APRIL 6-11, 1862.-Expedition from Greeneville, Tenn., into Laurel Valley, N. C.
Reports of Major General E. Kirby Smith, C. S. Army, with congratulatory letter.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF EAST TENNESSEE,
Knoxville, Tenn., April 17, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of an expedition sent by my order into a portion of the State of North Carolina known as Laurel Valley, lying near the Tennessee border, and in the vicinity of Bald Mountain:
A detachment of troops, composed of three companies of the Forty-third Tennessee Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Key commanding, moved from the town of Greeneville, in this department, on the 6th instant, arriving on the 7th at a point on Bald Mountain which had been occupied as a camping ground by a party of outlaws, who had decamped two days previous to that time.
On the morning of the 8th our force moved down into Laurel Valley, a district long known as a general resort and hiding place for outlaws, who have been accustomed to send out from this point marauding parties into the adjoining counties of Tennessee and North Carolina, greatly annoying the people in those sections.
Directing his march through this valley, Colonel Key met no regularly-organized force, but his command was repeatedly fired on by parties of from 4 to 10 men, who would then immediately retreat beyond his reach, the country being particularly favorable to this mode of warfare. A portion of the force was deployed on either side of the line of march, the column being thus protected in a measure, and the enemy driven from their hiding places. Owing, however, to the impenetrability of the thickets, few of them could be killed and none captured.
This skirmishing was kept up on the 8th, 9th, and 10th, during which time about 15 of the enemy were killed. The casualties on our side were 3 men wounded-Privates Smith, Morgan, and Higdon, of Company A, the latter two mortally.
On the 11th the expedition returned to Greeneville.
The lieutenant-colonel commanding reports that there seems to be a regular organization among the inhabitants of that portion of the country. The whole population is openly hostile to our cause, and all who are able to serve are under arms.
Lieutenant-Colonel Key reports the officers and men to have behaved themselves well on this tedious and difficult march, and it is but justice to him to say that he evinced unusual energy and forethought, conducting the expedition in a highly creditable manner.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH,
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General.