gallantly attacked them, and, after a brief but firm resistance, they broke and fled to the wood. The gallant Major Roper, of the Sixth Kentucky Cavalry, with two companies of the Ninth Pennsylvania Regiment, under Captain Jones, of that regiment, made a dashing charge, and captured and destroyed many of their number.
Our loss was 1 killed, 1 mortally and 1 severely wounded, and 2 slightly wounded. The rebel loss was 12 to 16 killed.
Dr. McMillan, of First East Tennessee Infantry, acting brigade surgeon, reports that he dressed the wounds of 13, several of which were mortal. Owing to the darkness of the night, it was impossible to learn with certainly their entire loss.
The railroad bridge across the Watauga River, some 300 feet in length, was soon in flames, and entirely destroyed; also a large number of arms and valuable stores. The captured locomotive was run into the river and completely demolished, destroying in its passage one of the piers of the bridge.
The men and horses, especially the latter, were much worn and jaded from constant travel and loss of rest. The alarm had been given; the rebels had the road open to Knoxville, and could move up a strong force to resist us. I also learned that some 500 cavalry and four guns, under Colonel Folk, were within 3 miles of us; that an infantry force would be concentrated at Johnson's Depot, 6 miles west of Carter's Station, by daylight; and, further, that Humphrey Marshall, who was at Abingdon, was moving his troops to occupy the passes in the mountains, and thus cut off our egress. It was deemed prudent, therefore, to return.
We left Watauga about midnight, and, after a hard march, reached Kingsport, at the mouth of the North Fork of the Holston River, at sunset on the 31st ultimo. After feeding and resting a short time, and issuing a ration of meat to the men, we were again in the saddle. We passed some 8 miles north of Rogersville, and reached Looney's Gap, in Clinch Mountain, late in the afternoon; passed through without opposition, and about 11 p.m. of January 1 reached a place in the edge of Hancock County, Tennessee, where forage could be obtained, and bivouacked for the night. This was the first night's rest we had been annoyed during the day and night by bushwhackers, but we, providentially, escaped with only 2 men slightly wounded.
Soon after daylight, on the morning of the 2nd instant, we resumed our march toward Jonesville, Lee County, Virginia, with the intention of reaching the foot of the Cumberland Mountains, on the Kentucky side, before we halted. Our march was much impeded during the day by bushwhackers, who constantly annoyed our front and rear. Just before we reached Jonesville, they endeavored to check us by occupying the hills in our front with two companies (supposed to be Larmer's and Staley's), but they were soon driven from their strong positions by the skirmishers of the Second Michigan.
We reached Jonesville late in the afternoon, but, before the rear guard had passed, they were attacked by about 200 rebels. Colonel Walker took charge of the rear guard, re-enforced by two light companies, and drove them back to the wood. Several of their number were killed; 1 in the village of Jonesville. Some 20 were captured during the day. We sustained no loss. From prisoners we learned that the passes in Clinch and Powell's Mountains, through which we marched in going to Union, had been blockaded, and were occupied by three or