same evening form his entrenched hill, with one 12-pounder and two regiments of infantry, and occupied the southern bank of Paint Creek. When his scouts were drawn in they reported the advance of my whole column, and immediately Marshall broke up his camp, burned many of his wagons, and a large amount of corn, oats, meal sugar, rice, and other provisions, and during the night of January 5 and all the following day he was hurrying his trains and infantry away on retreat. His cavalry remainder behind, kept up a show of resistance, and thus kept their retreat a secret. Colonel Bolles, of the Second Virginia Cavalry, had been ordered by General Cox, commanding Department of the Kanawha, to co-operate with me, in view of the fact that bands of rebels were coming in from the Virginia side of the Sandy, an joined me on Monday at noon. We then moved forward, with the Forty-second Ohio, Fourteenth Kentucky, and 300 cavalry, to attack and drive back the rebels at Jennie's Creek, while I advanced with 1,000 men to attack General Marshall's position. I was obliged to construct a pontoon bridge across Paint Creek, and did not get my column in motion until sunset. We then advanced along an unfrequented road, and at 8 o'clock occupied the rebel fortifications 4 miles above here. We found his camp-fires still burning, and his whole camp showed signs of panic and most disorderly retreat. I then marched down Jennie's Creek to aid Colonel Bolles. Before we reached him his advance of 60 men had attacked 200 rebel cavalry, killed 6, wounded several, and scattered them among the hills. Colonel Bolles had 2 killed and 1 wounded.
To-day we have occupied all their works and sent out cavalry scouts to learn the direction of their retreat. Colonel Bolles has given me very efficient aid, but his orders will not permit him to remain with me longer. To-morrow morning I start in pursuit with 1,000 infantry and 400 cavalry.
Colonel Cranor, Fortieth Ohio, and six companies (300 men) of Wolford's cavalry, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Letcher, have joined me to-day. They had construed the enemy's retreat into an intended attack, and not being able to resist the whole rebel force, which has been increased by late re-enforcements to over 4,000 men, came down Paint Creek instead of going on to Prestonburg.
We have taken 15 prisoners, which I have this day sent to Newport Barracks. The vicinity of the rebel camps presents a scene of utter desolation. They have appropriated and destroyed an immense amount of property.
The transportation for our stores has been a work of extreme difficulty. But now that we have reached the river, we will hurry them up by boats. I shall hope to occupy Prestonburg to-morrow evening. I fear we shall not be able to catch the enemy in a "stern chase," but we shall try. Since he has left his stronghold I think I shall not need any artillery.
The health of my command is very good, considering the hard service they have been engaged in. I send you a sketch of Marshall's defenses.* The extent and character of the works indicate a larger force than I had supposed they had. I regret to say I have not received any blanks and have not made out any brigade morning reports. I have the materials for them, and will forward them as soon as the blanc arrive,