War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0044 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

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until the return of the troops to Lexington. The movements prior to 5th instant have already been reported:

On the morning of Sunday, 5th of June (the DIVISION being under the immediate command of Brigadier-General Burbridge, commanding District of Kentucky), I received orders to move my command in rear of the DIVISION up Mud Creek, a tributary of Big Sandy River, and in the direction of Pound Gap. The return of one of my scouts, left to observe the enemy in the vicinity of Pound Gap, gave the first intimation that Morgan had crossed into Kentucky in force, and had camped on the night of Friday, 3rd of June, on the Rockhouse fork of the Kentucky River. On receipt of this intelligence, General Burbridge directed me to march in a westerly direction, and observe, instructing me to harass the enemy if found, and impede his advance into the State. My command was necessarily a small one, there being one regiment of my proper brigade present with the DIVISION. This regiment (the Forty-fifth Kentucky Mounted Infantry) and a detachment of the Thirty-ninth Kentucky Mounted Infantry, under Major J. B. Auxier, constituted my force on the march. I camped on the night of 5th of June at the forks of Beaver Creek, halting chiefly for the purpose of ascertaining the movements of rebel scouts, whose trail we had found. Finding that they had evidently gone southward toward Prestonburg, and inferring therefrom that the enemy were not apprehensive of pursuit, I determined to move as rapidly as due regard to caution would permit, and if possible head of the enemy until General Burbridge with the main body could come up on their rear. The march conducted in this way very exhausting, both upon men and horses. The labor necessary to prevent information getting ahead of my column was of kind that taxed both the sagacity and endurance of my officers and men to the utmost. It was performed, however, with unvarying thoroughness and alacrity. My camp for a few hours on the night of the 6th was on the Grassy Fork of Licking River, and from that point, the road being in better repair, my march was more rapid. On the 7th, passing through Salyersville, I learned by courier that General Burbridge, with his DIVISION, was following rapidly. My brigade was consequently to be regarded as the advance of the DIVISION, and I regulated its movements accordingly. On the night of 7th I struck the State road at Shelby Wilson's house, six miles east of Hazel Green, and there found the trail of Morgan's entire force. From this point I made frequent captures of stragglers, but strictly prohibited any firing, intending to surprise the enemy if possible. A great part of the 8th was consumed in carefully skirmishing the woods adjacent to the road, and especially McCormick's Gap, a very formidable pass, which I was astonished to find entirely unguarded. The fact of there being no troops of the enemy at McCormick's Gap, convinced me that the enemy must be entirely ignorant of our pursuit. A few miles farther on a wagon was met conveying, under white flag, the body of a rebel officer, kirling.

I ordered the flag party, under guard, to the rear to report to General Burbridge. At the Widow Stevens', twelve miles from Mount Sterling, I found a gentleman well known to me (but whose name it would be indiscreet to mention here), from whom I obtained full information as to the force and position of the enemy at Mount Sterling. As this gentleman reported the rebel pickets very carelessly posted at the very verge of their camp, I concluded that a surprise by the whole DIVISION was perhaps possible, and, therefore, halting my command, I rode back until I met General Burbridge, and communicated the intelligence. The general at once resolved on an attack, and instructed me to bring on the action by a charge through the rebel infantry camp, after