miles east of the railroad bridge where the enemy were posted. I here ordered two companies to support the skirmishers, all to proceed cautiously up the track, taking advantage of the ditches and timber, and to engage the enemy. With the rest I struck off to the east on the wagon road to turn their left flank, and reached the river just in time to save the wagon-road bridge, which had been fired; crossed over; pressed a citizen residing there into service as guide; threw out another company as skirmishers, and made all haste down the right (north) bank of the river, to find the enemy had fled, dropping some clothing and cartridge-boxes filled with cartridges in their hasty retreat, and the garrison relieved with both trains up to the bridge.
On being informed they had taken the road to Humboldt, Tenn., 3 miles distant, and up the track, I re-enforced the two block-house companies with the one stockade company, and, ordering the trains to keep well closed up and near us as possible, started up the track in pursuit, finding two short trestle bridges slightly burned and cut.
It was now getting dark, and on nearing the town we saw several houses on fire, and could easily distinguish the hostile cavalry riding about by the light of the flames. Cautioning the men to extreme silence and stealthfulness I divided my command in three columns, holding one company in reserve on the track, two columns to strike off to the right of the track to encircle the town and to open fire on reaching the vicinity of the houses, one column to the left, to open fire if the enemy attempted to escape in that direction. In quarter of an hour the right column opened in a lively manner, causing the enemy to scamper in the direction of Trenton, Tenn., and to forget some of their plunder.
The town of Humboldt was recaptured, and three stentorian cheers from the reunited command rung out upon the night air and pealed upon the unwilling ears of the disappointed and baffled Confederates.
The railroad north and south was immediately picketed, and one of my staff ordered to obtain information from the citizens about the wagon roads and the country, with a view to making a map. Colonel Rogers was ordered to take his regiment and occupy the fort which commands the whole place and vicinity, and instructions generally given that "in case of an attack, all to rally in the fort." The two trains won came up, the damage to the trestle bridges having been easily and speedily repaired, and all were saved and safe.
These good results were the more gratifying as they were accomplished with but 1 wounded on our side. The Confederate loss was 2 killed and 4 wounded. About an hour later I was astonished to learn that Colonel Rogers had not only willfully disobeyed my order by abandoning the fort and camping his regiment in the safest part of the town,but had failed to inform me of the same, thereby endangering our lives and risking the capture of my command. In consequence of this insubordination (bordering closely upon cowardice), and apprehensive of his influence upon his regiment, reported to me at the stockade as unreliable; cut off as we were from all communications, without supplies, without artillery, and hemmed in by a cunning, bold, and watchful enemy, with six or eight pieces of light artillery, who, if be attacked us at all would attack us next morning at daylight, I deemed it prudent to take notice of his unprecedented conduct at the time, but directed Lieutenant Colonel E. M. Beardsley, One hundred and twenty-sixth Illinois Infantry, with his battalion of five companies left at the bridge to re-enforce him.
The next day and night (December 21) I endeavored to get couriers