Reports of Lieutenant Colonel Fielder A. Jones, Eighth Indiana Cavalry, commanding Second Brigade, of operations July 9-September 8.
Near Marietta, August 4, 1864.
SIR: It is very difficult for me to make a coherent report of operations of the last ten days, as during that time I have had three distinct commands, involving as many distinct reports.
The evening of the 26th ultimo found me in command of the effective mounted strength of the Eighth Indiana Cavalry, numbering 366 officers and enlisted men. We had just returned from the long and fatiguing Rousseau expedition, and both men and animals were sadly jaded. At 6 p. m. of the evening above name we broke camp to march to Vinning's Station, fifteen miles distant, to obtain supplies preparatory to joining General McCook for another raid. Owing to the extreme darkness and the carelessness of some person unknown, the column was broken and my command got lost; it was nearly daylight before we succeeded in extricating ourselves from the labyrinth of roads and reach Vinning's Station. Supplying ourselves as soon as possible, we joined General McCook's command about 10 a. m. of the 27th, and marched through the day and until 2 a. m. of the next day in the rear of the pontoon train. After a rest of two hours we resumed our march. Nothing of interest occurred until we arrived at Palmetto, a station on the Atlanta and West Point Railroad, which we aided in destroying. At Riverton Ferry the Ninth Ohio being detached, I was ordered to the command of a brigade, consisting of the Eighth Indiana and Second Kentucky. Late in the evening the command moved from Palmetto toward the Macon road, via Fayetteville. My command aided in the destruction of several large wagon trains which had been surprised in their encampments. At Fayetteville my command was placed in the rear, with the Eighth Indiana as rear guard. Many more wagons and a vast amount of baggage was destroyed by the command. At an early hour we reached the Macon road, and the Second Kentucky, Major Star commanding, was detailed to aid in tearing up the track, and performed its part with its usual energy. Company A, Eighth Indiana, was detailed, under command of Captain Reeves, acting assistant adjutant-general, to destroy the telegraph. They cut down all the poles, and cut into small pieces and carried away the wire for over four miles. The command got about three hours' rest during the day. In the afternoon the retrograde movements commenced in the direction of Newman.
Late in the afternoon report came up from the rear that Colonel Croxton had been cut off from the mans body and a severe fight was going on. I was ordered to go with the Eighth Indiana and open communication with Colonel Croxton, but before I could reach the scene of action the fight was over and Colonel Croxton had joined the command. The march was continued all day and all night, and I must say that the physical powers of ten men were pushed to the very verge of human endurance. Five days and nights of almost constant duty in the saddle, added to the fourteenth days' rapid marching with Rousseau, would shake even the most robust constitution. Men fell asleep on their horses, and the most persistent efforts of their offices could not keep them awake.