large force of rebel cavalry, was in the vicinity of New Market or Salem, we were ordered to cross over to the New Market road and move to that point. About two miles and a half from the junction of New Market and Deposit roads my advance battalion, Ninth Pennsylvania, struck the advance of the enemy coming in the direction of Huntsville. The advance charged and drove the enemy back to the Buckhorn Tavern, where, as I afterward learned, his whole force had taken position in a dense undergrowth. Although it was so dark you could see nothing three feet in advance, and raining hard, I ordered the Ninth Pennsylvania to dismout and deploy as skirmishers, desiring if possible to force my way through to New Market and supposing that but a small force of the enemy was opposing my advance. On reaching the edge of the wood they were fired upon and one man wounded. They returned the fire, guided by the flash of the enemy's guns, killing 1 and wounding 12. I regarded it as almost impossible to advance farther in the dark, and placed my column in camp where they were, leaving the skirmishers in the woods. At daylight October 12 we marched to New Market and learned that Rodey's whole force. estimated at 2,000 men, with four pieces of artillery, had retreated during the night on the Limestone road in the direction of Athens. The division pushed forward rapidly in pursuit and learned that the rear guard of the enemy was three hours in advance, retreating in great haste. Our men and horses being very much exhausted, the pursuit was discontinued about ten miles from Athens, and the column contermarhed to the Winchester road, encamping that night at Kelly's Midd. We arrived at Hanley's house, three miles from Winchester, on the evening of the 15th, and there encamped.
During the whole of this march my division was under the immediate supervision of the general commanding the corps, who accompanied us. Since the beginning of the war no cavalry has undergone the srdship and fatigue that my division did on this march. I am proud to say that it was borne without complaint or murmur, but the effect has been such on both men and horses that it will require weeks to restrore them to their former efficiency. It is not out of place here to call the attention of the general commanding to the character of the horse equipments that have been furnished the cavalry. They are utterly worthless. The rawhide covering upon the saddle-trees is green, part of the wood green, and the whole construction imperfect. The five or six days' rain to which they were exposed during this march has rendered three-fourths of the saddles in the command unserviceable. This fraud that is being practiced upon the Government by either Government constractors or Government inspectors, or both, is certainly sufficiently gross in its character to demand prompt invertigation. The frauds of a set of unscrupulous speculators are rendering one of the most important and efficient arms of the service a burden instead o a benefit.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. M. McCOOK,
Colonel, commanding Division.
Major W. H. SINCLAIR,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Cavalry Corps, Decherd, Tenn.