the enemy should be headed and compelled to turn back and attempt his escape through that gap, a thing though not improbable.
My column was put in motion early in the morning for Hickory Flats, moving briskly, so as to cover the roads leading from the direction the enemy was taking by way of Speer's Ferry and Pattonsville. At 8.30 p.m. I received the following dispatch:
The enemy is engaged near Hunter's Gap, as I hear. My force is now in 7 miles of Jonesville. You take the shortest road to Hunter's Gap with your column, so as to intercept the enemy if he attempts to pass by Pattonsville, and to come in his rear if he makes a stand at that point. Follow up through Hunter's Gap; if he is advanced beyond that point, on his rear until you reach him.
The head of my column was then near Pattonsville, at which place I halted for rest, having marched that day (January 2) 20 miles over a muddy road; had camp fires made, as it was too cold to do without fires, and having no tents or shelter; put out camp guard and a picket on the road leading from Hunter's Gap to Pattonsville and Speer's Ferry, 10 miles from my command. The picket was detailed from my regiment and put under command of Lieutenant [H. D.] Pridemore, of [Company C] Sixty-fourth Virginia, who knew the country, and mounted on horses impressed for that purpose. This was done that the enemy might not only not surprise me, but to prevent him from gaining my rear and making his escape by way of Speer's Ferry by taking the road 10 miles of my command, which, if he had attempted (being warned by my pickets of his purpose), I could have intercepted him by rapidly countermarching my column on the road I had just passed over. I did not retire for rest that night until 2 a.m. of 3rd instant, and at 5 o'clock my column was stretched out on the road to Hunter's Gap, animated with high hopes of engaging the enemy.
In the mean time I dispatched to you that if the enemy attempted to pass by Pattonsville I would intercept him. If he made a stand at that point, would attack his rear by 10.30 a.m. at farthest. My column continued the march, passing through Hunter's Gap. On arriving at Jonesville, was directed to go into quarters, the enemy having made his escape.
The men of the Fifth Kentucky and Sixty-fourth Virginia Regiments deserve the highest praise for their patient endurance on this march, having moved in three days and nights 70 miles over rough roads, hills, and mountains, and each day crossing a river-one in a small ferry-boat and two in small canoes-an inclement season, and without tents or camp equipage of any kind.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel Fifth Kentucky Infantry Regiment.
General [HUMPHREY] MARSHALL.
Numbers 12. Report of Colonel Campbell Slemp, Sixty-fourth Virginia Infantry, of operations December 29-January 1.
JONESVILLE, VA., January 30, 1863.
According to your order [of] December 16, 1862, my regiment was moved near Bristol, Tenn., and was encamped 1 miles north of that