Letter from "Delano's Dragoons."
HEADQUARTERS Co. L, 2D ILL. CAVALRY,
UNION CITY, Tennessee,
November 24th, 1863.
MR. EDITOR: — Thinking that a few words from Delano's old Dragoons might prove interesting to at least some of your readers, (of course we don't expect it will be to the infernal Copperheads of Adams county,) and having just played our part with others of our battalion in a beautiful little squabble with the butternuts, we beg leave to submit the following:
Last Wednesday noon information came to this post that a gang of about one hundred guerrillas passed through Troy, the county-seat of this county, ten miles west of here, en route for Hickman, Ky., sixteen miles north of this post, on the Mississippi, their probable and only business being to plunder the stores and then return with the booty. While passing through Troy they killed a Union scout by the name of Dickson.
Later in the day we received positive information that they were at or near Hickman.
At six o'clock, seventy men under command of Capt. Frank Moore, of Co. D, started full tilt for Hickman and the rebels. We reached Hickman about ten o'clock that night. Learned that they had sacked the town, taken a number of federal soldiers prisoners who were there on a frolic, and skedaddled for lower Dixie just at 5 o'clock p. m.
We followed their trail some six miles and lost it. We kept the direction we thought they had taken and after wandering through the woods until one o'clock we played secesh on an old lady who God blessed us, and set us on the track of, as she thought, our beloved fellow soldiers.
We bivouacked from half past two until five the next morning, started again, still five hours behind, but not bent after them.
About noon we came up to them, and their rear guard fired on our advance. We returned the fire killing one of them. The bugler blew the charge, and if seventy times seventy devils had been mounted and turned loose they could not have made more noise than we did.
On we went whooping and yelling down a steep hill, then scattered across the bottom for about a quarter of a mile, shouting at everything in the shape of a butternut. Our unearthly yells scared and so utterly demoralized the poor birds that very little else did they do but throw down their arms and beg for dear life. Many of them rushed into the river hoping to escape, but none reached the other shore. One landed on a snag, surrendered at our discretion, shipped his dry goods and swam back. Some fifteen or twenty had crossed before we charged on them, and kept up a scattering fire on us for a few minutes. We killed one, wounded several, and the balance dropped their plunder and broke for Dixie.
We killed, to my certain knowledge, eleven. What number got drowned by not learning to swim when young and innocent, I don't know. We captured thirty-seven prisoners, among whom were Major Sol. Street, the commanding officer, a notorious guerrilla chief, one Captain and two Lieutenants, one of whom a brother of the Major. We got about sixty stand of arms, and some forty or fifty horses.
Not a man of out seventy got a scratch from the rebels. Sergeant John C. Cox, of our own company, had his ankle injured by the falling of his horse. They called loud for Sergeant Beard, of Co. D, his horse receiving five bullets.
There is no discount on the 2d Illinois. We havn't got a coward in the regiment. Some of our companies are getting low in numbers. Conscript some of those Copperheads, send them down, and I assure you we will make good soldiers out of them, or kill them.
Our prisoners we took to Columbus, had a jollification over it, and are now ready for anything Uncle Samuel wants of us.
Lieut. JOHN CAYTON.