thought Mrs. Davis was with it, but did not think Davis himself was with it, as he had been reported traveling by himself with a small escort. Colonel H. reported that he had a force of from seventy to seventy-five men of his regiment, First Wisconsin, with him, and that they were from one hour and a half to two hours in advance on the Irwinville road. I asked Colonel H. if he thought his force sufficient to cope with that supposed to be with the train, if not I would give him a detail from my regiment. He said that he considered it ample. I then told him it was useless for me to follow on the same road with him, telling him what my orders were, and that I would continue down the river and act as circumstances might dictate. Colonel Harnden said that he should press forward to Irwinville before he encamped, if the train went to that place, saying that the train was in the habit of driving off from the road when going into camp, sometimes several miles distant. After this conversation Colonel H. and myself parted, he going to his command and I moving on down the river road, after sending one company of my regiment under Lieutenant Fisk to take possession of Brown's Ferry.
There was no plan of action agreed upon between Colonel H. and myself, as neither of us knew anything about the roads. I continued to move on down the river for a distance of about three miles, when I found a negro guarding his master's wagon, which had broken down in the road, who gave me an account of the passage of the Davis party over Brown's Ferry, stating that at the time of the crossing they would allow no lights to be made, not even to enable the ferryman to make change, saying that they would pay him amply for his services, and did pay him a ten-dollar gold piece and a ten-dollar Confederate note, also relating other suspicious incidents, which convinced me that either Davis or some other very important personages were with the train. I also learned of this same negro and a lady living close by that there were two roads by which Irwinville might be reached from Abbeville - one the direct, which Colonel Harnden had taken, and another leading from the river road in southwesterly direction at a point fifteen miles below Abbeville known as Wilcox's Mills. Feeling that no effort on my part should be spared which could aid or insure the capture of what I was now convinced were important parties from the rebel Government, I accordingly decided to pursue the party at once by way of the river road, believing that if the party were hard pressed at any time by Colonel H. they would abandon the direct road and drive on to any other which might give hopes of escape, and in that case would be liable to drove over the road by which my command would approach Irwinville, and if Colonel H. pressed forward to Irwinville, as he said he should, they would fall in between the two commands. I had no thought at that time of being able to reach Irwinville in advance of Colonel H., as the distance I would have to march would be from eight to ten miles greater than that traveled by him, and his command was then at least two hours on its way. I at once ordered a detail of 150 men of the best mounted in the regiment, but which, on account of jaded horses, was cut down to 128 men and seven officers (besides myself); but I since learn that several men joined the detail irregularly afterward unknown to me, which were not included in the count. With this force I moved at 4 p. m., leaving the rest of te regiment under command of Captain Hathaway, with directions to picket the river, &c. The command reached Wilcox's Mills at sunset, where I halted one hour, fed, unsaddled, and had the horses groomed. From thence we proceeded by a blind woods road through an almost unbroken pine forest for a distance of eighteen miles, but found no traces of the