the Second Illinois Cavalry, Companies I and C, Regular Cavalry, and 70 men from Thielemann's dragoons, I left Paducah on the same night, to proceed in the direction of Camp Beauregard, for the purpose of reconnoitering that camp, gaining information as to the strength of the enemy and their whereabouts, and ascertaining whether or not re-enforcements had left Camp Beauregard for Bowling Green. I also understood that I had permission, if opportunity afforded, to attack and cut up a certain corps of marauders commanded by one King.
The night of my departure I halted at Camp Creek and rested until 8 o'clock next morning, and, proceeding then, stopped a couple of hours at Mayfield. Not getting the desired information there I went on towards Camp Beauregard until within 6 or 6 1/2 miles of that camp, where the enemy appeared to have an outpost, guarded by about 75 men, who fled halter-skelter on my approach. At that point I found a farmer of undoubted loyalty, named Gee, from whom I obtained forage for my horses, and the information that all the troops who have been occupying Camp Beauregard for some months past, except a battery of artillery and King's marauders, had been taken to Bowling Green, but that their places had been supplied by three or four regiments of what is called "Sixty-days' men," green troops, mostly unarmed, and the whole without special organization. Satisfied on this point, I thought it prudent to return, and as there was no water for my cattle (without going off the road) nearer than Viola, I was compelled to come that far back the same night. Accordingly I bivouacked there.
About daybreak in the morning (Monday) one of my pickets galloped in and reported a heavy force of infantry and cavalry upon us and about to attack. I crossed Mayfield Creek immediately and in good order and drew up on the opposite bank to receive the attack, but, the enemy hanging fire, I drew off about a mile and a half on the Paducah road and fed the men and horses, sent Captain Lyman to report to the general, and, with his permission, bring me five companies of infantry, intending to hold the Confederates until I heard from headquarters. I then returned to Viola to engage them in a skirmish, but they had retreated. I remained there for orders, which did not reach me until 3 o'clock on Tuesday morning. Expecting the return of the enemy on Monday night, I recrossed the creek and made preparations to receive them. Quite a party of rebel cavalry appeared early in the morning, but waited only to get a sight of my men, a portion of whom I had dismounted to attack them.
Knowing the general's disinclination to hazard any of his command I was exceedingly cautious, and would not have engaged the enemy in a serious fight until I was certain of their numbers. I also took every possible care to have my wy of retreat open, for which purpose I kept parties in continual motion to and from Plumbey's Station, at which point I ordered all re-enforcements dispatched to me to remain for orders. In obedience to his orders, I returned without loss of time to Paducah on Tuesday.
Three guides whom I had mounted on Government horses were foolish enough, without my knowledge or consent, to sleep outside of my lines on Sunday night, and, while barely escaping themselves, lost their horses to the enemy. On Monday morning some of the cavalry, whom I had armed with rifle-borrowed, a portion from the Twenty-third Indiana and a portion from the Eleventh Indiana-carelessly lost or threw away some of those arms and their accouterments. Circumstances very shameful.
It gives me pleasure to say taht my command behaved excellently.