A night attack by cavalry — surprise and Annihilation of a Federal regiment.
We have published several imperfect accounts of the attack upon a Federal regiment, quartered in the town of Guyandotte, Va.
, including the mendacious statement circulated through the Northern
newspapers; but nothing so full or interesting as the subjoined narrative, written for this paper by one who participated in the fight, has yet appeared in print.
The prisoners captured by our troops on that eventful night arrived in Richmond
some days ago.
Hd'qrs Cavalry of Army of Kanawha, Camp near Logan C. H. Va., Nov. 14.
Editors of Dispatch:
A portion of the 5th and 8th Regiments of Virginia Cavalry, under the command of Col. John W. Clarkson
, Lieutenant-Colonel A. G. Jenkins
, and Major H. Frizaugn
, left the headquarters of Gen. Floyd
at Camp Dickinson, in Fayette county
, on Nov. 4th, with instructions to strike the enemy a brow on the Ohio river
, and to give protection to the royal citizens in the vicinity of their march.
I pass over the incident of a most re ious and exposed march, without tents or other camp equipage, for one hundred and seventy-five miles, over roads washed away by the unprecedented freshets of this Fall, over which seven hundred men and horses were connected by the great energy of their commanders in less than one week's time, and with greater speed than the news of their march could be carried by the spies who intent the country.
The march itself was one of the most daring fears of the campaign, and was untiringly prosecuted in defiance of weather and mountain, by swimming rivers and traveling paths on the steep sides of mountains.
At sunset on Sunday, the 10th inst., the whole command charged at full speed into Cabell Court-House, surrounding the town before the inhabitants had any notice of our approach.
Although a party of the enemy had very lately been in the town, they eluded our attack be having joined their command at Ceredo
After arresting several traitors, and opening a store owned by one of them, about dark we resumed a flurried march of seven miles to Guyandotte
, on the Ohio river
This place is a well built town of about 1,000 inhabitants at which the enemy had quartered a regiment commanded by Col. Whaley
, a citizen of ayhe county, Va.
, and lately elected a member of Congress of the United States.
He had under his command 200 or 250 infantry, armed with Enfield guns, and about 40 cavalry, admirably equipped.
Although a night attack was deprecated by our officers, yet the surprise to the enemy was found to be so complete as to invite an immediate descent on them.
Accordingly about one mile from the town, and while we were yet undiscovered, a charge in three parties was ordered, the first under Capt. Corns
, to take possession of the bridge affording a retreat for the enemy toward Ceredo
; the next under Cols. Clarkson
, to penetrate into the centre of town, and to dislodge the enemy from buildings which they occupied in that quarter; and the third under Major Fitzhugh
through the town, to the roads in the upper portion of it, to prevent their escape up the river.
The movements were conducted nearly simultaneously, so as completely to surround the enemy before they were aware of it. Most of the enemy took to the houses on the borders of the narrow streets, and from the upper windows and doors delivered deadly volleys of fire on the horsemen galloping in the streets below them.
In the darkness we never knew where an enemy was, but by the flash of his gun from some hiding place.
After returning the fire for a few moments, our men were ordered to dismount and to storm the houses, which they promptly did, killing, or capturing, the inmates.
During the fight a number of the enemy attempted to cross the bridge towards Ceredo
, defended by Capt. Corns
, who fired into them, killing three, and making the rest leap into the river, drowning all except two, who were captured after they swam ashore.--Others who attempted to swim the Ohio
were also shot or drowned.
We lost two men killed--Capt. Huddleston
, of the Kanawha Rangers
, killed by our own men, who mistook him in the dark for one of the enemy, and a private in Capt. Corn
We also lost several horses, and had six men wounded.
was a brave man, and so much endeared to his company that when the command left Guyaudotte I saw many of his old comrades near his dead body in tears, and others kissed his bale, tranquil face, which they will never see again.
A night attack by cavalry is the most startling feature of war, and generally condemned as military gambling by the red tape soldiers of the schools, has not been tested during this campaign, except in this instance, with its brilliant results.
In fact, the whole of this march and attack could only have been so successfully conducted, by energy far in advance of the tedious regularity of West Point
The fruits of the expedition were the capture of Col. Whaley
and regiment, composed of infantry and cavalry, and the entire oblit retion
of an important command of the enemy, within two hours, by water, of overwhelming reinforcements, while our command was advanced 175 miles over almost insurmountable mountains, from their bass of operations, and withdrawn in safety — the capture of cavalry horses, clothing, over 200 Enfield
guns, and ammunition, drugs and other military stores, worth at least $50,000, besides reclaiming to the State
the border on the Ohio
, from the month of the Kanawha
Before we evacuated the town — at o'clock the next morning--five steamboats were in eight, loaded with troops and artillery, just too late to rescue the command we had completely destroyed.
We took 98 prisoners, and killed, drowned and wounded more than 50.
After we left, it is said, that the cowardly and destructive enemy who arrived on the steamboats burned a portion of the town. H.