the genuineness of the order. If it were not genuine, I could move directly back upon Cluke, as I thought he could not make his escape. If the order should prove genuine, and the report brought by the couriers should prove true, I knew my little force would be cut to pieces at Winchester by the rebels, reported to be crossing at Boonesborough.
On arriving at Paris on the morning of the 27th, I found the reported advance of the rebels was a false alarm. I halted to rest my men and horses, and to await orders from the general commanding. I received an order to pursue Cluke and use him up. I proceeded to carry out this order. I took every precaution to cut off communication between Paris and Mount Sterling, and sent Lieutenant Trimble Williams, a brave and gallant soldier, to Mount Sterling. He went into the town among the rebels, and gained all the information I desired, and reported to me on the following morning.
On the morning of the 28th, I sent forward Captain [J. M.] Taylor, of the Tenth Kentucky Cavalry, on the Paris and Mount Sterling road, and Major [William] Reaney, of the Seventh Ohio Cavalry, on the Winchester and Mount Sterling road, with instructions to drive in the enemy's pickets on these roads and annoy them as much as possible. I then made every exertion to place my command in the best possible condition. I procured reliable guides. I found that I could move my whole command between the Mount Sterling and Paris and Mount Sterling and Winchester pikes, and that I could be among the rebels before they could have any idea of my whereabouts.
Captain Taylor performed his duty, a thing which he never fails to do. Major Reaney has never reported to me, but I learn he went to Winchester, placed his pickets upon the road, and took, as it were, possession of the town; that four of his men, on guard, while eating supper at the toll-gate on the Mount Sterling pike, were captured by a few straggling rebels. Upon learning this, I understand Major Reaney fell back to a church somewhere on the Lexington pike, and informed the general command by courier that the rebels were coming to Winchester in force. The commanding general then commanded me to take Winchester at daylight. I immediately moved to obey this order. I arrived at Winchester on the morning of March 1, and found Colonel [W. P.] Sanders, Sixth [Fifth] Kentucky Cavalry, with a detachment of mounted infantry, but no rebels. To move forward then to Mount Sterling was to move with a body of men who had had no sleep for two nights, and that I would arrive at Mount Sterling late in the afternoon. I therefore remained in Winchester until the morning of March 2. I then moved forward to Mount Sterling to attack the enemy. In the mean time I learned they had changed their camp.
On arriving at Mount Sterling, I ordered the cavalry forward to attack the enemy, while I supported them with the infantry and artillery. There were about 200 rebels in Mount Sterling, with their pickets 3 miles this side.
Major Norton, with 100 men of the Seventh Ohio Cavalry, drove them through the town, and, supported by Major [J. M.] Brown, of the Tenth Kentucky Cavalry, pursued them 6 miles beyond the town, to Howard's Mills. I moved up rapidly with the howitzers and mounted infantry, and found the enemy posted, with Slate Creek on their front, on a high hill. I determined to cross and attack them, and brought up my howitzers to protect my men while fording the creek. I discovered on my nearer approach that they had no intention of fighting, and that to cross the creek would only be to weary my horses, some of which were utterly used up. I therefore ordered Captain Marsh to open upon them