to be safe to proceed farther by rail (which I did in part through dispatches from Colonel E. H. Hobson, commanding at Munfordville, to General Manson, at Bowling Green), I determined to push forward and save as much of the railroad as it was possible to do.
After supplying my command with one day's rations at Bowling Green (which were very kindly supplied by General Manson), I started for Munfordville. When, however, the rear train had gone about 10 miles from Bowling Green, its engine got entirely out of order, and it became necessary to send back to Bowling Green for another one. This second unfortunate detention delayed the rear train, so that it did not reach Munfordville until 10 o'clock at night of the 27th.
My command was disembarked immediately. Here I should state that the battery and other horses of the brigade had been on the cars for nearly forty hours, without a drop of water or a pound of forage. They were fed as well as the supplied would permit; nothing but corn could be obtained at Munfordville to feed them.
My men, wearied and fatigued by loss of sleep and the crowded condition of the cars, as much fatigued as if they had been marching, lay down upon the damp ground, without tents to shelter them, to rest as best they could. Though I had received from the division commander at Cave City a dispatch ordering me to proceed to Munfordville and drive Morgan from that vicinity, I conceived it to be my duty, under my orders, to go even farther, for I believed that Morgan, if unchecked, would destroy every bridge and structure on the entire road, thus interfering very materially with supplies for the main amy beyond Nashville. He had then destroyed the Bacon Creek and Nolin Creek bridges, and had probably destroyed the bridge near Elizabethtown, and captured our forces there, as he had already captured those at Bacon Creek and Nolin. My only hope, was to save the immense trestle-work at Muldraugh's Hill; and, failing in that, to save the bridges over Rolling Fork, near Lebanon Junction, and over Salt River, at Shepherdsville. These, or any one of these, results I conceived to be of vital importance to the army, and I appealed to the officers and men of my command to bear up under any privations in orders to accomplish it.
After resting my men but a few hours, I left Munfordville at 3 o'clock on the morning of the 28th with my brigade, and also with the Thirteenth Kentucky Infantry, Major Hobson, and Twelfth Kentucky Cavalry, Colonel Shanks, in all about 2,900 effective men. These last two regiments constituted a part of Colonel Hobson's command at Munfordville, and were detached at my request to accompany me in the expedition.
On the route from Munfordville to Elizabethtown no enemy was seen; but upon my arrival at Elizabethtown, on the morning of the 29th, I learned that Morgan had destroyed the trestle-work on the very day upon which I left Munfordville, and had, the previous night, encamped 10 miles from Elizabethtown, on the Rolling Fork, where the Elizabethtown and Bardstown road crosses that stream.
I marched immediately in that direction, ordering the cavalry to go far in advance. When I had gone about 5 miles from Elizabethtown, information reached me that the rebels were, in fact, at the place supposed and would probably soon cross the river. A section of Southwick's battery was ordered to join the cavalry, and, in conjunction with it, to detain the rebels at the crossing until the infantry arrived. When Colonel Shanks arrived within a mile of the crossing he discovered, in the plain below (our road from Elizabethtown was on a high ridge of Muldraugh's Hill), a body of rebel cavalry, upon whom he ordered the