encircle the enemy's position to cover the movements, we steamed up the creek until opposite the town, which lay invalid between the mountains screened from river view.
The rebel pickets along the creek and adjacent to the river fell back rapidly to their reserve on the hill before the advance of my skirmish line. Simultaneous with this, I opened with artillery from the three decks of the boat upon the main force, which stood a short time, wavered, and dispersed, some seeking refuge in the town, to which I then directed my shots and dislodged them. Under cover of the artillery, the skirmish line rapidly approached the enemy's position, and were in possession of the town and the rebel position about a half hour after the operations against it were commenced.
We captured a mail and five boats, one of which was a large ferry-boat, which had been taken from Roman's Ferry, 6 miles below Larking's Ferry, to Guntersville, to cross the party under Captain Smith, which captured our pickets at Claysville a short time since.
The enemy fled so rapidly on our approach that we took no prisoners, but several riderless horses indicated that our fire had not been without effect. The enemy had retired precipitately toward the Warrenton line, and all the pickets had left Town Creek immediately upon the attack upon Guntersville. The troops here and in the vicinity consisted principally of companies of Captains Smith, Buck May, Peter Whitecotton, Peter Dollard, and L. Mead-in all, about 250 to 300 men.
Having notified some of the inhabitants (the majority of them fled) of the restrictions placed upon them, we visited the next small creek, the mouth of a nameless stream running in from the direction of Helicon Postoffice, Shoal Creek, near the falls of the same, and found several boats; as also in the small streams between the latter and Cane Creek, the latter secreting two; also one each in the mouths of Dry and Blue Spruce Creeks. At 11.30 a. m. we passed Port Deposit and Paint Rock River at 12.15.
At Wild Goat Cove, discovered places for manufacturing saltpeter and in this vicinity the banks lined with refugees, some 40 or 50 appearing within a space of little more than a mile. The banks were so overflown with water that men could be landed only with great difficulty and delay, and in most places not a mile. The banks were so overflown with water that men could be landed only with great difficulty and delay, and in most places not at all. My men were kept constantly under arms from Town Creek to the farthest point reached, as a desultory firing was kept up along the shore, returned whenever opportunity presented, and with visible effect in some instances. Both going and returning we received occasional shots from bushwhackers on the north side. The least impregnable positions of the southern shore were protected with rifle-pits and earth-works, of which there were many, which we closely inspected from the boat. When passing Flint River, where the enemy had a post, they discharge several volleys at us from places so sheltered that they could not be seen. Some of their balls passed over the heads of the officers on the upper deck, and several entirely through the boat. Two men of the Seventh Ohio were wounded, 1 through the face and 1 in the head. Two of the rebels were picked off by my sharpshooters. We put in at Whitesburg at 2.30 p. m., opposite tow rebel forts, which offered no molestation. I here found Lieutenant-Colonel Hall, Fifty-sixth Illinois, in command, the post being garrisoned by 285 infantry, 48 cavalry of the Fifth Ohio and Fourth Missouri, and a section of the Sixth Wisconsin Battery.
Colonel Hall informed me that a rebel brigade of cavalry under General Clanton, with minor force of infantry, was stationed op-