The 20-pounders, being more nearly allied to light artillery, were moved down the mountain into Powell's Valley during the night, but not without difficulty, for in many instances would they have been whirled down the rocks but for the constant care and tugging at the ropes by all the men we had.
Foster's First Wisconsin Battery, which had been obliged to wait for an ammunition train to precede it up the mountain, started at 5 p.m., and after working hard through the night, without one moment's rest, and part of the time in almost total darkness (the moon being eclipsed), without rations or forage for the last eighteen hours, arrived in Powell's Valley without serious injury, only overturning a battery wagon and breaking its trail, at 3.30 o'clock a.m. on the 12th of June, 1862. This was the most difficult part of the mountain to overcome that we had encountered. The road was winding, narrow, very stony, and steep, and all the entire descent very sideling, so much so that we were constantly in imminent danger of being precipitated down the almost perpendicular banks over jagged rocks for several hundred feet, in which case it would have been sure death to man or beast.
On the 12th of June we were ordered to countermarch, recross the mountain, and move to Williamsburg, Ky. When this order was made know to the men they desired rather to shed their blood in Tennessee and leave their bones bleaching in Powell's Valley than to retrace their steps over the mountain; but like good soldiers they sadly but resolutely put their shoulders to the wheels literally, and commenced the ascent of the mountain upon the southern side. The 20-pounder Parrott guns were put in the advance and started at 10 o'clock. The road had become much worn and rutted, loose stones fallen into the track and filled it in places, which had to be removed, and which rendered it almost impossible for the horses to get a foothold; but after eleven hours' hard labor the task was accomplished, and at 1 o'clock June 13 we camped at the foot of the mountain on the northern side.
At daylight the siege battery started upon its march, and after marching 7 miles was halted for further orders. Foster's battery followed the siege battery up the mountain and arrived at its summit at midnight, and then halted the remainder of the night, and before they had commenced the descent fortunately received orders to remain where they then were. Wetmore's Ninth Ohio Battery on the 12th were ordered to accompany a forage train into Powell's Valley, and did not return in time to begin the ascent of the mountain that night, and on the morning of the 13th were ordered to remain where they were in Powell's Valley, thus saving them the arduous labor of recrossing the mountain.
In the evening of the 13th of June orders were received to march back to Powell's Valley, upon hearing which the soldiers fairly yelled with delight, and seemed so anxious to return that they could hardly wait for morning to come. Foster's battery, being upon the top of the mountain, had only to descend the southern slope, and Wetmore's Ninth Ohio Battery, being in the valley, had only to remain there, whereas the siege battery, 12 miles on its road to Williamsburg, had both to climb and descend the mountain again. This battery reached the foot, on the northern side of the mountain, at 3 o'clock p.m. of the 14th, and remained there the balance of the day for the purpose of shoeing horses.
At 10 o'clock, June 15, the siege battery started up the hill, and at 9.15 p.m. reported all down the mountain safe in Powell's Valley. The