War of the Rebellion: Serial 103 Page 0032 KY., S. W. VA., TENN., N. &C. GA., MISS., ALA., & W. FLA.

Search Civil War Official Records

stream four miles below Asheville, and about 3 p. m. found the enemy in position about one mile and a half from Asheville and occupying the high hills on the left or north of the road.

Lieutenant-Colonel Greenwood with an improvised mounted force, consisting of officers and orderlies, dashed into the edge of town. Lieutenant-Colonel Yeoman, Ninetieth Ohio, who had the advance, sent me word that he was pushing on into town. I sent him word that the enemy was on his left, and ordered him to halt until I came up. When I reached him the enemy had already pushed out his skirmishers and and had opened fire on Colonel Yeoman. I ordered the brigade into position and pushed forward skirmishers. The enemy met me with a line of skirmishers of about 300 men, and opened fire with three guns. I drove back the left of his skirmish line, and then discovered that he was pushing a skirmish line around toward the road I marched upon, in my rear. I was compelled to change position and examine more closely the position of the enemy. I found him occupying two very high hills, which were very difficult of approach with my small force. Prisoners taken here reported that General Martin was in command, with not less than 1,000 men and six guns, and could be re-enforced before morning with 400 or 500 more men from the south side of the river. Just at dark a negro man reported to me that he had come that day from a rebel force of about 300 men that was then encamped on Ivy Creek, about two miles from a bridge on that creek, which I had crossed early in the morning. This bridge was of vital importance to me, because if destroyed it would cause me a good deal of delay to recross the stream and 300 men in my rear along that mountain pass road could add still further delay to me; besides I had no other rations than what were in the haversack., nor was there enough to be found on the road from Paint Rock to Asheville to subsist 100 men one day, and having positive orders not to sacrifice the life of one man for the town of Asheville and a heavy storm having set in which bid-fair to continue longer than the night (a rise of three feet in the French Broad River would have made the road impassable for the distance of forty-two miles,) I consulted with Colonel Yeoman and other officers and concluded that the enemy meant fight and that I could not whip him my force-900 men- without a hard fight which could only result in driving him without a capture of any considerable amount, and being anxious to secure the bridge across Ivy Creek, I ordered the withdrawal of the brigade at 8 p. m. In my opinion General Martin had under this immediate command at Asheville not less than 1,000 men and six guns, consisting in part of the Sixty-second, Sixty-fourth North Carolina Regiments, Henry's battalion, Teague's and Keith's commands, and other independent companies, a few militia, and a South Carolina battery of 125 men. i am also of opinion, and was at the time, that the town could have been easily occupied at the risk of leaving the enemy on the road in my rear; which I did not think prudent. On my return to Ivy Creek I received a dispatch from Major Steele, saying that he was marching to Warm Springs with Colonel McConnell's brigade, Third Division. I halted one day and night at Ivy Creek and sent word to Major Steele that if he understood it be General Stanley's desire to have Asheville taken to order forward that brigade, with the balance of my men, wagons, and guns, and that I would wait until a certain hour for them. I did want two hours later than the hour specified, and then continued my march to the rear. Found Colonel McConnell at Warm Springs, who immediately started on his return to camp, and I continued my march via Greeneville, to my camp at Lick Creek, reaching here April 11. I found