Numbers 11. Report of Colonel Hiram Hawkins, Fifth Kentucky Infantry, of operations December 29-30.
JONESVILLE, VA., January 29, 1863.
SIR: At your request, I submit the following report of the operations of my command during the late raid made by General Carter:
My regiment (310 effective men) was encamped near Abingdon, Va., when on December 30 last, at 2 a.m., I was informed by an officer from your headquarters that you had information that a large cavalry force of the enemy was in Lee County, destination not known, strength estimated at 4,000; that you desired me to hold my command in readiness to move at a moment's warning. About 11 a. m. same day I received orders to move my command immediately to the depot and take the cars for Bristol. Moved at one to the depot and reported to you that the cars were gone. You seemed much surprised, and remarked that you had informed the conductor not to move the train without your permission, and directed me to remain at the depot until the train could be ordered back. The train arrived about dark, but was not ready for some time afterward to take my command on board. Arrived at Bristol about midnight; left the cars and bivouacked until morning (31st), when you informed me that you would not move from Bristol until you could learn something of the movements of the enemy, which you would likely do by the time the remainder of your mounted men would arrive. Late in the evening, when scouts brought information that the enemy was retreating, you informed me that it was your purpose to move under cover of the night to cut off his retreat, and without further orders I would move my command at dusk on Blountsville, accompanied by Colonel Slemp's regiment (Sixty-fourth Virginia) and a section of [George S.] Davidson's battery, and await further orders; that the mounted men, not yet ready, would move as soon as ready, and that you would remain at Bristol to await the arrival of more troops on the train, and assist Captain Jeffress to start his battery, which would also follow during the night.
When we reached Blountsville, a distance of 9 miles, halted, quartered troops in houses (it being very cold). My men had rested about two hours, when you arrived and ordered the column to move at once to Big Moccasin Gap, the mounted men having passed me on the march, and were to move rapidly to that point, head the enemy, and hold him in check until the infantry and artillery could attack his rear.
Leaving Bristol at dusk, we marched continuously and rapidly (except the two hours' rest at Blountsville), until we arrived at Moccasin Gap, 28 miles; not finding the enemy, we moved to Estillville, and encamped for the night. When I arrived there, Colonel Giltner's regiment was feeding and preparing to move, the remainder of the mounted men having passed on. You informed me that you were expecting Colonel Dunn's regiment and Captain Jeffress' battery at Estillville that night; that you were going to press forward during the night with the mounted force he head the enemy, in which event he might attempt his escape by passing in your rear, in which event I must, if possible, intercept him.
The next morning at 6 o'clock (January 2) I received a dispatch from you, dated en route, January 1, 10 p. m., ordering me to move my own and Colonel Slemp's regiments and the two guns from Davidson's battery by the quickest route to Hickory Flats, leaving Colonel Dunn's regiment and Captain Jeffress' battery to guard Moccasin Gap, in the event