Doc. 107. the capture of Romney, Va.
General Kelley's report.
Colonel Johns' report.
Cincinnati Gazette account.
Another account.The following description of the battle at Romney, is taken from the Wheeling Intelligencer: The day was fine, and the troops were enthusiastic and confident of victory. At Patterson's Creek, eleven miles west of Romney, the troops made a short halt for rest and refreshments, and about noon resumed their march, with a determination on the part of both officers and men to make their next halt and take their evening meal at Romney. Our advance now continued without interruption, for more than six miles, when the discharge of a cannon, from a point up the road, a short distance ahead of us, and the falling of a twelve-pound shell near the head of our column, notified us that we were in the presence of the enemy. We were then within about a mile and a half of the westerly end of the mountain pass, and between four and five miles of Romney. After returning this fire with several rounds from our twelve-pounder, the enemy abandoned their position, and retreated rapidly through the mountain pass, and we heard no more from them till the head of our column approached to within half a mile of the bridge  over the river, (the south branch of the Potomac,) and within a mile and a half from the town, when the enemy again opened fire upon us, with a twelve-pound rifled gun, placed in a very commanding position, in the cemetery at the westerly end of the town, and with a mountain howitzer from the high grounds on the east bank of the river, which point commanded our approach for a distance of over a mile. At the east end of the bridge the enemy had also thrown up intrenchments, from which they kept up a constant fire of musketry upon the head of our column. The battle was now plainly begun — upon the chosen ground of the enemy — and gladly did our troops meet the issue. With our one twelve-pounder and two six-pounders, (all smooth-bores,) under the command of Capt. Wallace and Lieuts. Jenks and Nixon, we returned the enemy's fire with very marked effect, though their rifled gun and prior acquaintance with the ground gave them a great advantage, and for the period of half an hour or more our troops were exposed to a most terrific fire of shell and canister from their guns. It was from this fire that all of our loss — amounting to one killed, and ten severely, and about twenty slightly wounded — occurred; and it is a matter of astonishment to all that our loss was not vastly greater, as the enemy's guns were served with remarkable skill and precision. Many were the shots that passed just over our heads, to expend their force and perform their work of destruction in the wooded mountain side on our left, and but a few feet from the road occupied by our troops. Yet, in the face of all this fire, our untried but patriotic soldiers stood like veterans in their ranks, calmly awaiting the movement which should give their rifles and bayonets an opportunity to retaliate upon the enemy for the injury he was inflicting upon them. Nor were their desires long ungratified, for Gen. Kelley, who had with great bravery advanced to the front and most exposed positions at the beginning of the battle, and whose quick perceptions enabled him at once to fully comprehend the enemy's position, and devise the most feasible plan of attack, soon gave the welcome command to charge upon their batteries and intrenchments, when, with shouts, our little force of cavalry, under the lead of the gallant Captains Keys and McGhee, dashed across the river, (which was fordable at this point,) while our equally enthusiastic infantry, under the command of Cols. Mason and De Puy, Lieut.-Col. Kelley, and Major Swearingen, rushed over the bridge to encounter the foe, at the very muzzles of their guns. No sooner did the enemy perceive this movement, however, than (with their usual repugnance to any intimate acquaintance with the “Lincoln men” ) they immediately abandoned their carefully-selected positions, and commenced a precipitate retreat, rushing “pell mell” through the town, and directing their flight toward Winchester. In this retreat they were, however, so hotly pursued by our cavalry, that their two guns, and all their baggage wagons — about thirty in number — were captured before they had advanced two miles, while our exhausted and foot-sore infantry rushed into the town, thus restoring it once more to the legitimate dominion of that Government from which it has been so long arrested by the hands of secession. Most of the enemy's troops escaped us, however, owing to the circumstance that a large portion were cavalry, who were too fresh to be overtaken by our own, while his infantry effected their escape by scattering in the woods, and over the mountain sides, thus precluding the possibility of capture by troops so exhausted as were ours, after the fatigues of a battle, preceded by those of a long march of twenty-five miles. The enemy's loss cannot be definitely ascertained, though it is known to have been considerably larger than our own.
A rebel account.A letter in the Richmond Enquirer, dated Winchester, Va., Oct. 27, gives the rebel account of the skirmish at Romney on the 26th. The writer says the fight was between four hundred Confederates, and a Federal force variously estimated at from three thousand to five thousand. He continues:
Our little force was obliged to retreat before superior numbers. The fight commenced three or four miles from Romney, whither our troops had gone to meet the enemy. After fighting some time, it was found that they could not keep back the Federals, and a retreat toward Romney followed, the enemy pursuing. Our army wagons blocked up the road, and the artillery could not pass, and it was consequently captured, with wagons, tents, baggage, &c., and we regret to add that Col. Angus McDonald, the commander of the Confederate forces, it is believed fell into the hands of the pursuers. When last seen, he was on horseback, with the enemy but a short distance in the rear. Some of his friends fear that he has been killed, as the Federals, it has been stated, exhibited no disposition to take prisoners, but rode up to teamsters and killed them with their sabres. Major O. R. Funsten escaped. He was thrown from a horse, but was carried off in a carriage, and has reached this place in a bruised condition. Some twenty or thirty of the cavalry have reached Winchester, from whom we obtain these particulars. Although directly from the scene of the engagement, they bring reports containing discrepancies as to the details. I aim to give what I believe to be the most reliable. It is believed we had about twenty men killed and a number wounded. A large number of the enemy were  killed, the artillery making roads through them. Some of the escaped cavalry fear that the greater part of the cavalry and also the militia force fell into the hands of the enemy before the pursuit was abandoned, while others think that but few, except the wounded, were taken prisoners. I am of opinion that the latter will prove correct. The enemy had about three hundred cavalry. The enemy are, no doubt, once more in Romney; and some of our citizens fear they may extend their visit to Winchester--forty-two miles being the distance — but I have no such fears. A militia force left there this morning in the direction of Romney, to check them if they should have the temerity to advance in this direction. The cars have gone to Charlestown to bring some troops from that place to go also toward Romney. Of course our people regret that the enemy have for once “stolen a march on our men,” and given the invaders some cause to “crow;” but I predict that, when we shall be in possession of full details, it will be found that they have but little to rejoice over. The Richmond Enquirer, of the 30th of October, says that a letter from Jackson's River to a gentleman in that city, written on Saturday evening, the 26th, says a report had reached that place to the effect that Gen. Floyd had attacked the Federal forces at the mouth of the Coal River, killing some five or six hundred of them, and taking a number of prisoners. Floyd is said to have lost three hundred in killed and wounded. The writer of the letter referred to does not vouch for the truth of the report, or any part of it, but says it was credited in the main at Jackson's River on Saturday. The same letter speaks of the passage of Loring's command through Lewisburgh on Wednesday, upon a forced march, to reinforce Gen. Jackson at Green briar River. This is said to have been in consequence of a despatch received by Gen. Lee from Gen. Jackson, giving an account of the movements of the enemy in the locality of the latter.--Louisville-Nashville Courier, Nov. 1.