When I came in sight of the enemy, they were retreating in all directions, and we passed safely through. My loss in men was 1 killed and 1 wounded. The Twenty-first Brigade train, the only one I was authorized to guard, came safely into camp. Several teams belonging to the Sixth Division, variously estimated at 6, 12, and 14, were reported as having been captured while out foraging on their own account without a guard, but I know nothing of this officially. The loss to the train was only 2 mules shot.
I have the honor to remain, colonel, your obedient servant,
Lieut. Colonel Ninety-seventh Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
Commanding Twenty-first Brigade.
No. 5. Report of Captain T. R. Palmer, Inspector First Division, Twenty-first Army Corps.
HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, TWENTY-FIRST ARMY CORPS,
February 2, 1863.
CAPTAIN: In compliance with your order, I have investigated the fasts connected with the loss of certain wagons from a forage train of this division, December 6, 1862, and respectfully present the following report:
At the time when the capture took place, General Orders, No. 30, had not been received, and foraging was done by brigades. This was not the result of any order, general or special, but simply a custom for the time being. It was not customary, however, for these brigade trains to be composed exclusively of wagons from a single brigade. With each brigade train were sent out foraging wagons from division headquarters, from the ammunition train, and from the general supply train. Besides this, if, as frequently occurred, especially with the batteries, either of the other brigades had not forage enough to last until its regular time for foraging should arrive, teams enough were sent from them to obtain a supply. It was not customary in such cases to send additional escort with such surplus wagons, but only sufficient men to load them, and all the wagons were regarded as one train under the same escort, equally entitled to the protection of the escort. So completely did all constitute one train, that the brigade quartermaster in charge of the train would generally receipt for the forage obtained by these extra wagons, and arrange accounts with the other quartermasters on his return.
On December 2, four days previous to the capture, the Fifteenth Brigade forage train had taken with it several wagons of the Twenty-first Brigade without any additional escort, and Lieutenant Sterne, quartermaster, Fifteenth Brigade, had receipted for the forage obtained by those wagons. That train had also obtained part of its forage in the same fields where the wagons were captured December 6. What wagons, and how many, should be allowed to be attached to any brigade train was regulated by the division quartermaster, Captain L. D. Myers.
Lieutenant-Colonel Barnes, Ninety-seventh Ohio, who commanded the escort, evidently regarded himself as in charge only of the wagons of the Twenty-first Brigade. He is a man whose veracity and honor as a