Numbers 8. Report of Captain James E. Robinson, Seventy-second Indiana Infantry.
HDQRS. 72nd REGIMENT INDIANA VOLUNTEERS, Huntsville, Ala., January 27, 1864.
SIR: In compliance with your order, I herewith submit a report of the part taken by there detachment of the Seventy-second Indiana Volunteers under my command during the recent expedition in the direction of Florence, Ala.:
In compliance whit your order, my detachment,numbering 130 men, marched form camp at Huntsville, Ala., at 1 p. m. on the 23rd instant, and camped at dusk same evening within 9 miles of Athens.
Marched at daylight next morning (Sunday, 24th), and reached took up our line of march on the road leading to Florence; camped same evening on the west side of Elk River, 4 miles east of Rogersville. Moved again at daylight on morning of 25th (Monday). A half mile west of Rogerville, with my command, agreeably to your order, I left the main road leading to Florence, and proceeding in a southerly direction struck the Tennessee River at Bellevue, on the old steamboat canal at Muscle Shoals. The river at this point is about 1 1\2 miles wide, and through that distance I could not see the enemy on the opposite shore, but their camp-fires, a large number of small boats (probably 100), and several immense cribs of corn (which had been boated across from this shore) were plainly visible on the opposite bank. From Bellevue I proceeded down this side of the Tennessee River for a distance of 8 miles, when we again struck the main Florence road. In the reconnaissance along the river bank I discovered no enemy on this side. I found and destroyed 2 boats and 1 rebel army wagon, which were being used in the transportation of forage and provisions across the river. Upon reaching the main Florence road 10 miles east of Florence I moved forward after the brigade, which had passed some time previously. Four miles farther on, about 3 p. m.,m we reached Shoal Creek, where I found a part of the Ninety-eighth Illinois on guard, who reported that the head of the column had met a rebel force,a nd were then skirmishing whit them. I put my command on double-quick, and in a few minutes came up with the column, which was halted near the residence of the Widow Huff, 1 1\2 miles west of Shoal Creek. By your order I here dismounted my command and hastened to the front, and formed line of battle on the north side of Florence road, my left resting on the road. The enemy was then firing upon our lines. As soon as our line was formed I was ordered to charge the enemy in the woods in front. My men executed the command in a gallant manner, charging whit a yell in the face of the fire front he concealed enemy until we reached the skirt of the woods, where we caught sight of them behind several log buildings and trees in the woods. We opened a brisk fire on them as we advanced, and they soon gave wy and ran in several directions through the timber. After passing some 300 yards beyond the position just abandoned by the rebels, your order to halt was received and obeyed. A few moments afterward, at dusk, an order same to about face and march in line of