In the rapid advance and charge of my First Brigade, in the close hand-to-hand contest, and in the crowd of the rapidly fleeing enemy, it is impossible to state the exact number of prisoners taken, my forces sending prisoners as rapidly as captured to the rear, and, pushing on to the lower bridge across Duck River, drove such of the enemy as attempted to escape without surrender into the river. Upward of 175 or 200 were either killed on the river bank or drowned in their attempt to escape by swimming. The enemy were completely routed and demoralized, and darkness alone prevented the capture of the entire rebel force.
I cannot refrain from expressing in this connection my admiration of the conduct of Colonel Minty and his brigade. Though not under my command, they came under my immediate observation. Before the gallantry and skill of this commander and the dashing bravery of his troops, all efforts of the rebels to withstand his advance were ineffectual.
Under orders from General Granger, we returned from the chase and bivouacked just outside of the town till the evening of June 28, when, with Colonel Minty's brigade, we returned to Houston's Spring, and received an issue of forage and subsistence stores. We left this bivouac at 1 a.m. of the 29th ultimo, proceeding to Fairfield. My advance again entered Shelbyville, but found no enemy, nor had there been any there since their precipitate retreat of the 27th.
At Fairfield I left Colonel McCook's Second Brigade with General Stanley, proceeding with Colonel Campbell's First Brigade to Beech Grove. On the morning of the 29th, at daylight, I advanced by the Manchester pike. Colonel McCook rejoined me at the junction of the Pan-Handle and Manchester roads.
Under orders from General Stanley, I returned with my command on the Pan-Handle road to Walker's Mill, where our subsistence and forage train was again met, and part issue made. We remained at Walker's Mill till 3 a.m. of the 2nd instant, when, pursuant to orders previously received from General Stanley, the column advanced to Manchester, my division in advance, Colonel Minty, of the Second Division, in the rear. Leaving our train at Manchester, we advanced to Morris' Ford of Elk River, where we found General Turchin, with one brigade of his division, who had been compelled to abandon an attempt to cross the ford by an overwhelming force of the enemy advantageously posted with artillery in commanding position on the opposite bank. I discovered two trees felled at the ford on the opposite bank, evidently placed there by the enemy to prevent or impede our passage. Major Presdee, Second Indiana Cavalry, with Sergeant Eucking and 20 men of that regiment, volunteered, and, crossing the stream, succeeded in cutting away the trees, and permitted the passage of the column. I cannot speak in too high terms of this act of cool daring and great service. There was every reason to believe that a large body of the enemy were posted near and covering the ford, and the great depth of the water, the narrowness of the ford, and the swiftness of the current rendered its passage without the removal of these obstacles almost impossible. They presented their lives for the success of our column and our cause, and though the sacrifice was happily not demanded, yet their gallantry, patriotism, and self-sacrificing act entitle them to the highest meed of praise bestowed on heroes and patriots. The passage of the ford was effected with celerity, our advance meeting no opposition except from a few scattering shots from the enemy. Moving to the right, striking and advancing on the Winchester road, the enemy were discovered in line of battle about 1 1/2 miles form the upper ford. Advancing the Second Brigade, in connection
35 R R-VOL XXIII, PT I