to march upon Charleston with 50 men, in conjunction with six companies of infantry from the Twenty-second Regiment, under command of Colonel Dougherty, I have to submit the following:
I left Camp Lyon at 6.30 p.m. in command of 50 mounted men; proceeded to Charleston by direct route; arrived at a point 1 1/2 miles north of Charleston at 10.30 o'clock; called a halt, expecting to be joined by a detachment of infantry; remained here until 2 this a.m., but not being joined by Colonel Dougherty's command, nor receiving the promised signals from him which were to guide my operations, I, with the command, advanced upon Charleston at 2 o'clock; passed through the principal streets without any resistance from armed forces; captured two rebels, who informed me that the infantry force under Colonel Dougherty had preceded us there and had engaged the enemy, the result of which engagement is known to you. They also informed me that there was an encampment of mounted rebels at a point near or upon what is called Fish Lake, 5 miles east of Charleston, and about 2 1/2 miles north of the Cairo and Fulton Railroad.
Your orders having been as nearly as possible complied with, I deemed it expedient to make such examination and research as I could in regard to the reported encampment on the way of my return to Camp Lyon. Taking one of the captured men above referred to for a guide, I took up the line of march in the direction indicated. I came upon the enemy's camp at 4.30 o'clock, which was situated in a dense wood which surrounded an open space of some eight acres.
Day was just breaking and the surprise was complete, insomuch that, after firing some forty shots from our pieces, and receiving a few from their own, they laid down their arms and surrendered. No lives were lost on either side so far as we could ascertain. According to the best information we could gain, the enemy's forces numbered between forty and fifty.
We took 33 men prisoners, among them First Lieutenant Woodward; captured 38 horses, and took possession of about the same number of rifles and shot-guns, together with accounterments and ammunition.
During the engagement the men under my command displayed great coolness and bravery, and the manner in which my commands were executed and obeyed would have reflected great credit upon older and more tried veterans.
To Sergeant Casey, who was second in command of my forces at the time, I am under especial obligations. The coolness and courage exhibited by him, the readiness with which he gave and executed my commands, and the tact displayed in his movements, justly entitled him to the consideration and credit of all parties.
R. D. NOLEMAN,
Captain, Commanding Centralis Cavalry.
Commander of Post.