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[334] took up my line of march from Grafton, and at Webster was reinforced, as stated above, and proceeded towards this place to meet the enemy. The night was very dark, and before the troops left the cars a terrible storm was raging, which continued without abatement until just before the attack was made. It was so exceedingly dark that it was with the utmost difficulty that I could form the command in the order which I desired to move it forward, and after it was so formed I found it almost impossible to pass from front to rear to direct the command. The order of march was as follows:--First, a small detachment of twenty men of Captain Morgan's company, Seventh Regiment Indiana volunteers, under the immediate command of Lieutenant Benjamin Ricketts, followed at the distance of four hundred yards by Company A of said regiment, under the command of Captain Burgess. In order of that company, and at the distance of four hundred paces, followed the remaining companies of the Seventh Indiana Regiment. The artillery was led by Lieutenant-Colonel Sturgis and seven companies of the Fourteenth Ohio Regiment, commanded by Colonel Steedman, and the four companies of the Sixth Indiana Regiment, commanded by Colonel Crittenden, followed in the order named. Darkness, rain, and mud impeded the march and rendered it impossible to arrive before Philippi at four o'clock, the time indicated in your order. At five o'clock the advance took such a position by a file movement, under the direction of Colonel Lander, as to allow the artillery to advance to the front; then advanced immediately in the rear of the artillery. Scarce had the disposition been made when the picket of the enemy opened a brisk fire upon us from the heights immediately above the town, and from the woods and bushes on both sides of the road. Lieut.-Col. Sturges, with great promptness, got the guns in position to command the town, and, under the direction of Col. Lander, (I think,) opened the fire. A moment's delay to the infantry was occasioned by want of knowledge on my part as to which of the two roads led to the bridge leading into the town across the river. At the forks of the road I halted my command, and, riding rapidly to the guns, got the desired information from Col. Lander. So informed, I proceeded on the double quick down the declivity of the hill, and here had a full view of the enemy, and I must confess that I never saw a flight determined on with greater promptness, or executed with more despatch. The enemy was under the command of Col. G. A. Porterfield. What his strength was, is variously estimated. On my own judgment I would say from 1,500 to 2,000, of which I would think 500 were cavalry.

They had no artillery but a swivel. I have conversed with many of the citizens of the town as to the strength of Col. Porterfield's command. Some say the Colonel himself professed to have 2,500 troops. It is my opinion that he had but magnified his own strength, with a view to intimidate the people and crush out the Union sentiment.

When I first saw the enemy, it seemed to me he was pushing for the bridge, which I was rapidly approaching; but it turned out that it was necessary to converge towards the bridge to gain the street leading out of the town on the opposite side from that entered by my command. The bridge is a narrow structure, some three or four hundred feet in length, spanning the Valley River, a branch of the Monongahela. A small body of determined troops could have impeded our progress, and crippled us at the bridge, and I apprehended resistance at this point.

Toward it my men poured down the hill, in good order, and with an energy and determination that assured me in advance that victory was certain. In a moment I was at the mouth of the bridge; one of the passages was barricaded, the other clear; through it (Company B, commanded by Captain Morgan, in advance,) my men pushed; the Seventh Indiana first, then Colonel Steedman's command, not including the artillery, then Colonel Crittenden's, and opened upon the enemy, then retreating in wild disorder. Both parties being upon the full run, and the distance between them being quite considerable, but little execution could be done. I pursued the enemy from the bridge through the town and for several miles beyond. At one time I thought I should be able to capture his entire baggage train; but the horses, to prevent this, were cut from many of the wagons and mounted, and the wagons and contents left as our booty. The wagons were filled with munitions of war, blankets, knapsacks, clothing, baggage of officers and men, and with a considerable amount of flour and forage. Having pursued the assault and pursuit of the enemy, I speak particularly of these officers, because being of my immediate command, their conduct was under my personal observation; and because thrown suddenly in command of different detachments of troops, to the officers of which I am a stranger, I am unable to mention the names of many whose bearing and courage are worthy of praise. The detachment of the Fourteenth Regiment of Ohio volunteers, commanded by Colonel Steedman, crossed the bridge immediately after the Seventh Indiana, and was followed quickly by the Sixth Indiana, under Colonel Crittenden. Colonel Steedman captured a large amount of tents, a number of muskets and rifles, and other munitions of war, and I believe some prisoners; we were separated during the engagement, but his conduct, as well as that of his officers and men, is spoken of with much praise by those who witnessed it. Lieutenant-Colonel Sturges, of the same regiment, in charge of the artillery, managed his guns with great celerity. I understand that he was assisted and directed by Colonel Lander, by special delegation from the commanding general. So informed, I did not myself give

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Steedman (4)
Lander (4)
John J. Crittenden (3)
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G. A. Porterfield (2)
E. D. Morgan (2)
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Benjamin Ricketts (1)
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