enemy's cavalry, and a few shots were exchanged between them and a small detachment of mine under Major Coffee.
General Carter, advancing on the other road (to the south of my route and nearly parallel), proceeded to within about the same distance of the enemy's position, when met with about 80 of his cavalry, but having no cavalry, General Carter could only use his artillery at long range across Fishing Creek against him, dispersing his cavalry, however, and causing him to make a hasty retreat.
From my own observation, as well as from reliable information obtained from different sources, it is evident that if the enemy will not come out for a field fight, which he does not seem inclined to do, he can only be taken at the point of the bayonet under many disadvantages, and a probable heavy loss of life on our side.
The country adjacent to his intrechments is of that broken and hilly nature that it would be difficult to get artillery in a commanidng position, and, if got there, would be in great danger of being loss unless we were positively certain of success, a retreat with any degree of promptness being impracticable. If, however, we should drive him from his entrenchments, his next move would be to recross the river, and, if he succeeded in doing so, would instantly shell us out of his works from the commanding cliffs on the opposite side of the river.
Again, if I were to cross the river at Waitsburough some 12 miles above Mill Springs, and place myself in his rear on the cliffs and open on him from than point, he would then push his wary unmolested to the north and east, and become a thou become visitor along the route from Somerset to London and toward Cumberland Gap.
Under these circumstances I hardly know what move is best to be made. With my present force I can hold him in check where he is, and perhaps whip him if I can coax him out, which I shall try to do.
In a former communication you spoke of Wolford's cavalry joining me. It would be extremely desirable to have at least four companies with only a musket, wholly unsuited to that arm of service. Can you not give me four of Wolford's best companies, with suitable arms? With this addition to my command I should be in a much better condition for service. Major Coffee could command this battalion, and the two companies now here could join their regiment and provide themselves with clothing and more suitable arms.
i avail myself of the mail facilities between this point and your headquarters, for the reason that I have no horses suitable for express services, and the difference in time being so small that not much would be gained by using express.
Should anything urgent occur, however, I will forward by special express by hiring a horse.
I inclose a note just handed me by Colonel Hoskins, now encamped near the river at Waitsborough.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, Commanding First Kentucky Brigade.
HDQRS. TWELFTH REGIMENT KENTUCKY VOLUNTEERS,
December 18, 1861
Brigadier General ALBIN SCHOEPF:
GENERAL: To-day I took six of my companies and one section of Captain Hewett's battery and proceeded in the direction of Waits