The response to the call, at all the points, was most gratifying. With but very few individual exceptions, the men called into service, forgetting everything but duty, promptly and cheerfully repaired to the camps assigned them, and when en route for camp, while there, and when returning to their respective homes, conducted themselves in a manner most creditable. The people of the State should ever hold in grateful remembrance the men who thus won so much characket for our State. The few who endeavored to escape a full performance of duty will be frowned upon and despised by all good citizens,and this is the severest punishment that can be inflicted upon a fellow-citizen.
The large militia force assembled near Columbus kept the enemy from attempting an attack upon this place. All the other points indicated for the assemblage of the militia were felt by the enemy, and, but for their presence, would have been sacked and pillaged.
From these several points large numbers of the militia moved promptly out, and participated with the Federal forces in the numerous skirmishes and engagements that took place with the enemy, and in every instance save one behaved with great gallantry and bravery. The exception referred to was the surrender of about 350, under command of Colonel Sontag, near Portsmouth. The men comprising this command are all indignant at the conduct of their commanding officer, and are in no wise responsible for the disgrace that attaches to the surrender. The conduct of Colonel Sontag, although a volunteer officer without appointment or commission, shall be inquired into .
I am not now in possession of information which would enable me to do justice to all the officers in command of these various organizations. I can, however, bear testimony to the zeal and efficiency of the several military committees of the counties traversed by the enemy; their service were invaluable to the State. When in possession of full information, I will, at a future day, do justice to the many gallant officers who so generously devoted themselves to the interests of the State in this crisis.
The enemy entered the State on the night of the 12th instant, in the northwest corner of Hamilton County, closely pursued by a large Federal force, and, passing through the counties of Butler, Warren, Clermont, Brown, Adams, Pike, Jackson, Gallia, Meigs, Vinton, Hocking, Athens, Washington, Morgan, Muskingum, Guernsey, Belmont, Harrison, and Jefferson, was finally captured near New Lisbon, in Columbiana County, this day, about 3 p. m. More or less skirmishing and fighting took place all along the route, but the two principal engagements were near Buffington Island, in Meigs County, on the 19th instant, and near Salineville, Columbia County, this morning at 8 a. m. At the first of these engagements, our forces, consisting of a cavalry and artillery force of regular troops, and of the militia there assembled, were under the command of Generals Hobson and Shackelford, aided materially by a naval force on the river at that point. At the second engagement, near Salineville, our forces, consisting of the Ninth Michigan Cavalry and our militia forces, were under command of Major Way.
In the first of these engagement the enemy lost, in killed, wounded, and prisoners, about 2,500; in the second, about 300. The final surrender to General Shackelford took place without and engagement, and embraced Morgan himself and the remnant of his command, the number not know . Thus was captured and destroyed one of the most formidable cavalry forces of the rebels-a force that has been a terror to the friends of the Union in Tennessee and Kentucky for about two years. Well may every loyal heart be proud of this achievement.