enemy were very active, and it could not be known how soon he might be called upon to plan a campaign for the defence of the Union
interests in those States.
The country which now became the scene of operations was that part of Western Virginia
lying between the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad on the north, the Ohio River
on the west, the Little Kanawha River
on the south, and the Cheat River
on the east.
The region is broken and mountainous, and cut into numerous ravines and valleys by the many little streams which form the head-waters of the Monongahela
, Great Kanawha, Little Kanawha, and other rivers.
The roads are few in number and very indifferent in quality; the valleys only are cultivated, the rest of the country being covered with dense forests, and a luxuriant growth of bushes which makes the woods almost impassable.
A turnpike road runs from Wheeling
southeasterly to Staunton
, through Philippi
, and Huttonsville
another turnpike runs westerly, at an acute angle with the Wheeling
road, to Buckhannon
, where it branches off to Clarksburg
on the north and Weston on the west.
A mountainous ridge crosses the two roads from Beverly
; and at the intersection the enemy were strongly intrenched,--General Garnett
commanding in person at Laurel Hill
, on the Philippi
road, a little north of Leedsville
and fifteen miles north of Beverly
, and Colonel Pegram
at Rich Mountain
, on the Buckhannon
road, five miles west of Beverly