Lewisburg to Mooresville, about four miles, and then left the road and turned to the right for the purpose, as they said, of stopping at a neighboring house for the night.
After leaving the road about half a mile, as we were walking along through a wooded ravine, the man in advance of us halted, partially turned his horse,and as I came up, drew his revolver and fired on me without a word. The ball entered my right ear just above the center, passed through and lodged in the bone back of the ear. It knocked me senseless for a few moments. I soon recovered, however, but lay perfectly quiet, knowing that my only hope lay in leading them to believe they had killed me. Presently I heard two carbine shots, and then all was still. After about fifteen minutes I staggered to my feet and attempted to get away, but found I could not walk. About that time a colored boy came along and helped me to a house near by. He told me that the other two officers were dead, having been shot through the head. That evening their bodies were brought to the house where I lay. Next morning they were decently buried on the premises of Colonel John C. Hill, near by.
The shooting occurred on the 22d, and on the 23d, about midday, one of Forrest's men came to the house where I was lying and inquired for me; said that he had come to kill me. The man of the house said that it was entirely unnecessary, as I was so severely wounded that I would die any way, and he expected I would not live over an hour. He then went away, saying that if I was not dead by morning I would be killed. After he left I was moved by the neighbors to another house, and was moved nearly every night from one house to another until the 27th, when I was relieved by a party of troops sent from Columbia and brought within the Federal lines.
The privates were sent off on a road leading to the right of the one we took; about in the direction of Columbia, I should judge. I cannot but think they were killed, as about that time our forces occupied Columbia, the rebel army having retreated. There were twelve privates, belonging, I think, to Cruft's brigade.*
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. W. FITCH,
First Lieutenant, Twelfth U. S. Colored Infty., and A. A. Q. M.
NEW ORLEANS, January 4, 1865.
(Received 10.25 p.m. 10th).
Major General H. W. HALLECK:
Your telegram of December 29 has been received. The steamship Atlanta, capacity of carrying 1,500 bales, was sent to Mobile Bay on the 16th ultimo to take the cotton referred to to New York. The only delay on our part was occasioned by a norther of three days. The subsequent delay was due to the authorities in Mobile. I learn this morning from Colonel Sawtelle, who has just returned from Mississippi Sound, that General Granger is unable to account for the delay, and was on the point of notifying General Maury that unless he received assurances that the cotton would soon be sent out he would not detain the Atlanta any longer.
ED. R. S. CANBY,
*See also Thomas to Hood, January 13, 1865, Series I, Vol. XLV, Part II, p. 578.