War of the Rebellion: Serial 051 Page 0612 Chapter XIII. KY.,SW.VA.,TENN.,MISS.,N.ALA.,AND N.GA.

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lieutenant-colonel being on leave of absence, the command devolved on Major Printup.

Barnes' battery and Slemp's Virginia regiment joined me from Marshall's command (after General Preston's) a few days before the investment. For insubordination and inefficiency see the report of Lieutenant O'Conner, commanding Kain's battery. I believe the two batteries of artillery would have done good service, but they had no experience in firing or in actual service.

From this and accompanying statements of Lieutenant Van Leer, engineer; Captain Frazer, assistant adjutant-general; Lieutenants O'Conner, Wilkins, and Hunter, ordnance officer [following], and other evidence which can be presented, it will be made apparent that the character, confidence, and condition of the troops hastily collected to defend the gap were such as to justify no hope of a successful defense against an equal number of the enemy, much less such an overwhelming force as threatened the position in front and rear. it is proper to state that the want of confidence in the troops was of gradual conviction in my mind, and not fully developed and confirmed until actual danger threatened, and the outpost and mill were attacked by small bodies of the enemy, so that on the 9th I saw it would be a mad and wicked attempt to defend the post, or to attempt a partial fight with a view to escape. I might have made some reputation for desperate courage, but so selfish a consideration at so great a sacrifice of life forbade me to entertain so rash a design, and to prefer a Northern prison to the self-reproaches of a wounded conscience. I accordingly, acting from a sense of duty, decided to surrender on the 9th.


I have before stated that on August 31, on my expressing a confidence in my ability to hold the gap, General Buckner directed me to do so and obey his instructions of the 21st. He was then at Loudon (having evacuated Knoxville), where I supposed he would make a stand against General Burnside and my rear left unassailed.

On September 4, I was informed that the enemy were in possession of Knoxville, and had started a heavy force toward the gap and were running the cars to Morristown, within 40 miles of my post;

also, that a large force (said to be sixteen regiments and two trains of artillery) were at Barboursville, Ky., en route for the gap. Not believing that so large a force would be sent against me from Knoxville until after a successful engagement with General Buckner, I sent Colonel Carter with his cavalry regiment, nearly 600 strong, to meet the force said to be advancing from Knoxville, engage it, and find out the probable strength, &c.

On the 6th, Colonel Carter reported to me that he met the enemy, who had steadily driven him back without his being able to ascertain their force, but that everything led him to believe it very strong, and that he feared they were then attempting to flank him at the upper ford on Powell's River, about 6 miles from the gap. I then directed him to move his right to this ford, so that he could retreat up the valley if necessary, but to hang on the right flank and rear of the enemy, annoy them as much as possible, and to communicate with me.

I heard nothing more of him until p. m. September 9, when a cou-