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238

GARFIELD ADVANCES. ON MARSHALL,

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face of the intrenchments, and losing all order scrambled over the rocks with yells. Receiving the rebel fire without halting, they stormed over them in one wild hurrah. They then dashed down the mountain, in rear of the cannon,

and bayoneting the gunners captured the pieces. In the mean time, the Fourth scaled the precipitous sides of the south hill like wild cats, and falling on the fugitives captured thirty. five prisoners. Before the center column could get into action, the fight was over, and the enemy scattered in every direction. The rebel force was nearly two thousand strong, of ; hich about forty were killed and as many more taken prisoners. Gathering up their spoils, consisting of a large number of cattle, wagon loads of ammunition, and stores, the victorious little army took up

its line of march for camp, where it arrived at four o'clock, having accomplished thirtytwo miles in seventeen hours.

West, our forces seemed equally determined to crown the opening year with victories.

On the same day that Colonel Dunning drove the enemy from Blue's Gap, Colonel Garfield broke up his camp at Muddy Creek, Kentucky, and moved towards Paintville, the county town of Johnson county, to attack Humphrey Marshall, who occupied that region with a force estimated at five thousand. The latter being advised of his approach, retreated to some hights on Middle Creek, about two miles from Prestonburg, leaving three hundred cavalry at the mouth of Jennie Creek, near Paintsville, as a corps of observation. Scattering this force, Garfield pushed on for Prestonburg, fifteen miles distant, with a thousand and one hundred men. He had only three days' rations of hard bread for his whole force, yet with this meager supply, he boldly set out on his difficult march. Arriving within one mile of the place at eight o'clock at night, he learned that the enemy were encamped three miles distant up the creek. Sending back to Paintville to have

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all the available forces immediately pushed forward, he en-
camped on the crest of a wooded hill in a pelting rain storm,
the men sleeping on their arms.

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BATTLE OF MIDDLE CREEK.

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The next morning at four o'clock, the troops were summoned to arms, and snatching a hasty breakfast of hard bread, pushed on a mile up the creek, then crossed over to Middle Creek, which empties into the Big Sandy, opposite Prestonburg. Garfield thought the enemy were encamped on Abbot's Creek, and moved up towards Middle Creek slowly, throwing out skirmishers as he advanced. Proceeding thus a couple of miles, he came to the mouth of Middle Creek, a thousand yards up which, he now ascertained the enemy to be in position. The morning had dawned gloomy and chill, but the troops were in the highest spirits, and eager to be led against the enemy.

Not knowing the exact position of the rebel force, Garfield sent forward a body of skirmishers to draw their fire, and thus ascertain it. Failing to do this, he at noon ordered bis escort of cavalry, only twenty in number, to charge. Away they dashed, with pealing bugle, and the rebels thinking the whole force was upon them, opened with shot and shell. This disclosed in part their position. One regiment was posted behind the ridge, a point of which he himself occupied, and on the left of the road commanding it. Another was behind a ridge on the right of the road, while the artillery was posted between. It was their intention to draw Garfield along the road between these enfilading fires and destroy him. But in their haste they had revealed the trap, and Garfield at once formed his plan of attack. He sent two Kentucky companies along the crest of the ridge on the point of which he was encamped while one Ohio company was ordered to cross the

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creek, which was waist deep, and occupy a spur of a high rocky ridge to the front and left of his position. In a few minutes the enemy opened with two cannon, and soon the sharp firing of musketry showed that the detachment to the left was hotly engaged. The rebels, however, were found to be in overwhelming force, and Garfield hurried forward reinforcements. As these càme shouting up the hill the contest became fiercer. The rebels at length succeeded in : occupying the main ridge, at a point nearly opposite to Garfield's position, and opened a heavy fire on his reserves. To prevent being outflanked, the latter ordered LieutenantColonel Monroe to cross the creek a short distance below, and drive back the enemy, which he did in gallant style. In the meantime, Colonel Cramer and Major Pardee, though outnumbered three to one, pushed the enemy inch by inch up

the steep ridge nearest to the creek. Never did troops behave more gallantly; still Garfield became exceedingly anxious as he saw against what overwhelming numbers they were slowly making their desperate way.

A thousand fresh troops, and he felt the day would be his own; still they did not come; and hour after hour he had to maintain the une. qual conflict. The day was drawing to a close, and still the enemy held those rugged heights. But just as the sun was disappearing behind them, loud cheers in the rear announced. the arrival of reinforcements. Lieutenant-Colonel Sheldon, with the Forty-second Ohio, had marched fifteen miles with. out breakfast, toiling at the top of their speed through the deep mud, and for the last two miles on a rün, and now be. spattered, hungry, and exhausted, demanded with loud clamor to be led against the enemy. "As Garfield saw the bayonets: of the brave fellows dancing along the stream, he gave 2 shout of joy, and Ainging bis coat into the air as he stripped himself for the last struggle, immediately ordered forward :: the whole of his reserve under Lieutenant-Colonel Browă

FIGHT AT SILVER CREEK..

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He knew the decisive hour had come, and hurling his entiré line of battle forward, pushed the enemy back up the slope and over the crest of the ridges, and finally forced him to retreat in confusion. Night had now come on, and fearing that his troops would get confused among the hills and fire on each other, he ordered a halt, designing to finish the work in the morning. The firing had scarcely ceased, when a bright light streamed up from the valley below, where the enemy had disappeared, showing that he was burning his stores, preparatory to an ignominious flight.

The next day the victorious army entered Prestonburg and found it nearly deserted. Seventy-five of the enemy's dead were picked up on the field, showing that his loss must have been severe, while our own was less than thirty.

Unable to obtain provisions here, Garfield moved back his brave, half-starved and foot-sore army to Paintville. »

While he was inflicting this severe punishment on the rebels in Kentucky, Pope in Missouri was dealing them another of his unexpected blows. On the eighth, he sent out Major Torrence from Booneville, who came upon the enemy encamped near Silver Creek. The latter were in a strong position, protected by ravines, underbrush and woods. The cavalry could not charge through the obstructions, and so the men dismounted, and with saber and revolver, and gnidons flying in the breeze, dashed forward with shouts on the camp, followed by the infantry. A short, fierce struggle followed, and the field was won. Darkness coming on, and a heavy fog settling over the broken and wooded country, no pursuit was attempted; and after setting fire to the wagons, tents, and camp equipage, Torrence took up his backward march. His loss in killed and wounded was twenty-five, while that of the enemy was at least three times as great.

Two days after, Porter, commander of a part of the gup

242

THE WEST MOVING.

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boat fleet on the Mississippi, hearing that the enemy was
moving up from Columbus, sailed down to meet him, and a
contest followed which resulted in the enemy being driven
back under the guns of their fort.
Thus every thing at the west in the opening of the

year betokened stirring times, and the eyes of the nation were turned thither in anxious solicitude. The main movements there had been conducted so secretly, and such a strict espionage was kept upon newspaper correspondents, that the public were almost completely in the dark respecting what was going on. It had come to think that a suspension of hostilities till the opening of spring had been resolved upon there as well as in front of Washington. But now there seemed to be a sudden waking up, and before the month closed, the first of a succession of heavy blows was struck which in the end nearly cleared the valley of the Mississippi.

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