War of the Rebellion: Serial 029 Page 0156 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA.

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peremptory document, scrawled in pencil on the back of an envelope, was handed to me:

ELIZABETHTOWN, KY., December 27, 1862.


SIR: I demand an unconditional surrender of all your forces. I have you surrounded, and will compel you to surrender.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Commanding U. S. Forces.

To which I replied that I thought the positions were reversed; that it was his forces, and not mine, which were surrounded, and called upon him to surrender. He answered that it was the part of a United States officer to fight, and not to surrender.

Leaving one regiment and a howitzer in reserve to guard the trains, I ordered Colonel Duke to deploy his command to the right, and Colonel Breckinridge to deploy his command to the left of the town, and to throw forward skirmishers to discover the position of the enemy. It soon became apparent that he had taken possession of several brick houses on the outskirts of the town, and expected to make a street fight of it. I therefore immediately placed my artillery commanded the town, and sent Captain C. C. Corbett, with one mountain howitzer, to attack the town on the right. After about half an hour's vigorous shelling, the place surrendered and 652 prisoners, including 25 officers, fell into our hands.

At this point I wish particularly to notice the excellent service done on this occasion by Captain Baylor Palmer and his battery, to whose rapid and accurate fire (nearly every shot striking the houses occupied by the enemy) the quick of the place is in a great measure due; and also the gallantry shown by Captain Corbett, who ran one of his howitzers into the town while the enemy pouring a heavy fire from the houses, and by Lieutenant-Colonel [R. G.] Stoner, commanding Breckinridge's regiment, who at the same time charged into the town at the head of his men.

On the morning of the 28th I moved from Elizabethtown in the direction of Bardstown. Four miles from Elizabethtown I ordered Colonel Breckinridge to turn with his command to the left and to attack the lower stockade, near Muldraugh's Hill, while I moved on with Colonel Duke's brigade to attack the upper. After two or three hours' shelling, both places surrendered and at 7 o'clock that evening I had the satisfaction of knowing that the object of the expedition was attained, and the railroad was rendered impassable for at least two months. These two trestles are the largest and finest on the whole road, being, each of them, some 60 feet in height and from 300 to 350 yards in length. Neither of them had ever before been destroyed during the war. Seven hundred prisoners, including 27 officers, were captured, and a large and valuable amount of medical quartermaster's and commissary stores were destroyed. I encamped that night near the Rolling Fork.

The following morning (December 29) I sent Colonel [R. S.] Cluke's regiment, with one piece of artillery, to attack and burn the bridge over the Rolling Fork; Colonel [D. W.] Chenault's regiment [Eleventh Kentucky Cavalry], and one piece of artillery in advance, to burn the stockade and trestle at Boston, and three companies of Breckinridge's regiment and one mountain howitzer, to attack at New Haven. Having completed these dispositions, I set my command in motion. Just as the rear regiments were crossing Rolling Fork, a large force of the enemy-