expected, I determined to move on the enemy at Richmond. Believing the ferries to be guarded, and that Lieutenant-Colonel Miner would be able to cut off his retreat, I was confident of cutting the enemy to pieces between Richmond and the river. When I arrived at Richmond, I found the enemy had crossed the river at Clay's Ferry and Boonesborough, and moved toward Winchester, avowing their intention of burning the Paris bridge. I was further informed they had destroyed the ferries behind them. My men were weary, and many of their hourses were unshod. I received further intelligence also that the rebels had destroyed the Clay and boonesborough Ferries. I sent forward Captain [W. D.] Ratcliffe, Tenth Kentucky Cavalry, to reconnoiter and report to me the condition of the ferries. Captain Ratcliffe reported to me that they were all right.
As soon as the horses could be shod and put in marching trim, I sent forward Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson with the detachment of his regiment, Tenth Kentucky Cavalry, and the battery, to cross the river at Boonesborough Ferry. I then waited until I saw my train put in motion and the Seventh Ohio cavalry reshod their horses. I sent back to Danville, under command of Major [J.] McIntire, some of the Seventh Ohio Cavalry, reported to me by Colonel Garrard unable to march. I then moved the Seventh Ohio Cavalry to Clay's Ferry and crossed the Kentucky River. I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson to form junction with me at Winchester and move forward to that place. I gave orders to destroy the ferries, to prevent the enemy from doubling back on me and escaping across the Kentucky River. This order was countermanded by the general commanding.
On arriving at Winchester, at 12 midnight on the 24th, I found the enemy had left Winchester that afternoon, and that Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson, with his portion of my command, was moving on the Mount Starling road in rear of them. I pushed forward, and joined him 4 miles from Mount Sterling about 3 o'clock on the morning of the 25th.
Previous to my joining Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson, and about half-way between Winchester and Mount Sterling, he had a night skirmish with a party of Cluke's command. the enemy had posted between 150 and 200 men at Stoner Bridge, intending to ambush my command. They were discovered, however, by the advance guard, and fired on. They immediately opened fire, but the darkness of the night prevented their doing much damage.
The enemy immediately advanced upon the main body, but the energy and activity of Colonel Wilson, who brought up the Forty-fourth Ohio Infantry, and the coolness of Major [J. M.] Brown, who held them in check, frustrated their attempts, and, on the appearance of the Forty-fourth Ohio, the enemy broke and fled.
We lost 1 man, of the Tenth Kentucky Cavalry, shot through the lungs. The loss of the enemy I am unable to state, as they left but 1 man dead and 1 wounded. The rebel prisoners report more. Our ignorance of the character of the country and the situation of the town prevented my nearer approach to Mount Sterling until daybreak.
At daybreak on the 25th, I moved forward to Mount Sterling. About 2 miles from Mount Sterling I met citizens who informed me that the enemy were retreating, and that the rear guard had just passed within 1 mile of Mount Sterling.
A courier from my advance informed me that the enemy had halted and formed a line 1 mile this side of Mount Sterling. Believing this to be their rear guard, and nothing else, and wishing to drive them out as speedily as possible, I ordered Captain [J. E.] Marsh to throw a shell