A party of the enemy soon appeared on the plain opposite the stockade and opened fire on the rear of the garrison, who, thus attacked, surrendered.
The lieutenant commanding is said to have acknowledged that he saw but few of the enemy at the time of the surrender, but that he afterward saw several thousand. To arrive at a definite idea of the number of the attacking party I questioned a party named Rankin, who states that he was forced by the enemy to point out the location of the bridge and the stockade. Rankin says the enemy numbered from 10,000 to 14,000, all mounted, with fourteen pieces of artillery. Other parties, however, state that there were not more than 1,000 of the enemy, with one piece of artillery.
The rebels are known to have lost 2 killed in this attack.
After the surrender the enemy moved to the bridge, first attempting to burn the stockade. After cutting the timbers nearly through the garrison was compelled to finish the work. The arms were burned or thrown into the river, and the garrison, robbed of their money, watches, &c., taken about 8 miles in a southerly direction, and released.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. H. HALL,
Captain, and Aide-de-Camp.
Major General D. BUTTERFIELD,
Chief of Staff.
HEADQUARTERS ELEVENTH AND TWELFTH CORPS, Stevenson, Ala., October 12, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following as the result of the investigation of the particulars attending the attack on the tunnel guard and the obstruction of the tunnel between Cowan and Tantalon, on the evening of the 9th instant:
Lieutenant Robert Cairns, Twenty-eighth Kentucky Volunteers, was stationed at that time on the mountain over the tunnel with 50 men of his regiment, while guarding the track through the tunnel were 16 convalescents commanded by a sergeant. About 7 p. m. of that day, while the men of Lieutenant Cairns' command were preparing their supper, they found themselves suddenly surrounded by a force of the enemy and broke and ran in all directions, hiding for the most part in the bushes.
The party on the track, it would appear, offered the only resistance made, and this consisted of a few shots, after delivering which this party also ran. The men straggled back to their post and to Cowan early on the following morning, the 10th instant, and were continuing to arrive at 12 m., at which time it was believed that but 1 man had been captured. Lieutenant Cairns reached Cowan early on that morning, but was ordered to return by Colonel Given, One hundred and second Ohio Volunteers, commanding.
This much of the particulars of this affair was derived from parties to whom it had been communicated by Lieutenant Cairns.
Colonel Given, commanding at Cowan, on hearing the musketry on the evening of the 9th, directed 2 officers and 4 mounted men (the latter composing his entire cavalry force) to proceed in the direction of the tunnel and ascertain its cause. They were met about a mile from Cowan by one of the men who had fled from the tunnel, by