only 2 1/2 miles of, until 4.30 p. m. of the 13th, and did not reach Fayette until 12 o'clock at night of the 13th, being twenty-seven hours from the time Floyd commenced his movements. So little attention had he paid to the reiterated instructions, all tending to enforce the one idea that the real blow ought to be struck at the enemy's rear by the Cassidy's Mill route and that a front attack was only desirable in case General Schenck could cross above or in case the enemy stood fight, and that even in this latter event General Schenck was to attack him in front while he was to attack the flank and rear he ordered the entire force from Cassidy's Mill, instead of striking across to the Raleigh road, to join him by moving down Laurel Creek and then to Fayette, thus imposing on it a fatiguing march of 7 or 8 miles.
Advised of all this, and knowing the wretched condition of the roads, and taught by experience that orders for carrying three or more days' rations were never obeyed, I looked upon the game as up and the pursuit of Floyd as not promising much; but, on the suggestion of General Benham that they might have stopped to sleep, dispatched him to use his discretion in the pursuit.
General Schenck had moved down on the 13th, crossed the Kanawha, and bivouacked at Huddleston's, on the Fayette road, and sent forward messengers to General Benham announcing his position. General Benham pursued and overtook some of the enemy's rear guard about 9.30 o'clock in the forenoon of the 14th, killed Colonel Croghan, reported at 11.30 o'clock that the enemy was in force, and asked General Schenck to come up, who had made a forced march to reach Fayette after having marched all the preceding day. At 4 o'clock in the afternoon General Benham had reached a point about 12 or 14 miles from Fayetteville without overtaking them. Dispatched General Schenck that the roads were so bad and his men so weary that it was impossible to pursue them farther; that he proposed to bivouac on the ground, and if General Schenck deemed it advisable, and it were possible to come forward, they might drive the enemy through Raleigh. Nevertheless he says that there was a report from one of the lieutenants of Stewart's cavalry that he had seen a train of wagons coming on the Bowyer's Ferry road, according with information of a negro at McCoy's Mill, which indicated that Lee was coming down with a force of 5,000 men to re-enforce Floyd and attack. He therefore concluded that as this was possible, it might be better for him (General Benham) to return, unite with General Schenck, and drive Lee.
General Schenck, knowing that General Benham's troops were about if not altogether out of provisions, and that none could be brought up in time on the roads, and presuming that Floyd, with twenty-seven hours the start, would not be very easily caught, directed General Benham, after pursuing thus far, to return, which he accordingly did on the 15th instant.
At the close of these details I respectfully submit to the commanding general that, considering the weather and the roads, the operations of this column have been as active as those in any other department. The troops have suffered from the climate severely. They have submitted to many privations with cheerfulness and performed their duties with alacrity. If they have not accomplished all that could have been desired in the annihilation of Floyd's force, they have practically driven the enemy not only from the Kanawha, but from all the country west of Meadow Bluff and north of Raleigh, and the country is now more.