Numbers 3. Report of Colonel Isaac M. Kirby, One hundred and first Ohio Infantry, commanding First Brigade, First Division .
HDQRS. FIRST Brigadier, FIRST DIV., FOURTH ARMY CORPS,
Lick Creek, Tenn., April 13, 1865.
I have the honor to report the operations of this brigade in obedience to orders from headquarters Fourth Army Corps, dated April 3, 1865, directing me to go on a 'scout in the direction of Asheville, N. C."
At 2 p. m. April 3, 1865, I marched, with three day's rations in the haversack and seven in wagons, on the dirt road leading by Midway Station, across the Nola Chucky Creek at Allen's Bridge, striking the Greenville and Asheville road at a point ten miles from Greenville; thence on that road to Paint Rock, a narrow pass where the road strikes the French Broad River. At this place I concluded to leave twenty- five men to hold the pass until my return, and moved on up the river to Warm Springs, bivouacking for the night, April 4. The next morning moved on up the river, and when about four miles distant from the springs three deserters from the force at Asheville reported to me, one of them a lieutenant, whom the loyal citizens informed me they had kept in the enemy's service for the purpose of giving them timely warning of danger. This lieutenant informed me that there was a force at Asheville, numbering about 2,00 men and near twenty-guns, twelve of these guns being Napoleons; also that there were about 600 men of Thoma's command on the mountain road leading from Waynesville to Warm Springs, and that one John Brown had a company, third or forty men (these men showed themselves frequently), on the opposite side of the river from Warm Springs. I had also learned that the enemy had rumors that "Kirk" was approaching via Burnsville, and had sent a force in that direction to meet him. The river through this country is a succession of rapids, running through a narrow pass in the mountains, the sides of which are very precipitous and high; the road is cut in the side of the mountain or built out in the river, generally but two or three feet above the water, and for miles at a stretch too narrow for wagons to pass each other, much less turn round. After consultation with Lieutenant-Colonel Greenwood and Major John W. Steele, of Major-General Stanley's staff, I concluded, there being great danger that my horses might all be shot down, thereby endangering the safety of my artillery (two guns, Battery G, First Ohio, Lieutenant Newell commanding) and wagons, to send artillery and wagons, under guard of Twenty-first Illinois and One hundred and first Ohio, back to the Springs to remain until further orders, and, with four days' rations in the haversack, push on in the direction of Asheville; and, if it was true that Colonel Kirk was coming up by the Burnsville road, assist him; at all events ascertain more particulars in regard to the enemy. Major Steele volunteered to return to corps headquarters and report all that we had learned. Accordingly at 12 m. I pushed on in the direction of Asheville. I found the road blockaded to quite an extent with rocks and fallen timber as far up as Marshall, causing a good deal of labor to get though it. At Marshall I learned that accurate information of our force had been sent forward from Warm Springs to Asheville,k and also learned that the party sent out to Burnsville to meet Colonel Kirk had returned and blockaded that road. The next day I push on up the river, burned the bridge over the French Broad at Alexander's, ten miles below Asheville, and another bridge over the same