December 29 marched to Huntington (county seat of Carroll Country), distance 16 miles.
On December 31 marched in the direction of Lexington, Tenn. We started at daylight. About 10 o'clock a. m. cannonading was heard in front. Our march now become rapid, as it was supposed the Second Brigade had intercepted and engaged the enemy. About 12 m. musketry was plainly heard, and our pace was still increased so that the double-quick was taken at times.
At 1.30 p. m. we arrived at Parker's Cross-Roads, 16 miles from our starting point in the morning. It was at this point that the Second Brigade, under Colonel Dunham (consisting of the Fiftieth Indiana, Thirty-ninth Iowa, One hundred and twenty-second Illinois, two companies of the Eighteenth Illinois, and three guns of the Seventh Wisconsin Battery), had engaged the enemy under General Forrest. Firing had ceased for nearly half an hour before we reached the scene of the engagement. Emerging from the woods into large open fields the enemy were discovered by us. Under your orders I formed my regiment in line of battle at double-quick on the left, or easterly, side of the road and advanced at the same gait for about 200 yards, when I received an order to move by the right flank to the right, or west, side of the road. I again moved forward in line of battle at double-quick for a short distance and was then ordered back to the east side of the road and to advance in line of battle on the enemy, which was done as rapidly as possible. The ground was soft and miry, but notwithstanding this and the long and rapid march made by my command the men responded with hearty cheers, and at a double-quick rushed forward to engage the enemy, who seemed to be panic-stricken. They fled in the utmost confusion and so rapidly that we could get but a few telling shots at them. In their rout they passed along the front and near the Second Brigade, but no fire was opened upon them by the Second Brigade. I have not learned the cause. If the enemy had been vigorously attacked by them a much larger number of prisoners would, in my opinion, have been taken. As it was, a large number of the enemy passed along unharmed to our left. I then changed front to the left and advanced some 500 or 600 yards, taking possession of a brass 8-pounder gun from which the enemy had fled. From this point Company B, under Lieutenant Charles J. McGinnis (Captain Charles E. Brown acting as major), and Company A, under Captain Frank T. Gilmore, were sent to the front as skirmishers. The latter captured a second brass 8-pounder, and farther on a caisson and some horses which the enemy were endeavoring to take from the field. After a slight skirmish they concluded to save themselves and leave the caisson. Captain Gilmore took possession of it, which with the guns mentioned was brought in and delivered over to you. The enemy being mounted were soon entirely beyond our reach (except about 300 prisoners captured) and were safely on the road to cross the Tennessee River. Next morning we were ordered to march in pursuit and reached a point about 2 miles south of Lexington, where we bivouacked.
On January 2 we marched to a point near Bath Springs, and again bivouacked. That night a very heavy rain visited us, and all were thoroughly soaked.
On the morning of January 3 we again commenced the pursuit of the flying horsemen, but scores of witnesses told us the enemy had safely crossed the river; but to see for ourselves we marched on, under orders, to a point on the river opposite Clifton, exchanged a few shots with the enemy across the river, and marched back again.