force was about ten thousand men, and Colonel Pegram
's about four thousand.
Their natural retreat was by way of Beverly
through the Cheat Mountain
Pass, as it is called.
North of this there is no road over the Alleghanies
passable for artillery until the circuitous road running northeasterly from Leedsville
through St. George
and West Union to Moorfield
If, therefore, by the capture of Beverly
the road by Cheat Mountain Pass (and with it any other road south of it) were cut off, this north road was the only retreat open to General Garnett
's plans are best described in his own language.
On the 23d of June he wrote a letter to General Scott
. “I stated,” says he, “that it was now certain that the enemy had a force of some kind near Huttonsville
, with a strong advanced party intrenched near Laurel Mountain
, between Philippi
, and that their chief object seemed to me to be to furnish and protect guerrilla parties, which were then doing much mischief; also that the apprehensions which had existed on the part of our people of an attack by this party of the enemy were not well founded; that, as soon as my command was well in hand and my information more full, I proposed moving with all my available force from Clarksburg
, thence on Beverly
, to turn entirely the detachment at Laurel Hill
, the troops at Philippi
to advance in time to follow up the retreat of the enemy in their front.
That, after occupying Beverly
, I would move on Huttonsville
and drive the ”