From Kentucky.Humphrey Marshall's victory in Kentucky--a clear statement of facts — interesting details Written by an eye-witness and participant in the conflict.
The following brief and clear narrative of this important conflict is furnished us by a participant in the affair. Its truthfulness is its greatest recommendation, but its particular interest to a Virginia reader lies in the honorable mention made of one of our own regiments: Messrs. Editor: Knowing that every item of news from the State of Kentucky is hailed with great interest by your numerous readers, I have thought proper to give you a short account of the movements of Gen. Marshall from the 6th to the 15th of January. Gen. Marshall had taken a position and fortified himself some three miles above Paintsville, on the river. But after learning the movements of the enemy, he thought best to fall back so as to prevent the enemy from cutting off his supplies and getting in his rear. Hence we slowly began our retrograde movement, noticing the enemy, until on the night of the 9th we rested at the foot of the mountain, some four miles west of Prestonsburg. During the night of the 9th we learned that the enemy, in large numbers; was moving towards us from the direction of Prestonsburg. On the morning of the 10th we lock our line of march in the direction of the Cross Roads, three miles west of Prestonsburg, soon learning that the position would be disputed by the enemy. On arriving at the Cross Roads, we learned that the enemy, 5,000 or 6,000 strong, had taken his position about three-quarters of a mile below the Cross Roads. Two regiments and some cavalry, as a reserve, had taken their position at the foot of the hill to our front and left, while the main body of the enemy was formed into line of battle at the foot of the hill, to our front and right, awaiting our approach. Gen. Marshall placed his artillery, four pieces in number, to the right of the Cross Roads, and Col. Trigg's 54th Virginia regiment, in the rear to protect it. Our cavalry were placed to our left, across the creek, in the wood. Col. A. C. Moore's 29th Virginia regiment was posted to the front and right of the artillery, on the brow of the hill, at whose base the enemy had his line of battle. Col. Williams's Kentucky regiment was placed on the same hill, protecting the right of Col. Moore's regiment. Thus posted, the two armies for a moment, in silence gazed on each other. What a contrast they presented! The enemy looked grand and imposing, completely equipped and neatly dressed. Our line was small, and seemingly of little firmness. when compared with the enemy. Badly equipped and uniformed, and well nigh exhausted by long and heavy marches through the mud and rain, living on less than half rations for the last few weeks. But we feared them not, and were anxious to try them. But the time to view the enemy was of short duration, for soon the boom of our artillery announced to us that the battle had began, and then the hissing of the ball and cracking of the brush over our heads told us that the hottest of the conflict would fall on Col. Moore's 29th Virginia Regiment; but our boys were calm and ready. For two long hours the enemy poured upon Cols. Moore and Williams's regiments a perfect storm of hall, which our boys received with coldness, and responded to with such terrible fires that the enemy began to stagger from the effects. Just at this point, Colonel Moore ordered his regiment to charge, leading it in person. With such firmness was the charge made that the enemy broke at our approach. But just as the foe was dislodged from his position, we were cross-fired from the right and left with deadly effect, supposed partly to have been done by our own men through mistake. At the same time some one, no one knows who, gave the command to fall back to our old position. Thus, in an instant, we lost all we had gained in two long hours of hard fighting. In the charge we lost five or six of our brave boys. On reaching the blow of the hill, we gave a shout for Jeff. Davis, resolving to have the field or die. Again we opened fires with double energy. Now the battle raged along the whole brow of the hill. Col. Williams fought like a tiger. Twice the enemy tried to flank him; twice they were repulsed. The cavalry having dismounted, poured a dreadful and destructive fire into the right flank of the insolent foe. The artillery was likewise placed to a better position, throwing shot and shell with fatal effect. Colonel Trigg's regiment was called forward to reinforce Colonel Moore; but, before they could reach their position, a victory was proclaimed in favor of Jeff. Davis. The enemy's guns were silenced, and, as soon as the Yankees could get off the field, we were left its possessors. Had not night been on us the rout would have been made complete; but the day was gone, we tired and hungry, eight miles from our camp, thought best to gather up our dead and wounded and seek rest for our bodies. Much might be said of individual acts of bravery; but time will not permit. All did their duty. Most of our troops had never before seen a battle field; yet they fought with the courage and boldness which characterizes the people which they represent. With a united effort they completely whipped a foe numerically five times stronger than themselves. Col. A. C. Moore's 29th Va. regiment bore the heat of the day. He was under the most terrific fire for more than four consecutive hours; yet his ranks never staggered. Our Colonels, Moore and Leigh, were constantly at the head of their column, cheering their men and directing their fire. The gloomiest part of the day was after the enemy had left the field. The shrieks of the wounded and dying were truly heart-rending. Our loss is five killed and four wounded in Col. Moore's regiment, and four killed and five wounded in Col. Williams's regiment. The enemy's is from 400 to 500 killed, and about the same number wounded.