been assigned to command in that region and would soon reach the scene of action with such forces as were available in Virginia
to aid the loyal western Virginians
in their unequal struggle.
, whose mission to Richmond
has been mentioned, was on the way early in June with a battery of four pieces from Shenandoah county
, Captain Moorman
's cavalry company, and three companies of Virginia infantry, and Governor Letcher
had called out the militia from the counties of Pendleton
The response to this call seems to have been patriotic and abundant, but Colonel Heck
decided to send the major part home to tend the crops, taking but 300 men from Highland
, where Porterfield
had then collected about twenty-four companies of West Virginians.
From these were organized two regiments, the Twenty-fifth Virginia infantry, under Colonel Heck
, and the Thirty-first, under Col. William L. Jackson
, former lieutenant-governor of the State
's regiment, Schumacher
's battery, Anderson's half battery, and a company of cavalry, General Garnett
occupied the pass on the Philippi
road at the south end of Laurel hill
while Colonel Heck
, in command of his regiment, a half battery and a company of cavalry, was stationed before the Buckhannon
pass over Rich mountain
, a few miles west of Beverly
A forced night march was made June 15th to seize these positions in advance of the enemy, who was reported to be advancing.
For nearly three weeks these troops were undisturbed, meanwhile being reinforced by the Twentieth Virginia under Col. John Pegram
, Col. J. N. Ramsey
's First Georgia, and Col. J. V. Fulkerson
's Thirty-seventh Virginia.
Reconnoissances were made, and in one of these, Lieut. Robert McChesney
, of Rockbridge county
, was killed by a Federal ambush in Tucker county
, June 29th, while fighting gallantly.