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COLONEL STRAIGHT'S CAVALRY RAID INTO GEORGIA, IN
COLONEL A. D. STRAIGHT, of the 51st Indiana Volun. teers, in command of a brigade of about 1,700 men, for special service, left Murfreesboro', on the 7th or 8th of April, 1863, to receive an outfit at Nashville.
At Nashville, instead of horses, they received, in part, about nine hundred worn-out Government mules and a few young,
unbroken Thus imperfectly outfitted, they embarked on the 10th of April, on transport steamers, and proceeded down the Cumberland to Palmyra, from whence they marched over land to Fort Donelson.
This march tested the bottom of the animals, proving them deficient in all respects. The expectation had been, that the men would be able to secure a better mounting by capturing horses on their route; but the guerillas, having preceded them, left but small opportunity for that operation.
From Fort Donelson they marched to Fort Henry, where the troops re-embarked for Eastport, on the Tennessee River, about 190 miles above Fort Henry, where they left the boats and started to join General Dodge's forces, at Bear Creek, Alabama. The day after reaching Dodge's command, they advanced to Tuscumbia, the Rebels leaving after slight skirmishing, Colonel Straight's brigade bringing up Dodge's rear. After a stay of a day and a half with the General, for some more brokendown mules, Colonel Straight's brigade left Tuscumbia, at midnight, for Russellville, which was reached in six hours; the main body proceeding on to Mount Hope, to capture some horses, ascertained to be near there.
But the owners of the horses, apprised of their approach, conveyed the animals to the mountains, where they were securely secreted from our scouts. The next day the whole brigade left Mount Hope for Moulton, and, during their march, heard heavy cannonading in the direction of Town Creek, which was afterward ascertained was from Dodge's forces advancing on that place, it being his purpose to engage the enemy, and divert their attention from Colonel Straight, and prevent their pursuing him, till he could advance into the heart of their country, beyond their reach; but heavy rains and the swollen state of Town Creek prevented the General from crossing it.
Colonel Straight's command reached Moulton at dusk, and left at midnight for the Cumberland Mountains; his whole force not yet being mounted, one hundred men having to march on foot, greatly impeded his progress.
While crossing the mountains, contraband information enabled them to capture a sufficient number of horses and mules to mount those of the men who were yet on foot.
Having been about two days in the mountains, just as the troops had taken up their line of march, early in the morning, they were attacked by General Forrest, who had overtaken them, with 2,200 men and two pieces of artillery.
They, however, went on about three miles, to Day's Gap, where they dismounted, formed in line of battle, and, after a sharp conflict of about two hours, repulsed the rebels, capturing their artillery and a few prisoners. Colonel Straight pursued them but a short distance, as being so much better mounted, they soon distanced him.
Having buried the dead and cared for the wounded, Colonel Straight resumed his line of march south, and having advanced about twelve miles, was again overtaken by Forrest, who had been strongly reinforced by a brigade of well-mounted infantry, with a battery of six pieces, under the command of Colonel Roddy.
The attack was immediately renewed, in hopes of overwhelming Colonel Straight's command with their superior numbers; but, to their mortification, they were repulsed two or three times, in a contest of three hours' duration, with heavy loss.
In this engagement Colonel Straight made use of the guns he had captured in the morning, as long as possible, but subsequently spiked them and left them on the field, having no suitable ammunition for them, and no spare horses for their removal.
This fight lasted till after dusk, when Forrest not renewing the attack, Colonel Straight resumed his line of march, being within eighty miles of the Georgia line.
While on the field, after the fight, the narrator of the particulars thus far stated (H. R. King, Ass't Surgeon, 51st Penn'a Vols.) was taken prisoner, while looking after the wounded, in company with Brig.-Surg. Wm. L. Peck, who barely escaped a similar fate.
Mr. King was taken before Forrest, who inquired of him, “what General commands your forces ?”—to which Mr. King replied, “he is not a General, but a Colonel Colonel Straight.” Forrest seemed surprised at this, and remarked that the Colonel was as brave a man as he ever had to contend against !"—that "he understood his business well, showing excellent generalship in the posi
tions he selected; and that he was surprised at Colonel Straight's holding out so long as he did, against superior odds."
At Huntsville, Mr. King heard General Forrest remark to some citizens, that he never could have taken Colonel Straight's command, had his men been well mounted. Mr. King also learned that the force pursuing Colonel Straight was 4,000 men, with a battery.
After Mr. King was captured, he informs us that he knew nothing more of the proceedings of Colonel Straight's brigade, until he met him and his officers in Libby Prison, in Richmond, Va. The following is given by Mr. King, as a brief statement given him by Colonel Straight's officers :
“ After the last battle, above alluded to, Colonel Straight again started, marching toward Rome, Ga., and Forrest, as I was told, having telegraphed General Bragg to send a brigade on to Rome, followed him, and overtook him at Bluntsville, where another fight ensued, Forrest being again repulsed.
“Skirmishes now occurred every day, until out troops were within a few miles of Rome, when another fight took place, at Cedar Bluff, where Colonel Straight fought Forrest until all his available ammunition was exhausted-some of it having been wet in the hold of the boat, while on the river-and the mules were completely worn out, so that they would not move, either by coaxing or beating.
“Colonel Straight was therefore compelled to surrender, which he did, on condition that the officers should retain their side-arms, and be paroled, and exchanged immediately. Nevertheless, as soon as he and
his officers had been removed from General Forrest's command, their side-arms were taken from them.
"Previous to his surrender, Colonel Straight sent three hundred of his men (the only ones in his command who were mounted on horses) to destroy some bridges and alarge rolling-mill, all valued at about two millions of dollars, which they accomplished.
“The officers in Colonel Straight's command,” continues Mr. King, “justify him in all that he did, express themselves well pleased with his management of the troops, say that he acted as bravely and as nobly as a man could act, and are extremely desirous to continue under his command."
Had it not been for the rise in Town Creek, which prevented General Dodge from crossing, and engaging the enemy, as originally planned, Colonel Straight would have been able to have succeeded in his expedition; and would, notwithstanding, had his men been well mounted, as was admitted by Forrest, himself. Our entire loss in all the engagements, was seven killed and fifty-eight wounded. The rebel loss was one hundred killed and four hundred wounded, which Mr. King says he ascertained while within their lines.
A HEROIC INCIDENT.
A YOUNG man in our employ, says the Mansfield (Ohio) Herald, in April, 1863, received a letter recently, announcing the death of a former school fellow, named