War of the Rebellion: Serial 034 Page 0055 Chapter XXXV. OPERATIONS IN CENTRAL KENTUCKY.

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with shell. Upon his getting the range and dropping a shell in their ranks, they immediately retired.

I returned to Mount Sterling, previous to which I sent Major Williams, with a small body of mounted infantry, to reconnoiter. The commanding general had ordered me not to pursue them in the direction of Western Virginia, and I was satisfied they had taken this route, and it was useless to pursue. I further discovered, on retracing my steps to Mount Sterling, that it was with great difficulty I could bring the howitzer battery back to Mount Sterling, the horses being utterly used up.

In this skirmish the rebels acknowledge the loss of 10 killed, several wounded, while we took 16 prisoners. I know that by the bursting of one shell the rebels lost 2 men and 3 horses killed, and 3 horses wounded. The inhabitants report that they threw their dead into the stream and carried off their wounded. I went into camp at Mount Sterling to await orders.

When I marched from Richmond, I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Miner to move toward supplies and to take care of his men. Learning afterward that he was at Richmond, I ordered him to Irvine, to guard the river, and to guard, if necessary, the crossing of the rebels. This order, he informs me, he never received. Lieutenant-Colonel Miner has not reported to me, and the movements of his command since he moved from Richmond I know nothing of.

In regard to the conduct of my command: As to my subordinate officers, I have only to thank them, especially Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson, Majors Brown and Norton, and Captain Marsh, for their hearty co-operation, their active and energetic support, and their obedience and gallantry on all occasions. As for my men, they have endured hardships and privations without a murmur, have ridden day after day and night after night without sleep or rest, and have pursued eagerly and willingly when so exhausted that they fell from their horses. I only regret that the rebels would not give them a change to show their courage.

Feeling and believing that my whole command had done its duty, and that its conduct will meet with your approval, I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BEN. P. BUNKLE,

Colonel, Commanding Second Brigade.

Captain W. L. M. BURGER,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Indorsement.]

HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF CENTRAL KENTUCKY, Lexington, Ky., March 17, 1863.

Respectfully forwarded to department headquarters. Certain inaccuracies in Colonel Runkle's report demand notice. His order to destroy the ferries was not countermanded by me, but was a reiteration of mine from Louisville of February 22. I deemed it essential that they should be destroyed. A portion of Cluke's command swam the Kentucky River, and they had enough start of Colonel Runkle to have all crossed in that way. The colonel's prospect of catching Cluke was very slight after he was once allowed to get by him. It was simply a chase after an enemy, already one day's march ahead, who kept his command well mounted al the time by pressing horses, who always had choice of several roads, and carried with him about 150 extra animals. After Cluke retreated into the hills beyond Mount Sterling, and knowing the