Report of Colonel John S. Scott, First Louisiana Cavalry, commanding Calvary Brigade.

 

HEADQUARTERS KIRBY SMITH'S BRIGADE
Lebanon, KY, September 11, 1862

Maj. Gen. E. KIRBY SMITH
Commanding Army of Kentucky, Lexington, KY


The evening of August 13 I left Kingston, Tenn., with the First Louisiana Cavalry, Lieut. Col. [James O.] Nixon commanding; First Georgia Cavalry, Col. [J. J.] Morrison, and the Buckner Guards, Captain Garnett, numbering in the aggregate 896, and passing through Montgomery and Jamestown, Tenn., Monticello and Somerset, Ky., reached London on the 17th. During the night of the 16th, when 25 miles from London, I learned that five companies of the Third Tennessee Volunteers, U.S. Army, were stationed there. I selected 500 men from the command and made a forced march, reaching the town about 7 o'clock the next morning, when I attacked the place, and after a brief resistance by the enemy I captured it, killing 13, wounding 17, and taking 111 prisoners. My loss was 1 officer and 1 private killed; none wounded. I took a large number of wagons laden with quartermaster's and commissary stores, and a number of horses and mules, and several hundred stand of arms, all of which I have forwarded to you.
After leaving London I employed my command gathering mules, horses, and wagons that had been left along the road by the affrighted Federals from London to Mount Vernon and Richmond.
The evening of the 22d, learning that a train was coming (intended for the Gap), guarded by infantry and cavalry, I moved my command to meet them. My advance came upon them at Big Hill, 17 miles from Richmond, when the fight commenced, and resulted as stated in my former report.
After driving in their pickets within 2 miles of Richmond the morning of the 24th and gathering up all the trains, horses, and mules, I fell back slowly to the junction of the Wild Cat and Richmond roads, which I reached the evening of the 25th.
On the 27th the Third Tennessee Cavalry, Col. [J. W.] Starnes, was added to my command, and I moved on in the direction of Richmond.
On the 29th I made a reconnaissance of the enemy with my whole command, and finding them in position about 3 miles from Richmond I fell back 4 miles to the infantry and reported to General Cleburne, who was in command of the advance division.
On the morning of the 30th, in obedience to your orders, I passed around to the west of Richmond and took possession of the roads leading to Lexington. The majority of my forces were posted on the Lexington road and one company on the Lancaster road; the remainder between the two roads. About 4 o'clock stragglers from the battlefield commenced passing into my lines and gradually increased in numbers until 6 o'clock, when the main body of the enemy, apparently about 5,000 strong, with nine pieces of artillery, came upon us. My forces, being well ambuscaded, poured a destructive fire into their ranks, killing about 60 and wounding a large number--the firing commenced in obedience to my orders on the extreme left, extending to the right, which was nearest Richmond--after which almost the entire force immediately surrendered. Owing to the smallness of my force (about 850) I was unable to still guard the roads and remove all the prisoners to the rear, and consequently a large number escaped, wandering through the corn fields and woodlands, it being now too dark to distinguish them when a few paces distant. I am unable to state positively the number of prisoners taken by my command, owing to the fact that they were captured principally after dark, and during the same night were turned over to General Preston Smith, in obedience to your orders, but am confident they could not fall short of 3,500. I captured also nine pieces of artillery, a large number of small-arms, and wagons loaded with army supplies. Among the prisoners captured was Brigadier-General Manson and a number of field and staff officers.
On the morning of the 31st I moved to the Kentucky River and drove the rear guard of the enemy from the opposite bank.
September 1 I moved on and encamped near Lexington, and on the 2d moved around Lexington and encamped near Georgetown; on the 3d we moved on to Frankfort and hoisted the battle flag of the First Louisiana Cavalry (in default of a Confederate flag) on the capitol of the State, while the rear guard of the enemy (now about 8,000 strong) were quiet spectators from the opposite hills. The same evening I detailed all my command with horses in condition to travel (450 in number) to pursue the enemy and harass his rear.
The next morning, September 4, about sunrise they came upon the enemy near Shelbyville, and drove them into and through the town and then crossed over the railroad and destroyed the bridges in obedience to your orders, and returned to camp near Frankfort. The 6th and 7th remained in camp near Frankfort.
The evening of the 8th left Frankfort and reached this place at 9 o'clock this morning.
My loss since leaving Kingston is I officer and 6 privates killed, 21 wounded, and 9 taken prisoners.
Since reaching London I have captured near 4,000 prisoners (including those turned over to General Smith and those paroled by me), about 375 wagons, mostly laden with provisions and army stores, near 1,500 mules, and a large number of horses. It has been impossible to keep an account of the wagons, &c., captured by my command, owing to the rapidity of my movement.
I cannot close this report without bearing testimony to the soldierly conduct of my command; they have endured unusual privations and fatigues without murmur.
I cannot compliment the commanders of the regiments composing this brigade too highly for the assistance rendered me.
I would mention that the first 106 miles of our march, over a rough and barren country, was made in forty-two hours, having been delayed one day on account of getting my horses shod.
The statement of the property captured at Frankfort was handed in at your headquarters by me in person on Saturday last.
My forces have been materially reduced by the numerous details which I found it necessary to make in order to remove wagons and stock to the rear, and I shall use my utmost endeavors to concentrate my command at as early a day as possible.
Hoping that the results achieved by the Kirby Smith Brigade may prove satisfactory to you, general, I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

 
J. S. SCOTT,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade

 

 

 

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