to fall back behind the railroad embankment, where I at length formed my entire command, being satisfied that we were outnumbered nearly four to one, and, having nothing to resist their artillery, it would be impossible to hold the town; my command the entire time keeping up a rapid and incessant fire, killing 3 and wounding 15 of the enemy. At this time the rebel force appeared on both flanks and in my rear, which made it necessary to fall back still farther, which I did, in the direction of the water-tank toward Huntsville, dispersing the enemy in my rear by a few well-directed volleys, the artillery and nearly their entire force following on either side of the railroad, but the timber was so thick that they could do no damage.
On arriving at within a half mile of the water-tank I reformed my line, and, after a short rest, again advanced toward Madison Station with a strong line of skirmishers, well extended on either side of the railroad. The skirmishers drove the rear guard of the enemy from town, the main force having departed after burning the depot buildings and about 70 bales of cotton. My camp equipage was also burned, it, however, consisting of only a small number of tents, which were scarcely serviceable. The men, also, have lost all of their extra clothing and blankets. The damage to the railroad was light and readily repaired. As soon as the attack was made the wagon train, consisting of eight 6-mule teams and three 2-hose ambulances, were ordered on the Huntsville road, but were intercepted and captured, together with a small train guard and the teamsters. At about 12 m. re-enforcements arrived, consisting of the Fifth Ohio Cavalry, Colonel Heath, 120 men, and the Fifty-ninth Indiana Infantry, Lieutenant-Colonel Scott, 220 men. These, together with 100 men from my regiment, moved after the enemy as rapidly as possible in a driving rain. Colonel Heath's cavalry came up with the rear guard of the enemy early in the afternoon, and kept up a constant harassing fire, but his force was too small to make a forcible attack. The infantry came up just before sundown, the Fifty-ninth Indiana deploying as skirmishers and driving the enemy before them to the bank of the river, but night coming on and finding that the transportation and prisoners were all across the river, out men fatigued, and ammunition almost exhausted, it was considered best by the commanding officers to withdraw our forces. They were consequently marched back to Madison, a distance of twelve miles from Fletcher's Ferry.
From reliable sources I learn that the enemy's loss at the ferry was 15 killed and 40 wounded. This estimate, I am positive, is not placed too high, which would make their entire loss 18 killed and 55 wounded. Of the number of prisoners from my regiment I have not been able to learn how many were wounded. The loss of the Fifty-ninth is 2 wounded, and the Fifth Iowa Infantry 1 killed. I have but 1 man wounded with the regiment. Inclosed I send a list of the prisoners from my regiment.*
I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. B. GORGAS,
Colonel Thirteenth Illinois Infantry.
Lieutenant C. L. WHITE,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Third Div., 15th Army Corps.
*Nominal list (omitted) shows 1 officer and 65 men.