War of the Rebellion: Serial 034 Page 0053 Chapter XXXV. OPERATIONS IN CENTRAL KENTUCKY.

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among them. The shell exploding in their immediate vicinity they broke and fled. They did not number over 25 or 30 men.

Being ignorant of the nature of the country, and not knowing the whereabouts of the enemy, I then ordered out my skirmishers and advanced upon the town. When approaching the outskirts of the town, i was met by a citizen, who informed me that the rebels were beyond the town and retreating. I immediately ordered forward the Tenth Kentucky Cavalry, remounted my infantry, and pushed forward in pursuit. On nearing their camp, the enemy made a show of resistance, but, immediately on the approach of my command, fled.

My command had marched rapidly 100 miles, the Tenth Kentucky 135 miles. The horses were weary and jaded; they had scarcely any rest since the 20th. The rebels were well mounted on fresh horses. It was useless to pursue. I, however, ordered Major Brown to pursue them as far as Tick Town, his horses being in the best condition. This he did, capturing a number of prisoners and a number of Government horses and mules, which the rebels were unable to drive off.

I then went into camp at Mount Sterling, and remained there until the afternoon of the 26th. I here received your order congratulating me on getting my command safely across the Kentucky River. I then learned that the rebels were strongly posted over Slate Creek, 13 miles from Mount Sterling. At their position there was a deep stream in front, passable at but one point. On my side there was an almost impenetrable forest; on the rebel side a steep slope and open ground for 300 yards, upon which I would have to deploy my column, after crossing the stream, and under fire. There was no way, so far as I knew, but to march square up in his front, ford the stream, and attack him in his position; 100 determined men could have held this point.

On arriving within 3 miles of his position, I learned that I could ford the creek below, and attack him on his left flank. I ordered Major [R. T.] Williams, Fourteenth Kentucky Cavalry, with 250 men and one howitzer, to move by this route and open the fight, while I moved up and attacked him in front. I then believed that the enemy, having every advantage of position, and being about my equal in numbers, would make a stubborn resistance.

Immediately on hearing of my approach, however, Colonel Cluke ran off with his whole command to Owingsville. This was precisely the way I wanted him to go. I immediately came to the right-about, and ordered Major Williams back to Mount Sterling, believing that the enemy intended to move to Owingsville and North Middletown, and attempt to get out of the State in that direction. Upon consultation with some of my officers, I determined to move to Owingsville, get in the enemy's rear, and drive him in the direction of Maysville.

Upon arriving at Mount Sterling, I received the order of the general commanding to move immediately to Lexington. In this order the general commanding stated that the enemy in heavy force were moving upon Lexington. The couriers informed me that there had been fighting at Clay's Ferry, and that the enemy were crossing in large force at Boonesborough.

For reasons already explained, I did not believe this order to be genuine, and, being informed that the couriers were suspicious personages, and unable to give an intelligible account of themselves, I believed it to be a Morganish trick; but knowing the penalty of disobeying a genuine order, I did, to the regret of my whole command, obey, and moved toward Paris. I did this because Paris was the nearest telegraphic point, and but 5 miles out of the way. At Paris I could settle