road, and formed, marched up in line of battle, and obtained a position overlooking us, being a perpendicular height of 300 feet, giving us a very severe fire. Seeing there was no chance to get at them, and that it was everlasting destruction to us, I ordered my men to retreat, but not until I had 2 men killed and 6 wounded (4 severely), 12 horses killed and disabled. I carried off all my wounded and some of the small-arms, such as guns, pistols, and one officers' sword, but had to abandon the prisoners we had previously taken. I then learned that there had been a force of 2,000 cavalry sent out from Ironton to capture me and my party, and it was their intention to intercept me in the vicinity of Farmington. I would say, however, when we left the bridge it was well fired, and some hundred yards of the telegraph wire cut to pieces. I am well satisfied, and so is every man that was in my command, that the bridge was destroyed. When we started back, we traveled night and day, only stopping to feed about once every twenty-four hours. We suffered much from want of sleep and fatigue. On our return we traveled through the woods and by-roads all the way. When we got within about 5 miles of Farmington (east), we came on a party of about 300 Federals. We formed in line of battle, but before they got within range I concluded it would not be prudent to fight them, as they had other forces which would soon concentrate and destroyed us; so just as the enemy were making preparations to charge us, I ordered my little band to scatter and concentrate some miles south of that. This was on the eve of the 26th.
On the morning of the 27th, by 10 o'clock, we had all got together, except two, who had stopped at their homes. This brought us within about 12 miles of where we had last heard of your command. We then felt as though we were out of the lion's den, but such proved not to be the case, for when we got within 2 miles of Patton, I learned your command had left the evening before in the direction of Cape Girardeau.
At that time we could distinctly hear firing in that direction, and also learned that the enemy was again in my front, passing through Patton following up your command, which force I learned to be about 3,000 strong. I halted in a secreted place, and waited until they had all passed; then I crossed the road immediately in their rear and made in direction of Dallas. When I reached Dallas I learned your pickets had been on the Dallas and Jackson road the day before; so I got an old, reliable citizen to carry a dispatch for me, and ordered him to report by 12 o'clock that night; but he did not return, so I took it for granted you were farther south; so I made in direction of Bloomfield. About 2 o'clock the same evening I came to the Bloomfield and Cape Girardeau road, and ascertained your rear guard had been gone about two hours previous; so we rode rapidly and overtook you when you were crossing the Castor River, near Bloomfield.
I can say with pleasure that both officers and men under my command acted most gallantly. Captain Lineback, of Burbridge's regiment, gallantly led the charge when we attacked the bridge. Private Robert N. Hagood, Company C, Gordon's regiment, and some men besides, whose names I am unable to record, made a great display of bravery and daring. The reason I cannot give their names, I was not furnished with a list with the details. I hope to be able to do so soon.
JNO. M. MUSE,
Captain, Commanding Detachment.
Captain [W. J.] McARTHUR,