Jones, with 65 men, I assigned to the Lewisburg road; the second, under Captain [M.] O'Reilly, with 62 men, I assigned to the Carter Creek road, and the other, with 73 men, I kept under my own command upon the direct road to Columbia.
I instructed Major Jones and Captain O'Reilly to proceed upon their respective roads for 6 or 7 miles, and then to scout through the country toward the Columbia turnpike, an join me at or near the brick church, some 7 miles from Franklin.
The distance to be marched by the columns on the Lewisburg and Carter Creek roads being some 4 miles longer than that on the Columbia road, I marched very slowly, so as to give them time to execute the movement, and, if possible, to get into the rear of the strong cavalry picket that usually occupies that position.
Slowly as I marched, I reached that point (the church) about half an hour before Major Jones, and after waiting about half an hour longer on Captain O'Reilly, and hearing nothing of him, I determined to move on slowly in the direction of Columbia, hoping that the captain would come after and overtake me.
I proceeded on the Columbia road about 2 miles, and till within 1 1/4 miles of Butler's Station, when my advance guard surprised and captured Surgeon
, of Colonel Wheeler's cavalry, just as he was in the act of taking a parting kiss from a most beautiful girl, who had by her surpassing charms inveigled him from the safety of his camp.
I then countermarched and retraced my route to Franklin. During this time I heard nothing of Captain O'Reilly, but as I marched to the town a messenger caught me with the intelligence that the captain was missing and was supposed to be captured, though the remainder of his command was safe.
On the road leading from the Little Harpeth Creek (about 9 miles from Franklin) to the church on the Columbia road, and when about 2 miles from the church, Captain O'Reilly's command captured 2 Confederate soldiers, one of whom was sick in bed in a house by the roadside. Captain O'Reilly ordered the column to proceed while he entered the house for the purpose of paroling the sick prisoner. This was the last that was seen of him, as, very soon after, a collum of the enemy, supposed by Lieutenant [G.] Smith, who examined it carefully with his glass, to be about 500 men, came in sight, moving down on the road leading directly from Butler's Station to the house where the captain had dismounted, and immediately afterward his horse, with the bridle-reins hanging about his feet, joined the column.
Lieutenant Smith, who succeeded to the command, did not deem it prudent with so small a force the enemy, and in about an hour afterward brought his column safely into camp.
The loss of Captain O'Reilly will be very much felt in the regiment, as he was a most efficient and gallant officer. I believe he was captured by the connivance of the family who occupy the house, and would most respectfully ask permission to capture all the male members of sufficient age and hold them as hostages for the captain.
THOS. J. JORDAN,
Colonel Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry.
Lieutenant GEORGE K. SPEED,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.