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[525] retreated to Lewisburg, the capital of Greenbrier, one of the few counties west of the main ridge of the Alleghanies which, having a considerable number of slaves, and having been settled entirely from Old Virginia, has evinced a preponderating devotion to the Rebel Cause.

Here he was reinforced, and outranked, about August 1st, by Gen. John B. Floyd, who, under the influence of the inspiring news from Bull Run, and the depletion of the Federal forces by the mustering out of service of the three months men, was soon able to assume the offensive. Keeping well to the right of New River — the main affluent which unites near Gauley bridge with the Gauley to form the Kanawha — he surprised the 7th Ohio, Col. Tyler, while at breakfast at Cross Lanes, near Summersville,1 and routed it with a loss of some 200 men. Moving thence southerly to Carnifex Ferry, he was endeavoring to gain the rear of Gen. Cox, who was still south of him, when he was himself attacked by Gen. Rosecrans, who, at the head of nearly 10,000 men, came rapidly down upon him from Clarksburg, nearly a hundred miles northward. Most of the Union troops had marched seventeen miles that day, when, at 3 o'clock P. M. of the 10th, they drew up in front of Floyd's strong and well-fortified position on the north bank of the Gauley, just below the mouth of Meadow river. Rosecrans ordered a reconnoissance in force by Benham, which was somewhat too gallantly executed, resulting in a short, but severe action, wherein the advantage of position was so much on the side of the Confederates that their loss must have been considerably less than ours, which was about two hundred, including Col. Lowe, of the 12th Ohio, killed, and Col. Lytle, of the 10th, severely wounded, as was Lieut.-Col. White, of the 12th. Col. McCook's Ohio brigade (Germans) at one time received an order to storm the Rebel intrenchments, and welcomed it with a wild delight, which showed how gladly and thoroughly it would have been obeyed; but it was an order which Rosecrans had not given, and which, after a careful observation of the works, he countermanded. Instead of assaulting, he directed a more thorough reconnoissance to be made, and the troops to be so posted as to be ready for decisive work early in the morning. But, when daylight dawned, the enemy were missing. Floyd, disappointed in the expected support of Wise, and largely outnumbered, had wisely withdrawn his forces under cover of the night, abandoning a portion of his equipage, much baggage, and a few small arms, but no cannon.2 He rapidly retreated some thirty miles to Big Sewell Mountain, and thence to Meadow Bluff, whither he was not closely followed.

Wise strengthened the position on Big Sewell, named it Camp Defiance, and there remained.

Gen. Lee, arriving from the North with a considerable Rebel force, took

1 The capital of Nicholas county.

2 Pollard says of this conflict:

The successful resistance of this attack of the enemy, in the neighborhood of Carnifex Ferry, was one of the most remarkable incidents of the campaign in Western Virginia. The force of Gen. Floyd's command was 1,740 men; and from 3 o'clock P. M. until night-fall it sustained, with unwavering determination and the most brilliant success, an assault from an enemy between eight and nine thousand strong, made with small-arms, grape, and round-shot, from howitzers and rifled cannon.

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