The correspondent of the Cincinnati Commercial
, accompanying Gen. Cox
's division on the Kanawha
, gives the following account of the taking possession of Barboursville
, and the driving out of the secession troops by a portion of Col. Woodruff
At midnight on the night of the 12th inst., Col. Woodruff
's companies A, B, D, F, and K were aroused from their slumbers, and placed under the command of Lieut.-Col. Neff
, and, with one day's rations in their haversacks, they proceeded on their march — after a short but stirring address from Col. Woodruff
The column was conducted by a strong Union man, a resident of Barboursville
, who had been driven thence some weeks since.
It was proposed to make the attack at early daylight, but the deep silence observed along the route, together with the halts to send forward scouting parties, deferred their coming into sight of the enemy until the sun was two hours high.
When they did
catch a first glance, if there had been any fear in their composition, it would have overpowered them at once.
The rebels were drawn up in line of battle on the brow of a high hill, apparently inaccessible on all sides, and commanding a view for two miles around of a magnificent level plain, with all its roads in full sight, until they dwindled into the distant forests.
Near the base of the hill wound the Guyandotte River
, and within pistol shot of their position was the only bridge which spanned it from the side on which we were advancing.
Our brave boys took but one glance and passed on.
As they neared the bridge, they discovered a large body of cavalry on the road which wound around the base of the hill on which the enemy were ranged, retreating and dividing in order to intercept our flight — a natural inference, but a matter of opinion nevertheless.
The rebels very considerately reserved their fire until the head of our column had set foot upon the bridge, and then they fired a terrific volley, killing one man instantly, and wounding a number of others.
To escape this terrible shelving fire, our men moved double quick into the covered bridge, where the bullets pelted, pattered, and whistled like a leaden hail storm.
They rushed onward, however, until they halted with such a sudden shock, that it sent the whole column into disorder.
The planks of the bridge had been removed on the opposite side, and the mule on which the guide was mounted had fallen through, and he barely escaped sharing its destruction by clinging to the timbers.
The rebels, encouraged by our delay at the fearful impediment, broke into wild shouts and cheers.
Fired by their assurances of victory, our boys could be restrained no longer; they answered with terrific yells, some ran to the pathholes of the bridge and discharged their muskets at the foe, and Company A, led by Capt. Brown
, made a dash in single file across the bare stringers and rafters of the bridge, followed by Company D (Woodward Guards) and the remaining companies.
As they emerged from the bridge the rebels flanked and charged front from the mouth of the bridge to the road which encircled the base of the hill, and sent another bitter volley at our men, which luckily was aimed too high, and did but little damage.
Our men at this time had all cleared the bridge in total disorder, but blazing away with excitement, yelling and leaping like madmen.
They turned suddenly up the side of the hill at a charge bayonets, and literally dragging themselves up by bushes and jutting turf.
They cleared in a few moments, rushed at the enemy, who had, as they commenced the ascent, fired again with effect.
It was their last volley.
As the glistening bayonets reached the top of the hill, and met their wavering gaze, and those yells continued, which meant victory if there had been a thousand opposed, the enemy swayed for a moment, a leap was made from their flank and rear, and then the whole body scattered like sparks from a pin-wheel, down the rear of the hill, streaming in every direction in the fields below, at full speed, with white faces and an impulse of fear, which I heard compared to the fright of a hundred horses in a conflagration.
Our men were too breathless for pursuit, but they cheered as only men who had conquered can cheer, and planted immediately the Stars and Stripes on the summit of the hill.
There was some firing at the retreating foe, and their commander, Col. Mansfield
, was hit and fell from his horse, but was immediately seized and carried off by his companions, as is supposed others were.
They left but one on the field, an old gray-haired man, who, we are informed, was pressed into the service, as many of his companions had been.
He was taken care of by our troops, but he died in the afternoon.
The victorious battalion, when the rebels had disappeared, marched through the town with their banners flying, and the bands playing airs which the inhabitants never hoped to hear again.
The Woodland boys planted their flag on the cupola of the Court House
, and seemed to regard as a coincidence that precisely two months after it was presented it was streaming from a spire in one of the hot-beds of secession.