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Doc. 96.-fight at pound Gap. March 16, 1862.

A correspondent of the Cincinnati Gazette gives the following account of this fight:

Piketon, March 19, 1862.
For some time it has been known to Gen. Garfield that an irregularly organized body of rebels, amounting to some four hundred or five hundred, were holding the pass through the Cumberland Mountains, known as the Pound or Sounding Gap. Though, militarily speaking, they were of little account, owing to their loose, imperfect organisation, and their harum-scarum guerrilla character, yet this, under the circumstances, rendered them even more troublesome, so that a perfect reign of terror prevailed throughout a large area, of which their rendezvous was the centre.

Some fifteen days ago a small scouting party of our troops was sent out, which penetrated to the waters of Elkhorn Creek, encountered their pickets, dispersed them with a loss of one man on each side, and after making some valuable observations, returned to camp.

A party was immediately detailed from the Twenty-second Kentucky regiment, the Fortieth and Forty-second Ohio, beside one hundred cavalry, under command of Major McLaughlin, amounting in all to about seven hundred, to make an assault upon the main body at the Gap, and wipe out the foul den of miscreants at a blow. Sounding Gap is situated about forty miles south-east from Piketon, and is connected, by a good turnpike-road, with Gladesville and Abingdon, Va.

A road has been cut through the Gap, which is now entirely obstructed on the western slope [322] by large trees, fallen across it by the rebels. Being the only channel of communication for wagons between South-eastern Kentucky and South-western Virginia, it was of course an important point in the strategic policy of General Marshall.

Our march occupied two entire days, and was attended with the severest labor. The nature of the roads, being merely paths, following the creeks and rivulets, the constant rain and snow soaking both officers and men to the skin, and the fathomless, endless mud, formed a combination of untoward circumstances, difficult to overcome.

Nevertheless, after two days of wading and splashing, the whole expedition arrived safely at Elkton Creek, two miles below the Gap, about ten o'clock on Saturday night. Several circumstances now modified General Garfield's preconceived plan of attack, but without hesitation he sent the cavalry up the road, to appear in front of the enemy's position, and by skirmishing attract their attention, while himself, with the infantry, should climb the mountains at a point a mile and a half below the Gap, and thence filing along the summit of the range, attack the rebel camp by the flank.

At ten on the morning of Sunday, the ascent commenced, and by twelve o'clock we had reached the summit, two thousand feet above the valley. Turning to the right, our guide led the column along the soaring crags, until, when within a quarter of a mile from their camp, a rebel picket was discovered only a few rods ahead of our van. He started to run, when several of our boys fired upon him, but with no other effect than to add a new impetus to his flight.

The column was now pressed rapidly forward, until, emerging from the woods, the rebels were observed forming on the opposite hill, between which and the one we occupied lay the camp of the rebels, in a deep gorge or ravine, through which the road is built.

Conceiving the rebels about to make a permanent stand, Gen. Garfield drew up his line in front of them, with his right resting on the summit of the mountain, and the left stretched away down the eastern slope. About this time, however, the rebel lines seemed to be melting away, as though they were gradually falling back into the woods. Fearing the results of a loss of time, Gen. Garfield immediately ordered his men forward to scale the hill, and, if necessary, carry it at the point of the bayonet.

A loud echoing shout burst from the long line, as with fixed bayonets it swept down through the ravine and up the hill. There was no backbone for us to contend with, however, for as our bayonets appeared over the hill, scarce an enemy was in sight. A few straggling ones could be seen tearing through the laurel underbrush, and we sent a ringing volley after them, killing one and wounding several.

We were now ordered back to camp, as the nature of the country precluded any possibility of our ever overtaking them. It being suspected, however, that a large proportion had retreated before our arrival, by the road toward Abingdon, our cavalry was brought up the hill and sent in pursuit.

We now turned in to ransack their camp. It comprised sixty log huts, or barracks, capable of accommodating about a dozen men each, besides ten commissary buildings, and one large house, occupied as headquarters by the commandant of the post. The huts were well provided with bedding, blankets, cooking utensils, and rude furniture, and contained beside a large quantity of clothing, arms, and promiscuous articles of personal property. There being no means at Gen. Garfield's disposal, by which any part of this vast quantity of effects could be transported to camp, the men were allowed to take whatever they chose, and the remainder, together with the buildings, were burned.

Late in the afternoon, laden with trophies, our troops descended the mountain to the camp of the previous night, and on the morning following began our long, weary return-march.

Two more days of floundering through mud and water, and we are again in camp.

Though the expedition lacks the éclat of a brilliant and bloody engagement, it was admirably planned and ably executed, and will, it is hoped, be permanent in its effects.

Louisville Democrat account.

Piketon, Pike Co., Ky., Friday, March 21.
In my last I informed you that we were about starting out on a scouting party, consisting of four hundred from the Twenty-second Kentucky, and about an equal number from the Fortieth and Forty-second Ohio, and one hundred cavalry of the First Ohio squadron, making a force of nearly nine hundred, all under the direct command of Brigadier-Gen. Garfield. We started on Friday, the thirteenth instant, and after two and a half days of the hardest marching that ever any force undertook or went through, we made Pound Gap on Sunday, the fifteenth, at noon. Although our troops were completely broken down and foot-sore, from having to wade creeks from the very beginning to the time we reached the foot of the Cumberland Mountains, we climbed the hill, drove in the pickets, and made short work of it in driving the thieving rascals from their boasted stronghold.

When we got to the foot of the Cumberland, the whole force was divided into three divisions. The first, cavalry, under Major McLaughlin; the second under Col. Cranor, of the Fortieth Ohio, and the third under Gen. Garfield. The cavalry took the main road, or old State road, as it is called, running straight into the Gap ; the other two divisions took a short cut and came in the enemy's rear. The plan was for both forces to get at the Gap at the same time — for the cavalry to present themselves in the front of the rebels' breastworks, and as soon as the attack was made, for the infantry to come in on their rear, and take the whole force prisoners. But the plan didn't work exactly, for the cavalry carried out the first part of the programme full an hour before we [323] got there. They had an engagement which lasted for over a half-hour, and our cavalry, to save their horses from destruction — having been penned in by the obstructions previously thrown across the road by the rebels — and the infantry, “failing to come to time,” had to retreat to a safe distance, when the enemy formed on a hill, on the opposite side, in line of battle. But the infantry, making their appearance about that time on the other hill, and making for them on a “double-quick,” and at a “charge-bayonets,” they came very suddenly to the conclusion that discretion was the better part of valor, and run like dogs, without firing a shot at us. But our boys were not so easily satisfied; for we fired on them, and succeeded in bringing down two of the foe while “on the wing,” and wounding six others. We pursued them for several miles, but as they knew the mountains better than we, they succeeded in evading our search for them. They left everything in their hasty flight. The camp was made up of log-cabins, built in the same style as the inhabitants of this section, and looked as if they thought it was an absurd idea for them ever to be routed from their snug and comfortable quarters. We captured two large flags, guns, ammunition, provisions, all their camp equipage, clothing, bedding, baggage, and in fact everything they had, even to unfinished letters, one actually that had been commenced after the retreat of the cavalry, which (as far as it went) was boasting of a glorious victory over the “cowardly Lincolnites.” We were sorry to have to disturb the poor fellow; for it was about as far in the letter-writing line as he will ever get again toward telling of a victory.

Our forces occupied the Gap the rest of that day and night, feasting on the half-cooked meat they had left behind them on the fire, picking out such good clothing, guns, quilts, blankets, etc., etc., as suited the fancy of our boys, and then burnt up everything else.

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