the villages and drinking establishments, a nuisance and disturbance to the quiet citizens of the country. Captain Everett has just joined me, and reports a series of irregularities by stragglers of this regiment as having passed under his notice in the several villages through which he passed.
Is there no such thing as obtaining a regiment of reliable cavalry? such a regiment is indispensable with this brigade at this time. The absence of such troops has kept me in the saddle until I am nearly worn down with fatigue.
I very much need a brigade commissary of subsistence, who could have the means to purchase such articles as it may become necessary to purchase. The system of making purchases by regimental commissaries and giving promise to pay is open to abuse, and has become a great annoyance.
The two Tennessee regiments will be here to-morrow. I shall, no doubt, need them by the time they arrive.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier General GEORGE H. THOMAS.
P. S. - I regret to add that Major Helveti, of the Kentucky Cavalry, and Captain Prime, Engineers, are both missing, and have been, I now learn, captured by the enemy. These officers left camp with me on Wednesday on reconnaissance, but, taking a different road, fell into the hands of the enemy. An earlier report would have been made of this, but I have looked for their return until after the departure of the Saturday's mail, my last reliable means of communicating with you. I deem it useless now to send a dispatch by a cavalry express.
No. 2. Report of Colonel Ferdinand Van Derveer, Thirty-fifth Ohio Infantry.
CAMP NEAR SOMERSET, KY., December 8, 1861.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that at 2 o'clock this afternoon rapid firing was heard from our advance picket, 30 strong, stationed on the Fishing Creek road, about 2 miles from our camp.
The battalion was immediately formed, and two companies went quickly to the relief to the picket. The enemy had been checked and were scattered through the woods.
The picket was first alarmed by several of Captain Dillion's cavalry, who had been posted a few miles in advance, rushing past. They could not be stopped, and in a few moments the whole company came rushing along, refusing to halt to assist our men, and so ran on to camp. Had they rendered any assistance the enemy would have been routed with considerable loss.
Our picket, under the direction of Lieutenant W. C. Dine, of Company D, being in an open field, formed and delivered three volleys, retreating while loading to the woods, which they reached, and then came on to camp in small parties.
We killed 1 of their officers in command of the advance, 1 of their horses, and captured 1 horse. Our town loss was 1 killed, 1 wounded and 15 missing.