Numbers 2. Report of Colonel Wilson C. Lemert, Eighty-sixth Ohio Infantry.
HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES,
Cumberland Gap, January 5, 1864.
COLONEL: I have the honor to make the following report:
I regret to inform you of the loss of Major Beeres' command, Third Battalion, Sixteenth Illinois Cavalry, parts of two companies Sixteenth Illinois Cavalry, First Lieutenant A. B. Alger, and 17 men, Twenty-second Ohio Battery, 2 mountain howitzers and 1 3-inch Rodman gun.
On the 1st of this month I directed Major Beeres to attack the rebel force at Jonesville, which was reported to me as 400 men of Sixty-fourth and Twenty-seventh Virginia Mounted Infantry.
Major Beeres' command camped at Jonesville on Friday night, and as I learn only picketed the road in the direction of Stickleyville. At daybreak Sunday morning, General Sam. Jones' command of 2,000 rebels attacked Major Beeres from the direction of Mulberry Gap, completely surprising and for some time driving him into confusion. The major finally rallied his men and fought the enemy till 3 p.m., when, his artillery ammunition having been some time exhausted, and he having had 1 lieutenant and about 30 men killed, and 2 lieutenants wounded, he surrendered his force of about 250 men, 1 rifled gun, and 2 mountain howitzers.
I have the above report from a servant of one of Major Beeres' officers. The enemy has driven in my outposts, and on Sunday last he captured one of my forage trains, 21 wagons, some 15 miles this [side] of Jonesville, that Major Beeres was protecting.
The Seventy-first, Twenty-first, Eighty-fifth, Ninenty-seventh Sixty-fourth, Twenty-seventh, and Ninth Virginia and the Tenth Kentucky rebel regiments are said to be at Jonesville; the exact number I can not learn. The Eleventh Tennessee Cavalry is at Mulberry Gap, but I have been compelled to send couriers to recall them. I have ordered Colonel Thielemann to detain Colonel Matson's command until I can communicate with General Willcox and send one battalion to this post, which I hope will meet the approval of the general. With the force here now I am unable to procure forage or subsistence for my command. Lieutenant-Colonel Matson has been delayed in complying with Special Orders, Numbers 63, until now, on account of his horses being unshod and unable to travel.
The servant who escaped from Major Beeres' command further informs me that a short time before the surrender the major could have retreated in this direction, but he took up another position and renewed the attack, and in less than an hour he found his ammunition exhausted and his force surrounded, and was compelled to surrender.
I telegraphed Captain Bell, commissary of subsistence. Camp Nelson, about the 20th of December for subsistence for my command for thirty days, and he replied in two days that he had started one train and was about to start another, but as I have telegraphed to London I can hear of no train for this post. I fear my subsistence has been turned toward Knoxville. I have only one day's full rations for my present command of hard bread or flour and salt meat, but plenty of fresh meat, sugar, and coffee.