Battalions having moved forward to Wittsburg, I was left with my battalion, about 150 strong, at Sugar Creek, in command. We remained here until the 19th, occupying the time in shoeing our horses, foraging for horses, as also for the negroes (who came into camp in large numbers), and in patrolling the roads for a distance of 10 or 12 miles about camp.
On the 18th I received orders from the colonel to move the next day to Wittsburg, leaving nails, extra cooking utensils, and all other articles of no particular present value, behind. We moved from Sugar Creek on the morning of the 19th and arrived at Wittsburg at about 2 p. m. of the same day. Distance, 17 miles. We were obliged to press a few teams at Sugar Creek and along the road to convey our sick, one of whom, William T. Horton, of Squadron I, we were obliged to leave 6 miles from Wittsburg, he being unable to ride farther. We found upon arriving at wittsburg that the First and Third Battalions, with the exception of Squadron G, had moved forward 20 miles, to Madison. This last-named squadron move out to join the advance immediately after our arrival. Here we at once commenced enrolling and organizing our blacks, who had by this time become very numerous. As soon as the rolls were completed I assigned to them separate quarters, provided for stated roll calls, and appointed Quartermaster Hoag overseer of this part of the encampment.
On Wednesday, the 23rd, finding that it would soon be impossible to forage for the immense numbers that were flocking into our camp daily, and observing that quite a proportion were women and children, who could be of no use to us whatever, I issued an order that "No more women or children under fifteen years of age should be admitted within our lines." We remained at camp at this point nine days, foraging, scouring the country in all directions, arresting and examining suspicious characters, seizing contraband property, &c.
At this camp we lost 2 men, viz, Pasko, of Squadron E, drowned, and Moore, of Squadron F, who died in the hospital.
On the 28th instant I received orders from the colonel to move forward on the next day. I accordingly started on the morning of the 29th, moved out 10 miles, and halted to feed. Here a courier came in from Madison with orders from the colonel for me to send back to Chalk Bluffs a lieutenant and 20 men to pick up and take through the sick left along the road, and also to carry dispatches. I immediately detailed Lieutenant Porter, of Squadron I, with 20 men from same squadron, and sent them back, as directed. (This detachment, I have since learned, dashed into a company of 75 rebels at Jonesborough Friday, the 1st instant, took 24 prisoners, 30 horses, and 3 wagons, the remainder of the force escaping to the woods. He then took his prisoners into the court-house, threw out his pickets, and halted for the night. During the night, or early next morning, he was attacked by a large force, which had stolen in between the pickets and himself, and his small force either taken prisoners, killed, or escaped to the woods. Nothing positive is known of their fate. The pickets rode in, upon hearing of the firing, but saw nothing of the lieutenant or his men. They were fired upon when they rode into town, and 2 of their number were killed and 8 escaped. Five of the number have reported back to camp and the balance are still missing.) Upon arriving I found the colonel, who ordered us into camp at that place, the First and Third Battalions having moved forward to Marianna. The colonel remained here with us until Thursday, the 31st, when he left on the Carl for Helena, leaving with me verbal orders to move on slowly to Marianna