War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0294 MO., ARK., KANS., IND. T., AND DEPT. N. W. Chapter XXXIV.

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Saint Louis, and Iron Mountain Railroad. We left Fredericktown at 12 o'clock at night, and proceeded toward Farmington. At 5 o'clock in the morning, we stopped, fed our horses, and rested for two hours, and proceeded in direction of Farmington. We traveled through the woods and by roads until we got in the vicinity of Farmington, when, through a fault of my guide, we entered a public place called Valley Forge, on the Ironton and Saint Genevieve plank road. This was the first place we seen, being discovered by the enemy. We found some few enrolled militia, some of whom escaped; the balance we captured and turned loose on parole of honor, not having time to retain them as prisoners, knowing that our men had been discovered. It being important that we should travel as rapidly as possible, we went night and day, avoiding all public roads, impressing our pilots as we went, until we got within 1 mile of the Big River Bridge, which we had anticipated attacking, but when arriving a short distance of said bridge I found that it was strongly guarded by 250 infantry and a section of artillery. Knowing that there would be an improbability of our success at that point, I thought it best to make an attack on some portion of the road, so we proceeded south 3 miles to what is known as Mill Creek Bridges, which consists of three bridges of 100 to 150 feet in length, and all being within 300 yards of each other. When we got within half a mile of the bridges, we halted the command in an obscure hollow between two mountains, and Captain Lineback and myself went to the summit of the mountain on the east side of the road, which overlooked those bridges, to ascertain the strength and position of the enemy guarding those bridges. When we arrived at our place of reconnaissance, we found that the bridges were situated as follows: Mill Creek runs due north and south at this point and empties into Big River 3 miles north of the aforesaid bridges. When we got to the point overlooking those bridges, we saw that there were about 250 guarding the north bridge, 50 guarding the south bridge, and about 50 guarding the middle bridge. We saw they were not expecting an attack at that time, although they had not expected it the night previous (this was on the evening of April 24.) I saw there was no chance to dismount my men and make an attack without being discovered, and if so, I knew it would be a failure, as there were two block houses -one at the north and one at the south bridge-so I knew that our only success would be to surprise them and keep them stampeded until we could fire one bridge and cut the telegraph wire. There was one cut in the mountain which entered the creek valley about 60 yards from and opposite the center bridge, which was the only place we could make a charge on them mounted, so we quietly moved down the ravine until within 100 yards of the bridge, when we heard the whistle of a train coming from Ironton going in the direction of Saint Louis. We took advantage of that, and just as this train had passed the middle bridge, while their attention was drawn to that, we made a charge on the bridge guards and succeeded in stampeding them from and through the bridges. When we charged on the middle bridge, we captured 16 privates and 2 lieutenants of the Twenty-fourth Missouri Infantry. As soon as we had taken the bridge, I ordered the bridge fired and the telegraph cut, which was done with dispatch. At the same time I was so much interested about the destruction of the bridge and the telegraph that I forgot to send the prisoners to the rear.

In about half an hour after we had taken possession of the bridge those guards from the upper and lower bridges got around on the west side of the mountains overlooking those bridges on the west side of the