On my arrival at the Owingsville pike, I found that the column had not moved in that direction, but learned that they had followed up the road over which I had chased the enemy, to Howard's Mills. I immediately took my command back to the point I had left, making a useless march of 7 miles for our already wearied horses. On my arrival I found the command drawn up in line of battle, firing shell at the retreating enemy, with little or no effect. The command, men and officers, plead with him to let them cross Slate Creek and fight them, but their entreaties were all in vain. After he had amused himself firing shell at them for a while, he moved to command back about a quarter of a mile, fed, and had the men make coffee, making a stay of about two hours, when we marched back to Mount Sterling and went into camp. Thus a most excellent opportunity, and perhaps the last, of forcing the enemy into a fight was thrown away.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major, Commanding Second Battalion Seventh Ohio Vol. Cavalry.
Numbers 4. Report of Captain Emanuel Kauffman, One hundredth Ohio Infantry.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report to you the following:On the 21st day of February, 1863, at 8 p. m., Lieutenant Miller, of Wolford's cavalry, arrived in camp with the information that a large force of rebels were in or near Mount Vernon, 28 miles from Richmond. A dispatch was immediately forwarded to your headquarters, which was received at headquarters at 1 a. m., February 22. The courier not having returned, another dispatch was forwarded at 6 a. m., February 22, to see whether any re-enforcements were coming. Not getting any information, I held the works until 10 a. m., when the scouts came in and reported the enemy in large force within 3 miles of camp. I at once ordered the men from the work of blockading the gap, and ordered the stores, camp-equipage, &c., that the men could not carry away to be burned. I had only one team in camp, which was used to convey sick and convalescents; the other company team was used to convey sick and convalescents; the other company team was used to carry rations for a scouting party to Big Hill (30 men under Lieutenant [J. S. S.] Champion), which was so ordered from your headquarters.
I retreated to the Kentucky River and crossed at Clay's Ferry. About 2.30 p. m. I again sent a dispatch to know whether I should make a stand, and whether re-enforcements were coming. No orders were received. At 6 p. m. I entertained some fears that the enemy would cross at Coombs' Ferry and cut off the retreat. I again ordered the men to fall back to Lexington. At about 8 p. m. I received a dispatch from headquarters to make a stand at the river, and, if necessary, destroy the ferry. I ordered the cavalry to return to the river, and, if necessary, destroy the ferry. I ordered the cavalry to return to the river for that purpose; also ordered my men to return. The cavalry returned, and reported 300 rebels on this side. My men being fatigued from the march, I again ordered them to fall back to Lexington, where I arrived at 1.30 a. m., February 23, 1863.