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Doc. 21. battle of Connifex Ferry, Va.

Report of General Rosecrans.

Headquarters army of Virginia, camp Scott, September 11 P. M.
To Colonel E. D. Townsend:
We yesterday marched seventeen and a half miles, reached the enemy's intrenched position in front of Connifex Ferry, driving his advance outposts and pickets before us. We found him occupying a strongly intrenched position, covered by a forest too dense to admit its being seen at a distance of three hundred yards. His force was five regiments, besides the one driven in. He had probably sixteen pieces of artillery.

At three o'clock we began a strong reconnoissance, which proceeded to such length, we were about to assault the position on the flank and front, when night coming on, and our troops being completely exhausted, I drew them out of the woods and posted them in the order of battle behind ridges immediately in front of the enemy's position, where they rested on their arms till morning.

Shortly after daylight a runaway “contraband” came in and reported that the enemy had crossed the Gauley during the night, by means of the ferry and a bridge which they had completed.

Colonel Ewing was ordered to take possession of the camp, which he did about seven o'clock, capturing a few prisoners, two stand of colors, a considerable quantity of arms, with quartermaster's stores, messing, and camp equipage.

The enemy having destroyed the bridge across the Gauley, which here rushes through a deep gorge, and our troops being still much fatigued and having no material for immediately repairing the bridge, it was thought prudent to encamp the troops, occupy the ferry and the captured camp, sending a few rifle cannon shots after the enemy to produce a moral effect.

Our loss would probably amount to twenty killed and one hundred wounded. The enemy's loss had not been ascertained, but from report it must have been considerable.

General Benham's report.

Headquarters army of occupation, W. Va., camp Scott, September 3, 1861.
sir: I have the honor to report as follows in relation to the operation of my brigade in the battle at the rebel intrenchments at Carnifex Ferry on the 10th inst. As previously stated to you, the head of my brigade started from the camp, eight miles north of Somerville, at about four A. M., reaching that place before eight A. M., in good order and with the men eager for the continuance of the march toward the enemy, who, we there ascertained, were [39] well intrenched and determined to resist us near Carnifex Ferry.

After a halt of nearly two hours, about one mile short of the Cross Lanes, we moved rapidly forward toward the position of the enemy, until our arrival at the site of this camp, about one mile from their intrenchments, a little past two o'clock, when, after a reconnoissance by you, myself accompanying you, I was authorized to move forward with my brigade, “using my best discretion in the case.” Upon receiving this order, and with the mass of my brigade well closed up, which had been accomplished during our reconnoissance, I moved carefully forward, with the Tenth Ohio regiment leading, having our skirmishers well ahead, and at the flanks for nearly three-fourths of a mile, when we discovered through the opening of the woods on our left, their intrenchments in an open space on our left, beyond a deep and steep valley, and crowning the crest of the opposite hill.

Having no engineer officer with my brigade, and no others, that I knew of, to replace one, I kept with the head of the regiment to avoid ambuscades, and to judge myself of their position and arrangements. After advancing about one-fourth of a mile to the end of the woods I halted the command, and could perceive that a heavy cross fire had been prepared for us at the open space at the debouch from the roads. Within some five minutes after this time, (nearly half-past 3 o'clock,) while carefully examining their earth-works on the road in front, and their intrenchments on our left, a tremendous fire of musketry was opened on us, which in a few minutes was followed by a discharge of grape and spelter canister from a battery of some six pieces of artillery. This caused a break in the line for a few minutes, though for a few minutes only, for the men immediately returned to their ranks, under the lead of their officers, to their former position, where I retained them, as I was certain that the fire at us through the close woods was without direct aim, and because they were needed for the protection of our artillery, which I immediately ordered up; the two rifled guns of Captain Schneider, and Captain McMullen with his four mountain howitzers immediately followed, throwing their shells well into their intrenchments on our left.

A further examination of their position convinced me that their weak part, and our true part of attack, was on their right flank, across the deep valley from our position, upon which orders were immediately sent to Colonel Smith, of the Thirteenth regiment, and to Colonel Lowe, of the Twelfth regiment, to advance and pass the valley on our left, under cover of the woods, to that attack. Neither of these regiments were to be found in their proper position on the road in my rear, as I expected. After a short time, Colonel Smith was met with on our right, where he had been drawn into the woods by the belief, from the sound of the firing, that the attack was upon our right. Upon the receipt of my order, however, Colonel Smith moved rapidly across the main road, down the ravine valley on our left, where he fortunately struck upon the most advantageous route, and thence he moved up the opposite hill, entirely past the right flank of the enemy. But as I had been unable to find the Twelfth regiment to send forward to his support, though I have since learned that three companies, under Lt.-Col.White, were near him, his movement became principally a reconnoissance, from which he soon after returned, reporting to me his opinion of the entire practicability of a successful attack upon the rebel intrenchments at that point, he having entirely passed by the breastwork on the right, approaching within one hundred yards of their line, pouring a fire into them, which, it is since satisfactorily ascertained, cleared that part of that breastwork of the enemy.

As I was still unable to find the position of the Twelfth regiment, which it has been reported to me had been ordered into the woods by the commanding General, I sent one of my staff to Colonel McCook, commading the Second brigade, to ask him to aid the Thirteenth in this attack with his Ninth regiment, to which request a reply was returned to me that there were other orders from the commanding General, as stated to my aid by acting Adjutant-General, Captain Hartsuff.

In this state of affairs, I could only hold my position in front, with the Tenth regiment protecting the artillery, which was endeavoring to silence the cannon of the enemy, which was to a considerable extent accomplished after the first fifteen or twenty minutes--their guns being at once removed to other positions, as was then also done with one-half of Schneider's and McMullen's pieces, to enfilade the crest of the hill from the edge of the woods on our right, which gave a fair view of their battery at some three hundred and eighty yards' distance.

At this time, or about one hour after the commencement of the action, Colonel Lytle, of the Tenth, though not ordered by me, and while I was still endeavoring to obtain troops for the attack from our left, made a very gallant attempt to approach their battery through the cleared space in front of it, which of course failed, from the smallness of his force in that exposed situation — he being severely wounded and compelled to retire with the loss of many men killed and wounded.

Colonel Lowe, of the Twelfth, also, at a subsequent period, made a similar attempt, and, as far as I can learn, without orders; in which I regret to say, he fell, being instantly killed by a discharge of canister from the enemy.

The above comprises the sum of the action of the portion of my brigade that was with me, until you arrived on the field and assumed the direction of affairs, some time after which arrival you also arranged for and directed the [40] attack upon their right, with Colonel Smith's regiment, and a part of the Twelfth and Forty-Seventh, Colonel Mohr--this attack, as having been first directed by myself, you will recollect I offered to lead upon the enemy, recommending at the same time a simultaneous demonstration or attack by the Ninth and Twelfth regiments, under cover of the woods, from our right. The command moved forward, however, under the direction of Colonel Smith, but from the lateness of the hour it was compelled to return without attempting any thing, and the lateness of the hour seemed to forbid further operations for the day.

There remains now but the grateful duty of acknowledging the valuable services of the different commanders and other officers, as far as known to me, in the brigade, previously assigned to me within the past week only.

The personal gallantry and chivalrous daring of Colonel Lytle are attested by his wound, and the exposed position in which he received it, and the soldierly conduct and bravery of his Lieutenant-Colonel, Korff, and his Major, Burke, I myself personally witnessed many times during the action.

In Colonel W. S. Smith, of the Thirteenth Ohio regiment, I have found one of the most valuable and efficient officers I have ever known. His great intelligence, knowledge of his profession, skill and caution, coolness and excellent judgment on all occasions, both previous to and during the action, met my highest praise. His Lieutenant-Colonel, Mason, wounded during the attack upon their right flank, I saw bravely ready to guide the way to the second attack; and his Major, Hawkins, both in the action and on all other occasions since my connection with this regiment, has shown himself a most courageous and valuable officer; and Lieutenant-Colonel White, of the Twelfth, I found during the action earnestly seeking the opportunity of an advance against the lines of the enemy, which he soon found in joining Colonel Smith, with his three companies of the Thirteenth, where he rendered most efficient service.

Of Captain Schneider, commanding the two rifled pieces of the Thirteenth Ohio regiment, and of Captain McMullen, commanding the howitzer battery, I can speak in the highest terms, for their soldierly skill in the conduct of their batteries, which repeatedly silenced the artillery fire of the enemy, and forced it to change positions.

And of my staff-officers, but recently connected with me on such duty, I have a most satisfactory report to make. Lieut. J. O. Stanage, Thirteenth Ohio, as acting assistant adjutant-general, has rendered constantly most valuable services in the performance of his proper duties, and, together with my aid, Lieut. S. B. Warner, Twenty-third Ohio, was constantly by my side through the hottest of the fire, while not bearing orders to the different parts of the field; and Mr. W. S. Mallory, the acting commissary and quarter-master of the brigade, rendered, during the early part of the day, most valuable service in arranging the advance of the column, and in accompanying the skirmishers — a duty fully as exposed and dangerous as that upon this battle-field. In coming upon the first deserted camp of the enemy, I regretted to have to leave him in charge of the property captured there, by which, during the action, I lost his services, which, from my knowledge of him, would have been most efficient to me.

The cavalry companies of Capts. West and Gilmore, being held in reserve for emergencies, were thus prevented from having their share in the action.

I have the honor to enclose herewith the reports of Col. Smith, Thirteenth Ohio, Lieut.-Col. Korff, now commanding Tenth Ohio, Lieut.-Col. White, now commanding Twelfth Ohio regiments, and of Capt. McMullen, of the howitzer battery.

Very respectfully, your obdt. servant,

H. W. Benham, Brigadier-General, Commanding First Brigade

Colonel Lytle's report.

Headquarters Montgomery Regiment, 10th O. V. I. Carnifex Ferry, Sept. 11, 1861.
Brigadier-General Benham, Commanding First Brigade, U. S. A.:
sir: I have the honor to report that, agreeably to your orders, I proceeded with my command on yesterday, Sept. 10th, at three o'clock, yourself accompanying and directing the advance with me, to reconnoitre the position of the enemy, supposed to be in force in the neighborhood of Gauley River; our road led up hill through a densely timbered forest, and as I advanced I threw out flanking parties to the right and left, and skirmishers in advance of my column. After passing through the woods for half a mile, our skirmishers were suddenly engaged in front, and I pushed on to their relief until I reached a cleared space on the summit of the hill, where, for the first time, the enemy came in view, posted in force behind an extensive earthwork with twelve guns in position sweeping the road for over a mile. A ravine separated the hill, by which we approached from the right of the breast-works of the enemy, which were composed of logs and fence rails, and extended for over a mile to the right and left of their intrenchments, affording secure protection to their infantry and riflemen.

When the head of my column reached a point opposite the right centre of their earth-work, their entire battery opened on us with grape and canister, with almost paralyzing effect, my men falling around me in great numbers.

I ordered the colors to the front for the purpose of making an assault on their battery, perceiving which, the entire fire of the enemy was directed upon us. [41]

1, 2, 3, 4, Inner Rebel Line.

5, 6, 7, Outer “” on crest of hill, protecting rebel right flank.

A B, Rebel batteries.

A, Rebel main battery, commanding the road.

X Y, Road to Carnifex Ferry.

Y, First position of our guns, consisting of two rifled 6-pounders and four mountain howitzers, against Rebel left.

Z, Second position of our artillery, half of the guns against Rebel main battery.

A, Rebels' strong point, defended by main battery and by flank fire from their right.

1, Rebels' weak point, attacked by Col. Smith with 13th Ohio regiment.


The men rallied gallantly on the hill-side, under withering volleys of grape and small-arms, and a part of three companies, A, E, and D, actually moved up to within pistol-shot of the intrenchments, and for some time maintained an unequal contest.

Both my color bearers were struck down; the bearer of the State color--Sergt. Fitzgibbons--had the staff shot away and his hand shattered, and in a few moments afterward was shattered in both thighs while waving his color on the broken staff. The bearer of the National color--Sergt. O'Connor--was, at the same time, struck down by some missile, but recovered himself in a short time, and kept waving his colors in front of the enemy's fire; about this time I received a wound in the leg, the ball passing through and killing my horse.

Perceiving the fearful odds against us, I directed the men to place themselves under a cover; a portion rallied behind two log houses in front of the battery and kept up a spirited fire for at least an hour before any other regiment came into action, and the remaining portion of the right wing, under command of Lieut.-Col. Korff, returned in good order to its position under cover of a cornfield in front of the right of the battery; a steady fire was maintained against the enemy until night, after which, four companies, G, H, I, and K, and a great portion of companies D and E, by order of Gen. Rosecrans, remained on the ground during the night and held their position, throwing out their pickets under command of Lieut.-Colonel Korff.

While the right wing of the regiment under my command engaged the enemy on their right centre, a portion of the left wing, consisting of companies C, J, F, and K, under command of Major Burke, pushed through the woods on the left of the road, and assailed the palisades of the enemy's infantry across a deep ravine. This portion of the command held its position in face of a terrific fire, until every round of ammunition was expended, and the companies relieved by artillery, when it rejoined the right wing, already in position in front of the battery.

For men for the first time under fire, the conduct of the regiment was highly creditable. Having been wounded in the early portion of the action, I was necessarily separated from the greater portion of the command, and among those whose gallant conduct came under my own eyes, I would especially mention Capt. Stephen J. McGroarty, commanding the color company; Lieut. John Mallory, Co. D; and Lieut. Fanning, of Co. A. Both Lieut. Fanning and Capt. McGroarty were severely wounded, the latter while rallying his men around their colors, and the former while leading his men to the attack; Capts. Steele and Tiernon are also worthy of especial mention for their gallantry.

I would also mention the name of Corporal Sullivan, of Co. E, who, in the midst of a galling fire, went across the front of the enemy's batteries and returned with water to the wounded. Of the portion of the regiment under the command of Major Burke, that officer makes honorable mention of the names of Capt. H. M. Hard, Co. J; Capt. Robinson, Co. K; Capt. Hudson and Lieut. Hickly, Co. C; Capt. Moore, Co. D; Sergeant-Major Knox; and Chaplain W. T. O'Higgins.

I beg leave to enclose a list of the killed and wounded of the command, all of which, is respectfully submitted.

W. H. Lytle, Col. Tenth Ohio Regiment U. S. A.

Col. Smith's report.

Headquarters Thirteenth regiment O. V. I. Camp Scott, Va., Sept. 11th, 1861.
Lieut. J. O. Stanage, A. A. A.-Gen.:
sir: I have the honor to submit the following statement of the part taken by my regiment in the action near Connifex Ferry yesterday.

At about eleven o'clock A. M. on the 10th inst., a general halt of the whole column having been ordered at a point about two miles distant from the enemy's intrenchments, my regiment was ordered by General Benham to form in line of battle behind the crest of a hill on the right flank of the position, then being occupied by the Second and Third brigades, it having appeared that they were about to be attacked.

My line was just deployed, when I received an order from General Rosecrans to move forward, which I did, taking my place in line according to our previous order of march, the Tenth Ohio, McMullen's battery, my own section of two rifled cannon, and yourself with Gilmore's and West's cavalry companies leading in their order. We closed upon the head of the column, and marched thus until we had reached a point within two-thirds of a mile of the enemy's position, when I was again halted by an order from the rear. We remained halted in this position for about ten minutes, and until the enemy opened fire upon the head of our column. I was then ordered to move forward, which I did, until I was induced by the heavy firing, apparently on our right, to move in that direction with my regiment until my line was fairly deployed, when I received an order from Gen. Benham to move forward to the left. My regiment was then moved forward by the left flank down the ravine to our left, running nearly parallel with the enemy's front; then up the right hand slope until I saw the works of the enemy from my position at the head of my regiment. I then moved to the left along the skirt of the woods in front of the enemy's line, about two hundred yards from it, until I reached his extreme right flank, moving all the while behind the summit of the hill, which sheltered it from his fire. The enemy's line from the battery at the centre to the right flank, was completely revealed to us during this flank movement under cover. When we reached the enemy's extreme right, we received his fire from behind the breastwork of logs and rails, distant now about one hundred yards. [43]

The order was immediately given to my regiment to fall down and creep up to the crest of the hill, when we opened fire and maintained it briskly, driving the enemy in upon his centre. Having been ordered to make a reconnoissance, not an attack, we ceased firing, and lay in our position to await further orders, sending Lieut.-Col. Mason to report the result of our reconnoissance to Generals Benham and Rosecraus.

I have since learned through a prisoner taken by us, that our fire cleared the enemy from his works on the right, and drove him in on his centre. After waiting, as I supposed, a sufficient length of time, and finding that Col. Mason had lost his way in the thick underbrush, I drew down my eight companies into the ravine and back into the main road, and then went in person to report to Generals Benham and Rosecrans; this I did, and requested that a Brigadier might lead us to an attack upon the enemy's extreme right.

A brigade, consisting of the Twenty-eighth Ohio, eight companies of the Thirteenth Ohio, three of the Twenty-third Ohio, and two of the Twelfth Ohio regiments, was extemporized by General Rosecrans, and I was placed in command, and ordered to carry the works on the right by assault.

I formed the command as above constituted in the ravine, and was then ordered by General Rosecrans to halt and await further orders. We remained in this position for about one hour, when General Rosecrans ordered us to move forward to the attack. I reached the head of my column and started just at dusk. Before we could march down the ravine, through which we had passed before, and countermarch up the right hand slope, so as to draw out my line on the flank, and in front of a portion of the enemy's line, it became so dark, and the men so weary, having marched from three o'clock in the morning, that it was found impossible to ascend to their line; the ground was covered with rocks and a dense underbrush of laurel, and Col. Moore reported that it would take until two o'clock in the morning to get two companies of his regiment up. I then ordered the whole column to “face about!” and march out just as it had marched in, and crossed the ravine to the rear of the column to lead it out, when a shot or two from the enemy's skirmishers, or an accidental shot from one of our own pieces, caused the whole column, doubled as it was into a “U” shape, to open fire, killing two, and wounding about thirty of our own men.

The melancholy mistake was at once discovered, and the column extricated and marched back by left into the main road, and so on back to the grounds selected for our encampment.

At the beginning of the action, my section of two rifled cannon, under command of Capt. Schneider, and supported by his company, (E, Thirteenth regiment,) was ordered by General Benham to take position in the road by which our column approached, and at a point about four hundred yards distant from the enemy's works; several shots were fired from this position with good effect; Capt. Schneider then found a better position for his guns, about one hundred paces to the right, and cut a road to it with his sword and one hatchet, and from this new position, in full view of the enemy's battery, he fired seventy-five rounds of solid shot, and fifteen of shells; his shot ploughed through the parapet of the enemy's battery, spreading consternation among those who served the pieces. Capt. Schneider and his men behaved with great gallantry, delivering their fire with coolness and accuracy, although exposed to a brisk fire from the enemy's battery and from his musketry. The same may be said of my whole regiment, which was kept in perfect order throughout the day.

Respectfully submitted,

W. S. Smith, Com. Thirteenth Regiment O. V. U. S. A.

Lieut.-Col. White's report.

camp Scott, Va., Sept. 11, 1861.
Brig.-Gen. Benham:
sir: On the 10th inst., two miles from the enemy's intrenchments at Carnifex Ferry, Va., the Twelfth regiment Ohio Volunteers were detached from the column of advance by order of General Rosecrans, to skirmish the wood to the left of the road, and after completing the work and returning to the road, the regiment had not advanced more than half a mile, when the firing from the advance on the enemy's line commenced.

The regiment moved in a double quick to the enemy's encampment in a field on the left, where General Rosecrans' staff was stationed, when it was diverted to the left from the main road, through the field and wood in the direction of the enemy's fire; after advancing some two hundred yards, it was deployed as skirmishers, facing by the rear rank, with the order from the A. A. A.-Gen., George L. Hartsuff, to draw on the fire, close up, and charge the enemy's line.

The underbrush was so thick it was impossible to maintain a line, and it being impossible to communicate with Col. J. W. Lowe, the left wing was pushed forward to the enemy's right, and the attack there made.

The Thirteenth regiment Ohio Volunteers, under Col. W. S. Smith, to our left, and the artillery to our right; finding but little effect could be made on the enemy from this position, Adjutant Pauly was sent to you to notify you of our position, and receive your order.

Afterward I reported to you in person for orders, in the mean time keeping up a fire on the enemy, when he discovered himself above the breastworks.

Still later, Adjutant Pauly reported to you for orders, when we were attached to the Thirteenth and Twenty-eighth regiments, under Cols. Smith and Moore, to attack the enemy [44] upon his extreme right, of which movement Col. Smith will report.

The movements and operations of the right wing will be reported to you by Senior Capt. J. D. Wallace, who assumed command after Col. John W. Lowe was killed.

Respectfully submitted,

C. B. White, Lieut.-Col. Com. Twelfth Regiment O. V.

Capt. Wallace's report.

camp Scott, September 13, 1861.
Brig.-Gen. Benham:
sir: On the 10th inst. the Twelfth Ohio regiment, commanded by Col. J. W. Lowe, advanced through an old encampment, on its way to the battle-field; at this point, an order was given by Capt. Hartsuff, of Gen. Rosecrans' staff, to advance through the woods toward the enemy's fire. The right wing of the regiment, viz., Companies A, F, K, and E, advanced through the woods, under the command of Col. Lowe, toward the enemy's fire, and in front of one of his batteries. We crossed the fence of a corn-field, entered the field, and were ordered by Col. Lowe to deploy to the right, and advanced through the field toward some houses. The order was obeyed; Col. Lowe had advanced but a few steps, when he was killed. Up to this time I received all orders from Col. Lowe; after his death I took command of the right wing; advanced toward the enemy's breastworks. I sheltered the men in the best manner I could. I sent Lieut. Fisher of Co. A to General Rosecrans for orders. I was directed through the General's order to advance to the right and front of the enemy's breastwork. I obeyed the order, crossed a by-road, and halted within easy musket-shot of the works, at the edge of the woods.

I directed the fire of the rifles at the enemy, whenever he exposed himself. Discovering our fire was ineffective, as the enemy were sheltered behind their works, I ordered the fire to cease, and sheltered the men in the woods from the enemy's fire. I again sent for orders, and received through our Adjt. Lt. Pauly an order from the Commanding General to advance further to the right. My command passed through the woods, crossed a hollow, and ascended a hill to the right of the enemy's flagstaff, passing through a thick growth of underbrush until we arrived near the top of the hill and distant about fifty feet from their breastworks, when the enemy delivered a severe fire, at the same time screening themselves behind the breastwork. The men lay flat on the ground, being unsupported, and finding I could effect nothing there, (the enemy having fired a second volley at us,) I withdrew the men, and formed the men under the hill, at which place I received an order from Lieut.-Col. White to join the left wing of the regiment under his command. I obeyed the order, and advanced to the main road below our batteries, when I was ordered, by one of your staff, to halt my command on the side of the road for further orders, which I did. I did not see the left wing of the regiment until evening, nor do I personally know how or why the regiment was separated. Respectfully submitted,

J. D. Wallace, Capt. Co. A, Twelfth Regiment O. V.

Cincinnati Gazette narrative.

battle-field of Carnifex Ferry, Eight miles southwest of Summersville, Nicholas County, Va., Sept 11.
On the last day of our disastrous summer of ‘61, General Rosecrans moved from Clarksburg, to put himself at the head of his army, and resume active operations. The popular understanding was, that he meant to attack Lee at Cheat Mountain Gaps. The truth, as has heretofore been repeatedly hinted in this correspondence, was that he meant to complete the work to which his strategic plans had been for a month directed, by engaging Floyd in the region of our Kanawha line. Reynolds held Lee in check at the Cheat Mountain; a gap in our lines had been purposely made at Summersville; Floyd had bit at the bait by coming in; and now Rosecrans proposed to “hit him hard in the head” before he could run. Such was the plan.

And so, while the people thought the General was hurrying to Beverly, he had reached Bull Town, and Sutton, and Birch River, had collected his scattered army, and was ready for his work. Just a week had been consumed.

After a variety of vexatious delays, the army moved from Birch River toward Summersville late in the forenoon of Monday, the ninth inst. The telegraph had preceded us, and despatches had been received from our outposts that our pickets had been fired on, and that rebels were skulking near them through the woods. In advance of our whole column went a squad of cavalry, to bear back the earliest intelligence of any hostile movement; at a considerable distance behind came an advance guard, then, after another interval, the pioneers, and then Benham's brigade. McCook's followed, and Scammon's brought up the rear; while for five miles back stretched our wagon train and its guards.

Leaving the valley of the Big Birch, we immediately began to climb the mountain, which, from our late encampment, had seemed to block up the way. For six miles we climbed in tortuous windings, pausing on the way to bury a rebel, who had been killed while attempting a guerilla shot on Colonel Smith the evening before, and whose corpse had lain in its gore by the roadside till morning. At last we reached the summit, and from that summit of Powell's mountain, there burst upon the eye a view that Switzerland might be challenged to surpass. The country through which we were moving was but a succession of spurs and outlying ranges from the Greenbrier, and from none of them, hitherto, had we been able to see more than the foliage-masked sides, and forest-top summit lines of the nearest hills on either side. Here we were on a point that overtopped the [45] whole country westward to the borders of our own Ohio, and from that fastness for guerillas, (if not den of thieves,) the eye reached from range to range of tree-covered hills, that rose and fell, in the magnificent panorama spread out before us, like the billows of the ocean, growing smaller as they receded, till at last, in the dim, hazy shore-line of blue that bounded the vision, was marked the course of our “Beautiful River.”

And from that far-off view of their State, the troops descended to a conflict of which their State may worthily be proud.

Hardly had the column begun to descend the mountain, till the extreme advance squad of cavalry was fired upon, and presently there ran along the line the word that “the enemy is ahead.” Night was closing about us, and the inevitable fog was blotting out even the outlines of all our surroundings, as we reached the “Muddlethy bottoms,” and passed the yet burning camp-fires of an enemy's outpost. How the rebels had been startled by our sudden approaches; how our cavalry had dashed after them, but had been recalled by a peremptory order, that the possibility of an ambuscade justified; how narrowly they escaped, and how fast they ran, were the themes of camp-talk for an hour, and then the army silently sank down in the meadows. But for the bivouac fires, a passer-by, could he have evaded the vigilance of our sentries, might have fancied that he was traversing a solitude. But there was no evading those sentries! Hours after the soldiers, snugly wrapped in their blankets, and protected from the dews by the hay they had found in the meadows, were dreaming of homes, and sweethearts, and wives, the unwearied Colonel of the Ninth was passing around the whole line of our pickets, seeing that there was no break in the cordon of safeguards that surrounded the camp, and that no stupid sentry was leaving a gap for an enemy to enter. “I always see to these things myself,” said the gallant Colonel and Commander of the Second Brigade, as he started on his rounds, “and I always know they are done.”

The clammy fog was still clinging around the faces of the sleepers when the First Brigade was aroused, and by dawn the whole army was on the way. Summersville lay before us, but eight miles distant. A regiment of rebels was reported by the country people to be holding the town. The column pushed steadily forward, occasionally breaking into the double quick as some rumor ran along the ranks that the advance was fighting. At last, distant firing was heard, a rapid march brought us into the single street of Summersville, and the rebels were seen scampering up a hillside beyond. The infantry halted in column in the road, a squad of cavalry dashed out toward Gauley Bridge, and while they were gone, we had leisure to learn that the pioneers of the advance had got within long musket range of a small party of the rebels, and had sent a few shots after them, though without any known effect except, on the vis a tergo principle, to accelerate their speed. In a few moments the cavalry squad returned, marching between them a couple of the rebels, with the green, shirt-fashion blouse, and white muslin rag over the cap, that were known as the uniform of a raw militia cavalry company of the rebels. One of the prisoners was from Parkersburg — the other from Guyandotte. Both had been at Cross Lanes, and one of the fellows was relieved of the sword of Capt. Dyer, which he had stripped from the corpse of the poor Captain on the field.

Meantime the general had already ordered forward the column, had gathered up the more intelligent of the citizens, and questioned them about the roads and by-ways, and all the topographical features of the country; had procured the official map of the county from the Clerk's office, and had learned from the frightened inhabitants all they knew or were willing to tell of the position, defences, and strength of the enemy. A leisurely half-hour's talk with the prisoners (one of whom was impudent, and both independent, as well as loud-mouthed in the declaration that, though we had caught them, Floyd would soon pepper us) completed the general's preparations for entering the immediate neighborhood of the enemy; and leaving the village, with the women crying, and the men not knowing how to comfort them, for fear our army would be speedily driven back, and Floyd would come trampling in upon us with his eight thousand, in their very streets, the general galloped to his place in the column.

The current belief — what General Rosecrans' information and opinions were, I cannot say — the current belief, based upon reports of the country people, statements of scouts, and admissions of the prisoners, was that Floyd was strongly intrenched at Cross Lanes, in such a position that, as he was said to have expressed it, he “defied the world, the flesh, and the devil.” Our boys thought there was no necessity for his defying those parties — but let that pass. From Summersville to Cross Lanes was eight miles.

Shortly after leaving the village, we entered the ranges of hills that swell into mountains, on either side of the Gauley River. Presently a road was reached that led through ravines a short distance down to a ferry across the Gauley. It would not do to leave a passage by that ferry practicable in our rear, and Colonel McCook was ordered to take a squad of his cavalry, (Schaumbeck's, from Chicago,) proceed to the ferry, and destroy the boat. On arriving at the river, the boat was found to be at the opposite side, and a couple of men were directed to strip, swim over, and get it. As the swimmers struck out, armed men appeared on the other side, and a very sharp volley was poured into Colonel McCook and his little squad, who were standing on the bank, wounding one of the men seriously in the thigh. The cavalry returned the fire with spirit, but unluckily they [46] had no firearms, excepting the U. S. carbine-stock horse-pistol, and the rebels were beyond their range. Seeing the predicament, Colonel McCook instantly started a man back, asking that ten infantry should be sent to his aid. By some mistake the request was understood to be for the Tenth Infantry, and the whole regiment presently came hurrying down. The Irish, keen for a fight, and desperately anxious to open the day well, at once commenced an infernal pop, pop, popping, that speedily made the woods on the other side too hot for the rebels. The swimmers then brought the boat over. It was a new one, just finished, and the tools employed in its construction were still in it. These were used to cut it in two, and the separate halves were then loaded with stone, and sent, sinking as they went, over the falls below.

Manifestly, the column was now near the enemy's lines, yet, contrary to the uniform experience in Western Virginia hitherto, no attempt whatever had been made to obstruct the road. Floyd was known to be advised of our approach, as his scouts had been hanging around us since we arrived at Birch River; and the inference naturally was, that, as he knew we were coming, and made no effort to stop us, he felt secure in his position, and wanted us to attack him. Finally, we arrived at forks in the road, one branch leading to Cross Lanes, the other turning down toward the river, passing a short distance behind Cross Lanes, crossing the Gauley by a ferry, and continuing on down on the other side to Gauley Bridge, thirty odd miles distant.

We must be on their lines, yet there was no firing. Colonel Lytle's Tenth Ohio, which had led the advance all the way, was ordered to proceed cautiously and slowly down the road, passing behind Cross Lanes, to make an armed reconnoissance. Meantime the suspicion began to be entertained, that the rebels might be concealed in some of the valleys, or behind the crests of the low hills on the left of the road; and the several brigades were ordered to form in line of battle, and deploy skirmishers to scout the entire suspected section. The manoeuvre was promptly and handsomely executed. Meanwhile General Rosecrans found a steep hill on the right, which seemed to command the whole country; and, dashing up it, he examined every point minutely, and watched the progress of the skirmishers with field-glasses.

Viewed from the hill, the scene was an inspiring one. Away in front stood the remainder of the first brigade, drawn up in line of battle, facing in the direction Lytle had taken. On a gentle swell to the left, some distance back, stood McCook's entire brigade, as rigid as statues, and “looking for all the world like regulars,” as a thorough military man said of them. On the right, and a little higher up, on a prolongation of the same swell, was Scammon's brigade, not making so long a line as the others, but looking their best. Around was spread a lovely variety of hill and dale, pastures and corn-fields, dotted with one or two snug-looking little farm-houses, with orchards attached, backed by the lofty heights that skirt the Gauley, and all were wearing that most smiling of nature's expressions, when ardent summer is just ripening and softening to the mellow richness of autumn.

Down the road we knew that a regiment of Ohioans must be coming very near to death; above, the sun, that was lending such a glow to the peaceful expressions of nature, was also flashing on long lines of bayonets, and lighting up the stern countenances of an army of men, awaiting and eager for battle. And still there came no sounds save the twittering of birds, and the rustle of the breeze in the foliage.

Suddenly a musket-shot down the road, in the direction of Lytle's regiment, broke in upon the peaceful murmur. Quickly came another, and another. Again there was quiet, and again the straggling fire began. Evidently, Lytle's skirmishers were coming up to the enemy's pickets. Meantime McCook's skirmishers had thoroughly explored their territory, and had returned, reporting it entirely clear. Presently sharper firing was heard for a moment or two in the direction of Lytle's regiment; then it relapsed again into the straggling fire of pickets. Pushing forward, it was soon discovered that a strong detachment of the rebels, probably a regiment, had been driven in from an exposed camp on the left of the road, where much of their camp equipage was still left, though the more valuable part had apparently been removed early in the day. This camp must have been about a mile from the forks of the road, where the column had first halted and formed in line of battle.

Lytle's regiment continued pushing on down the road, which here plunged into a dense forest filled with undergrowth, almost impassable for infantry, and entirely so for cavalry. The road itself was tolerably good — muddy, but not deep, and more nearly level than would have been expected on such heights — but very narrow, and shut in, up to the very wagon tracks, with the jungle of underbrush. General Rosecrans, who was still in total ignorance of the exact position of the enemy, or of the nature of their intrenchments, now sent orders to General Benham that Lytle should proceed down this road to make an armed reconnoissance of the position, to be supported, if necessary, by the remainder of Benham's brigade. Lytle was still about a mile ahead of the rest of the brigade, pushing cautiously forward with four companies of skirmishers, A, B, C, and E, in advance; suddenly these skirmishers, compelled by the nature of the ground to proceed more in a body than would have been desirable, peering through the bushes that skirted a short curve in the road, found themselves about two hundred and fifty or three hundred yards in front of some sort of fortification; exactly what, it was impossible to see. The enemy [47] seemed to discover them about the same time. For a few moments there was a resumption of the sharp but scattered firing, then suddenly there came a terrific crash of musketry, and a perfect storm of lead. The enemy had opened along his whole front. The remainder of the Tenth was hurried up to support the four advance companies, and Gen. Benham, who was well up with the advance, sent back orders for the Thirteenth, Colonel Smith, and the Twelfth, Colonel Lowe, to come rapidly forward. Meantime, our men stood their ground manfully, and returned the fire with spirit. The angry peals of musketry, sharp as peals of heavy thunder, grew fiercer, till the sound became one tremendous, incessant roar; while speedily, at least one full battery of heavy field-pieces sent in their swelling, deep-toned notes to mingle with the crashing rattle of the small arms. Fortunately, neither the artillery nor infantry of the enemy fired with much accuracy at this period of the engagement, and though the poor Tenth boys suffered severely, yet, under the partial cover of the trees, their loss was far less than would have been expected from the tremendous fire that was directed upon them.

Col. Smith's Thirteenth now came in on the left of the road, but a very short distance behind the rear of the Tenth, and falling over toward Floyd's right flank, opened out in fine style, the rebels continuing a heavy fire of musketry, rifles, shells and canister. In the very thickest of this firing, Col. Lytle dashed forward toward the natural glacis in front of the enemy's works, leading up several of his companies, apparently with the intention of attempting to storm the intrenchments. As they emerged from the cover of the woods the enemy's fire was of course concentrated upon them, and as they began to reach the glacis, Colonel Lytle received a severe wound in the leg, while the same shot fatally wounded his horse. The poor animal plunged frantically forward, reared up, and threw the wounded Colonel upon the field, then, in his death agony, gave one final plunge clear over the parapet, and fell inside the enemy's works. The gallant Colonel could find no refuge on the field except a deserted house, right between the two fires. There he lay, during the whole progress of the battle, with cannon balls crashing through and around the frail building which constituted his only shelter.

The Tenth, who had borne themselves nobly thus far, discouraged at the loss of their gallant Colonel, now became somewhat scattered in the woods, though they held their position with tenacity, and kept up an incessant firing.

Meantime, Col. Lowe, who had been some distance behind, came up with his Twelfth, and was led by Adjutant-General Hartsuff into a position in the woods, on the left of the road, near the spot where the Tenth had first received the fire. It was the intention that from this point Col. Lowe should work his way up under cover, and form on Col. Smith's right, now threatening the enemy's extreme right flank, but in some way he crossed the road and came up a little to the enemy's left, in the very hottest fire. He was leading his regiment up finely, conspicuous at their head, alike for his fine soldierly appearance and the consummate gallantry he displayed, when, while waving his sword to cheer them on, he was struck fair in the centre of the forehead by a musket ball, and fell headlong from his horse. He died a soldier's death, bravely, gloriously leading his men forward; and he would himself have desired no other end for a life that of late had been too much embittered by the carpings of the ignorant and the sneers of the malevolent.

Adjutant-General Hartsuff now got McMullen's howitzer battery into position, and it began playing on the redoubt with considerable vigor.

The armed reconnaissance was rapidly developing into a severe and general engagement. Gen. Rosecrans' orders had been positive that nothing more than a reconnoissance should be attempted, but Gen. Benham had been unable, on account of difficulty in the transmission of orders, to arrange his brigade in the way which he believed would have at once carried the works, and support for the regiments, already engaged, became necessary. Capt. Snyder's battery was hurried up, and took a position to the right of the road, commanding the entire front of the enemy's works. The batteries, combined with the effective support of the infantry, soon silenced at least two of the rebels' guns, while they began to serve the others much more slowly.

Meantime, Gen. Rosecrans, who had been off on the hill under the hottest fire, on the right of the road, (the enemy's left,) directing the movements, and attempting to gain some idea of the fortifications, despatched Adjutant-General Hartsuff to bring up the German brigade. This, together with Scammon's, which was held as reserve, had been standing, drawn up in line of battle, in the old camp from which the rebel regiment had been driven when the fight began. The battle had now been raging over an hour, (beginning at half-past 3 o'clock in the afternoon;) large numbers of the wounded had been carried back to the hospital; it was known that Col. Lowe was killed, and it was also reported that Col. Lytle was shot dead, and that his regiment was utterly cut to pieces; straggling soldiers had become separated from their regiments, and, as always occurs with a few in any army, in a fight under cover, had worked their way out of danger, and were sneakingly attempting to evade the disgrace of their retreat by enormous stories of the fearful slaughter, from the very midst of which they had so gallantly escaped; the terrific firing, which some experienced military men pronounce the heaviest they ever heard; the mystery of the position which nobody could understand; the news of Lowe's death, and the uncertainty about Lytle's fate, had all combined to create a general [48] feeling of depression, and a conviction that the battle was going against us.

Such was the prevailing feeling, when Adjutant-Gen. Hartsuff came galloping up, apparently as calm as when ordering a detail from a regiment for guard duty, and announced that Col. McCook's brigade was to be moved forward to storm the intrenchments, and that he claimed the privilege of leading them over the works. Could you but have seen that German brigade as this announcement was made! Col. McCook, wild with delight, dashed up and down the lines, told the men what they had to do, and demanded if they were ready to do it. And then such a volley of cheers as rose in deafening response to the inquiry, swelling over and for a moment fairly drowning the roar of battle, while the delighted soldiers waved their hats and tossed them in the air, threw their arms wildly about, and seemed fairly frantic with joy. I have seen many intensely excited assemblages, have watched the inspiring influence of the most distinguished orators on the most excitable audiences, but never have I witnessed any scene that would compare with that. McCook dashing furiously along the lines, shouting as he went, in a tone that rang like a trumpet over the field, that he had tried them before, and he knew what they would do; that he and the Adjutant-General would lead them up, and that they would carry those works if the ditch had to be filled full of dead Dutchmen before they could get over; that the traitors would soon see what his Dutchmen could do, and thus working the enthusiastic fellows up, till, in the patriotic frenzy of the moment, they would have stormed any thing; the “Dutchmen” yelling, and waving their swords, and clashing their muskets, and flinging up their hats; Hartsuff, calm as ever, but with a look that spoke his delight far better than words, already galloping to the head of the column, the brigade dashing off at an impetuous double quick; Colonel Porschner clamoring because he was compelled to make his regiment wait for its proper place, and his men starting off as if they intended to dispute the van with the Ninth; Porschner shouting in excuse, that they wanted to fight some too, and McCook shouting back that he knew they would, and that that was just what he wanted them for; Col. Moor riding proudly at the head of his regiment, his grim face wreathed in unwonted smiles, and Hartsuff galloping far ahead as the brigade came hurrying down, the whole scene, which occupied but a moment, yet cannot be described in an hour, was, to many of us, at least, the most exciting and inspiring sight of a lifetime.

We waited impatiently for the assault; but, alas! as the brigade came down, they were met by peremptory orders from Gen. Rosecrans. He had been examining the plan of storming in front, right over the principal redoubt of the enemy, which Hartsuff had originated and begged authority to carry out, and he had resolved to countermand the permission to attempt it. Prudently, perhaps, he was unwilling to risk so many lives in the dreadful uncertainty of storming a well-defended work without a more thorough reconnoissance; and the brigade was therefore divided. Four companies of McCook's own regiment, the Ninth, were sent far up on the enemy's left, where they charged up almost to the parapet that there constituted the rebel defence, and had to be recalled by the bugle signal. They poured a deadly volley, and brought back the most accurate information concerning the main rebel redoubt.

Moor joined Smith, on the enemy's extreme right, while Porschner, greatly to his disappointment, could not get into action at all.

And now, while the Germans were pushing hard on the enemy's left, and the other regiments continued to hold their former positions, Colonel Smith, with the Thirteenth Ohio, had worked clear around on the right, till he was ready, with a short rush, inside, indeed, of short musket range, to storm the irregular parapet that was found to defend the right flank. He had his men lying close under the brow of the hill, and saw to it personally that they lay there and did not expose themselves unnecessarily while firing. A single rush over a short exposed hill, and ten minutes hand-to-hand fighting would, in Col. Smith's opinion, have ended the matter. The fight had now raged between three and four hours. It was already so dark that it was almost impossible to distinguish the forms of men in the intrenchments; the men had been up since four o'clock in the morning, and had made a rapid march of eighteen miles, besides doing severe duty in scouting and skirmishing up and down steep hills before going into the engagement. To continue it further would have been folly, and General Rosecrans therefore ordered the troops to fall back on our lines.

So ended the “Battle of Connifex Ferry.”

Our regiments were posted in advantageous positions, either for resuming the attack in the morning, or for resisting a rebel sortie during the night. The troops lay on their arms all night, some of them within but a hundred or two hundred yards of the enemy's works. What would be done in the morning was uncertain. It was known that General Rosecrans had not desired a general engagement without careful reconnaissance; and it was therefore presumed that the morning would be spent in acquiring a thorough knowledge of the rebel position, and that the works would be carried by storm in the afternoon. But the rebels relieved us of all doubts. When the morning dawned, it was discovered that Gen. Floyd, terrified by the furious attack at once on his centre and both flanks, and fearing that he would either be surrounded or cut off from retreat toward Lewisburg, had evacuated his camp during the night, leaving large quantities of ammunition, arms, camp stores, and equipage behind him, had crossed the Gauley, breaking down the [49] bridge, and completely destroying the ferry-boat behind him, and was probably making the best of his opportunities for getting back to Lewisburg.

By six o'clock in the morning the old Stars and Stripes were floating over Floyd's headquarters, in the camp which was to have been proof against “the world, the flesh, and the devil,” but which couldn't resist the onset of the Yankees; while the rebel “stars and bars” were borne in triumph, beneath the National flag, to the Federal camp beyond our lines of attack. Guards were at once placed over the rebel camp, scouts were sent out to mark the course of the enemy, and the exhausted troops were permitted to rest.

I have given above, too tediously, I know, but only, like the Scotch preacher, because “I hadn't time to make it shorter,” a simple narrative of the events connected with the battle, and the rout of the ex-Secretary of War. Explanations, comments, personal details must all be deferred, and I may simply add that our loss was far less than would have been expected from the length of the engagement, and the incessant roll of artillery and musketry. We have fourteen killed, eighty wounded, (mostly but flesh wounds,) and seven missing. The enemy's loss is not known, but one of our own men captured at Cross Lanes and recaptured here, states that it took the train with killed and wounded an hour and twenty minutes to pass the hospital where he was confined, on their retreat.

Floyd himself is known to have been wounded in the arm — some of the prisoners say severely — during the action.


New York times narrative.

camp Scott, near Carnifex Ferry, Gauley River, Nicholas Co., Va., September 12th, 1861.
A succinct account of the battle of Carnifex Ferry, on the 10th inst.; the retreat of Floyd and his army; the capture of his camp equipage and large quantities of army stores, ammunition, muskets, swords, and the personal baggage of Floyd and his officers, on the morning of the 11th inst., was forwarded by telegraph from this camp to the Associated Press of the country. Presuming that the tidings reached you, it will be consistent to bring up the history of the expedition from the point from whence I wrote my last communication to you. The incidents of the march were much more interesting to us than a sketch of them could be to your readers, and I will, therefore, hurry over the ground currente calamo, until we reach the battle-ground.

The column moved deliberately over Kreitz's Mountain, a massive spur of the divide range, which is subdivided by the beautiful channel of Little Birch River. The road was very good, with a few exceptions; but in consequence of many delays, without apparent necessity, we were detained on the mountain until nightfall, and were thus obliged to stagger down the roughest road which had yet obstructed the march. It was pitchy dark, and the route lay through narrow defiles, and across the turbulent and rugged channel of the Big Birch, which followed the eccentric deviations of the mountains. After many tribulations, we finally waded Big Birch for the last time, and the harassed and wearied troops plunged headlong into friendly meadows in Big Birch flats. I suppose we crossed the river a dozen times in two hours, often at places which were uncomfortably deep for the infantry. It had been intended to bivouac at the foot of the mountain; but we found no camping-ground, not even the side of a hill upon which a soldier could recline with the hope of remaining stationary till he could go to sleep.

Luckily, we were permitted to rest our weary bones on Sunday, while our scouting parties scoured the mountains and glens, in pursuit of rebels who had fled from the valley where we encamped, as our vanguard debouched from the ravines on the east side of the river. These were the first indications we had of the presence of a watchful enemy, but during the day our scouts saw many evidences of them. Toward evening one of their wild-cat cavalry captains was killed while endeavoring, with his party, to pick off some of our men. We had now reached a country seamed with by-roads, blind paths, and mountain passes. It was also infested with bushwhackers; and in order to stop up all avenues by which it would be possible for the enemy to strike our lines in the rear or centre, the general and his engineering corps found it necessary to make minute reconnoissances.

Monday morning we scaled Powell Mountain, the loftiest summit in Western Virginia, evidences of a receding enemy not far in advance constantly increasing. At the topmost ridge we found a camp, which had been occupied by a considerable detachment the previous night. By hard pumping of women at a farm-house on the road, we learned that the party were part of Floyd's army, and that the rebel leader himself was waiting for us with a powerful force, intrenched near Cross Lanes, a point eight miles below Summersville, on Gauley River.

The General was evidently perplexed by confused accounts respecting the topography of the country, and the position of the enemy. Every woman or child, of sufficient intelligence to answer a plain question, was interrogated. Most of the men of the mountains seemed to have fled at the approach of the hostile armies, either to escape impressment or to join the rebel armies, and it was extremely difficult to find a guide who knew any thing about the country a mile from the highway. The few ignorami, who were occasionally picked up by our scouts, appeared utterly impotent to satisfy the General's inquiries, and were usually dismissed with benevolent injunctions to refrain from imparting notice of our movements to the enemy. A chatty old woman, at a cabin on the mountain, [50] assured us that Floyd had boasted of his ability to repulse any force we were prepared to bring against him; and the old dame seasoned her gossip by impressing us with the fact that the rebels were in a “mighty strong, ugly place.” The old crone spoke upon hearsay testimony, but she was right. Our inferences, from reports that Floyd had five or six thousand men and strongly-intrenched batteries, were justified.

Our vanguard debouched into Muddlethy bottoms at twilight, and frightened a detachment of rebels, several hundred strong, from a bivouac not far ahead. Our lads gave chase, but the rascals scampered into the woods so rapidly that our long-range rifles could not be brought to bear upon them successfully. Our column bivouacked in the fine meadows of Muddlethy, and the troops fell asleep, expecting to go into battle before another sunset. They were not disappointed.

Our vanguard was in motion again next morning at four o'clock, and at six we were sweeping rapidly onward to Summersville, eight miles distant. As our scouters ascended from a little valley to the crest of a mound, which looks down into the village, a party of mounted rebels were discovered flying down the road. A few wild shots were sent after them, without effect, excepting to increase their speed. We were now informed that McCoslin's Thirty-sixth Virginia regiment had retreated toward the rebel camp on Gauley River scarcely six hours before. Shortly after our column halted, a party of Stewart's Hoosier Cavalry captured a brace of rebel dragoons, after an exciting chase down the Charleston road.

We now advanced with extreme caution. We had no definite information concerning the rebel position, and were liable to fall into an ambuscade or masked battery. Benham's skirmishers flanked the road on either side, sweeping every foot of ground, and scouts were sent forward to scour the jungle. Five or six miles below Summersville, Schaumberg's Chicago Dragoons and a small detachment of infantry were sent through the woods to the left, to destroy a ferry-boat in Gauley River, and were executing the order, when they were greeted with a shower of balls from the cliffs on the opposite shore. Colonel McCook brought up a small detachment from the Ninth Ohio, and poured a volley into the rocks, which scattered the bushwhackers. Our dragoons had one man wounded in the leg, and one rebel was knocked over.

From thence, not a bridle-path, ravine, or neighboring cliff was passed, without a thorough examination in advance. At about one o'clock the column halted at forks of the road--one branch leading to Cross Lanes and Gauley Bridge, the other to Lewisburgh via Carnifex Ferry. An hour before halting here, the commander-in-chief had no knowledge of the geographical position of Floyd; but an intelligent mountaineer lad, who had been in the rebel camp, opportunely made his appearance to enlighten him. Most of us had labored under an erroneous supposition that the enemy was fortified below Cross Lanes, and it was confirmed by ignorant or treacherous inhabitants; but the lad relieved us of our anxious embarrassment. From him we learned that Floyd was on the cliffs overlooking Carnifex Ferry, and that a mile further up the road approaching him, there was another fork, leading among the hills to Cross Lanes. He innocently suggested its importance in a military point of view, and it was deemed important to make a thorough reconnoissance of the premises. Heavy columns were immediately deployed in line of battle on the hills in the rear, and strong bodies of skirmishers enveloped the ridges in front, when General Benham was ordered to move on down the road. Nearly two hours were thus occupied, when Benham sent back word that the reconnoissance was effected to the point then desired, and the track was clear. General Rosecrans immediately went to the front, to inquire into sharp firing in the direction of the ferry. It turned out that our skirmishers had driven in the rebel pickets, and in their eager chase had disturbed a considerable body of the enemy under Colonel Reynolds, who were encamped on the hill, not a mile and a half from the forks of the road where we had been halting so long. The news was communicated to the troops, who received it with inspiring shouts. It was now perfectly obvious to all that we were about to engage the enemy. The men braced themselves manfully for it, and displayed splendid spirit. The Irish regiment, under Colonel Lytle, who had the right of the column, having already snuffed the enemy, pressed on with fiery zeal, with the gallant Smith and his Thirteenth Ohio on their heels. The remainder of Benham's brigade, the Twelfth Ohio, under Colonel Lowe, was halted at the foot of the hill, to guard the cross-road, while McCook and Scammon were moving their columns toward the front by another route, over the ridges.

General Benham now asked permission to press upon the enemy with his brigade, and General Rosecrans gave his consent to a demonstration for reconnoissance. Benham clapped spurs to his horse, wagging his head with obvious satisfaction, and promising a satisfactory inquiry into Mr. Floyd's arrangements, which have been so diligently concealed. Intense excitement prevailed. Every moment seemed an hour. Those in advance were earnest and eager. Those halted in the rear were impatient at their detention, and now and then a shot or two, heard in advance, increased their vexation.

It was precisely at a quarter to four o'clock in the afternoon when the commander-in-chief rode to the top of an adjacent hill to make an observation. His staff were clustered about him waiting orders, and our artillery was laboring up the hill, when our attention was attracted by quick, sharp firing in the forests just ahead of us. Almost simultaneously, and [51] before we could interchange remarks, our very souls were thrilled by a terrific and prolonged roar of musketry. Suspicion flashed through our minds that the gallant First brigade had fallen into an ambuscade or masked battery.

Language is inadequate to depict our intense anxiety. The General's deportment, though firm, demonstrated the terrible emotions of his own brave soul. We were all in agony of suspense. But scarce an instant lapsed when, with a long sigh of grateful relief, we heard the swift volleys of our own gallant lads. We knew by the crack of their rifles that they were not overwhelmed or dismayed by the terrific fire that had thundered in the dismal ravine where they struggled. And now the deep detonation was swelled into proportions of awful grandeur by the cannon's opening roar. Their thunderous voice rolled in magnificent volume among the crags of Gauley until their confused reverberations died away in contending echoes among the mountains. We could see nothing of the battle, not even smoke, but we knew by the infernal din that our battalions were swarming about the enemy. Only the tenth and eighth companies of the Thirteenth regiment had yet gone forward. Lowe's Twelfth Ohio had been ordered up by General Rosecrans, and it now came charging up the road at double quick, its brave colonel at the head, and as the lads raised the crest of the hill they saluted the General, who was waiting to direct their commander, with a splendid volley of cheers. The Twelfth plunged into the jungle on the left, Adjutant-General Hartsuff leading Lowe toward his position. As the bold fellows rushed into the woods they flung knapsacks and blankets desperately into the field, and pitched forward to regain their places. Hartsuff now came back, and, by order of the General, sent forward McMullen's howitzers and Snyder's two field-pieces, which plunged up the road with thundering racket. Ammunition wagons lumbered along heavily, teamsters furiously lashing the horses into their utmost speed. Staff officers dashed hither and thither with desperate speed, leading on columns, according to emergency, or carrying orders to the commanders of regiments or brigades. The tout ensemble was a splendid spectacle of excitement and eager haste to dash into battle. Not a man looked upon it whose heart was not assured of victory. I doubt if there was a suspicion among the men that they could be repulsed, and they were not.

But every thing yet remained enveloped in mystery. No tidings came up from the field. General Rosecrans, having made all necessary disposition to protect his rear, advanced to the front. Pushing down the ferry road, which was densely shaded by masses of undergrowth and heavy forests, we still saw no battle; but the terrific uproar, which seemed almost within the cast of a pebble, and the hurtling bullets cutting the twigs overhead, was proof that the enemy was close at hand. Directly a gleam of light from a clearing in front, with a long stream of fire blazing along the works of the enemy, showed where they were. The General took position near the battery, but from that time until the last column groped out of the woods in thick darkness, he was in the midst of the combat, directing the general movements of the division. Benham was also in the front of battle, watching his brigade with reckless exposure of his person, encouraging and emboldening the men by his fearlessness.

Meantime McCook's brigade of Germans had formed in line of battle on the crest of Rebel Hill, and Scammon's little brigade was marching in to form behind him to protect our left. I had returned from the front with an order to Scammon to send a detachment to try the enemy's right, and Major R. B. Hayes, of the Twenty-Third Ohio, dashed off through the forests with four companies.

The wounded were now being brought in rapidly, telling of carnage. It was, perhaps, six o'clock when Colonel Lowe was announced among the killed. The firing continued with intensified violence on our side, but it appeared to slacken on the part of the enemy. But the din was still terrific, showing that the rebels intended to make us pay for victory. The sun was rapidly sinking when orders arrived to forward the Dutch brigade. It was my grand satisfaction to be present and witness the magnificent reception of the order. Colonel R. L. McCook, acting brigadier, in his citizen's dress, stood in his stirrups, and snatching his slouched hat from his head, roared out, “Forward, my bully Dutch! We'll go over their d----d intrenchments, if every man dies the other side.” The usually phlegmatic Teutons, inflamed with passionate excitement, exploded with terrific cheers. Old, gray-bearded fellows threw up their hats with frenzied violence, and the gallant brigade shot forward at double-quick, shaking the road with their ponderous step. The scene was magnificently exciting. Not a man witnessed it whose very soul was not inflamed, and as the gallant McCook dashed furiously up and down his lines, shouting to his solid Dutchmen, no man doubted that, if they ever got orders to storm the battery, they would go over the parapet with resistless power.

As the column deployed into the road, Capt. Hartsuff volunteered to lead the column into position, when three thousand Dutchmen again yelled themselves hoarse, and McCook spurred onward to the front to reconnoitre his post. * The brigade was not permitted to storm, but the Ninth Ohio, McCook's own regiment, and Colonel Moore's Twenty-eighth, had opportunity to show their steadiness under a galling fire. The Third German regiment was detained in the rear, and did not get into action at all, but its colonel, Porschner, went into the storm of bullets to see how the battle raged.

As darkness approached the fire slackened. The rebels seemed to be getting weary or out of ammunition, and our generals were endeavoring [52] to get their men into position for a general assault. But profound darkness set in before arrangements were completed, and it became absolutely necessary to withdraw our troops. It was nine o'clock at night, however, before we retired to bivouac, under the very batteries of the rebels, intending to carry them by storm before sunrise next morning. But the enemy did not wait for us, and our triumph was only half a victory.

We will now return to detail the engagement more minutely. When Gen. Benham went to the front, an armed reconnoissance of the rebel position, not a general action, was intended. We knew nothing of the position — not even where it was located, nor any thing of the topographical features of the massively broken mountains about it. Besides, the men had marched seventeen miles and a half, and many of them were harassed and wearied with scouting and skirmishing all day over the hills. The whole column, in fact, had been astir since three o'clock in the morning, and were obviously unfit for battle. Capt. Hartsuff strenuously objected to a general engagement, and earnestly recommended that the army should go into camp and refresh themselves with food and sleep — with the understanding that an immediate reconnoissance was imperatively necessary.

General Benham pushed onward with this understanding, when the enemy's inside pickets were driven in by the Irish skirmishers. A few moments afterward, the rebels hearing his men in the ravine under their guns, let drive at them their first infernal volley along their whole line on the right. It is believed the rebels did not see our men at all, but fired at a venture into the jungle, at a range at which they had manifestly practised. But not a man of ours was hurt, and Floyd's precipitation had exposed his lines. Gen. Benham, Col. Lytle, and Col. Smith, however, were keeping a sharp lookout for surprises, the old General saying he would never be caught by a masked battery. The way was now described by rebel bullets, and the Tenth was deployed up the hill to the right, and the Thirteenth down the hill into the ravine to the left — Lytle and Smith each at the head of their regiments. Our batteries were still behind, and Lowe's Twelfth Ohio was some distance in the rear coming up slowly, so that the Tenth and Thirteenth had to support the enemy's fire a long time without assistance. But they did it gallantly, and continued to advance until they got to the edge of the abatis in front of the enemy, where they stood near the verge of the forest. In consequence of the rugged and impracticable nature of the ground, the line of the Tenth was broken, and the right wing was separated from the centre. Col. Lytle could not see this on account of the jungle, and Gen. Benham was directing a movement on the extreme left, when Lytle ordered the colors forward, and shouting “Follow, Tenth,” he made a dash up the road, intending to charge the battery, and succeeded in getting within little more than a hundred yards of the rebel parapet before he was discovered. A terrific fire opened upon him, and his four gallant companies, who followed him with frantic cheers, suffered severely. A ball went through his left leg, and wounded his horse, which became unmanageable, and threw him. The horse dashed over the rebel intrenchments, and was killed, and the gallant Lytle himself was assisted into a house not a hundred feet off, and heard the crash of cannon balls through it and over it until the battle ended. Color-Sergeant Fitzgibbons, who was behind the colonel when he fell, had his right hand shattered, but gathering the Stars and Stripes in his left, he waved them again enthusiastically, and was torn to pieces by a round shot. Sergeant O'Connor snatched the falling colors, and again held them aloft, when he was also struck by a ball in his left hand, but he dropped behind a log, and kept the colors flying until exhaustion compelled him to drop them. His captain, Stephen McGroarty, as gallant a fellow as ever wore sword, snatched them up again, and while rolling them up, ordered his men to retire to cover, and in bringing up the rear a ball struck him in the right breast, and went through him without disabling him, until after he got out of the field with his flag. Every man of his company stuck to him with unswerving fidelity.

The Irish lads continued to stick to the front with splendid determination, but they were sadly cut up. Father O'Higgins, their chaplain, was with them constantly, and Lieut.-Col. Korff, Major Burke, Capt. R. M. Moore, and Capt. Annis displayed conspicuous gallantry. Meantime, Col. Smith worked off to the extreme right of the rebels under a furious fusilade of rifles and musketry, and was laboriously engaged in scaling a precipice which protected the rebel position in that direction. It was twilight before he got into position for an assault, but his men lay on their bellies in the thicket playing away at the enemy not a hundred yards from them. The order for an assault did not come, and the brave Thirteenth had wasted its energies and showed their pluck for nothing. The conduct of Col. Smith and his regiment was a theme of admiration. The colonel himself was brave to a fault, but cool and skilful as a veteran.

The Twelfth Ohio had found their route impracticable, and their brave colonel carried them over a rugged route squarely into the front of the battle, and gave them an opportunity to do their share of duty. Colonel Lowe was encouraging and directing them in front, when he was struck by a shot fairly in the centre of his forehead, and he fell dead without a groan. A moment afterward a charge of grape mangled both his legs.

I was not surprised that poor Lowe was killed. I anticipated his misfortune. He was unjustly and malignantly accused of cowardice [53] at Scary, and he had said the sacrifice of his life was necessary to redeem his reputation. On his way to the field of Carnifex Ferry, he requested the chaplain of his regiment to take care of his property if his presentiments should be realized. He died where a soldier loves to die — in the thickest of the fight. Col. Lowe was an old citizen of Xenia, Ohio, where he was universally respected. He was not an educated military man, but he had the courage of a soldier. His remains have been forwarded to his family.

Snyder's two rifled six-pounders and McMullen's batteries were planted in the road about two hundred yards in front of the main rebel battery, and were served rapidly and with considerable effect. Subsequently part of each was removed to the right. Capt. McMullen was finally struck down, but not seriously hurt. The rebel artillery was not regarded very formidable. The majority of their balls and shells went whistling and tearing through the tree-tops, making an infernal racket, and now and then a round shell would stop, in mid career, in the trunk of a tree and bury itself with a wicked crash. The cannon practice generally was not distinguished for scientific accuracy. The rebels finally got short of legitimate ammunition and played spelter canister upon us. Many of our shells did not explode at all, but occasionally one would scatter the rebels in every direction. But our lads rarely caught a glimpse of the Virginians. They kept close under cover, and made no unnecessary exposures. Even their gunners were exceedingly careful to keep out of the way, and not once did they attempt to display daring or to move from their position toward us.

At dusk McCook's brigade was ordered into position. The Ninth was carried around to the left of the rebel battery by Captain Hartsuff, to make a rush upon it under a flanking battery which had been discovered in the woods, on their extreme left, but which had not been served during the engagement. The bold fellows, under their colonel, pushed forward under a galling storm of musketry, and were about to dash headlong at the enemy under cover of darkness, when they were ordered back, after suffering a loss of one killed and ten wounded. The four companies, under Major Hayes, after infinite difficulty, scaling precipices and forcing their way through dense thickets of laurel and blackberry bushes, had been halted in a ravine in front of the centre of the rebels' right wing, and they were afterward supported by the Twenty-eighth, under Colonel Moor. The former met with no casualties, though under fire. The latter pushed across the ravine, and extended the line up a precipitous hill, until the whole of the main front of the enemy was enveloped by our lines. He lost two killed and thirty-one wounded.

It was now pitchy dark. It was impossible to distinguish an object a yard from your eyes, and it was so obviously unwise to storm the works in such dense obscurity that the General was compelled to withdraw the troops. They retired slowly and mad at their disappointment, and bivouacked, wearied and supperless, within musket range of the rebel front. It was nine o'clock at night when they got out of the forest where they had labored and fought unflinchingly five hours.

Our loss could not then be ascertained, and from the terrific nature of the firing, we supposed it very heavy. We were not a little astonished, and I need not say gratefully so, to learn from surgeons' and company reports that only fourteen were killed and one hundred and four wounded. Two of the latter have since died. Most of the wounds of those in hospital are merely flesh wounds, and with the exception of about a dozen they will all be able to join their companies within a month.

You will remember that an armed reconnoissance was intended at first. How it became a battle will be explained by official reports from Headquarters. I do not understand it, and I must express my conviction that it was not wise to take the men into such a battle without a perfect reconnoissance, and especially when they were wearied with a march of seventeen and a half miles, and exhausted by scouting and skirmishing and loss of sleep. I cannot undertake to say who is responsible. I presume, however, that our men, manifesting so much ardor and steadiness, worked the action into a general battle and got in so deeply that to retire would have caused serious consequences. Many of our officers justify the battle on the theory that Floyd intended to run away from us from the first, and that had we delayed until morning we would have been chagrined to find that he had evacuated.

But to proceed with the narrative. After our troops were withdrawn, they were posted to prevent any attempt of the enemy to surprise us, and to prevent the retreat of Floyd if possible. But our total ignorance of the country, and the intense darkness of the night, made it impossible to secure all the avenues of retreat. General Rosecrans himself was up all night long, taking care of his position with jealous and anxious solicitude; but notwithstanding his watchfulness, his wily and cowardly foe slipped from his grasp.

Our troops expected to storm the position and take it by sunrise, but before that time it was discovered vacant. Floyd had slipped off after our troops were withdrawn. He began the evacuation as soon as he discovered that we did not intend to storm him, and by three o'clock the next morning he put the deep and turbulent Gauley, and some miles of rugged road, between himself and our disgusted army. The wily General sunk the flats and destroyed the trestle bridge by which he had secured his retreat, and we were left on this side, profanely cursing our luck.

Another victory, but not a triumph, had [54] been won by our arms; for surely it was a victory for our army to drive six regiments of rebels, with more powerful batteries than we had in the fight, from a most formidable natural position, strengthened by palisades and intrenchments. We know Floyd had six regiments, besides two companies of artillery and considerable cavalry. But only six of his guns were served — the remainder being reserved in position on his left, to protect him against a flank movement. I don't presume that the rebels believe it, but I know that we had not exceeding 4,000 men, all told, in action.

Our troops immediately took possession of Floyd's camp, in which he had left his own personal baggage, that of his officers, and their parade stores, the baggage and blankets of private soldiers, large numbers of muskets, squirrel guns, powder, lead, cartridges, forage, large quantities of commissary stores, and some horses and wagons.

He took nothing with him, in fact, excepting his guns, part of his tents, and rations sufficient to carry him out of our way. It is ascertained that he threw at least a portion of his cannon into the Gauley, and a detachment of troops are now fishing for it. It was apparent that he met with infinite difficulty in crossing the river, and he lost some of his men by drowning. We have ascertained that the trestle bridge which he crossed was only completed the morning before battle. It seems fair to infer, therefore, that he expected a drubbing. * * * The plunder of his camp, which is various, will be divided among the troops. Almost every officer in camp has been supplied with a rebel trunk. Colonel Smith has Floyd's trunk, his hat, and a pretty little haversack inscribed with the name of the famous J. B., &c.

We do not know how much the enemy suffered. It is presumed that they lost considerably. One of their runaway negroes says they had fifty killed and many wounded. One of our recaptured friends of Tyler's regiment says they carried wagon loads of dead and wounded across the Gauley. A regard for truth prompts me to say that we found no dead within their lines, which goes to display their cowardice more conspicuously.

The conduct of our gallant Buckeye troops — for they were exclusively from Ohio — is a theme of admiration. With the exception of a few who straggled from their commands after fling a few rounds, the lads displayed not only the most eager courage, but “staying” qualities which would have delighted veterans. The generals were delighted with them. The Irish, the Germans, and the native-born emulated each other in the combat. The gallant Irish of the Tenth, and their daring leader, the chivalrous Lytle, were probably the most conspicuous in the field because they had the front by right of seniority. But they nobly established their claim to the post of honor. Many instances of personal pluck are related of them, but I have not time to relate them now. The regiment lost eight killed and about forty wounded--but few of them severely. I cannot understand why they lost no more under the furious fire which they met from the commencement to the close of the fight.

The Thirteenth was equally distinguished for pluck, dashing spirit, and sturdy endurance. Their colonel, W. S. Smith, displayed qualities which stamp him an able soldier. No man was braver. Lieut.-Col. Mason had his forefinger shot off, but enveloped it in a handkerchief and remained on the field. Major Hawkins also proved himself a brave and efficient soldier. I have already described the operations of the noble Dutch brigade, and of the artillery. The officers of each regiment exhibited coolness and steadfastness under the most trying circumstances. Col. McCook and Lieut.-Col. Sandershoff, of the Ninth; Col. Moor and Lieut.-Col. Becker, of the Twenty-eighth ; Col. Porschner, of the Forty-seventh; Major R. B. Hayes, of the Twenty-third; Lieut.-Col. Korff and Major Burke, of the Tenth, and many company officers, distinguished themselves by their bravery and conduct. Nearly all the troops actually engaged are residents of Cincinnati. The blood of the Queen City may be relied upon. The “Bloody Tenth,” known as the Irish regiment, is composed of six companies of Irishmen, two of Germans, and two of Americans. The personal courage of Gen. Rosecrans and Gen. Benham was conspicuous throughout. Indeed, I think they unwisely exposed themselves. The troops knew they were game as eagles, and there was no necessity for risking their lives in the very front of battle, two hundred yards from a battery which constantly vomited iron upon them.

That you may more thoroughly comprehend the formidable character of the rebel position, I transmit a rough outline, kindly sketched for me by Gen. Benham. Lest you cannot publish a diagram, I will describe it as briefly as possible.

The defences consist of a parapet battery, three hundred and fifty feet in the front and centre, flanked by breastworks of logs laid in direct line with the front, and curving back until they terminated on the cliffs of Gauley. The exterior slopes are screened by slanting rails. The defences are on the westward crest of a horse-shoe mountain, which mounts up precipitously on the west side of Gauley River, in front of Carnifex Ferry. They embrace almost a square mile of territory. The rear is protected by gigantic cliffs, shooting up in perpendicular line three hundred and fifty feet above the river, and where there are no cliffs the surface of the mountain, except on two narrow lines which lead to the ferry, are so steep and rugged that an armed man could not scale them if opposed with a broom-stick. The mountain curves off on either flank to similar cliffs, and the defences were carried to them. On the left, the position is comparatively accessible, and double lines of breastworks were constructed--Col. Wharton occupying the extreme [55] left, with a regiment of infantry and a battery. The lines on the right flank were carried down until they pitch off the rocks several hundred feet down. A trench, of course, protected the battery epaulement. Gauley River, a wild, roaring, beautiful torrent, also covers the rear perfectly. The rapids are dangerous above and below, but at the ferry the stream is wide and very deep. The interior of the works where the rebels are encamped is concave, excepting on the wings — the depression in the centre of the mountain forming a perfect cover against missiles, excepting shells. In front the mountain pitched off into a deep jangled ravine. On the right and left, however, there were ridges outside of the lines which were cleared and protected by abatis. The dense thickets and heavy forests in front so completely masked the position that it could not be seen at all until we ran directly into its embrace.

We approached from the west. The ferry road ran down into the ravine through the jungle, and traversed the side of a hill, debouching into a small cross ravine, in line with the parapet, two hundred yards off; a blind by-road, describing an irregular parabola, flew off eccentrically from it, on the ridge from which we arrived down the road to the ferry, and joined it again in front, in full range of the rebel guns. About that point we first drew the rebel fire, where it was impossible for one to see the other. There is a corn-field just beyond, in the vicinity of which most of our casualties happened. Our entire approach was covered by the enemy's artillery, and accessible to their musket balls, though no aim could be taken, of course, through the dense foliage. But the rascals had practised at the bushes at the proper range, and by much firing in this manner they cut down many of our men before we could see any thing of them or even their works. It was an infernal position to assail without a perfect reconnoissance. Had we understood it beforehand, Mr. Floyd's army would have been non est.

I forgot to mention that we recaptured twenty-five wounded members of Col. Tyler's Seventh Ohio regiment at Cross Lanes, and took twelve prisoners, who were straggling about the mountain trying to cross the river.

The General desired to follow Floyd, but it was impossible to cross the river in time to do any good; besides, our men were too much exhausted. Since then the plunder has been collected and divided among the troops. Communication was opened immediately with Gauley Bridge, and we now have two lines of transportation open to the Ohio.

I do not know what will be done next, but it is reported that Lee attacked Gen. Reynolds at Cheat Mountain to-day.

We are encamped at the Cross Roads, two miles from the battle-field.

N. B.--McCook's brigade crossed Gauley River to-day to pursue Floyd. The road on the mountain was destroyed by the rebels, to prevent pursuit, to such an extent that it will be difficult to restore it in less than two days.

Lynchburg (Va.) “Republican” account.

Headquarters, near Dogwood Gap, Sept. 11, 1861.
On Monday last we received intelligence of the advance of the enemy in heavy force from the direction of Sutton, along the Summersville road. On Tuesday morning Colonel McCauslin's regiment, which had been down at Summersville as our advance, was driven in, and the enemy encamped fourteen miles distant from us. We expected him to drive in our pickets on Tuesday night and attack us on Wednesday morning; but, contrary to these expectations, he forced his march and drove in our pickets at two o'clock Tuesday. Our line of battle was at once formed behind our breastworks, and scarcely had all our forces been placed in position before the enemy was seen swarming in the woods from one end of our lines to the other. He approached with great deliberation and firmness, and his central column emerged from the woods and above the hills two hundred yards in front just fifteen minutes after three o'clock. He approached us from this point in double-quick time, evidently intending to force our works at the point of the bayonet. At the first crack of our rifles the gallant colonel, who led in front of his men on a splendid black charger, fell dead to the earth, while the head of his column recoiled in utter confusion. The colonel's horse, as if unconscious of the fall of his rider dashed up to our embankments and around them into our camp, and, from the inscriptions on the mountings of his pistols, proved to be Colonel Wm. H. Lytle's, of Cincinnati. I saw the daring officer fall from his horse, and he was certainly one of the bravest of the brave, for he sought “the bubble reputation” at the very cannon's mouth.

The enemy's columns now opened upon us along the whole of our centre and right, and for an hour the rattle of musketry and the thunder of our artillery were incessant and terrible.

The enemy was driven back and silenced for a moment, but came again to the fight, supported with five or six pieces of artillery, two of which were rifled cannon. For another hour and a half the battle raged with terrific fury, and again the enemy's guns were silenced and he driven from our view.

The sun was now fast sinking beyond the distant mountains, and we were strongly in hopes that the enemy had met his final repulse for the evening; but a few moments dispelled our illusion. For the third time the enemy came back to the conflict, with more violence and determination than before. He assailed us this time from one end of our lines to the other, and tried his best to flank us. For another hour and a half, and until the dark curtains [56] of night closed in upon us, the fight raged with intense fury.

At first the range both of their small-arms and artillery was very bad, shooting entirely over our heads. The range of the cannon was especially bad; for, while their balls cut off the tops and split open the giant oaks in our encampment, their shells, with few exceptions, burst high in the air, and full fifty yards in our rear. But when they came to the last charge they had gotten the range far better, and their balls began to plough up our embankments, while their shells broke directly over us in every direction and with terrible fury. The enemy seemed to be perfectly enraged at our obstinate resistance, and was determined to pour out the full vials of his wrath upon us.

The battle ceased at fifteen minutes past seven o'clock, having continued almost incessantly four long hours. Our men stood to their posts with astonishing coolness and courage. The only fault they committed during the battle was that of firing upon the enemy at too long a range and while too securely posted behind the dense forest trees which skirted our entire lines.

We did not lose a single man killed nor more than ten wounded. The enemy's loss could not be ascertained, but at one single spot, where Colonel Lytle fell, we counted thirty-seven dead bodies. The prisoners inform us that their loss was heavy, and from the fact that we silenced their guns three times, we are confident that this report is entirely true. The prisoners informed us that another colonel, whose name I do not remember, was badly, if not fatally, wounded, and his horse killed under him.

Our officers acted with great coolness and bravery. The battle had raged but twenty minutes when our gallant General was very painfully wounded in the right arm, the ball entering near the elbow and passing out near the wrist, without breaking any bone. We retired him a short distance under the hill, and had the wound dressed by Surgeon Gleaves, and in ten minutes he was again moving along our lines, encouraging his men by his presence and his voice. At a latter stage of the fight a Minie ball tore through the lapel of his coat and another through the cantel of his saddle. Indeed, it is the wonder of all of us how he escaped death. None but his staff and surgeon knew he was wounded until the close of the fight. He is now suffering much pain.

I do not know the names of all our wounded, but Jno. Stone and Thomas W. Martin, of Captain Henley's company, Amherst, were the most severely hurt. None other of this company was hurt, and only one in Captain Snead's company — Bryant.

At the close of the fight a council of war was held, and, upon our knowledge of the enemy's strength, together with the information we received from our prisoners, it was determined to retire all our forces to the south side of Gauley, and not hazard an attack the next morning.

We learn from the prisoners that the enemy was nine regiments strong, with six pieces of artillery, and that they would be reinforced by General Cox in the morning, with two more regiments and two pieces of artillery. They also informed us that General Rosecrans commanded in person.

Our force was only one thousand seven hundred men, and, while we had strong reason to believe that we could maintain our position even against such terrible odds, we did not think it prudent to hazard so much.

We had despatched General Wise in the morning for reinforcements, and he had declined to send them for fear of an attack upon him by General Cox. We had also sent couriers for the North Carolina and Georgia regiments to come up, but it was impossible for them to reach us in time to support us.

At ten o'clock last night, therefore, our forces proceeded to retire from the position they had so heroically defended during the day, and by light this morning they were all safely and in order across the river, with all their baggage, &c., except some few things which were lost from neglect and want of transportation.

I had the misfortune to lose my horse and all my baggage, except my bed, saddle, bridle, pistols, and sword. At eight o'clock last night I was despatched to General Wise for reinforcements, and my friend, Captain Peters, very kindly mounted me on a fresh horse of his own, while I left mine in the camp. When I returned this morning I found my horse and trunk had been left by the servants, who were frightened across the river in advance of everybody else. I am, consequently,without a horse and without clothes, except what I have on. Had I been present I should have lost nothing.

My young friends, Adjutant Peter Otey, Captain Wm. H. Cook, and Captain Samuel Henry, also had the misfortune to lose their baggage, tents, and beds — all from neglect of the servants. We are now pitching our tents at this place, on the main Charleston road, about fifteen miles from Gauley Bridge, and fifty-five miles west of Lewisburg. General Wise is encamped at Dogwood Gap, a few miles above us, while a portion of his force holds the Hawk's Nest, below us. It may not be prudent to say what our next move will be. Our men and officers, however, are in fine spirits, and feel that they, at least, have done their whole duty to themselves and their country. I think that the public and all military men will agree that both our fight and our fall back to the side of the river are among the most remarkable incidents in the history of war. Seventeen hundred men, with six inferior pieces of artillery, fought back four times their number, with much superior artillery, for more than four long hours, repulsed them three times, and remained masters of the ground. [57] They then retired their numbers, baggage, stores, and more than two hundred sick and wounded across the river, from ten P. M. to four A. M., along one of the steepest and worst single track roads that ever horse's hoof trod or man ever saw. Four o'clock found these men three miles from the enemy, with our newly-constructed bridge destroyed and our boats sunk behind us. I think these facts show a generalship seldom exhibited anywhere.

Rev. Mr. McMahon, one of our most pious and worthy chaplains, from Smythe County, was along with the general and his staff during the whole fight, and where the balls flew thickest. Dr. Leaves, of Wytheville, has the fine pistol of Colonel Lytle, and Captain Steptoe, of Bedford, his splendidly mounted saddle and bridle. The fine horse was shot through and died. By the way, Dr. Gleaves was in the fight, and exposed himself much in the discharge of his surgical duties. General Floyd's tent, from which floated our glorious flag, was completely riddled with the balls of the enemy. Our young adjutant, Peter Otey, finding one of his men wounded, gallantly picked him up, and walked off with him in full face of the enemy's fire. The Hessians approached within thirty yards of Colonel Wharton's regiment, but were soon repulsed.

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Cross Lanes (West Virginia, United States) (12)
Summersville (West Virginia, United States) (11)
Mount Nebo (West Virginia, United States) (11)
Gauley Bridge (West Virginia, United States) (5)
Lewisburg (West Virginia, United States) (3)
Birch River (West Virginia, United States) (3)
West Virginia (West Virginia, United States) (2)
Ohio (Ohio, United States) (2)
Nicholas County (West Virginia, United States) (2)
Cincinnati (Ohio, United States) (2)
Cheat Mountain (West Virginia, United States) (2)
Xenia (Ohio, United States) (1)
Wytheville (Virginia, United States) (1)
Virginia (Virginia, United States) (1)
United States (United States) (1)
Switzerland (Switzerland) (1)
Smyth (Virginia, United States) (1)
Scott (Virginia, United States) (1)
Scary (West Virginia, United States) (1)
Rebel Hill (Tennessee, United States) (1)
Parkersburg (West Virginia, United States) (1)
North Carolina (North Carolina, United States) (1)
Lynchburg (Virginia, United States) (1)
Little Birch River (West Virginia, United States) (1)
Lewisburg (Tennessee, United States) (1)
Horseshoe Mountain (Arkansas, United States) (1)
Headquarters (Washington, United States) (1)
Guyandotte (West Virginia, United States) (1)
Georgia (Georgia, United States) (1)
Dutch (West Virginia, United States) (1)
Clarksburg (West Virginia, United States) (1)
Chicago (Illinois, United States) (1)
Charleston (South Carolina, United States) (1)
Bull Town (Arkansas, United States) (1)
Bedford, Mass. (Massachusetts, United States) (1)

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