the stockade. Two of these guns were inside of our own earthworks, one howitzer on the southwest and one on the north, and commenced shelling our position. Sixteen shells were fired, one passing through the depot, near a large quantity of ammunition, but did not explode. At this time they could have leveled the stockade, depot, and all in thirty minutes, and probably killed and wounded a large portion of our men, while we could have done them no damage, being armed only with old guns, without bayonets, and therefore unable to make a charge.
Seeing that we were completely in their power, and had done all the damage to them we could, I called a council of officers. They were unanimous for surrender. Had there been the least chance, or gad the cavalry continued the fight, we should have held out; but as we could do nothing it was deemed prudent to surrender and save the lives of the men. The question of surrender was one of time only. They would have had the place, without the loss of another man, in thirty minutes. The terms of the surrender were "unconditional", but General Forrest admitted us to our paroles the next morning, sending the Tennessee troops immediately home and others to Columbus under a flag of truce.
I would bear testimony to the efficiency and bearing of the following officers in preparing and conducting the defense: Colonel Hawkins, of the Second West Tennessee Cavalry; Major Chapman (although very much out of health) and Captain Cowen, of the One hundred and twenty-second Illinois Infantry; Captain Hawkins, Captain Belew, Lieutenant Allender, Lieutenant Hawkins, and Lieutenant Robinson, of the Second West Tennessee Cavalry, and Lieutenant Godspeed, my adjutant, and especially Lieutenant Hanford, post quartermaster, of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, as also the bravery of the men. And I can assure them that our humiliation was not produced from a want of vigilance or the necessary precaution on our part, but from causes entirely out of our control.
Of the taking of Humboldt, also under my command, I know but little. All the effective men were withdrawn to Jackson. The sick and convalescents blew up and burned the magazine and then surrendered. I am informed that at the time of the surrender the highest officer present was a corporal of the Eighty-first Illinois Infantry.
The loss of the enemy, from the best information we could obtain from themselves, was 17 killed and 50 wounded. Our loss was 1 killed (a private of the One hundred and twenty-second Illinois Infantry), but none wounded.
The enemy burned the depots at Trenton and Humboldt and all the stores on hand that they could not carry away.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Number 8. Reports of Colonel George P. Ihrie, U. S. Army, of capture of Trenton and skirmish at Railroad Crossing, Forked Deer River.
SAINT LOUIS, MO., December 31, 1862.
COLONEL: I herewith submit an official report of the saving of two Government trains, with heavy mails and very large amount of private