I did with Captain Morgan. The terms were: General Hobson's forces to surrender unconditionally as prisoners of war; the officers to retain their side-arms; all private property to belong to the captors. After General Morgan rode up he said we had made so gallant a fight that we should all have our horses. Lieutenant- Colonel Harmon had a valuable horse which Colonel Martin insisted upon keeping, and he was permitted by General Morgan to do so, but with this exception the terms as modified by General Morgan were strictly observed. I was ordered to form my command, stack arms, and march them off, and then make a list of names, companies, and regiments. Before this could be done they were ordered away under a guard, the field officers being detained with General Hobson and staff.
Our loss was 14 killed and 45 wounded. My surgeon stated to me on his way down Covington that he thought our loss in killed and wounded would reach 75 or 80. I have no means of stating accurately, having been separated from the command since the surrender. Our loss in prisoners is about 500, some men having escaped.
I fought my command as well as I could and to the best possible advantage, General Hobson giving no general directions during the battle besides his personal assistance to keep the men up to the work. General Hobson surrendered only when to have held out longer would have been mere idle bravado, and would have induced reckless and wholesale slaughter.
I cannot speak too highly of the conduct of most of my officers and men. Two or three officers failed to do their duty, and some men skulked away; but no more than is usual in most regiments. Most of these men had never been under fire, but they fought splendidly, coolly, and behaved like veterans.
General Hobson was cool, brave, and judicious; was exposed all the time to the rebel fire, and deserves well of the Government.
My own horse was shot under me and disabled, and I had several other evidences of the close firing of rebel sharpshooters, but escaped unhurt.
The foregoing account the battle of Keller's Bridge is preliminary, and quite necessary to a full understanding of the anomalous condition of General Hobson and staff and the field officers of my regiment.
After the surrender General Morgan proposed to send General Hobson and staff, together with the fi under a flag of truce to get into communication with the military authorities for the purpose of securing a special exchange of ourselves, and to secure an exchange of our men for some of his own then held as prisoners in Kentucky; or if this could not be effected, that our Government might be induced to accept his parole of them, so that they would be accounted for by the Richmond Government; and if we failed to secure an exchange, then we must return and report to General Morgan as prisoners. General Hobson refused at first to go into the arrangement. After consultation I advised that it be done for the benefit of our officers and soldiers, who are only 100- days' men, as it would be peculiarly hard to take these men south to languish in Southern prisons for several months, and I believed the Government would not permit it. It was then agreed to accept the proposition of General Morgan. General Morgan and General Hobson agreed upon the terms of a paper to be signed. It was drawn up in pencil and signed by us all. Inspector-General Allen, of General Morgan's staff, then drew one in ink, and in doing so added to it a general parole. This we refused to sign; first,