General Blair ordered OSTERHAUS’ First Division to quit the railroad work and move to Dickson or Cheroke, then on to Cane Creek toward Tuscumbia the following day. The Second Division moved to Bear Creek. Forrest’s cavalry tried to block his movement, but they were routed and brushed aside.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST DIVISION, FIFTEENTH ARMY CORPS
Cherokee, Alabama, October 20, 1863
I have the honor to report that my advance today found the rebel pickets near Dickson’s Station, and drove them for several miles, until they reached the open fields at Barton’s Station, where Colonel Forrest’s cavalry (about 400 men) had formed. The colonel was in command himself. On this intelligence, I immediately brought all the cavalry and one section horse artillery forward. Before I came up two companies of the Fifth Ohio Cavalry had made a brilliant saber charge, but could not cause the enemy to yield his very strong position.
After the re-enforcements were deployed, the Fifth Ohio advanced gallantly, driving the rebels from every inch of the first and a second position they had fallen back on on the east side of Cane Creek. Posting the artillery, supported by the Third Regulars, on a slight elevation commanding the road, I pushed the Fifth Ohio forward and succeeded in scattering the enemy completely. The cavalry and one section artillery is encamped in the rebel camp. Our loss is, 1 seriously wounded (since dead) and 3 slightly wounded, all of the Fifth Ohio. The names I will send in as soon as possible. Of the enemy, 2 dead, 4 wounded, and 5 prisoners fell into our hands.
The Fifth Ohio Cavalry, under command of Colonel Heath and Major Smith, did gloriously. I am sorry to be unable to give you the name of another officer, who, although shot through the left wrist, remained with the command during all the fight. I will send in the nominal list of casualties tomorrow.
I am, General, with great respect, your obedient servant,
P. JOSEPH. OSTERHAUS, Brigadier-General of Volunteers