with my regiment to Bristol immediately. In a very short time my men were in the saddle, and, leaving the camp with the dismounted and otherwise disabled men, under command of Captain [George T.] Campbell [acting commissary of subsistence], I started for Bristol, via Abingdon, with 550 men, and accompanied by three wagons, two containing cooking utensils, the other ammunition. The road via Abingdon was not the shortest to Bristol, but I was compelled to go to Abingdon to draw about 100 guns, which were needed; also ammunition, as that which I had was not suitable for many of the guns in the command. The exceedingly rough and heavy condition of the roads, and the darkness (the night being cloudy and rainy) rendered the march most arduous, yet we arrived in Abingdon, a distance of 20 miles from my camp, before daylight. Proceeding directly to the railroad depot, I procured the needed ordnance stores and sufficient forage to feed my horses. Moving to the outskirts of the town, I fed my horses in the road, and, after a halt of about three-quarters of an hour, I pushed on the Bristol, where I arrived and reported to you about 2.30 p. m. December 31, 1862.
At 8 p.m. I received the following order:
DECEMBER 31, -8 p.m.
Colonel [H. L.] GILTNER:
Press on with speed to Blountsville. When arrived there, direct your movements by the reports which Baldwin makes. My chief aim is to cut the enemy off from Moccasin Gap; but, remember, your function is only to harass him until my infantry can catch up.
In obedience to the above order, I proceeded with speed to Blountsville, arriving there at 10 p.m. From information there received, I determined to push on to Moccasin Gap, which point I reached at 4 a.m. January 1, and went into camp, having marched, since 8 p.m. the evening before, a distance of 29 miles.
At daylight I sent a scout of 20 men, under command of Lieutenant B. F. Duncan, in the direction of Kingsport, with orders to gain accurate information as to the enemy's position and movements, and report to me as speedily as possible. At the same time I ordered Captains [John G.] Scott and [S. P.] Duncan to proceed with their squadrons to Estillville and procure and have cooked rations for the regiment. Up to that time my men had had nothing to est since leaving camp at Lebanon; had ridden a distance of 65 miles through the rain and mud without rest, having been in the saddle the whole of both nights since starting, and were consequently greatly in need of food and sleep.
At 12 m. Lieutenant Duncan returned and reported to me at Estillville that the enemy had encamped the night before in the Holston Valley, 7 miles from Kingsport, and had moved at daylight in the direction of War Gap. My own men north having procured anything to eat at this time, I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Clay, with his own and Major [Thomas] Johnson's battalion (they both having cooked rations for four days), to War Gap, with instructions to occupy the gap should he gain that point in advance of the enemy; but, if he should fall in his rear, to harass him until I could re-enforce him with my regiment.
About 3 p.m. you arrived at Estillville. I reported to you the information I had received of the movements of the enemy and the order I had given to Lieutenant-Colonel Clay. You sent a courier to Colonel Clay, ordering him to halt and await further orders. About sunset, both men and horses having been fed, I moved on from Estillville, with orders from you to halt at Speer's Ferry, 11 miles distant, and await