War of the Rebellion: Serial 034 Page 0057 Chapter XXXV. OPERATIONS IN CENTRAL KENTUCKY.

Search Civil War Official Records

from Winchester to Mount Sterling, on the 2nd day of March, 1863; also the condition of the commanders:About 7 a. m. the command was on the road, a detachment of the mounted infantry and one piece of Captain Marsh's battery as an advance guard; the Seventh Ohio Volunteer Cavalry in advance of the column; Tenth Kentucky next, followed by the mounted infantry and artillery. After we had proceeded about 3 miles, Colonel Runkle ordered me to take my command (giving me a guide) and move off to the right through the fields and come into the road again about 6 miles ahead, stating that the rebel pickets were reported stationed at a bridge some 5 miles [distant], and he wanted to capture them. I immediately proceeded with my command in the direction ordered, moving as rapidly as circumstances would permit, making the route of 8 or more miles in about one and one-fourth hours, striking the road at the point designated, and on my arrival I found the advance guard and Tenth Kentucky Cavalry in advance of the point named.

The movement of the column to this point before it was possible for me to reach it, defeated the whole object of the circuitous march I was ordered to make, at which I was very much surprised. I took my place behind the Tenth Kentucky, as ordered, and moved on with the column about 1 mile, when Lieutenant [H. E.] Ware, one of Colonel Runkle's aides, rode up beside me, and I suggested the propriety of sending a detachment to within 1 mile of Mount Sterling, and there turn to the right and intercept the Tick Town road, so as to cut off their retreat in that direction, with which suggestion the lieutenant coincided, and went back to consult with the colonel in regard to the movements. In a few moments he came back with an order for me to take my command and move forward "like hell" to the point where he fired shells at the pickets on our first visit to Mount Sterling, which is about 1 mile from town. I moved forward with my command lively, but before reaching the point designated I ran into their picketts, and took after them at full speed (knowing that they would be able to get around on the pike before I could cut across the fields and intercept them on the Tick Town road, should they choose to retreat in that direction). We pursued them very closely, and captured 1 prisoner before reaching town. On their arrival at the center of the town, they wheeled into line and fired one volley at us, wounding 1 man; but our chase being too hot for them, they left in a hurry, holding up their hands and arms, showing wounds they received to the citizens as they left. Just before entering town I sent back a courier to Colonel Runkle for re-enforcements. We pursued them hotly, capturing 12 prisoners, 2 of whom were wounded, and killed several horses for them. After we had pursued them some 3 miles from town, and a majority of our horses and given out, and no re-enforcements had come up, I dispatched another messenger for re-enforcements, and he found Colonel Runkle with part of his troops in line of battle about 1 1/2 miles from town. We kept up the pursuit until we ran them into their camp across Slate Creek, which was about 6 miles from Mount Sterling, after which I took a commanding position in full view of their camp, and was watching their movements until the column should come up. I had been in that position but a few moments when I received an order from Colonel Runkle to take my command and move across to the Owingsville pike and join the column. I debated for a moment the propriety of obeying such an order under the circumstances, but concluded to obey it, and proceeded in that direction, leaving the enemy to dispose of their forces as they pleased.