which fact was reported to me just yesterday. My position for defense is worse even than at Wild Cat.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CAMP AT FISHING CREEK, December 5, 1861.
(Received December 6, 1861.)
General SCHOEPF, Commanding Camp Goggin:
GENERAL: On yesterday I moved forward with the artillery to take position at Mill Springs, according to your order, having sent the cavarly the evening before; they however did not proceeded more than 2 miles.
I advanced to within 2 1\2 miles of the Ford at Mill Springs with my whole force and went forward with Captain Rocketts and Lieutenant Fife, of artillery, ot the Ford to made a personal reconnaissance. Found their pickets within 100 yards of the Ford, on this side; endeavored to avoid them, and took the woods on the left hand and spent about twenty minutes examinating their position, and found it too strong and the enemy too numerous to face with our small force.
You have been misinformed as to the possibility of securing a good position that any small force can hold at that point. The rebel camp completely overlooks the bluffs on this side, and it is impossible to take position upon them without being exposed to their full view and in range of all their arms. Upon attempting by myself to pass to the right bluff near the creek I was fired upon by a body of their cavarly, who were just coming up the hill at the Fiord within 50 yards of me. They followed, firing deliberately as I spurred my horses back. In turning a sharp angle my saddle turned, girth broke, and I was thrown within 100 yours of them, and but eh noble conduct and cool bravery of Captain Ricketts I would have been killed or capture. He got off his horse and waited until I ran up to him and gave me his horses, while he escaped into the woods.
I found no tenable position at all between Mill Springs and Fishing Creek, and certainly none at or near Mill Springs or mouth of Meadow Creek.
The rebels have already several boats and cross the Ford with ease.
Their cavarly can cross a few minutes.
Campaign Fullerton made diligent inquiry as to their force, and reports to me that he has no doubt that there are twelve regiments at Mill Springs. They have very extensive encampments.
We have not a very strong position here, but it is better than any we can get between here and Mill Springs, and if we had a force to throw across the creek I think we could make very strong resistance.
Finding ourselves in an exposed condition, where we could in a few minutes be completely surrounded and the rebels beating to arms, with cavarly across the Ford in our front, and night just upon us, my own judgment, supported by the opinion of all the officers of my command, influenced me to fall back, and finding no place where I could a stand and save my train except this, I moved back here during the night quietly and in good order; my men and teams terribly fatigued with 25 miles' rough marching and counter-marching.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. M. CONNELL,
Colonel Seventeenth Ohio Regiment.