At about 1.30 a.m. I halted to wait for light. I deceived Mrs. Cowan by passing for a Federal officer, and got certain intelligence that James Allen had brought the news to Major Shaeffer that a force of nearly 3,000 was passing up to Paris; he instantly sent off on the fastest horses couriers to Hickman, Mayfield, Paducah, and elsewhere, that all the neighborhood had gone, and much more not necessary to relate. I got all her news, and then her negro boy William was even more confidential toward a supposed Abolitionist. I saw that my plans were thus frustrated beyond a doubt, in which opinion Colonel Jackson agreed, as did Major Wicks. I then determined to pursue Major Shaeffer and catch him at any rate. I accordingly waited a sufficient time to let him satisfy himself I was going to Dresden, and I took a by-road through Palmersville to cut the Dresden road to Boydsville.
I got at 5 p.m. certain information of him, but not his exact where-abouts. I pushed on to Stephenson's Mill, 1 1/2 miles across the road, on Obion River; then 3 miles toward Lockridge's Mill; saw his picket; halted, and conferred with Colonel Jackson. As night was fast approaching there was no time to delay. Captain Ballentime, of Colonel Jackson's cavalry, was acting field officer, with five companies, at the head of the column. His first company was deployed as mounted skirmishers and dashed on the pickets. The pickets were astonished and let us approach to 70 yards, then fired and turned to flee. A yell and charge blown, a picket killed, and the five companies, followed by the whole command, swept the 2 miles away in seven minutes or less over the enemy, who had been in vain urged to rally, as I learned afterward, by their major, through deep mud holes and the worst of roads, and on for 14 miles, until pursuit exhausted the horses and those who had so gallantly kept up the fire on them, Captain Jackson, of my regiment, with a few men, ceasing the race.
Captain Ballentine was most of all conspicuous for his gallant bearing and use of his saber and pistol. He fired on and mortally wounded Major Shaeffer. He engaged in a saber hand-to-hand combat with a brave fellow named Hoffman, who several times pierced the captain's coat, but was forced to yield. Captain Ballentine was also attacked by blows of a carbine and quite severely bruised. The dispersion was complete. Killed 6, wounded 16, and captured 4 officers and 67 non-commissioned officers and privates. Paroled Major Shaeffer and 4 wounded-unable to march-and detailed Private Henry Schlopp, prisoner. I paroled him to serve the wounded. The 2 wagons of the enemy, with about 56 horses, saddles, and a good many arms, were taken. I divided the horses with Colonel Jackson, who takes also the wagons. I distributed the arms to both regiments, &c. The loss on our side was not one; a few scratches were received.
The conduct of the command was excellent, with few exceptions.
I marched on the 6th 4 miles; on the 7th, having information that a large force was concentrating from several quarters to move against me, with artillery, I determined to secure my prisoners. I marched to Como at 1 p.m. and fed; marched to within 5 miles of Caledonia and halted. At midnight I got a dispatch from Colonel Pell, who, having joined me from Boydsville, was again sent toward Conyersville, to attack a reported force of 150. At a certain point he obtained some news that the enemy, near 1,000 strong, had encamped at dark 6 miles from Paris, and that they would be joined in the morning by 500 more. I moved at once to cross the Obion before King's Bridge could be seized. (It was the only one.)
I encamped last night at McLemoresville, and satisfied myself that the