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The Imboden raid and its effects. From the Times-dispatch, September 2, 1906.

Interesting Review of this important military expedition.

Steady March Unbroken—Important town of Beverley captured without a soldier being killed.

What is known in war parlance as the ‘Imboden Raid’ occured in the spring of 1863, beginning the latter part of April and winding up before the month of May had expired.

This was in some respects the most important military expedition that was planned and executed by the Confederate authorities within the scope of the Virginia campaign; still little is known by the Virginia people of the ‘Imboden Raid.’

The Confederate soldiers who were on this expedition were almost entirely Western Virginia men, and, when the authorities had determined on the raid, these men were sought, far and near, because of their knowledge of the country, the people and the army posts kept up by the Federals in Western Virginia. Another thing: Many of these men had been absent from their homes and friends two long years, and the authorities knew their great anxiety to return to their homes, for which they still cherished the dearest memories.

The Twenty-fifth and Thirty-first Regiments of Virginia Infantry were withdrawn from General Lee's army a few days before the battle of Chancellorsville and allowed to accompany this expedition. These two regiments belonged to General Early's old brigade, and this was the first time they had been separated from General Jackson since they had been made a part of his division.

The man who planned and did more to execute the ‘Imboden Raid’ than any other one person was William L. Jackson, who became a brigadier of the Confederate Army before the close of the Civil War. After the ‘Phillipi Retreat’ William L. Jackson was made colonel of the Thirty-first Virginia [295] Regiment, an office that he held up to the reorganization of the army in the spring of 1862, at which time he became a member of Stonewall Jackson's staff, a position that he retained up to the spring of 1863. William L. Jackson was born and reared in Lewis county, Va., (now West Virginia), and was a first cousin of Thomas Jonathan Jackson, better known as ‘Stonewall.’ He was a lawyer by profession, and in the year 1859 was elected circuit judge of the Twenty-first Judicial District of Virginia, that was composed of the counties of Taylor, Preston, Upshur, Harrison, Barbour, Tucker, Randolph and Marion, and was known at the beginning of the war of 1861 as Judge Jackson, and at this time was the most widely known, as well as the most popular man in all that part of Virginia.

Before beginning the story of the ‘Imboden Raid,’ in order to have a proper understanding of the whole affair, it is necessary to give an epitomized history of military events that had preceded the year of 1863. A great part of the hard fighting of the Civil War was done in the campaign of 1862, and although the way matters looked at the beginning of that year, as being very unfavorable to the Confederates, yet before the close of that year some of the most brilliant victories of the war had been gained by the Confederates.

What had been done.

In the year 1862 a dry summer and fall had prevailed and dry weather is an indispensable requisite for active military operations. To recount, before the close of that year, Stonewall Jackson had made his splendid Valley Campaign including the battle of McDowell, the Seven Days battles around Richmond had been fought and won; not long thereafter the battle of Cedar Run, and very soon thereafter the battles of Thoroughfare Gap and the Second Manassas where and when General John Pope hurriedly left his headquarters, that had been in the saddle. Later, north of the Potomac; the battle of Sharpsburg was fought when General McClellan went down in defeat the last time. This was more than the ‘flesh and blood’ of which Mr. Lincoln and his Cabinet were made, could stand; [296] and poor McClellan, although a man of fine war talent, and having exerted that talent with every power of his nature in behalf of his government, was bound to go, and not long thereafter was relieved of his command and retired in disgrace to private life. Just one year before the Northern people, with tongue and pen, had compared him to the great Napoleon. Then it was Ambrose Burnside was put in command of the Army of the Potomac.

A man whose zeal and ambition were consuming him, and in his rash efforts to do what neither of his predecessors had been able to do, General Halleck, his chief at Washington, telegraphs him on the 10th day of December, 1862 (see War of Rebellion, Series I., Vol. LI., Part I, supplement page 955), ‘I beg of you not to telegraph details of your plans, nor the times of your intended movements. No secret can be kept which passes through so many hands.’ Nevertheless, three days after the date of this dispatch, General Burnside did fight the great battle of Fredericksburg, where he was overwhelmingly defeated. The United States Congress that was in session when this battle was fought, held a long investigation to find out the causes of General Burnside's failure, and the readers of this paper, who desire to know the causes that conspired to defeat General Ambrose Burnside at Fredericksburg on the 13th day of December, 1862, should get the Congressional Record of that year, suffice it to say here, that the special committee to whom the case had been referred did find a scapegoat on the 6th day of April, 1863, in the person of Major-General William B. Franklin, who bore away, to the wilderness the sin of the defeat, (see same Vol., page 1019).

Then ‘all was quiet along the Potomac’—in fact, the signal defeat of General Burnside greatly enhanced the significance of the oft-repeated war-song, ‘All is Quiet Along the Potomac,’ and such was the status of events with General Lee's army until April, 1863.

In the spring of 1862 the Confederates abandoned all Virginia territory west of the Alleghanies, which was immediately occupied by the advancing Federals, and the war records of the early part of that year bristle with the dispatches of Generals [297] Robert Houston Milroy, George Crook and Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes, telling of their wonderful adventures, all of which were successful from their standpoint. General Milroy advanced over the Staunton and Parkersburg Turnpike and succeeded in penetrating the State as far east as McDowell, in Highland county. General Crook got as far east as Lewisburg, in Greenbrier county, and Colonel Hayes reached Pearisburg, in Giles county. Colonel Hayes was in command of the famous Twenty-third Ohio Regiment, and the dozen or more dispatches sent back by him on that expedition are to this day a remarkable revelation, and the greatest mystery is, that Rutherford B. Hayes, as President of the United States, should put his name, on the 16th day of June, 1880, to an act of Congress, making appropriations for the publication of what is so prejudicial to his own character as an honest and upright man. There were no rebels in sight on this expedition, and the colonel was happy.

The only thing that troubled him was the ‘Captured Stuff,’ as he styles it, this he continually refers to in his dispatches as the only trouble. There was no trouble to whip the enemy, but the ‘Captured Stuff,’ he really did not have a sufficient number of men to care for. From the dispatches, this ‘Captured Stuff’ consisted of horses, mules, oxen and milk cows, and what little hay and grain the already impoverished farmers had on hand in the spring of the year of 1862. As late as the 8th day of May, 1862, from Pearisburg he sends a dispatch (see same Vol. 609) to Colonel E. P. Scammon, commanding brigade in which he says, ‘This is a lovely spot, a fine, clean village, most beautiful and romantic surrounding country, polite and educated “secesh” people. It is the spot to organize our brigade.’ The writer would love to give this whole dispatch to his readers. It is a gushing affair. The Colonel was evidently under the influence of balmy spring when he wrote this dispatch, but it is too long to be inserted here.

Prosperity short lived.

Colonel Hayes' prosperity, however, was short lived, as the very next day he informs his brigade commander by dispatch of the 9th (see same volume, page 611) of May, ‘Sir, you will [298] have to hurry forward reinforcements rapidly—as rapidly as possible to prevent trouble here,’ and with a postscript adds: “A party on the other side of the river is firing on our men, collecting forage and provisions.”

This is the very last of Colonel Hayes' dispatches on that expedition, and the light of his pen flickers and goes out, and no doubt the Colonel and his men for the next few days were engaged in business that forbade much writing. What happened to General Milroy at the village of McDowell on the 8th day of May, of the same year, has long been a matter of public history—an event the old, grizzled Confederate soldiers yet love to commemorate. The jolt Stonewall Jackson gave him on that memorable day so completely knocked the wind out of him that he never had any luck afterwards as a military man. From this man's own pen, his character, too, is a remarkable revelation. Somebody in the village of McDowell, where he had his headquarters, a few days before the battle, had cut his saddle to pieces, and he, thereupon, had arrested some twenty or more of the most prominent old men of the country and brought to his headquarters upon the charge of being rebel sympathizers, but the real offense was the mutilation of his saddle, and at the trial the fact was developed that he believed Jefferson Davis had connived at the destruction of his saddle.

General Milroy was a foreigner by birth, and when relieved of his command, and under military arrest for allowing his whole brigade being gobbled up, he wrote Mr. Lincoln on the 13th of September, 1863 (see same Vol., page 1087), a long and most pitiful letter, in which he says: ‘If this cannot be granted, I would for many reasons desire a command in Texas. I have traveled through and resided there for a time, and became a naturalized citizen there before the annexation. I would be greatly pleased to help avenge the terrible wrongs of the Union citizens on the monsters there, and desire to be down there when the rebellion ends, to be ready to pitch into the French in Mexico;’ and from this letter we see, althoa his wind and luck were gone, his zeal for war was still consuming him. Gen. Geo. Crook met with better fortune at Lewisburg, when on the 23d day of May, 1862, he partially defeated the Confederate General Heth, but that country became too hot for him, [299] and he, too, retreated towards the Ohio River, and finally wound up his West Virginia campaign the winter of 1864-5 at Cumberland City, Maryland, by accepting unconditionally and jointly with General Benjamin Franklin Kelly an invitation on the part of Jessie McNeil to accompany him to Richmond, Virginia.

What Confederate soldier is now living who was permitted to see the sight of two major-generals of the Federal army dressed out in full uniform, covered with medals of honor, mounted on two old poor, lanky Confederate mules, each caparisoned with a blind-bridle and the little duck-tailed Confederate saddle, coming into camp? Such was the appearance of Generals Crook and Kelly when they appeared in the Confederate camp, and from their own account, the half-clad, starving Confederate soldiers treated them with the utmost respect, and divided their scant rations with their two distinguished prisoners. Such is the fate of war. ‘This is the state of man: Today he puts forth the tender leaves of hopes; to-morrow blossoms and bears his blushing honors thick upon him; the third day comes a frost, a killing frost, and when he thinks, good easy man, full surely his greatness is a—ripening, nips his root, and then he falls.’ By the first day of June, 1863, the Federals had abandoned all the territory of Western Virginia that they had acquired by their forward movement in the early spring, and even contracted their lines further back towards the Ohio River than they were at the close of the year of 1861, and by the 1st of September, 1862, General Loring occupied the Kanawha Valley, and General Jenkins passed through Western Virginia into the State of Ohio, and when winter closed in on the mountains of Virginia that year the outermost posts of the Federals were in Beverley, in Randolph county; Bulltown, in Braxton county; Summerville, in Nicholas county, and Fayetteville, in Fayette county; all of these places were fortified with ditches and parapets, and were well supplied with artillery, and the troops lived in block houses with portholes The Confederates occupied the entire Greenbrier Valley and the counties of Highland, Pendleton and Hardy, and scouted well down towards the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

The writer spent the winter of 1862-63 in Pocahontas county, [300] and as he now remembers it, the coldest winter and the deepest snow that he ever saw in the mountains of Virginia. At the beginning of this winter a Colonel Winston Fontaine, who was born and reared near Richmond, came to Pocahontas county, commissioned by the Confederate government to raise a regiment of mounted men. This gentleman was a grandson of Patrick Henry, and married Miss Mary Burrows, the daughter of Dr. Burrows, the famous Baptist preacher of Richmond, who made such a reputation as chaplain among the Confederate soldiers. A Major Morgan accompanied Colonel Fontaine as his adjutant. Mrs. Fontaine also accompanied her husband to Western Virginia and spent the entire winter in the home of the late Colonel Paul McNeil, of the Little Levels of Pocahontas county. This gentleman had represented Pocahontas county in the Constitutional Convention of 1861, and the writer is his youngest son. At this time I was not an enlisted soldier, but was necessarily thrown a great deal of the time with Colonel Fontaine. I was seventeen years old, and Colonel Fontaine was just the man a boy would admire. He was a brave, generous Christian gentleman, a fine shot and a classic scholar. My father required me to help feed and care for his live stock that winter. Colonel Fontaine succeeded beyond his expectations in recruiting his regiment, and before the opening of spring he had a very respectable nucleus of a regiment of mounted men.

Spats in Cold weather.

As the long, cold winter wore away, despite the snow and cold there were occasional spats between the outposts, in which the Confederates fully held their own, and notably on one occasion, when a large raiding party came from Beverley to capture General Fontaine's force, the result of which was to leave fully one-third of their number.

One dark, rainy night, at my father's, about the 1st of April, 1863, from the noise we were apprised that some mounted men were approaching the house. On listening I heard the click of a saber. The first thought was that it was the Yankee cavalry, We fixed to defend ourselves as quickly as possible, but instead of shooting the strangers began to halloo, and then we knew [301] that they were not Yankees, and when they dismounted and came into the house it proved to be Colonel William L. Jackson, Major William P. Thompson and their colored servant man. This was a great surprise to us, as these gentlemen had been connected with the Eastern army for more than a year, and we then thought of them as a part of General Lee's army, and coming this way in the dead hours of the night was very significant. It was my first meeting with Colonel William L. Jackson, and I will now try to describe him as he appeared to me then—a seven-teen-year-old boy—and to this day I still retain a perfect mental photograph of his appearance. I was introduced to Colonel Jackson in my father's family room. He had on a beautiful uniform of new Confederate gray cloth, with three stars on the collar, that told he held the rank of colonel. General Jackson would have weighed fully two hundred pounds and was at least six feet in height. He had unusually fine shoulders, head and face, and the most animated man that I had ever seen in conversation.

His hair and whiskers were the deepest red that I had ever seen on the head and face of any man. In reply to a question from my father, he stated that he was forty-two years old. I gathered from the conversation that he had known my father very well indeed before the war began. He seemed to be perfectly informed of all matters, both civil and military, relating to the Confederacy. A good dead of the time that night, during the conversation, he walked the floor, although he had made a long horseback ride the day he reached my father's. Colonel Jackson's mission to my father's house was to see Colonel Fontaine brought to the parlor, where they were introduced to each other.

Colonel Jackson told Colonel Fontaine, in the presence of Major Thompson, my father and myself, that he (Jackson) was just from Richmond, where he had seen Mr. Davis and had come by General Lee's headquarters on the Rappahannock River, and that General Lee's army was hard up for ‘meat rations,’ and the plan had been made up to raid Northwest Virginia and capture and drive South every kind of cattle in that part of the country that would make beef then and the next summer. This, Colonel Jackson said had been determined [302] on by the authorities as the only way to provide meat rations for the Confederate soldiers. Colonel Jackson informed Colonel Fontaine that night that he (Jackson) had been authorized by the authorities of Richmond to take part of the regiment which Colonel Fontaine had already recruited, and in conjunction with some other detached companies to form what was afterwards known as the Nineteenth Virginia Cavalry Regiment. Colonel Jackson had letters from the department to Colonel Fontaine, which he produced, and the latter turned over the troops to the former. As a boy, my sympathies were at once aroused in behalf of Colonel Fontaine, but it was explained to me, that the Confederate government had taken this step because of Colonel Jackson's known popularity in the Northwest part of Virginia, and if the contemplated raid succeeded, that Colonel Jackson would recruit sufficiently to organize a brigade, which he did in the summer of 1863, and commanded throughout the war, and he was familiarly known as ‘Mudwall Jackson.’

The writer desires just here to explain the acquisition of the character of William L. Jackson, as a Confederate soldier; the fact is, he was as brave a man as lived, and never refused to fight, when the attendant circumstances were anything like equal; and now for the explanation of the title ‘Mudwall.’ In August, 1863, General Jackson was confronted and pressed by the Federal force, which was more than equal his own at Beverley, under the command of Colonel Thom. Harris, of the Tenth West Virginia Infantry. At the same time, General William Woods Averill assembled a large force of cavalry, fully 6,000 men at Keyser, (which during the war was called New Creek Station), on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, in the month of August, 1863, made a dash to capture Jackson and his entire force; he went through Pendleton, Highland and Bath counties, and only lacked five hours of getting in the rear of Jackson, ten miles west of the Warm Springs, but Jackson went through without the loss of a man or a horse, and while Averill went on and fought the battle of ‘Dry Creek’ or ‘White Sulphur,’ where he was defeated on the 26th of August. The disappointed force that had come from Beverley remained two or three days at Huntersville, the county seat of Pocahontas, [303] waiting for General Averill to return, while 2,500 men were loitering there.

Some wag of a fellow wrote a doggerel verse on the inside walls of the old Courthouse, entitled ‘Mudwall Jackson,’ the principal feature of which was a complaint that ‘Mudwall Jackson’ would not fight. The writer saw this writing a few days after the retreat of the Federals, and it was understood by the Confederate soldiers as having been put there by a Yankee soldier, and as we Confederates understood it at the time, the animus of the verse was because the then dead ‘Stonewall’ had been so hard on the Yankee, and the live ‘Mudwall’ had escaped their net.

Threw the scouts off.

So much for the explanation of the title ‘Mudwall.’ When the Confederate troops in the Greenbrier Valley were put in motion for the raid into Northwestern Virginia, the marching orders were to go east, and the common opinion among the soldiers was that they were to be sent to the Valley of Virginia. This false movement on the part of the Confederates was made in order to throw the Federal scouts off the track, which it did most completely. Beginning at Lewisburg, the 22nd Virginia Infantry Regiment, under the command of Colonel George Patton, marched east to the White Sulphur, and there turned north and passed through the Eastern part of Greenbrier and Pocahontas counties into Highland county. The troops in Pocahontas county, consisting of the Nineteenth Virginia Cavalry and Dunn's battalion of mounted infantry, were ordered towards the Warm Springs, and after one day's march turned north. The soldiers of this command had no idea of their destination when they received the marching orders. At this time the writer, as been told, was not an enlisted soldier, but the fact that within the last year the Federal raiding parties had seized and carried away more than two hundred head of my father's cattle, and a number of fine horses, there would be an opportunity now of recovering this stock; this fact more than anything else, led me to accompany the expedition.

Another thing, my father the fall before had given me the most beautiful saddle horse that I have ever owned in my life. The horse was five years old, a blood bay, 15 1-2 hands tall, [304] with a star in his forehead, the swiftest animal I have ever mounted, and despite his strength and speed, as docile as a lamb. The horse had an exceedingly sore back, when he came into my possession, and up to this time I knew nothing of the former history of the horse, and how fond I was of riding him no pen now can tell. An older brother of mine, who held a commission as captain under Colonel Jackson, and I, started alone on this expedition. The evening of the first day we crossed the Alleghany Mountain into Highland county, and just at the foot of the mountain we overtook the Twentysec-ond regiment, resting in the roadside, and so soon as I began to ride by the regiment, I heard one soldier call: ‘Colonel Barbee yonder is your horse.’ Whereupon the whole regiment began to clamor, ‘Yonder is Billie,’ (the name of the horse). Colonel Barbee, who was the lieutenant-colonel of the regiment, rode to my side, and seeing that I was much perturbed, introduced himself to me, and in a very pleasant way gave me a short history of the horse.

He had been bred in Kentucky, and the Colonel had ridden him a year, but, on account of his weight, he had ruined his back and rendered the horse unfit for service. Colonel Barbee had sold him to Captain Bob Moorman, of Greenbrier county, and the latter had sold him to my father. In the meantime, the soldiers had gathered around him until he was completely hemmed in on all sides, and there I sat, a bashful seventeen-year-old boy, not enjoying in the least notoriety that Billie had given me. The Twenty-second Regiment that day had fully nine hundred men, and Virginia had no troops in the field that made a better record than that splendid regiment of men, and the writer can still recall distinctly the faces of many of those noble young men, as they looked to him on that April evening, now more than forty-two years ago.

Met at Hightown.

The morning of the second day after this occurrence the troops all met at Hightown, a point on the old Staunton and Parkersburg Road six miles west of Monterey, and from the turnpike road at Hightown, two large and beautiful limestone springs can be seen one North, the other south of the road; one the [305] extreme head of the South Branch of the Potomac River, the other the extreme head of Jackson's River, the longest branch of the James. At this point is the junction of the public roads leading up and down the South branch and the Jackson Rivers.

The morning was an ideal spring morning, and the writer had often thought the most inspiring sight ever brought before him he saw there that moring. The soldiers were still bewildered as to their movements, but when the command began to move west over the Staunton and Parkersburg Turnpike you could see joy in their faces. First came General John Imboden, at the head of his brigade, composed of the Sixty-second Virginia Infantry, the Eighteenth Virginia Calvary, some independent companies and one good battery of four pieces of artillery. The Sixty-second Regiment, a large regiment then, was immediatly behind General Imboden's staff, and with fife and drum they moved out. Next came Colonel Patton, as true a knight as ever put lance to rest, at the head of the Twenty-second Regiment. Next came Colonel William L. Jackson, whose face was beaming with joy, at the head of the Ninteenth Regiment of Cavalry. Next Colonel Dunn, at the head of his batalion; next Colonel John Higginbothan, at the head of the Twenty-fifth Virginia Infantry—and what a soldier this man was! Next came that war-worn veteran, Colonel John S. Huffman, at the head of ‘the old Thirty-first,’ as the members of that regiment delighted to call it. The scene was too much for my young rebel heart, and for the sake of Billie, I am glad that no one saw me just then.

I was visibly affected. There were the first Confederate soldiers that I had seen marching with colors flying and to the step of martial music, since General Lee had fallen back from Valley Mountain in September, 1861. A great many men who were refugees from Northwest Virginia had found out the secret of the raid and accompanied the raiders. General Imboden, when he got into Randolph county, had fully five thousand fighting men. I marched the first day with the Twenty-fifth and Thirty-first Regiments, for the reason I wanted to see my cousins and acquaintances that I had not now seen for two years. The ranks of these two regiments had been fearfully depleted at that time; and what a change had come over the living. Their faces had grown old and careworn and while they looked strong [306] and healthy, still their limbs were so stiff that not one of them I tried could mount ‘Billie’ from the ground. I managed to get two of my first cousins on the horse at different times from a high bank, but it affected the hip and leg so they took cramp and had to get off immediately. No wonder! These were the legs that made up Stonewall Jackson's foot cavalry, and when you reflect what they had already done, how could they be anything else but stiff? The first night we camped on the battlefield of ‘Camp Bartow,’ twenty miles west of Hightown. Here it was Colonel Ed. Johnson defeated the Federals on the 3d day of October, 1861.

The next morning it was raining, and began to snow as we began to ascend that mighty barrier, Cheat Mountain. The snow fell fully six inches on the top of Cheat Mountain that day, and many of the men who were scantly dressed suffered fearfully from the cold. But we pushed on through the storm and reached Huttonsville, a distance of twenty miles from where we had camped the night before.

By this time it was fully known among the soldiers that General William E. Jones, with his brigade of cavalry, was to operate in conjunction with us and was to strike the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad near Martinsburg, and to go west, doing all the damage he could to the railroad, and we were to meet him somewhere near Clarksburg The fact that General Jones was on this raid gave General Imboden and his men greater courage and confidence in their own undertaking. General Jones was known to be a dashing cavalry officer, and a splendid fighter, and everybody felt that sure he would do his part. At Huttonsville we were within eleven miles of Beverley, and we knew the Federals had a strong force at this place, and that the town was strongly fortified and supplied with artillery. We also knew that we were ahead of all news and that the enemy had no idea of an approach. The night at Huttonsville was a fearful one on men exposed as we were. It rained all night, and did not cease until late in the afternoon on the next day.

Work ahead of them.

As soon after daylight as possible General Imboden had his [307] army in motion and every man believed that there was work ahead of us that day.

The infantry could not cross the Tygart's Valley River, as the turnpike does, but had to keep on the east side of the river all the way down to Beverley's. One company of cavalry went in advance of the infantry. This was Captain McNeil's, and was selected because they were the best mounted men. After going a short distance, General Imboden told Captain McNeil to pick out five or six of the swiftest horses and put them far enough in front to apprise him of any approach. Billie was one of the horses chosen, and I rode him, Billie was in all his glory that day. The first party we struck was a foraging party, after corn and hay, with thirty-two good mules in the wagons. We rode right into them before they knew of our presence, and the guard of a dozen or so mounted men surrendered without a shot. Not a man or mule escaped. A little farther on our party of five met a quartermaster, with the rank of major. He was a big, fat Dutchman, and was mounted on one of the most beautiful sorrel mares I ever saw. The major thought that we were his men, coming back empty, and began to abuse us. We told him to see the fellows behind, and he passed on without stopping, and I don't think looked at us.

This is the last, and first, time that I ever saw that major, but, as I saw one of General Imboden's aids riding the major's mare the next day, I knew what had become of the major. Thus far not a shot had been fired, and our orders were not to shoot. Within a few minutes of passing the major we met quite a squad of cavalry, and as soon as they saw us they turned and ran, and we gave chase for mile or two, but did not overtake them. At the close of this race we had our first skirmish, which might have proved a serious affair had not a courier reached us just then with orders to press them, for the reason that, when the final dash was to be made for the breastworks, General Imboden wanted the infantry as close as possible. There were fully fifteen hundred Federal soldiers in the earthworks around Beverley, and if they had been determined men could have stood off a force three times their number. At first they put up a show of a strong fight, but became demoralized and abandoned their positions, and fled towards Philippi. The [308] Philippi road was the nearest way to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and this road had been used by the Federals at Beverley for the purpose of hauling supplies. Another thing in our efforts to capture the fort at Beverley. We had taken the Staunton and Parkersburg pike beyond Beverley that leads to Buchanan. The Federals left Beverley just before sundown, and as we afterwards learned, fled all the way through the mud to Philippi (a distance of thirty-one miles) that night.

Neither killed nor wounded.

There was not a single Confederate killed or seriously wounded in the capture of Beverley, in April, 1863. The Confederates were pretty well worn out when we reached Beverley, and especially was this true of the infantry, that had come from Lewisburg, Staunton and Harrisonburg, all of them having tramped over one hundred miles, but they were greatly rejoiced at the thought of capturing so easily the old town of Beverley, that had then been in the hands of the Federals since the 11th day of July, 1861.

It ,was the capture of this town on that day that made the great military reputation of General George B. McClellan, and the earthworks that we had just chased the Yankees out of were probably the product of his brain. General McClellan was at Beverley reposing on his Rich Mountain laurels, where he and Rosecrans had more thousands than Colonel Heck had hundreds, when the administration at Washington in their dire discomfiture after the 21st of July, sent for him to come, and that with all possible speed to take the command of General McDowell's defeated and disorganized army, and on his arrival at Washington, he was hailed as the ‘Young Napoleon.’ In approaching Northwestern Virginia from the east, Beverley is the key to all that country, and none knew this fact better than the Federals, and the boast was often made by even the private Federal soldiers that ‘Beverley would never be taken,’ and this had been the fear of our leaders that we would have to go around Beverley, and if Beverley had not been captured, as the writer now views it, the Imboden raid would have been a failure. The purpose of the raid was not to fight, but to capture all the horses, mules and especially all cattle that could be gotten within the [309] Federal lines, and after the evacuation of Beverley the Confederate soldiers knew that there was no fortified town east of there, and they also knew that all those rich counties in the Northwest, teeming with fine horses and cattle, were completely at their mercy.

So on they went, and on the 30th day of April, General Roberts, commandant of the Federal forces in that part of Virginia, with his chief, from Clarksburg, that ‘the advance of Jones was at Shinnstown, seven miles north of him, and the advance of Imboden and Jackson was eleven miles south of him on the Philippi Road’ (see page 1019, same Vol.), which dispatch shows that things were getting very interesting around Federal headquarters at that place. General Jones did his part well. He broke the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad up so effectually, as the records show, as to strike terror to the hearts of the enemy from Baltimore city to Wheeling. At the latter place the militia was called out to defend the city, and the Constitutional Convention that was in session at that time in Wheeling, that formed the State of West Virginia, adjourned ‘sine die,’ and fled in disorder to the States of Ohio and Pennsylvania. When near Clarksburg, General Jones rode with fully fifteen hundred of his men towards Parkersburg, and came so near that place as to produce great consternation, and the presence of a Yankee gunboat on the Ohio River was what prohibited him from taking the place. The next day, forty miles above Parkersburg, on the little Kanawha River, General Jones burnt the oil works in Wirt county. Here was the biggest oil works in Virginia, and there was immense quantities of barreled oil on hand. Some thousand men or more were living here in shacks, engaged in the oil business.

The whole thing was completely wiped out with fire, and the soldiers who were with General Jones, at this day, get excited when that fire is mentioned, so terrific was it in appearance. In the meantime, General Imboden's command spread all over the counties of Randolph, Barbour, Taylor, Monongahela, Upshur, Lewis, Harrison and Doddridge, and from there gathered fully eight thousand fine cattle and two thousand horses and mules. The writer was in a position to see most all of this stock, nearly all of which was in splendid condition. When [310] we met General Jones he had selected five hundred head of as fine cattle as ever were in West Virginia, and the drovers and guards were directed to take them as quickly as possible to General Lee's army. No country could have been more abundantly supplied with live stock than all that fine grazing country of Northwestern Virginia was at that time, and all of this stock, independently of the sympathies of the owners, was brought back safely within the Confederate lines. Many and pitiable were the scenes of women, girls and old men, pleading for their horses and cattle, but the Confederate soldiers that had been sent there to execute the orders of their government, did it faithfully. General Jones completely remounted his entire brigade of cavalry with fresh horses, the pick of the country, and ever since the Civil War, in that part of West Virginia the Imboden raid has been regarded the greatest calamity that ever befell their country.

Results of the raid.

The results of the Imboden raid, from a military standpoint were, to supply the meat rations of General Lee's Army, and on the strength supplied by some of those cattle the raid was made into Pennsylvania one month later, when the great battle of Gettysburg was fought the first week of July, 1863. The war records show another result was, General Benjamin S. Roberts was relieved of his command in Western Virginia, and General William Woods Averill was appointed in his place. The government at Washington was greatly displeased with General Roberts, principally because he had allowed all that valuable property to be captured and taken within the Confederate lines. Another result of the Imboden raid was the assembling in West Virginia of what was known as the Eighth Army Corps, under General Averill, for the purpose of destroying all the western part of Virginia inside the Confederate lines, and the three successive raids made by him in August, November and December of that year, the last raid ending up at Salem, Va., where General Averill did so much damage to the railroad and Confederate stores at that place. The political effect of the ‘Imboden Raid’ inside the Federal lines in that part [311] of the State was very great. The people of those counties had long had their grievances, real or imaginary, against the people of the Eastern counties, and as has been said, there was a convention at that time then in session at the city of Wheeling for the purpose of dividing the State. General Jones' near approach to Wheeling was announced to the convention by a breathless messenger while the convention, in a dignified way, was discusing some matter of great importance. The convention immediately became a bedlam, and the members stampeded over each other in their scramble for the street, and fled in great disorder in every direction.

And now, after the raid was over, and the members came back and looked each other in the face, they felt greatly humiliated, and to aggravate this feeling the news that all of the fine horses and cattle had been seized and taken back into the Confederacy was brought from every part of the country. So upon the reassembling of that convention it was an easy matter for it to publish to the world on the 20th day of June, 1863, that ‘West Virginia shall be and remain one of the United States of America.’ The formation and admission into the Union of a new and loyal State, as well as the dismemberment of a disloyal one, had now for two years been a pet measure with Mr. Lincoln, and so anxious was he to encourage the people of Virginia west of the Alleghanies to form this new State, that when he issued his famous emancipation proclamation on the 22d day of September, 1862, to take effect one hundred days thereafter, was careful to announce that his emancipation proclamation did not apply to the forty-eight counties that constituted West Virginia, and that these counties ‘were left precisely as if the proclamation had not been issued.’

So the negroes of West Virginia were not freed by Abraham Lincoln's emancipation proclamation.

The first and only time that we have any record of Mr. Lincoln being questioned about the legality of the formation of West Virginia was at Hampton Roads conference, in February, 1865, when the Confederate State Senator R. M. T. Hunter (see Stephen's History of the War Between the States, [312] Vol. II., page 616) put the question personally and directly to Mr. Lincoln to know what would be the result of a restoration of the Union, according to his idea, as to Western Virginia: ‘Would the Old Dominion be restored to her ancient boundaries, or would Western Virginia be recognized as a separate State in the Union?’ Mr. Lincoln replied ‘that he could only give an individual opinion, which was that Western Virginia would be continued to be recognized as a separate State in the Union,’ and he might have added, with all truth, that the ‘Imboden Raid’ had done more to crytallize local public sentiment in favor of the separate State of West Virginia than all other agencies combined.

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