consisting of cavalry, and several pieces of artillery, which had followed us from Elizabethtown-came up and began to shell the ford at which the troops were crossing. I immediately sent orders to Colonel Duke, who was in the rear, to send a courier to Colonel Cluke, ordering him to rejoin the command as rapidly as possible, and to hold the enemy in check until the entire command had crossed the ford. Colonel Duke, assisted by Colonel Breckinridge, placed seven companies from different regiments in position and held five in reserve. With this force he several time repulsed the enemy's the enemy's advance, and very nearly succeeded in capturing two pieces of the enemy's artillery, when he fell from his horse, severely wounded by a shell. Colonel Breckinridge then took command, and maintained the position until Colonel Cluke's regiment had crossed the river, when I ordered him to fall back, which he accomplished in good order and without loss.
In this affair only 3 men were hurt on our side-Colonel Duke, Captain [V. M.] Pendleton [Company D, Eighth Kentucky Cavalry], (who was struck by a ball while gallantly leading a charge on the enemy's artillery), and a private slightly wounded. The enemy lost several officers and men killed and wounded.
Meanwhile Colonel Chenault had captured and burned the stockade at Boston. He rejoined me that night at Bardtown. The force sent to burn the stockade at New Haven was not successful, and did not rejoin the command until the following night at Springfield.
On the morning of the 30th I left Bardstown and marched to Springfield, a distance of some 18 miles, where I arrived at nightfall. On my arrival I learned that the enemy had withdrawn all his forces from the southern portion of the State, and had concentrated them at Lebanon. Troops from Danville, Burkesville, Campbellsville, and Columbia had been collected there to the number of nearly 8,000, with several pieces of artillery. Intelligence also reached me that a column nearly 10,000 strong was moving from Glasgow to Burkesville to intercept me. My position was now sufficiently hazardous. A superior force only a few miles in my rear, a force nearly treble my own immediately in my front, and a vastly superior force, which had only about half the distance to march that I had, moving to intercept my passage of the river. In this emergency, I determined to make a detour to the right of Lebanon, and, by a night march, to conceal my movements from the enemy, outstrip the column moving from Glasgow to Burkesville, and cross the Cumberland before it came within striking distance. Immediately, therefore, on my arrival at Springfield, I sent out two companies on the Lebanon road, with instructions to drive in the enemy's pickets, and to hold the position. This being done, they were to build large and extended campfires, so as to induce the enemy to believe that my whole force was in position, and that I was only waiting for daylight to attack. Considerable delay was occasioned from the difficulty in obtaining guides who were sufficiently well acquainted with the country to lead me over the route I desired to march, but at length, at 11 p.m., the whole column was fairly in motion. The night was dark and stormy and the road rough and intricate, so that the morning of December 31 found the command only 8 miles from Springfield and 2 1/2 miles from Lebanon. By 1 o'clock that afternoon, however, the top of Muldraugh's Hill was reached, where I could see Lebanon with a glass distinctly, and the enemy's skirmishers deployed in the valley below. Just as the rear guard of the column had reached the foot of the hills, a remarkable hand-to-hand conflict took place between Colonel [D. J.] Halisy, of the Sixth Kentucky Cavalry, commanding brigade, and two other Federal officers on the one