Colonel Lyon’s Letters.
Claysville, Ala., Fri., July 15, 1864 (at sunrise).— You will think it strange that I am writing to you at this time of day. I will tell you how it happened. I got back from my trip, concerning which I have already written you, yesterday afternoon, and went to bed at nine last night, very tired and sleepy, I assure you. Between 11 and 12 o’clock Johnny (my orderly) burst into my room with, ‘Colonel, the rebels are crossing the river with a large force down at the landing.’ (This is where Lieut. Fish is stationed, one mile from headquarters.) I was sleeping very soundly, but managed to tumble out of bed, wondering why they couldn’t just as well have waited until morning. So I dressed, and Jerry saddled the horse, and off the Adjutant and I galloped to the river (I am getting to be a famous horseman). There we found every evidence that there was a large force, and a very demonstrative one, on the other bank. We supposed that they had artillery from the noise made by their wagon train. So we went to work collecting our men, notifying the other companies on the river, sending out scouts and patrols, and making every possible arrangement for the battle that we expected to fight at daylight this morning. But daylight came and revealed to us a large force on the other side of the river, but the men were all in blue.
It turned out to be a large scout from Decatur, of which we had received no notice. We the more readily believed it a rebel force from the fact that only last Tuesday morning Lieut. Fish was across the river with only eight men and was attacked by between forty and fifty rebel cavalry, fought them, and with the aid of a few of our men, who succeeded in getting on an island near by, whipped them handsomely. The rebels admit a loss of three killed and four wounded. Not a man of ours received a scratch. It was almost a miracle.
I wondered often during the night what you would think had you known that we were passing the hours of the night in the trenches, expecting a fight in the morning; but the luck of the 13th still clings to them, and nobody is hurt.
The force on the other side sent over a wounded officer, and behold, it was Captain Wilcox, of the 5th Iowa Cavalry, an old friend. He got a charge of buckshot in the hip the other day on a raid south of this. He is doing well.
I find on going to my room that Jerry has packed and boxed all of my traps, and had them ready to load on the wagon in case we were worsted. I gave him no directions about them—did not even think of them. During the night, the Adjutant, who remained at headquarters, tells me, Jerry volunteered to go one and a half miles alone to call in an outpost, and went. He was as cool and brave as any of the soldiers.