my force was too small, having only about 40 men present, to keep him back on the flanks, and that I would certainly be surrounded if I did not hastily retire. I accordingly fell back through their lines, and brought them, by so doing, immediately in our front again. We were pressed so hotly from the onset by such superior numbers that it was impossible to take our prisoners to the rear, so they all escaped except one, who was taken along by Captain Carpenter, and we only brought in 2 of the horses. When we gained the cover of the woods on the north side of the road we made a stand, and, through the "Butternuts" out-numbered us eight to on, and came down shouting, "Give the Yankee sons of b - s no quarter," they could not drive us from our position except as they were about to flank us. We repeatedly drove them, and at one charge, the last we made, swept them clean from the woods.
At this period they retired to remount, leaving only a few skirmishers to harass us. Finding my men suffering from excessive thirst and great exhaustion, I ordered them to fall back, which they did in good order, to a strong and safe position, where we rested until midnight. Having lost my guide, and not being familiar with the country, I found great difficulty in getting out to the road. About daylight, however, we struck a mountain road, which, from its course, I judged would lead us out of the wilderness, and which we followed until we discovered in the path before us about 50 men, whom we knew, from their peculiar dress, were rebel soldiers. Being too weak to engage them, we returned and retreat to the river, where we found a raft; embarked, cut it loose, and floated down to the ferry, reaching camp at 4 p. m., having been out forty-three hours.
Upon hearing guns Captain Carpenter immediately started to my assistance, but was met on the way by rebel cavalry, which he gallantly repulsed. Deeming it impossible to re-enforce me, however, he fell back on the road until met by Captain Barnes and Allen. Upon consultation it was prudent for Captain Barnes to fall rapidly back and hold the Narrows, while Captain Allen, with his whole detachment, would fall back leisurely. Before Captain Allen reached the reserve post, the rebel cavalry dashed down upon him in great force, but were unable to rout him. He was compelled, however, to fall back, which he did in good order until he reached the reserve, the rebels not caring to press very hard after him.
In the last engagement Captain Allen lost 1 man killed, 1 officer (Lieutenant [C. A.] Lounsberry) wounded and prisoner, and 1 missing. In the first encounter Lieutenant McCollum lost 1 killed, and Lieutenant Knight and 1 man taken prisoner, and 1 missing. The companies of kentucky Cavalry lost 2 killed, 1 wounded, and 6 missing.
I cannot speak too highly of the conduct of both officers and men engaged in this terribly unequal strife. That 40 men held 300 at bay for over two hours and finally drove them back, or that 30 should repulse 250, shows with what determined bravery they stood, and with what desperate energy they fought. While I must speak of the conduct of all in terms of highest praise, I am forced by conviction of what appears to me to be largely his due, to mention the name of Sergt. A. A. Day, Company H, who stood foremost in the fight, where the bullets rained through the whole of the engagement. Allow me, sir, to recommend him to your favorable notice.
During the whole engagement at Alcorn's, I was nobly supported by Captain Wilson, of the Henry Rifles (Twelfth Kentucky Cavalry), and Captain Searcy, of the Ninth Kentucky Cavalry, both of whom were heroes in the fight. The enemy reports a large number killed and