War of the Rebellion: Serial 034 Page 0307 Chapter XXXV. EXPEDITION TO MONTICELLO, KY., ETC.

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Numbers 8. Report of Captain Wendell D. Wiltsie, Twentieth Michigan Infantry.


Cumberland River, Ky., May 11, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to report that, on the 8th instant, I received orders from Colonel Jacob, commanding at this post, to proceed, with a force of 100 men, to where a band of guerrillas, under the notorious [Champ.] Ferguson, was supposed to be lurking in the mountains between here and Monticello, and, if possible, to discover and break it up. I accordingly took 25 men of my own company (H), under Lieutenant McCollum; 30 from Companies B, F, G, I, and K, all picked men, under Captain Allen; a company of 28 men, under Captain Searcy, of the Ninth Kentucky Cavalry, and a company of Henry Rifles (27), under Captain Wilson, Twelfth Kentucky Cavalry, all dismounted, and moved from the river at 9 p. m.

At the Narrows, where Captain barnes was stationed with his company as a reserve force, I left the Monticello road on our right, and proceeded by mountain paths to Harmon's Creek; thence back to the road at Alcorn's, which is 9 miles from the ferry and 7 from Monticello. From here we proceeded south to Beaver Creek, and returned to Alcorn's at 2 p. m. of Saturday, the 9th instant, not having met any armed force, but capturing in all 12 prisoners and 5 horses, supposed to belong to the band we were in search of, and burning Alcorn's distillery, which was a lurking place for bushwhackers. Here we rested for dinner, the men being very much exhausted, having been almost continually on the march from the time we started over steep mountains - difficult both in ascent and descent - through creeks and raviness, with wet feet and without food or sleep.

My first instructions were to return to camp by 12 m. Saturday; but finding that I had been greatly deceived in the distance I was to make, and that it was impossible to do any important part of the work allotted me, I early in the morning dispatched a messenger to colonel Jacob, to inform him of what I had already done, and to ask an extension of time until 4 p. m., when, if not prevented by an enemy, I would arrive in camp. Colonel Jacob granted my request, and I proceeded to complete my task. When my messenger returned, I should not fail to state that he informed me that rebel cavalry had been seen on the road between me and the reserve at the Narrows. I immediately took the precaution to send Captain Carpenter, with 24 men, back 2 miles on the main road to a cross-road, to be within striking distance should Captain Allen, who had gone a short distance back in the mountains with 9 men to examine a ravine and rock house, be attacked, and at the same time to keep a stick watch over the roads.

We had not rested at Alcorn's more than half an hour when my pickets toward Monticello were furiously attacked by rebel cavalry, whom we at first supposed to be guerrillas, but who were Morgan's advance guard of 300 men. They dismounted instantly upon receiving the first fire, and attempted to surround us under cover of the woods. Upon hearing the alarms shots, I immediately threw Company H into the road with fixed bayonets, and the cavalry under Captain Wilson forward to the support of the pickets, while Lieutenant Knight, with 6 men, was left to guard the prisoners, all of whom were probably taken prisoner before getting away from Alcorn's house. I very soon discovered that, while I could keep the enemy from advancing in front,