Today in History:

123 Series I Volume XX-I Serial 29 - Murfreesborough Part I


Numbers 10. Report of Captain William W. Baldwin, commanding Cavalry Squadron, of operations December 29-January 2.

KINGSPORT, EAST TENN., January 6, 1863.

GENERAL: You will, doubtless, have heard of the raid made upon East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia by the notorious renegade Carter and his Abolition crew before this reaches you, but as I was an eyewitness to the whole affair, I propose to give you a brief account of it that you may rely upon.

On Monday night, December 29, I was informed by reliable sources that a large Yankee force was passing through Big Moccasin Gap. I immediately threw out a picket force, and found it to be true that a mounted force of about 2,000 was passing rapidly up the Bristol road. I next proceeded to dispatch to the authorities along the line of railroad. My courier to Bristol being cut off by the head of the enemy's column, I failed to get the news to Bristol, but reached Jonesborough and Rogersville, and, by telegraph, informed General Marshall, at Abingdon, of their approach. General Marshall mustered his infantry and artillery to Bristol Tuesday night, and there lay waiting for the enemy to arrive until he had approached the railroad at Union Depot, burned the bridge and depot; thence moved down to Carter's Depot, burned the bridge at that place, rushed the cars into the river, destroying a large amount of stores, arms, &c. Tuesday evening I tendered my force to General Marshall, at Bristol, but was coolly informed that we would have to provide for ourselves and wait for orders.

Next morning, being very impatient, I went to General Marshall and asked leave to follow up the enemy, harass him upon his rear, and report to the general my discoveries. His reply to me was (turning scornfully upon his heels), "By God, when I have orders for you, I will let you know." Captain [B. W.] Jenkins, of his staff, and others, however, interfering, prevailed to induce him to send for me about 9 a.m. Wednesday, and grant me liberty at this late hour to start after him, but with special orders to make no general attack until the work was given by him. Under this sort of orders, I proceeded in search of the enemy in the direction of Union, discovered him 4 miles southwest of Blountsville about 1 p.m., on his backward march, and reported the fact to General Marshall. While harassing him upon his rear, I kept a regular line of couriers to Marshall, advising him fully of all the enemy's movements. At 8 p.m. I learned, by a dispatch from General Marshall, that his whole force was in motion toward the enemy's front. Being encouraged by this information, I pressed close upon him, sent up an advance so close as to fire upon the general and his staff at Kingsport, who were, strangely enough, halting for refreshments in the rear, wounding his aide-de-camp in the hand, took the general's horse, saber, and baggage, saddle, &c., one of his staff's horses and baggage, the balance all making their escape. This produced no small excitement in the enemy's ranks, and, to avoid hastening his retreat in advance of General Marshall's interception column, I concealed my force in a neighboring wood until he quieted and went into camp. In this way I pursued him, plucking off a few from his rear every now and then until he reached Jonesville, Va. Here I was full of hope that we should bag up the whole force. But, as might have been expected, Marshall had stationed his