the evening of the 21st, with a portion of General Turchin's division and Colonel Harrison';s regiment of mounted infantry, to attack them. I was furnished by General Sheridan with the best guide I have ever yet followed. We marched to Salem, and thence, striking out south, marched south through fields and by roads, keeping 3 miles west of the Middleton road. I had designed to surround the rebel camp at day break, but the stupidity of Lieutenant Lawton, Fourth Michigan Cavalry, in breaking the column, caused one and a half hours' delay.
Just as day was breaking, I ascertained we were within 2 miles of the enemy's camp, and near the place he usually posted his pickets. I then ordered a direct attack by the entire column upon the camp, and gave the order myself to gallop for the first mile, and then to go at full speed upon the rebels. I put myself with the advance guard, with Lieutenant O'Connell, Fourth U. S. Cavalry, ordering him to run over the enemy's pickets, and ordered the advance.
Having gone 1 1/2 miles, I looked back, and, to my surprise and indignation, saw no one following. At the same instant I heard shots in front. I sent one orderly after another, and finally rode as fast as my jaded horse could carry me back, and found the entire column at a walk and turned upon a by-road at direct right angle to the road we were going on. By fours, by companies, and by squadrons I turned them back, and soon arrived in the enemy's camp, to find that Lieutenant O'Connell, to whom the word gallant applies, not as a compliment, but in its true old English signification, had, with his intrepid squadron, whipped the enemy out of this three camps. The rebels, with the expection of a few men in the English Confederate Regiment and some Georgians, escaped to the cedar thicket - literally sans culottes. An attempt at a stand was made by the fugitives 1 mile from Fosterville, but they fled upon the approach of our support.
We destroyed probably about 800 stand of arms, all the camp equipage and saddles, blankets, and clothing in all camps, some wagons, and, perhaps, captured about 300 horses. These latter have been put in the different regiments.
The incidents of the affair will be found in the accompanying reports of subordinates. The head of the column, led by General Turchin, not keeping up was a serious blunder. It deprived us of at least 600 prisoners. Perhaps I am to blame for not taking more precautions, but when I lead I certainly have a right to expect every soldier in my command to keep up, and especially when I ride as sorry a nag as the one I was on that morning. However, it is a matter of the past; it was bad luck, and we shall hope for better next time.
I cannot speak in terms too high of the conduct of Lieutenant O'Connell, Fourth U. S. Cavalry, and his brave squadron. He was well assisted by Lieutenants Rendlebrock and Wood. The latter, a most promising and interesting young officer, is since dead of his wound.
With such officers and men our cavalry must soon be what I know it is fast becoming - a real terror to the enemy. To this squadron belongs whatever of the brilliant that may be attacked to the affair.
Major [W. H.] Sinclair, Captain [J.] Hawley, and Lieutenant [W. H.] Greenwood, of my staff charged gallantly with the advance guard.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
D. S. STANLEY,
Major-General and Chief of Cavalry.
Brigadier General JAMES A. GARFIELD,
Chief of Staff, Department of the Cumberland.