles from Knoxville, Burnside slowly falling back. If he can hold the rebels without severe loss or decisive action for a few days longer, our reenforcements from Grant will reach Longstreet's rear, and that active rebel leader will take to the mountains, or to Camp Chase. Forrest and Wheeler have fallen back, it is supposed, to make an attempt to cross the river elsewhere, and get in our rear.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: