killed by a rebel sentinel. With the other I succeeded, after a good deal of delay and annoyance, in reaching our lines at Sweet Water Town on the 12th instant. I am informed by Captain Hudnall, Fourth Kentucky, who made his escape, that the bridge over White Water, though torn up and fired, was not burned. The enemy dashed up, drove the company away, extinguished the fire, repaired the bridge, and attacked the rear of the Fourth Kentucky at dawn. They pressed them hard, and drew company after company into the fight, until finally the whole regiment was dismounted and thrown across, the road in favorable position, where they repulsed the repeated assaults of the enemy, made with great spirit and in largely superior force. While they engaged the whole line, the enemy sent a force around either flank, who came in between the regiment and their horses, and they found themselves dismounted, surrounded,and their ammunition exhausted. The men who were holding horses nearly all escaped and joined the column, but of the rest only a few succeeded in making their way through the country. I regret beyond expression the loss of so many of those who have been my comrades so long. Perhaps if they had trusted more to their heels and less to their carbines the casualty list on our side and the enemy's, too, would have been considerably abridged. The firing in rear was not heard by me or any of the brigade, the sound being drowned in that made by our horses moving at the gallop. When I did discover the state of affairs, the plain question was, not how to rescue the Fourth Kentucky, but rather how to save the remainder of my brigade from a similar catastrophe and protect the rear of the column.
I desire, before closing this report, to record my appreciation of the gallant conduct of Colonel Dorr and Major Root, Eighth Iowa; Colonel Brownlow, First Tennessee; Lieutenant-Colonel Kelly, Fourth Kentucky, and their subordinates. Whatever of disaster occurred was by the inevitable fortune of war or chargeable to some other hand, and was not for any want of fidelity or gallantry on the part of the officers or men under my command.
In reference to that everlasting train of pack-mules, on which, I confess a disposition to charge a good deal, I think I ought to say that no pack animals started with my brigade, because I understood distinctly from the general commanding the division that nobody was expected to go except soldiers to fight and officers to command them. Some were along, however, belonging to whom i know not, and they formed a nucleus around which gathered every man who could find a mule to lead or ride, and who was impelled either by a desire to save his horse or shirk the performance of his duty.
A list of casualties, I learn, has already been furnished, which, though not even approximately correct, will serve for the present until more authentic and definite information can be had concerning the fate of the missing. I regret to record the loss of Captain Sutherland, assistant adjutant-general, who is still missing. In the brief intercourse of a fortnight he ad won my confidence and esteem by his intelligent and earnest performance of his duty.
I have the honor, captain, to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN T. CROXTON,
Colonel Fourth Kentucky, Commanding First Brigadier, First Div.
Captain LE ROY,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Cavalry Division.