Today in History:

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

Page 160 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA.


of the Union Home Guards, of Knox and Whitley Counties. Captain King readily agreed to support any inroad I might make into Tennessee with 150 mountaineers and mounted his horse to assemble them, but just as he was starting he received a dispatch from Brigadier-General Carter (of the purport of which I am ignorant), which must have changed his plans, as I saw him no more. Mr. Lanman, then on this way to Lexington, furnished me with valuable information as to persons and roads.

On the morning of the 27th I left Barboursville River, reached frequented road on the south bank of the Cumberland River, reached the Pine Mountain, and, crossing its main ridge by a difficult and circuitous route (the former main road being obstructed by numerous trees felled by the mountaineers to impede General Kirby Smith's retreat), reached Lanman's at 4 p.m.

I had been apprised by several reliable men that a rebel camp of cavalry, numbering 250 or 300, lay near Fortner's Mill, a short distance beyond Boston, and 9 miles from Lanman's. I, therefore, advanced cautiously, and having proceeded 2 miles or more toward Rogers' Gap, retraced enough of my route after dark to secure a safe retreat in case the enemy should have received intelligence of my proximity. To guard against this, I posted mountaineers on every path of the road, leaving to them the choice of proper men and positions, and giving only general directions to keep the enemy ignorant of my presence. I must gratefully acknowledge the promptitude and efficiency of their assistance; so completely was every by-path stopped, that, had I chosen to have laid concealed at Jesse Powers' (where I encamped), 1 mile southwest of Lanman's, I could have done so for a week.

I dispatched Dr. Sproule, a native of Whitley County, a refugee from the rebel troops, to approach Boston, and bring back accurate information of the position and force of the enemy on Elk Fork, and availed myself of the volunteered services of Jesse Powers and Huston Collins, whom I furnished with horses to bring intelligence from Rogers' Gap. Dr. Sproule sent me word that the enemy were careless and unsuspicious in the smaller camp; that a large force of, perhaps, 1,200 cavalry, with two pieces of artillery, were this side of the Big Creek Gap, and that Major Foley, with the Second Battalion, Tenth Kentucky Cavalry, was at Williamsburg. Powers and Collins were unable to return, but sent me word that they had sent into Tennessee, as far as Maynardsville, Mrs. Rogers, wife of Lieutenant Canada Rogers, now a prisoner in Knoxville, who reported a force of rebel cavalry at Miller's Woodlands, in Powell's Valley, 2 miles from the crest of Rogers' Gap, numbering nearly 300; also 500 cavalry at Rice's Mill, on Lost Creek, near Maynardville, and rumors of half-organized parties at Jacksborough and other points to the westward. I had no time to communicate with Major Foley at Williamsburg, and it seemed to me that an incursion into Tennessee, sufficiently dangerous under the most favorable circumstances, would be foolhardy, with the prospect of an aroused enemy in the rear. I felt forced, therefore, to abandon, though reluctantly, the project of burning the railroad bridge at Strawberry Plains. It seemed to me that the next best thing was to assist Major Foley in the attack, which I felt certain he would make on Sunday morning, 28th.

Accordingly, I moved toward Boston at early daylight, as soon as the crossing of the Pine Mountain was practicable, and came into Boston entirely unexpected at 7 o'clock. I then learned that Major Foley had already attacked, with brilliant success. The enemy were already in pursuit, perhaps 600 strong, in the direction of Williamsburg. With

Page 160 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA.