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BOUT OP GENERAL MAESEALL AT PAINTSVTLLE KY.
January 7, 1862.
On the 7th of January, Colonel Garfield, who had his encampment on Muddy Creek, in Eastern Kentucky, marched to attack the rebel General Marshall, who with a large force of men and a battery of four pieces, was known to have an entrenched camp at Paintsville, the capital of Johnson county. Colonel Garfield's command, composed of the Forty-second Ohio, the Fourteenth Kentucky, and Major McLaughlin's squadron of Ohio cavalry, making an effective force of about fifteen hundred men, broke up their camp on Muddy Creek, and moved toward Paintsville. While on the march they were reinforced by a battalion of the First Virginia cavalry, under Colonel Bolles, and by three hundred of the Twenty-second Kentucky, raising the force to about twenty-two hundred men. The enemy, under Humphrey Marshall, numbering three thousand five hundred men, and having a battery of four pieces, learned of the approach, and also that of the Fortieth Ohio and of four hundred of Colonel Wolford's cavalry by the way of Mount Sterling and the valley of the Paint Creek. They had, two days previously, after burning large quantities of grain, broken up their intrenched camp, and effected a retreat to the heights on Middle Creek, two miles distant from Prestonburg. They had left a corps of observation at the mouth of Jennie Creek, three miles west from Paintsville, of three hundred cavalry, and a large force of infantry about seven miles up Jennie Creek, to protect and facilitate the passage of their trains.
Immediately on arriving Colonel Garfield, learning the position of this cavalry, but unaware of the whereabouts of the other divisions of the rebel force, immediately commenced the erection of a pontoon or floating bridge across the Paint Lick Creek, at Paintsville. At four p. M. he crossed with eight companies of the Forty-second Ohio, and two companies of the Fourteenth Kentucky, with a view of making an armed reconnoissance, and if possible of cutting off and capturing the cavalry. At two p. M. he had dispatched Colonel Bolles' cavalry and one company of the Forty-second, under the command of Captain S. M. Barber, with orders to give a good account of the cavalry. But later in the day, on learning the possibility of cutting them off, he had sent orders to Colonel Bolles not to attack them until he had obtained time to get in their rear. Not receiving the last orders, and indeed before they were issued, Colonel Bolles, in obedience to his first directions, crossed the Paint by fording, and vigorously assaulting the enemy, soon put them to flight up the valley of Jennie. In their haste, followed as they were by the cavalry, they strewed the road with their equipments, while here and there a dead or wounded soldier gave proof that they were losing men also. The pursuit was kept up for seven miles, rig-fat into the infantry division which was guarding the train. Stationed on either side of the road, that did not permit more than two to ride abreast, it opened a heavy cross-fire on the Union cavalry, compelling them to fall back, and finally to retreat, which they did in good order, having inflicted a loss of twenty-five in killed and wounded, according to rebel account, and losing but two killed and one wounded. Fifteen rebels were taken prisoners. Meanwhile Colonel Garfield, with his command, having remained a short time to fully explore the enemy's deserted fortifications, (consisting of lunettes, breastworks, rifle-pits and a fort situated on the top of a conical hill,) and wholly unaware of what had taken place, pressed forward to the hoped for consummation of the march. But few miles had been traversed, however, when the evidences of a hasty retreat became so apparent that all were convinced that the enemy had flown. The object of the march having been thus thwarted, an early return to Paintsville became desirable, and it was accomplished at the dawn.
BATTLE 0F MIDDLE OBEEK, KY.
January 10, 1862.
Having recruited his men by a night's rest at Paintsville, Colonel Garfield was preparing to start in immediate pursuit on the morning of the 8th, but receiving information of the superior force of the enemy, he awaited the arrival of the Fortieth Ohio regiment, and Wolford's Kentucky cavalry, by way of Mount Sterling. These troops joined him on that day, raising his effective force to about two thousand four hundred men, after deducting Colonel Bolle's Virginia cavalry, which, in obedience to orders, had returned to Guyandotte in that State. On the 9th, Colonel Garfield detailed from the Forty-second and Fortieth Ohio, and Fourteenth Kentucky each three hundred men, and from the Twentysecond Kentucky two hundred men, and taking the immediate command, supported, however, by Colonel Craner of the Fortieth, and Major Burke of the Fourteenth. After detaching Colonel Wolford's and Major McLaughlin's cavalry up Jennie's Creek, he marched up the river road leading to Prestonburg. Early on the morning of the 10th, Colonel Sheldon of the Forty-second Ohio, in command at the camp, received a dispatch from Colonel Garfield, stating that he had found the enemy, and asking reinforcements. In compliance with the order, at six A. M. on the tenth, Colonel Sheldon marched with eight hundred men, who eagerly pressed forward on their way to the scene of action. As Colonel Garfield had stated, he had found the enemy two miles from Prestonburg, on Middle Creek, in a chosen position among the hills, with between four and five thousand men and four pieces of artillery. The Fifth Virginia regiment, Colonel Trigg, Colonel John S. Williams' Kentucky regiment, Colonel Moore's Kentucky regiment, Markham and Wicher's cavalry, and the Fourth Virginia infantry, lay in full strength on the hills at the forks of the creek, while their battery seemed to forbid all approach. Nothing deterred by the formidable position and number of the enemy, Colonel Garfield, not fully aware of their exact locality, sent skirmishers forward with a view of drawing the enemy's fire, and thus ascertaining his whereabouts. Not succeeding in this, about noon he sent forward his escort of cavalry, some twenty strong, in a headlong charge. This accomplished the object, for the enemy, thinking the whole Union force upon them, opened with musketry, shot and shell upon the cavalry, and a small party of the skirmishers under Adjutant Olds of the Forty-second, then in a corn-field immediately in front of the position of Colonel Williams' Kentucky regiment, and flanked on the left by the artillery and Trigg's Virginia regiment. The cavalry made a hasty retreat, and the enemy concentrated their whole fire on Adjutant Olds and his party, but without effect. After replying with some fifteen rounds of musketry, and observing a large force thrown out on his right, with intent to cut him off, he fell back upon the main body. The position of the enemy thus disclosed was as follows: Colonel Williams' regiment was behind a ridge at the head of the gorge, and on the right of the road, so that his fire commanded the gorge and road for a half-mile. Colonel Trigg's regiment, the Fourth Virginia, was on the crest of the crescent-shaped hill on the left of the road, commanding it by their flanking fire. The artillery was between the two at the forks of the creek and the turn in the road and gorge. The evident design of the enemy was to draw the Unionists up the road in front of their cannon and between the crossfire of the three regiments, but this well-formed plan failed in its execution, as in their impotence or nervousness they neglected to reserve their fire for the approach of the main body. The remainder of their force were in the rear of their cannon, in a strong supporting position. Occupying Graveyard Point, the end of a high ridge on the right of the creek north of his main body, Colonel Garfield dispatched a hundred men across the creek to ascend the horn of the crescent farthest up the gorge. The ascent was most difficult, the men being compelled to creep on their hands and knees most of the way. On attaining the summit, they were greeted with the whole fire of Trigg's regiment, stationed at the base, and deployed along the other horn; also by a fire from the artillery and the reserve in the rear. On the top of the ridge, and at points nearly equi-distant from each other, were three piles of Btone, the possession of which was eagerly sought for by the contending parties.
The small band on the summit of the ridge were now reinforced by two hundred men, and assisted by the reserve at Graveyard Point, who poured a galling fire on the deployed right flank of the enemy, they soon drove him from the first stone pile, and took possession of it.
A force of two hundred men was then thrown out by Colonel Garfield for the ascent of the lower horn of the crescent. These soon reached the summit, where being reinforced by Colonel Craner of the Fortieth with three hundred men, they captured the third stone pile, while the rebels were thus confined to the second or central one. The fire was now exceedingly heavy. Both parties betook themselves to the shelter of the rocks and trees, and the battle raged furiously, the shots tearing through the branches and surging up the defiles of the mountains in a wild tumult of sounds.
About half-past four a burst of loud cheering heralded in reinforcements for the Union troops. A detachment of brave soldiers came in simultaneously with the shouts that welcomed them, panting, and almost breathless from the fatigue of a long march; for fifteen miles they had struggled through the mud of a broken road without breakfast, and at a tiresome pace. Excited by the sound of the conflict, they had marched the last two miles on the double-quick, and came in bathed with perspiration, bespattered with mud, and half the men carrying their coats on their arms.
Though fatigued with the forced march, and faint with hunger, these noble fellows demanded only to be led at once into battle. After a short rest, they were'thrown across the creek to ascend the right horn of the crescent, but were finally ordered back, as it had now become too dark to advance with safety, and the storm of battle, by mutual consent, ceased. Resting upon their arms, determined to renew the battle in the morning, the Union troops spent the night; but when morning dawned, the enemy, it was found, had vanished. Under cover of the darkness he had burned his heavy baggage and retreated. He left twenty-seven dead on the field, and it is definitely ascertained had some one hundred and twenty-five wounded, of whom forty-two subsequently died. The Federals lost two killed and twenty-five wounded.
The Richmond papers claimed a brilliant Confederate victory on this occasion, estimating the Federal forces at 8,000 men, and their loss at 400 killed and wounded.
BATTLE OP SILVEE GEEEK. MO.
It was the misfortune of Missouri, more than any other State, to be a battle-ground for the guerrilla forces of the rebels, and for the skirmishing engagements of the war. These minor battles, while they had but little effect on the great result, inflicted untold horrors on the people dwelling there.
At the opening of the year 1862, General Pope had command of the North-western District of the State, with his headquarters at Otterville, Cooper county.
Having heard that the enemy was busily engaged in recruiting men in Roanoke and adjoining counties, Major W. M. G. Torrence of the First Iowa Cavalry was ordered to concentrate and take command of several small bodies of Federal troops, then guarding important points in the district, and to break up the rebel encampments.
From Booneville, Major Torrence proceeded to Fayette, Howard county, and for several days was actively engaged in scouring the country and endeavoring to ascertain the position and strength of the rebel forces. He found that Colonel Poindexter was recruiting in various places in the county, and that he was encamped with his principal force, of from five to seven hundred men, on Silver Creek, and had other camps to reinforce him when ready to move, to the number of from twelve to fifteen hundred men.
They further reported that he had pledged himself to his men that he would clean out the Federals in tho county of Howard in a very few days. Night after night was selected to surprise the Union camp with his whole force, but through some mishap they never appeared. On the morning of January 8th, all was in motion in the Federal camp, under orders from Major Torrence to hold themselves in readiness to move with all their able-bodied men at an early hour. They took up their line of march for Roanoke, and, after moving a few miles, were joined by Major Hubbard's command. The forces now comprised a portion of Merrill's horse, under Major Hunt, one company of the Fourth Ohio, under Captain Foster, a part of the Missouri First, under Major Hubbard, and four companies of the First Iowa, under Major Torrence. After passing the town of Roanoke, the whole column moved rapidly about five miles, and halted to have position and duties assigned to the several commands. Learning that the enemy were in a strong position on the Creek, where it probably would be impossible to charge them with mounted men, it was determined to dismount and fight as infantry.
Captain Foster was assigned the advance, foll<*ved by Merrill's Horse