March 16, 1862.-action at Pound Gap, Ky.
Reports, etc.No. 1.-Brig. Gen. James A. Garfield, U. S. Army. No. 2.-Brig. Gen. Humphrey Marshall, C. S. Army, with orders and circular. No. 3.-Maj. John B. Thompson, Twenty-first Virginia Battalion.
No. 1.-reports of Brig. Gen. Jamnes A. Garfield, U. S. Army.
Piketon, Ky., March 17, 1862.Captain: I have just returned from an expedition of four days to the Pound Gap. I took with me 600 infantry and 100 cavalry. On the 16th instant attacked 500 rebels under Maj. J. B. Thompson, intrenched at the Pound Gap, on the summit of the Cumberland Mountains. After a fight of less than twenty minutes the rebels were totally routed. They abandoned everything. We occupied their camp that night, and the next morning burned their quarters, consisting of 60 log huts and their three large buildings for quartermaster and commissary stores and hospital. I have preserved their muster rolls and other official documents, together with a number of important letters. My cavalry pursued them 6 miles into Virginia. There were no casualties on our side. The enemy lost 7 killed and wounded. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
headquarters Eighteenth Brigade, Piketon, Ky., March 18, 1862.dear sir: A few days ago I learned that General Marshall had ordered the militia of Wise, Scott, and Lee Counties to muster on the 15th instant, with six days provisions, and aid in guarding the mountain passes at the Cumberland and Pound Gaps. In order to prevent a concentration of forces at the latter place I left here on the 14th instant, with a detachment of infantry from the Fortieth Ohio, under Colonel Cranor; the Forty-second, under Major Pardee; the Twenty-second Kentucky, under Major Cook, amounting in all to 600, and 100 cavalry, under Major McLaughlin, and, packing a few days' provisions on mules, proceeded up the Big Sandy, and reached the foot of the Cumberland Mountains a few miles below Pound Gap in the night of the 15th. A force of 500 Virginia troops, under the command of Maj. J. B. Thompson, held the Gap, and had built a strong breastwork on the summit of the mountain, and had also obstructed the road on the Kentucky side by felling heavy trees across it. Early on the morning of the 16th I ordered Major McLaughlin to advance directly up the main road leading to the Gap and attack the enemy in front, while the infantry were led by an unfrequented path to the summit of the mountain, 1 mile to the left of the Gap. I had divided the infantry, into two columns, and ordered Colonel Cranor to lead one to the farther foot of the mountain, and thence ascend the Gap road from the other side, while the remaining column should advance  along the summit. I had thus hoped to attack the enemy in front and flank at the same time, and also to cut off his retreat by the Abingdon road, but by some oversight the path down the farther side of the mountain was not discovered until the head of the column was so far past it as to cause too great a delay in the attack in case it should be sent back. The difficulty of the ascent, which was increased by the heavy snow-storm which was then raging, delayed me beyond the appointed time, and Major McLaughlin made an attack in front, but after a sharp skirmish was compelled to retreat. It had sufficed, however, to draw the enemy's attention in that quarter, and the infantry had almost reachedthe Gap before they were discovered. The enemy formed in line of battle and made a show of resistance, but a half a dozen volleys at long range, by which 1 of his men was killed and several wounded, broke his line, and his whole force fled in confusion, and took refuge among the ravines and thick undergrowth of the mountains. My skirmishers followed them until they were completely scattered, and as soon as the cavalry reascended the hill I sent them forward to pursue such as had taken the main road to Abingdon. They pursued them 6 miles, until they were totally dispersed. The enemy had two camps, one at the summit of the mountain and the other 1 miles distant near its farther foot. Their quarters consisted of 60 log huts, capable of containing from 15 to 20 men each and two large buildings for quartermaster and commissary stores. They had abandoned everything in their precipitate flight. After preserving their muster rolls, official records, and a large number of letters (several from General Marshall), and such articles as could at once be made serviceable to my men, I burned their huts and contents, a half dozen army wagons, and a large quantity of stores. There were no casualties on our side, but the march was a severe one. It rained and snowed nearly the whole time, and the men were obliged frequently to ford streams. From an autograph letter of General Marshall's, found in the camp and bearing date March 12, I learn that he had gone to Lebanon, and is preparing to make a stand at Moccasin Gap, 20 miles this side of Abingdon. His attempt to raise the State militia has proved a failure. The people of that part of Virginia are heartily sick of the rebellion, and have not generally responded to his call. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
No. 2.-reports of Brig. Gen. Humphrey Marshall, C. S. Army.
Lebanon, Ky., March 19, 1862.General: Since I closed my letter to you I have received from Major Thompson, commanding at Pound Gap, a dispatch for orders, dated 18th, at Gladesville, Wise County. It confirms the rumor that reached me on the night of the 17th. Major T. says: I got out with all my men. I fought them nearly an hour and a half, until my retreat was nearly cut off. Then I was forced to retreat. The enemy was 2,500 infantry and 100 cavalry. My men are entirely without tents or blankets.  I observe, if the strength of the enemy is not overestimated, he has commenced and must keep on, for he cannot subsist where he has stopped; therefore I shall exert my full power to get as large a force as possible together as quickly as possible, and if he does not follow up his advantage (1) I will try his base to see if he relies on the Sandy. I have a cavalry force on the Louisa road in 2 miles of the State line, and only about 25 miles from Pikeville, which I shall order to burn his supplies at Pike[ville] if the thing can be effected. But I believe he will not attempt to maintain himself at Pound Gap, and I fear his force moves to attract me, while a heavier force is moving from the head of the Sandy and Guyandotte on to Tazewell Court-House. If so, his occupancy of the valley of Clinch River is a misfortune imminent. If he has only 2,500 infantry he will not advance, but will retire again to Pikeville. If he does advance I will defeat him with the force I havesay 1,500 men. I shall not hesitate to engage him if these turn out to be the facts after he puts 50 miles of famine country behind him. My orders are given to concentrate at Clinch River. My mounted battalion goes forward to Guest Station and pickets in front of Gladesville. This will bring us in proximity to each other and something will turn up. I hear that 7,500 is the force to be moved from Pikeville, and it may be 5,000 are on the other road now, but 1 think not. How it is expected I can repulse these with about 1,400 men, when the enemy is spread over a country of 40 miles or more in breadth, you can tell better than I can. I suggested re-enforcements long since and deeply regret they are not here. Please send me the order to disband that special service battalion, and leave it to my discretion how to proceed in the case. Yours, respectfully, &c.,
Lebanon, Va., March 20, 1862.General: I inclose the official report of Major Thompson, exhibiting the circumstances under which he lost his position at Pound Gap. Except as permitting the enemy to be insolent the affair is of no earthly consequence. When I came out of Kentucky I had an idea Pound Gap was an important place, to be held at any price, but subsequent investigation into the topography of the country proved to me that it could be turned in at least six or seven ways, and that it could be cut off from Abingdon without going nearer than 30 miles of it, or at 18 miles of it, or at 9, 7, or 4, or 2 miles; this from the Pikeville side From the Cumberland side in at least half a dozen other ways. One can pass from Whitesburg to Gladesville, 15 miles west of Pound Gap, and save 10 miles between the places. I sent my sick on horseback through that route. I drove a lot of hogs through the same pass. One can drive wagons from the Pound, 4 miles this side of the Gap, through to Cumberland Ford, 15 miles in front of Cumberland Gap. I have sent wagons down on the Poor Fork of Cumberland after corn, and they have returned to the Pound laden. These were actual demonstrations of the correctness of my conclusions. Hence I moved all the public property away from Pound Gap. When this force came upon  Major Thompson there was nothing there but two or three disabled wagons and a few bushels of salt and something of that sort. The enemy paid more than everything he obtained in the exposition he made of his own plans. I have no doubt now he means to advance by the Louisa road upon Tazewell, and is acting in conjunction with columns moving up New River and Guyandotte River. I have information from the interior, likely to be well posted, that the Sandy column is to be 7,500 strong, and that on the Kanawha 15,000, the latter being actually in motion. I suppose that a small column, probably under General Cox, is on the Guyandotte. Under all the lights before me, and considering that I have nearly no force, I determined to prepare the militia ; then when the enemy moved on Pound Gap I determined to put the militia into the field. I inclose the orders I issued for this purpose. The General Commanding will see that I have gone somewhat far in attempting to compel service out of Kentuckians who have fled from home, but I hope I shall not be thwarted in this purpose. I would put them into a camp, by my conscription, as quickly and as positively as any act I could possibly perform. These fellows have fled from the district in which I am supposed to command in all directions. Many have gone back to Kentucky through Lee County, where the gaps have not been guarded. It is through these channels the enemy has obtained all the information he wanted. They came, violating no order, and would actually visit me. I suspected some and put some in jail. I have five or six in jail now. It is of no use to try them before a court. I cannot get any witnesses against them, but I know their past villainy, and I keep them where they can do no further harm. They are all Kentuckians I have in jail here and at Abingdon. If martial law prevailed they would have been shot or hung, every one of them. I will not weary you with a detail of their crimes. In coming to Pound Gap the enemy had the best guides-citizens who know every hog-path in the country. I have the names of several who thus officiated-citizens of Virginia. One of my scouts captured a militia captain in Buchanan County actually doing picket duty as a Union man, but he escaped from the men after his arrest; so they reported at headquarters. Several citizens of Wise County joined the enemy in his late raid on Pound Gap, and I learn that they are making up a Union company or two in Wise County, and also some movement is going on of the same sort in Buchanan. Energetic measures must be adopted to defend this part of the State, and my opinion is that it is folly to delay. I advise the declaration of martial law over the counties north of the railroad, but at all events in the counties of Lee, Wise, Buchanan, McDowell, andWyoming; these constituting the border between us and the enemy. In parts of this county the militia refuse to turn out. I ordered the colonel to send a guard and bring them to the muster. When I march those away who have turned out, I propose to detach an officer of militia with a party of men, whose exclusive duty it shall be to catch the others and send them to camp, so as to let the people know that the defense of the country is a duty they cannot avoid. This is the levy en masse, and he who evades it should be compelled. Unless I am overruled I shall enforce the call I have made to such an extent as to draw out the whole military strength of this section of the first class (from eighteen toforty-five), but the display of arms is pitiful. The militia have comparatively no arms. There is not one in twenty who has arms, yet  they are a fine looking set of men and go at the work quite cheerfully. Cannot the Governor of Virginia furnish arms or the Government of the Confederate States? My plan is to put such as cannot produce arms or cannot be supplied with them into a camp of instruction in my rear, and drill them in the movements of company and battalion until they can get arms, when of course they may be marched at once to the battle. No time is designated for them to turn out, and so I turn them out until they shall be discharged. I hope to raise 5,000 by this process, but I do not look for any greater number from the counties assigned to me. I have the honor to be, your obedient servant
General orders, no. 6.
Lebanon, Va., March 14, 1862.The brigadier-general commanding directs that hereafter all passage and communication across the Cumberland range of mountains between Kentucky and Virginia, either way, within the boundaries of Lee, Wise, and Buchanan Counties, shall cease, unless the same shall be conducted under military passport from brigade headquarters. Any future infraction of this order will, if detected at any time, be summarily punished. The general relies on his officers to assist him in the execution of a requisition so palpably connected with and necessary to the welfare of the people as this is. The country is infested with spies. Unless a man now comes from Kentucky to join the army and to assist to defend his country and to secure the independence of the Southern Confederacy he had better remain at home. If he is living at home, subdued by tyranny, or satisfied with the usurpations of Lincoln, and has only enterprise enough to come into the Southern States to collect money or to arrange business connected with property, such a man had better stay away from a people whose whole energies now belong to their country. Any man who wishes to enlist will sign the articles of enlistment and put himself at once under orders at the outposts. Such we hail as friends and make them our comrades. Let no others pass. If any others do pass arrest them and put them into camp under the instruction of a drill-master, to teach them in the school of the soldier until they are ready to be attached to a company. Good men, who are friends to the South, will not regret such coercion. Enemies will thus be harmlessly employed, and we may convert them into friends by healthy exercise and continued association. No distinction of persons will be made in the execution of this order. No ties of friendship or relations of kindred shall justify an infraction of it. No plea of business or of interest will serve to avoid its force. The man who is detected hereafter in stealing through the lines of this army, knowing that he is violating this order, shall be treated as a spy summarily. By order of --.
H. Marshall, Brigadier-General, Commanding.
Hdqrs. 1ST Brig., Army of eastern Kentucky, March 14, 1862.The militia within the boundary of your command will be placed with all practicable dispatch in readiness to march to the field of active service at a moment's notice. You will cause the officers in your regiments and battalions immediately to enroll the names of all white male persons between the ages of eighteen and forty-five who may be within the boundary of their respective commands, and to report the same to your adjutant-general at your headquarters. Whenever there shall appear a less number fit for duty in the boundary of a captain's command, the colonel or other officer commanding the regiment or battalion will attach the persons within such captain's boundary to the other companies of the regiment, so as to make each company number as nearly as possible 100 rank and file. Company commanders will institute immediately an examination into the number of fire-arms of any description within their respective boundaries, whether the same belong to persons subject to military duty or otherwise. Persons who are not on the muster roll who have such arms will be requested to yield them for public use by the militia. If they refuse, the inspecting officer will return the name and residence of such person to the colonel, as also the character of arms so retained. A similar examination and return will be made as to the ammunition on hand within the boundary of each company in your brigade. It is highly desirable these investigations shall be commenced and concluded as rapidly as possible-say within one week after the reception of this order. Commissaries of regiments will ascertain and report to your assistant commissary-general the state of provisions and breadstuffs within their regimental boundary; also the principal places at which the same may be found and the most convenient place for the concentration thereof within the same boundary. In this report the surplus, after deducting six months provision for the family, need only be estimated. The estimate will embrace corn, wheat, rye, oats, barley, flour, meal, hard bread, beef (salt, jerked, dry, cured, fresh, and on foot), bacon, pork, also soap, salt, vinegar, lard, and tallow. Regimental quartermasters will estimate and report the number of horses over four years of age and of mules three years old and over within their command; also the number of wagons; also the amount of forage, including hay and grasses of every sort, wheat, oat, and rye straw; also the amount of iron, and of leather, tanned and untanned. Each officer, acting only within a regimental boundary, may diminish the amount of his labor by subdividing it among intelligent company officers within their company boundaries. These returns are important in ascertaining the resources of the country itself to maintain its militia while defending it. In many places within the State, and especially within the boundary of your command, men have congregated who are not “sons of Virginia,” and who may not appropriately fall within the meaning of the Governor's proclamation of the 10th instant. Such men cannot be pernitted to take shelter behind the gallant spirits who will now take the field of active service in defense of their country. It is just because such men would not help to defend the land they inhabited that the burden of war now falls upon this section of Virginia. The time for the service of such men has at last arrived, and they must maircli into camp, for it is a shame that good and true men shall be  exposed to the vicissitudes of war to protect a class who are ever fleeing before the enemy and avariciously speculating behind the Army of their country. The brigadier-general commanding instructs you that all white men over eighteen and under forty-five years of age who are found within the boundary of any captain's command, not being citizens of Virginia, and whose homes have, within six months past, been in another State, and who are now peacefully sojourning in this State, whether as traders or otherwise, should be embraced in the muster of the militia, and such shall, without delay, be marched to the nearest camp of Confederate States troops, under charge of a Virginia militia officer, to be selected by the colonel within the boundary of whose command such person shall be found, for twenty-four hours after the reception of this order. The brigadier-general will, on report of the arrival of any detachment of such persons, give further orders as to their destination for service. Such men, when found, will not be suffered to depart from the county in which they may be dwelling, nor will the subaltern accept any excuse, provided the man is able to travel. This class of men must defend the country or they shall flee from it stealthily and like felons. If any should be exempt, the general will take pleasure in giving to him or them such a certificate that he or they belong to the class of noncombatants as will secure future repose. All loyal citizens are required to assist in the execution of this part of this order. Information has been received that in some parts of the country, and it may be within your command, there are disloyal citizens, forgetful of the allegiance they owe to the Government under which it is the expressed will of the people of Virginia to live. It is possible such men are not aware of the grave responsibility attaching to their conduct. To enlighten them as to the law of their case, and to impart to them an idea of the consequences to follow the violations of the military law, you will cause each captain in your brigade to read publicly to his company at every parade for the next month the following articles of war, which are hereby declared to apply to all persons, whether belonging to the Army of the Confederate States or being within any military district of your brigade: Article 56. Whosoever shall relieve the enemy with money, victuals, or ammunition, or shall knowingly harbor or protect an enemy, shall suffer death or such other punishment as shall be ordered by the sentence of a court-martial. Article 57. Whosoever shall be convicted of holding correspondence with or giving intelligence to the enemy, either directly or indirectly, shall suffer death or such other punishment as shall be ordered by the sentence of a court-martial. The exigencies of this war; the course of espionage resorted to by the enemy; the threats of some bad men, whose loyalty is due to the Confederate States, and the conduct of others, who seem to fancy that the price of their allegiance is to be paid in a license to bring ruin upon the community unless they are permitted to do wrong, induce the brigadier-general commanding to promise beforehand that these articles of war shall be rigidly enforced against all offenders. You are hereby furnished with General Orders, No. 6, to which your attention is invited. Upon an exact compliance with this order the security of every Virginia home may depend. Brigadier-Generals Richmond and Bowen will, if necessary to secure obedience to it, call out immediately a company from each of their regiments located nearest to the Cumberland Mountains, and place them in charge of all the mountain passes from the Tennessee line to the Louisa Fork of Sandy River, with special orders to enforce General  Orders, No. 6; strictly to report all intelligence they acquire of any movement of the enemy, if deemed of sufficient importance or likely to lead to any noticeable result. I am, general, &c.,
H. Marshall, Brigadier-General, Commanding. Brigadier-General-----.
Special orders, no. 38.
Brigade headquarters, Lebanon, Va., March 19, 1862.Official information having reached me that the troops in the service of the United States have taken Pound Gap and have invaded the State of Virginia in force, by virtue of authority with which I am vested, both by the President of the Confederate States and the Executive of the State of Virginia, I do hereby order the whole body of the militia of Virginia, resident within the counties of Lee, Scott, Wise, Grayson, Carroll, Buchanan, Russell, Washington, Smythe, Wythe and Tazewell to rendezvous immediately, fully armed and equipped, at the respective places herein designated; that is to say, the militia of Washington, Russell, Grayson, and Scott, at the Old Court, in Russell County; the militia in Lee and Wise at Guest's Station in Wise County; the militia of Buchanan, at Grundy; the militia of Smythe and Carroll, at Saltville; the militia of Wythe, at Wytheville, and the militia of Tazewell, at the mouth of Indian Creek, in Tazewell County. Colonels in command of regiments will move them by companies as rapidly as possible to the places of rendezvous hereby appointed. At such places a board of surgeons will examine and certify to the cases of persons exempt for disease, and the rest will there be mustered into the service of the Confederate States. By command of Brig. Gen . H. Marshall:
J. Milton Stansifer, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
Statement of strength of brigade march 19, 1862.
Actual strength of Brigade.
|Organizations.||Rank and file present for duty.||Total.|
|Trigg's 54th Virginia||424||1424|
|Williams' 5th Kentucky||400||3400|
|Shawhan's cavalry company||60|
|Bradley's battalion of mounted riflemen||200|
|Witcher's company of mounted riflemen||56|
|Stratton's company of mounted riflemen||25|
|Jeffress' battery, six pieces (four pieces without men and horses.||60|
No. 3.-report ofMaj. John B. Thompson, Twenty-first Virginia Battalion.
Lebanon, Va., March 21, 1862.Sir: I have the honor to report that on the evening of the 15th I received information that the enemy was approaching my position at Pound Gap, and that he was then about 17 miles distant from me. I immediately dispatched scouts, so as to gain information of his strength and movements. It is now certain that the enemy, favored with a dark and cloudy night, with a slight fall of rain and snow, and under the guidance of the most expert and well-informed citizens and scouts, the most of them from Kentucky and a part of them Virginia, had made a night march, and it is believed that during the night of the 15th had marched a strong column on the south side of the mountain, so as to attack me in front and rear and to cut off my retreat. My scouts on the evening of the 15th were cut off by the night march referred to, and I was deprived of all information as to the movements of the enemy. On the morning of the 16th, about 9 o'clock, my pickets were attacked and driven in on the north side of the mountain, in front of the Gap, by a company of cavalry and about 200 infantry; I ordered the companies of Captain Maness and Lieutenant Miller to meet them, which they did with great alacrity, and drove the enemy back with loss, as I believe, of several killed. After this attack had been repelled I withdrew Captain Maness and his company and posted them on the mountain to the right of the Gap, at a point which I believed, from the nature of the ground, would be the next point of attack, and re-enforced him with Captain Pridemore's company. I was not mistaken in my conjecture as to his aim, for the position referred to was next assailed with a strong column of the enemy. Captains Maness' and Pridemore's companies contested their position for an hour with great gallantry. I dispatched a portion of Captain Russell's company, under Lieutenant Marcum, to re-enforce Captain Maness, but in the thickness of the fog they passed between two columns of the enemy and were cut off from Captain Maness, and, discovering their dangerous condition, crossed the mountain to the north and recrossed on the south side of the Gap. At this time I received a dispatch from Captain Slemp, who had been posted with a small force at the cabins, at the foot of the mountain, both as a corps of reserve and also to watch and report any approach of the enemy from points on my right beyond where any force had been placed, that he was attacked by a very superior force of the enemy and could not hold his position without re-enforcements. Finding that the enemy had gotten to my rear while overpowered with numbers in front, and that if I remained on the crest of the mountain I should be surrounded and cut off, I ordered a retreat to the foot of the mountain by the left, which was effected, and my forces united at Poindexter's, about 4 miles from the Gap, where we made a stand, to give battle if assailed. We remained at this point until after dark, when, my men being without sustenance since the morning, I ordered them to fall back to Gladesville, the nearest point at which they could obtain food. After dark I returned with a picked body of 20 men to watch the movements of the enemy. I approached near enough to ascertain they were burning the camps, destroying two or three damaged wagons and some  small personal property and stores, which consisted of the clothing of my men, their blankets, and cooking utensils, and some inconsiderable quantity of soap and salt. On the morning of the 16th, when I was attacked, about one-third of my command was on detached service and 30 on the sick list. I was charged with the watch of a scope of mountain for about 60 miles, at almost any point of which footmen, and at very many places horsemen can cross. With the exception of Captain Slemp's command we had only an effective force of 175 men to meet 1,400 or 1,500 infantry and 100 cavalry. It is my belief that the enemy did not intend to remain at the Gap, but being informed of our exact position by spies and traitors in our midst, and guided by scouts and traitors along the passes of the mountain, merely intended to gain the credit of driving us from what they will misrepresent as an impregnable pass in the mountain, to destroy the public property found there, and attract to that spot all of your command, while aiming invasion at some other place. I have learned since that they did not remain longer than the night of the 16th. After I returned to Gladesville I sent my scouts back to the mountain, and ascertained that the enemy had evacuated the point and recrossed the mountain. There being no subsistence at Gladesville, I have taken position at Guest's Station, and will there await your orders. Respectfully,
John B. Thompson, Major, Virginia Volunteers.