great caution. It was midnight ere the rear of the column had passed through. The enemy, deterred, by the resolute advance of our brave men, fled toward Kingsport, East Tenn. (as I afterward learned), without firing a gun. A rebel lieutenant and several soldiers, with their arms, were captured on the south side of the gap, on the Blountsville road.
During the remainder of the night we moved forward, as rapidly as was practicable over unknown roads, picking up rebel soldiers by the way. Owing to the darkness of the night, a portion of the command lost their way and became separated from the main body. A small force of rebel cavalry, which was hovering about our rear, killed a sergeant of the Second Michigan and captured two others who had wandered from the road.
At daylight on the morning of the 30th we reached the town of Blountsville, Sullivan County, East Tennessee, surprised and took possession of the place, captured some 30 soldiers belonging to the Fourth Regiment Kentucky (rebel) Cavalry, in hospital, and paroled them. We were informed that at Bristol, 8 miles distant, there was a large amount of stores, besides the meat of a considerable number of hogs, belonging to the rebel authorities, but as the place was guarded, according to the best information we could receive, by a regiment of infantry, under Colonel Slemp, said to be 900 strong, a cavalry force, under Colonel Giltner, and a battery, we were reluctantly compelled to leave it to our left and move toward the railroad bridge at Union, 6 miles from Blountsville. I accordingly sent forward Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell with a portion of the Second Michigan, under the direction of Colonel James P. T. Carter, of the Second East Tennessee Infantry, toward Union, with orders to take the place and destroy the railroad bridge across the Holston River. As soon as the remainder of the troops, which got separated from us during the night, came up, I moved them rapidly forward in the same direction. When we reached Union, I found the town in our possession, and the railroad bridge, a fine structure some 600 feet in length, slowly burning. The rebel force, about 150 strong, consisting of two companies of the Sixty-second North Carolina troops, under command of Major McDowell, had surrendered without resistance, the major himself having been first captured by our advance while endeavoring to learn if there was any truth of our reported approach.
The prisoners were paroled, and a large number of them were that afternoon on their way to the mountains of North Carolina, swearing they would never be exchanged. Their joy at being captured seemed to be unbounded.
The stores, barracks, tents, a large number of arms and equipments, a considerable amount of salt, niter, a railroad car, the depot, &c., were destroyed, and also a wagon bridge across the river, a few hundred yards below the railroad bridge. As soon as the work of destruction was fairly under way, I dispatched Colonel Walker, with detachments from the Second Michigan, Ninth Pennsylvania, and Seventh Ohio Cavalry (in all 181 men), the whole under guidance of Colonel Carter, toward the Watauga Bridge, at Carter's Depot, 10 miles west of Union. On their way they captured a locomotive and tender, with Colonel Love, of Sixty-second North Carolina troops, who, having heard of the approach of the Yankees, had started on the locomotive to Union to ascertain the truth of the rumor.
On reaching the station, about sunset, they found the enemy, consisting of two companies Sixty-second North Carolina troops, estimated by Colonel Walker at nearly 200 men, falling into line. Colonel Walker