Colonel Clay, Major Holliday, Captain Leforgee, and other officers, the enemy were driven from the mountain north of the camp, which was held until Colonel Clay received a wound in the eye and nose, and had to be taken from the field.
At this stage of the fight I assumed command. The enemy by this time had extended his line at least 1 mile, holding both ends of the road, and their right wing resting on the main road and only one by which we could get out, forming a semicircle. Major McAfee, who had been gallantly contending with a largely superior fore on our extreme left, was about to be cut off, and fell back, and as the enemy were moving from above and below we moved over to the mountain on the north side of our camp and held in until near dark. Our ammunition being about out, and a great many having already left the field, we retired in good order.
I cannot learn of but 2 being killed, 10 or 12 wounded, most of whom fell into the enemy's hands, Colonel Clay being among the number. Many horses were killed, and some were so frightened they ran into the woods and enemy's lines. We lost most of our private baggage.
But I must repeat, men and officers never behaved better than those who staid with us through the contest. Our force was small-much less than the enemy believed. I do not think there were more then 200 of our men engaged at any one time. I have no means of knowing the enemy's strength correctly, or their loss. Prisoners and persons coming out since the fight tell me there were three regiments, the Fourteenth, Thirty-ninth, and Forty-fifth Kentucky, commanded by General [Colonel] Gallup. From all I can learn their force must have been 1,400 or 1,500. We have a great many stragglers coming in, and I do not think they got many of them as prisoners. Our retreat was over the most rugged and lofty mountains.
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Brigade Cavalry.
P. S.-I have the honor to state that on yesterday I received a communication from Kentucky, sent by the friends of General Breckinridge to him, that the Yankees under General Stoneman, 10,000 strong, were marching this way. They had supplied themselves with 10 days' cooked rations, and were moving from Lexington for Virginia. The courier's horse broke down. He had been riding night and day from Clay's Ferry, on the Kentucky River, between Richmond and Lexington. His name is Henry Wild, near Caly's Ferry. They were well mounted, and had several pieces of light cannon.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF EAST TENNESSEE,
Abingdon, April 28, 1864.
Respectfully forwarded as a report of the affair.
There seems now to have been want of vigilance on the part of some officer, but the absence of Lieutenant-Colonel Clay prevents a full investigation. These troops were under orders at the time to move out of Kentucky.
S. B. BUCKNER,