Doc. 59 1/2. skirmish near Chapmansville, Va., September 25, 1861.The correspondent of the Cincinnati Gazette gives the following account of this skirmish:
camp Enyart, October 1, 1861.The necessities for aid in Western Virginia led the Government to order the Thirty-fourth regiment into the field before the brigade of Zouaves was completed. This to the officers was a great disappointment, as the drill is peculiar, rendering their cooperation a very important element of their efficiency and success. Yet, like true soldiers,  they responded to the call with the regiment completed, and marched for Western Virginia with a notice of six hours, and reached Camp Enyart Thursday the 19th of September. The officers, believing that the best drill they could give the Zouaves would be to let them go through their peculiar tactics with a rebel army for interested spectators, and learning that the enemy was in force about fifty miles from their camp, took up their line of march early Monday morning, having been in camp but three days. Col. Piatt had under his command, of the Thirty-fourth regiment, about five hundred and fifty men, while Lieut.-Col. Enyart had three hundred of the First Kentucky, and two hundred Home Guards of Virginia. The forces moved together until they reached Peytona, on the Cole River, where they separated, Col. Enyart going up the Cole River. Col. Enyart did not meet the enemy in force at any place, but his men did meet and ford swollen rivers, and marched on short rations, and were anxious to meet with the running enemy of old Virginia. Col. Enyart did not join Col. Piatt until they met on the Kanawha, on their return. Col. Piatt's command immediately proceeded thence to Boone Court House, and encamped that night one mile beyond. The next day, after proceeding some sixteen miles, they came up with the advance guard of the enemy, consisting of cavalry, when a brisk fire was exchanged, the cavalry retreating. After the retreat of cavalry the battalion was immediately put in order of battle. The advance guard of fifteen men was led forward by Adjt. Clarke, proceeding along the road. Scouts were sent out on either side of the road to meet and repulse the sharpshooters of the enemy. The force proceeded in this order for about two miles, meeting the pickets of the enemy, exchanging shots with them incessantly, and driving them back with increased confusion at each charge. Being unable to ascertain the position of the rebels, the entire force halted for a few moments, and Colonel Piatt rode in advance and took observations with his glass, but could not ascertain their force and position, as it was covered with a thick growth of underbrush. After these observations a command was issued to forward the column. The scouts moved on with rapidity and enthusiasm, the main body moving up the narrow road cautiously and firmly. The fire continued to increase, and shots were rapidly exchanged from the right and left with the enemy, until our advanced guard reached within sixty yards of their main force. The column was some eighty yards from the enemy when they received a perfect volley of fire upon their right, indicating that the rebels were in force in that direction. Company A, commanded by Capt. Rathbone, was ordered to deploy as skirmishers to the right, up the side of the mountain, and if possible to flank the enemy on their left. Company C, commanded by Capt. Miller, was ordered to the right, up a similar mountain, to flank the enemy on their left. Company I, commanded by Capt. Anderson, was ordered directly up the ravine, on the left. In this position he drew the concentrated fire of the rebels upon his company, who made use of the knowledge thus obtained by rapidly charging upon and destroying the enemy's breastworks. The centre moved directly up the road. With this disposition of the forces, Col. Piatt routed them from their strongly fortified and well-selected position, in confusion. Capt. Anderson was the first to mount their breastworks, his men following him in the face of a terrible fire without flinching or confusion. As Capt. Anderson scaled the breastwork, Capt. Miller closed upon the left and Capt. Rathbone came in upon the right, his men crying “Zouave!” --the main column moving up the road in double-quick — until they were brought to a temporary halt by obstructions placed in the road by the enemy. The rebels, terrified by the strange bravery and almost wild enthusiasm that were exhibited by each advancing column, ran in confusion, leaving their dead, wounded, clothing, guns, horses, &c., making their escape by Capt. Rathbone's right, his company being too far up the mountain to cut off their retreat. Capt. West, commanding Company F, was detailed to scour the mountain on the west, on the left of the road. Capt. O. P. Evans on the west side of the mountain, on the right side of the road. Capt. Herman Evans, commanding Company H, on the east side of the mountain, on the left of the road. Each of these companies moved with despatch, yet such was the knowledge of the rebels of the by-paths in the mountains, and belonging to the “F. F. V.'s” , and having been drilled at running all summer, that but two were captured. Among interesting objects captured was a genuine secession flag, captured by Lieut. Brown. The perception of Col. Piatt in planning the battle, and his coolness during its execution, show him to be worthy of the high and responsible position to which he has been called. Lieut.-Col. Toland, from the part he executed during the entire engagement, demonstrated fully that he has courage to fight and ability to command. During the engagement the peculiar whistling of Minie balls was heard at that part of the column where Cols. Piatt and Toland were commanding. There were found two Mississippi rifles, which were aimed at our worthy commanders; but our colonels were protected, while Col. Davis of North Carolina fell, engaged in sustaining an unholy rebellion. The enemy's loss was thirty killed and fifty wounded. We regret to know that four of our men were killed and eight wounded. The killed are as follows: George Robinson, Company A; home Amelia, Clermont County, Ohio, Joseph Harvey, Company H; Cincinnati, O., Jeremiah Hullinger,  Allen County, O., and Jefferson Black, Cir-cleville, Auglaize County, Ohio; both of Company I. Seriously wounded: John Essex, Isaac Z. Bryant, Henry A. Massey. Slightly: Second Lieut. R. B. Underwood, B. A. Harper, J. G. Young, Jacob Genagi, Henry W. Price, and G. R. Wait. We hope every report from the Thirty-fourth Ohio, Piatt Zouaves, may be better, until rebellion shall be crushed and peace and harmony restored.Cole.
The fight of the Piatt Zouaves.The following letter is exclusively devoted to the fight which the Piatt Zouaves had with the rebels near Chapmansville, Va.
--Cincinnati Commercial, Oct. 8, 1861.camp Enyart, Kanawha, Oct. 2.Eds. Com.: The Zouave Thirty-fourth regiment, Ohio, have had a chance to show their metal. This was on Wednesday, on Kanawha Gap, near Chapmansville, Va. After marching forty-two miles, they came upon the enemy, who were behind breastworks, but could not stand our boys' steady fire, for they retreated in utter consternation, their Col. J. W. Davis, of Greenbrier, Va., (but the traitor is a native of Portsmouth, Ohio,) being mortally wounded. We killed twenty, took three prisoners, a secesh flag twenty feet long, with Fiftren Stars, four horses, one wagon, ten rifles, (one of which I claim,) twelve muskets, and commissary stores, (very low.) We lost three killed, nine wounded; one since died. The rout of the enemy was complete, although they had a brave and a skilful commander, and strong position, with two days information of our intentions. They fled the moment their commander fell. The fight lasted about ten minutes opposite the breastworks, but a running fire was kept up previous to that, by the Bushwhackers and rebel cavalry for two hours. At every turn of the road over the mountains, they would fire upon our advance men, wheel round, and gallop away. This kind of fight was kept up till we came suddenly upon their breastwork, immediately in line of our entire column. It was made on the side of a knoll, between two mountain sides, the road running between the mountain and knoll on our right, and a small ravine running between the knoll and the mountain on our left. The wily rebel commander had adroitly cut down the brush on the right, placing a force of one hundred men on the mountain top on our right, who raked our column from the front to the centre. This was to draw our attention from their breastworks. Our men naturally fired upon the rebels on their right, steadily advancing up the road, until within twenty feet of the enemy's works, when the rebels suddenly opened fire from their right, left, and centre. The order from Col. Piatt and Lieut.-Col. Toland, to flank right and left, was immediately responded to by the Zouaves with a hurrah, a Zouave yell, and a cry of “wood up” from Little Red; a dash by our boys upon the enemy's right, left, and centre; a fire from the enemy's breastworks, above which about three hundred rebel heads suddenly appeared, unknown by our men till that moment. They sent a perfect storm of bullets, over, under, and into our men. A few minutes more and our boys were inside the breastworks, chasing them over the mountains, the enemy running away like cowards as they proved to be. They left twenty-nine dead behind. Their force was four hundred and fifty infantry, and fifty cavalry. Our force was five hundred and sixty, composed of Co. A, Capt. Rathbone; Co. B, Capt. O. P. Evans; Co. C, Capt. Miller; Co. F, Capt. S. West; Co. I, Capt. Anderson; Co. H, Capt. H. E. Evans. We buried our three brave dead comrades that night, carried our wounded to the house wherein the rebel colonel lay mortally wounded, deserted by all his men but one. Our whole column finally marched into the little town of Chapmansville, formerly Headquarters of the enemy, and camped for the night. In my next I may describe our homeward march — or, I should perhaps say homeward swim, for we were in the water two days and two nights, and only half a cracker to each man was given out by our commissary. Yours, in truth,Albany P.