War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0514 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

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hundred and second Ohio, under Lieutenant-Colonel Elliott, was as heroic as that of Colonel Campbell was base. When within four miles of Athens they met and drove back an entire brigade of 1,100 men, under Colonel Warren [Colonel Kelley], and forced their way to the very walls of the fort in the face of the entire command of Forrest. So boldly and determinedly did these men fight, until the fall of their leader, that the enemy after their surrender accused the officers of making their men drunk, insisting that no men would fight with such desperation unless under the influence of liquor. Colonel Warren [Colonel Kelley], who commanded the brigade opposed to this detachment, said he had no doubt if they had not found the fort in the hands of the enemy they would have forced their way into it. About one-THIRD of the detachment was killed or wounded before their surrender. There is no doubt they inflicted a still severer loss upon the enemy. Captain Parrish, assistant adjutant- general, on staff of General Roddey, admitted a loss in his command alone of 109 men. As certainly another of Forrest's brigades was engaged at the same time with this detachment, General Forrest must refer to that alone when he states his loss at 5 killed and 25 wounded. This will make their loss by their own admission 139 killed and wounded, which from all the testimony I can get is really below the mark. Citizens of Athens state they admitted to have buried 50. Colonel Campbell surrendered the fort and garrison about 9 a. m. on the 24th of September.

Forrest, after the capture of Athens, moved with his whole force upon Sulphur trestle. This post was garrisoned by about 300 of the One hundred and eleventh U. S. Colored Troops and two pieces of artillery, and was re-enforced on the afternoon of the 24th by about 300 men of the Ninth Indiana Cavalry, under command of Major Lilly, and was afterward still further re-enforced by the THIRD Tennessee Cavalry, nearly 400 strong, under Colonel Minnis. This regiment left Rogersville on the approach of Forrest's force, retreating toward Lawrenceburg, and afterward making their way across Elk River to Sulphur trestle, intending, no doubt, to return to Athens, but were prevented by the appearance of Forrest in the neighborhood of Sulphur trestle. It is not known why Lieutenant- Colonel Minnis did not send a courier to Athens to notify the commanding officer of the post and myself of the approach of Forrest. Sulphur trestle was surrendered about 11 o'clock on the morning of the 25th, after a very gallant defense, Colonel Lathrop, in command, being first killed, Lieutenant-Colonel Minnis, his successor, struck senseless by a piece of shell, and the ammunition of the command being almost expended. We have received no report of the killed and wounded upon their side of this place. As soon as I ascertained that Forrest had attacked the road in large force I reported the same to Major-General Rousseau and Major-General Thomas and asked for re-enforcements. Brigadier-General Starkweather had the posts of Athens, Sulphur trestle, and Elk River bridge under his immediate command, and I believe made an effort to re-enforce them to move there in person. Why he did not I have not yet learned, he having left on leave of absence before rendering his report. Colonel Spalding must have reported to him the presence of Forrest in Middle Tennessee before it was known to me. Every effort, however, was made by me to raise a force in time to relieve the post of Athens from this side. In addition to the force already specified, my disposable force here did not exceed 500 men. I immediately ordered Colonel Lyon to send me every available man-at least 1,000 from his command-leaving only ten or fifteen men