those of the enrolled militia stationed at the mill, in regard to the direction we should take. It had been my intention to make an expedition into the White River country below Dubuque, where it is said a band of marauders have a considerable number of horses. These marauders I wished to destroy or drive out, and to capture their horses; but, having received information that a rebel captain by the name of Mooney, with 75 men, were encamped at Tolbert's Ferry, on White River, 60 miles from us, I resolved, with the advice of the other officers, to go and capture them. I received a re-enforcement of 60 men from the enrolled militia at the mill, and marched 20 miles in the direction of Tolbert's Ferry.
The march was continued on the morning of the 11th, but, instead of keeping the road, I bore to the eastward, and marched through the wood, under the guidance of an excellent woodman by the name of Willoughby Hall. I arrived within 8 miles of the ferry by dusk, and stopped to feed and rest in the dense forest, near an out of the way corn-field. During the time of our stay at this place, I sent Lieutenant John R. Kelso, with 8 men, to capture some rebel pickets that I supposed would be found at the house of a rebel by the name of Brixy. Lieutenant Kelso soon returned, having found and captured 2 rebels, with their guns, and 1 horse. From these prisoners I learned that Captain Mooney's men had temporarily disbanded, and were not to assemble again for two days. I felt a little disappointed upon the reception of this intelligence, but I determined to proceed and make a dash upon a band of armed rebels that I learned were at the saltpeter cave, on the other side of White River, 7 miles from Captain Mooney's house. At midnight my little band emerged from the dark wood, where we had been resting, and silently wound along the hills in the direction of Captain Mooney's. Lieutenant Kelso led the advance, and, by the most excellent management, succeeded in capturing 7 or 8 rebels, who lived near the road, without giving any alarm to the country around. Just before day we captured a rebel recruiting officer by the name of Mings, formerly a lieutenant-colonel. At the break of day we reached Captain Mooney's residence. We took him, with one other man, together with 15 stand of small-arms, most of which we destroyed, not being able to carry them. We also recaptured 8 horses, which had been taken from the enrolled militia stationed at Lawrence's Mill.
I remained here to feed and await the arrival of a party that I had sent out, with orders to meet at this point. They soon came in, bringing several prisoners. I then sent Captain [P. T.] Green, of the enrolled militia, back with the prisoners, 17 in number, and 25 men as an escort. I then divided the rest of my command into two divisions, sending one, under command of Captain [J. H.] Sallee, accompanied by Lieutenant Bates, formerly of the Sixty-fourth Illinois, to march up the river on this side, and to await in concealment till I began the attack with the other division, which was to cross and approach from the other side.
It was just noon when we arrived at the cave. The rebels were at their dinner, all unconscious of our approach. When at last they discovered us, they mistook us for a company of their own men which they were expecting, and they did not discover their error until we were in half pistol shot of them. I ordered them to surrender, which they did, without firing a gun.
They numbered 23, of whom 3 were left, being unable to travel. Their arms were mostly shot guns and rifles, which I ordered to be destroyed. We also captured 4 mules and 2 wagons. The wagons, however, we could not bring away; also 3 horses were taken. I ordered the salt