If Marshall or Pegram is coming, here is the place to fight them. No use killing my horses running them through the mountains until I know what they are about.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
BEN. P. RUNKLE,
Brigadier General Q. A. GILLMORE,
MOUNT STERLING, KY., March 5, 1863.
I have the honor to report the part taken by the Second Brigade, Army of Central Kentucky, in driving the rebel force, under Colonel [R. S.] Cluke, from the State of Kentucky.
Information having been received that the rebels were crossing the Cumberland River at Stingall's Ferry, below Somerset, I was ordered by the commanding general to move on to Crab Orchard with all my effective force.
I moved on the evening of February 20, with a part of the Forty-fifth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, part of the Tenth Kentucky Cavalry, and Marsh's howitzer battery. Marched 6 miles, and encamped on Hanging Fork.
Marched at daylight on the morning of the 21st, by way of Stanford and Crab Orchard; was joined at Stanford by a battalion of the Seventh Ohio, Cavalry, Major [A.] Norton commanding. Reached Crab Orchard about noon, and was joined there by Colonel [I.] Garrard with two battalions of the Seventh Ohio Cavalry. Having no orders to proceed farther than Crab Orchard, and it being uncertain which road the rebels would go from Somerset, I sent forward a scouting party from Crab Orchard.
On the morning of the 22nd, received conflicting reports concerning the whereabouts of the rebels. I sent Lieutenant-Colonel [G. G.] Miner, with 300 men, to Mount Vernon, the most reliable information pointing to that place as the most important point of the rebel route.
On the evening of the 22nd, a courier from Colonel Miner informed me that the rebels had moved toward Richmond. At the same time received the order of the general commanding that the rebels must be followed up, and must not be permitted to get out of the State. At the same time received a dispatch from Colonel [S. A.] Gilbert, commanding First Brigade, That the Forty-fourth Ohio Volunteer Infantry (400 mounted men) was at Danville, and asking me if I wanted them. I immediately ordered the major commanding a detachment of the Forty-fifth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, with two howitzers, to join Lieutenant-Colonel Miner, and ordered Colonel Miner to cut off the retreat of the rebels. I received a dispatch from the general commanding that the ferries on the Kentucky River had been attended to. The bridge over Dick's River, at Crab Orchard had been burned in the summer, and the rive was impassable. I therefore telegraphed to Colonel gilbert to send me the Forty-fourth Ohio Infantry to met me at Stanford, and I moved toward Richmond by way of Stanford and Lancaster. Received a dispatch from Colonel Gilbert that the Forty-fourth Ohio Volunteer Infantry would meet me at Lancaster, going by the way of Camp Dick Robinson, and would meet me at 6 a. m. on the morning of the 23rd. The Forty-fourth Ohio, under Lieutenant Colonel [H. B.] Wilson, did not come until 12 m., and numbered 205 men. Notwithstanding my force was smaller than I