command of Lieutenant [C.] Stierlin, the whole force amounting to 270 men. On the night of the 6th, I reached Hutton Valley without meeting with anything of importance.
On the 7th, about 15 miles south of Hutton Valley, the advance, under command of Lieutenant Benz, came upon a band of rebels, numbering about 20. Our men fired on the rebels, when they fled, and a running fight ensued, in which 2 of the rebels were killed. I encamped that night about 15 miles southeast of West Plains.
On the morning of the 8th, when I had advanced about 8 miles from my last camp in a southeasterly direction, the advance guard, under Lieutenant [A.] Muntzel, was fired on by a party of guerrillas, numbering from 25 to 30, and posted on an eminence. Lieutenant Muntzel charged on the rebels, when they fled precipitately, pursued by him. In this skirmish there were 3 rebels killed by the men under Lieutenant Muntzel, and 5 more by the scouts and flankers. On this same day I proceeded 2 miles farther to Gouge's Mill, at which place I found a notice posted up, calling on the citizens to enlist in the Confederate army. I surrounded this mill and took the inmates by surprise. There were 5 Confederate soldiers, 2 of whom belonged to Burbridge and the remaining 3 to Freeman's command. This mill I found to be a rendezvous for the guerrillas and horse thieves which infest this vicinity. I also found a gunsmith shop at this place, where these lawless bands get their arms repaired. Both of these buildings I had burned. I then proceeded in the direction of Spring River Mills, but when only 3 miles on the way, the advance was again fired on by the rebels, who were concealed in a corn-field on the rise of a hill. A slight skirmish then took place, when 5 of the rebels (as near as I can learn), and a fine horse, supposed to belong to the notorious Nick Yates, were killed. I then proceeded through a rough country to Spring River Mills. My scouts being in the advance, saw 3 men running with guns on their shoulders. The scouts gave chase, and succeeded in killing them all. I still kept on, and reached the mill about 4 o'clock in the evening. At this place I found no rebels, but arrested one man on suspicion, who, I think, will yet prove to be a Confederate soldier. This mill, although I found no rebels there, is nevertheless a great rendezvous for these guerrillas. Colonel Freeman encamped the greater part of the summer at this place. Part of his camp I found still standing. He had vacated it about two weeks before, and is now supposed to be about 35 miles south of this, with a very small force. This mill, on account of its reputed bad name and my own knowledge of it heretofore, I had burned, with a quantity of flour and corn, which was in it. After feeding, and resting about two hours, I started back in a northerly course to a good camping place, about 4 miles from the mill. My scouts, at this place, went out and found 5 rebels, all armed and on foot, running to the woods. The scouts succeeded in killing 2 of these. The house at which I was now camped I found to be a notorious den. I found one Minie and several small bird rifles; also some unserviceable United States horse equipments. The house I burned. The bird rifles and horse equipments I also destroyed.
The next morning, having fulfilled my orders, and my horses being very much broken down, I started back, and, after marching a few miles, I sent Lieutenant Muntzel, with 30 men, about 5 miles in advance. They reached the vicinity of Thomasville, when they were fired on by a party of rebels hid in the woods, and a corporal of Lieutenant Muntzel's command slightly wounded in the left arm. That night I encamped 4 miles north of Thomasville.
The next day I marched to Jack's Fork, over a very rough country,