War of the Rebellion: Serial 044 Page 0957 Chapter XXXIX. EXPEDITION TO WYTHEVILLE, VA.

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vile to a position 10 or 12 miles in my rear. My only chance of escape was to elude the mein column under General Burnside, and attack and whip the force under Foster, in my rear. I withdrew quietly from Blue Springs; marched all night, attacked Foster at day break, completely routing his command. General Burnside was close upon my rear while I was fighting Foster, but too late by more than an hour. Burnside pressed me hard all that day, but we halted, and checked him several times by obstinate fighting, thus saving the train and beef-cattle. At night I fell back to Jonesborough, and escaped another land movement of the enemy. Next morning I moved to the neighborhood of Blountsville, where I was expecting re-enforcements from you. On the 14th of the month, the enemy attacked my position at Blountsville with infantry, cavalry, and artillery, but, failing to drive us, he sent a large force around by the Reedy Creek road, which enabled him to strike Abingdon, Saltville, or any other point in my rear. This involved the necessity of again falling back to protect the salt-works. The re-enforcements you had ordered to me were now beginning to arrive. I selected a good position a short distance west of Abingdon, and awaited the enemy, determined to give him battle. He came to within a few miles of Abingdon, and, after a few hours' skirmishing with cavalry, he declined a fight, and retreated in the direction of Tennessee. It was in this position that you found me upon your arrival at Abingdon. Soon after your arrival, I learned from divers sources that some of the young gentlemen of your staff were publicly and with great severity criticizing my late operations-circulating a false rumor that i had been driven out of East Tennessee by a very small Yankee force, probably not more than a regiment or two. The position of these young gentlemen upon your staff gave to their statements the air of authority. This was too much to be borne with patience by an old soldier who was fighting the battles of his country when these boys were in their swaddling clouts, and who felt that he had just passed through the most difficult and perilous campaign of his life. It was an outrage upon the feelings of those brave men whose ranks had been decimated in conflicts with a force ten times as great as their own; it was an insult to the memory of their dead comrades. I wrote you a note complaining of this, but you gave no attention to i. I had a personal interview with you upon this subject, in which I became satisfied that you did not intend to redress the wrong complained of, and your young men continued their calumny until General Burnside's report made its appearance and put a stop to their talk. Shortly after this, your ordered me to send in a report of my operations in East Tennessee, which gladly did, because it gave me an opportunity of vindicating myself and command against the injurious rumors which some of your staff were still industriously circulating. I had a right to expect that your wold send this report to the War Office, or embody it in one of your own to the Adjutant-General, but you did neither. Lately, when Congress calls for that report, you discover that you had mislaid it in your office at Abingdon some months ago, and write to me for a copy. Now, why Colonel McCausland's report about an affair with which he had but little, if anything, to do, but which reflected unjustly and injuriously upon me, should have been deemed by you worthy