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[403]

The more important military operations in (and from) West Virginia, during 1863, were as follows:

A raiding expedition, 1,000 strong, consisting of the 2d Virginia (Union) cavalry, Col. John Toland, and 34th Ohio infantry (mounted), which struck out1 from Browntown, West Virginia, crossing Lens mountain to Coal river, and thence moving southeasterly by Raleigh and Wyoming Court House, zigzagged over the Guyan, Tug, and several other ranges of mountains, swooped down2 on Wytheville, a village of 1,800 inhabitants, and a place of considerable importance. Hitherto, they had passed over a rugged, wild, and sterile region, having very few inhabitants and no elements of resistance; but, charging into Wytheville, they were fired on from the houses, whereby Col. Toland was soon killed and Col. Powell, 34th Ohio, mortally wounded, as were several of their leading subordinates. After firing some of the buildings whence they were thus assailed, our men, abandoning their dead and wounded, fell back two miles and encamped; starting for home, under Lt.-Col. Franklin, 34th Ohio, early next morning. Hungry, worn out, and dispirited, they lost nearly half their horses on their devious way homeward: wending from early dawn till midnight over the roughest mountains, and being four days without food, till they struck Tug fork the second night, where they found and killed some cattle. Misled by a treacherous guide, they wasted next day wandering through the mountains, finding3 rations and feed at Fayetteville; having ridden over 400 miles, lost 83 men, with at least 300 horses, and endured as much misery as could well be crowded into a profitless raid of eight days.

Gen. W. W. Averill, setting forth from Huttonsville, Randolph county, moved (down the line dividing West from old Virginia, pushing back the small Rebel forces in that quarter under Col. W. S. [ “Mudwall” ] Jackson, and menacing an advance on Staunton. At length, when near Lewisburg and White Sulphur Springs, he was met4 by a force about equal to his own, under Maj.-Gen Sam. Jones, but more immediately commanded by Col. Geo. S. Patton, who had chosen a strong position in a gorge between steep mountains that precluded flanking, where a spirited fight was maintained throughout the day, and till noon of the next; when Averill drew off, short of ammunition, leaving one disabled gun. He had calculated on help from Gen. Scammon, commanding on the Kanawha, which did not reach him. Our

1 July 13.

2 July 18.

3 July 23.

4 Aug. 26.

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