No. 65. Reports of Colonel Louis D. Watkins, Sixth Kentucky Cavalry, commanding Third Brigade, First Cavalry Division.
ON TOP OF MOUNTAIN AND ABOUT TO DESCEND, July 4, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to inform you we are in a considerable engagement.
The forces of the enemy are retiring.
LOUIS D. WATKINS,
General P. H. SHERIDAN.
HDQRS. CAV. Brigadier, THIRD DIV., TWENTIETH ARMY CORPS,
Cowan, Tenn., July 4, 1863.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that, in obedience to the order of Major-General Sheridan, commanding Third Division, Twentieth Army Corps, I moved out on the University road with the Fifth and Sixth Kentucky Cavalry about 5.30 o'clock this morning, to feel the enemy's rear.
When about 3 miles out, I sent in advance three companies of the Fifth Kentucky Cavalry, under command of Major Owsley, who, after proceeding a mile or thereabouts, came upon the enemy's pickets, whom he chased back to the main body, posted in thickets and in an old field behind logs and trees, and some concealed in the heavy undergrowth skirting the road, and outnumbering him about three to one.
After a brief skirmish of ten or fifteen minutes, during which the Fifth had 6 men wounded, Major Owsley was ordered to fall back upon the main column, which was advancing rapidly to the scene of action. The Fifth then formed line of battle and was stationed as a reserve, the Sixth Kentucky passing rapidly and steadily to the front, and attacking the enemy vigorously. After a brisk fight of a half to three-quarters of an hour, the enemy was forced back. They, however, retired slowly, and fought obstinately for every foot of ground.
After driving him beyond the cross-roads and within a half mile of University, I slowly withdrew, and brought my command in a steady and orderly manner back to camp.
From a prisoner we learned that the enemy's force was much greater than our own, and composed of cavalry and mounted infantry. We captured 15 prisoners and a set of brass musical instruments.*
I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
LOUIS D. WATKINS,
Colonel, Commanding Cavalry Brigade.
Captain GEORGE LEE,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Division, Twentieth Corps.
*Nominal list of casualties omitted. See Addenda, p.551.