The Confederate troops left by Garnett
in western Virginia
in the summer of 1861 were placed in charge of Gen. Robert E. Lee
At the beginning of August he was at the head of 16,000 fighting men. John B. Floyd
, the late Secretary of War
, was placed in command of the Confederates
in the region of the Gauley River
From him much was expected, for he promised much.
He was to drive General Cox
out of the Kanawha Valley
, while Lee
should disperse the army of 10,000 men under Rosecrans
, on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and so open a way for an invading force of Confederates into Maryland
, and Ohio
Early in September Rosecrans
marched southward in search of Floyd
He scaled the Gauley Mountains
, and on the 10th found Floyd
at Carnifex Ferry
, on the Gauley River
, 8 miles from Summersville
, the capital of Nicholas county, Va.
Already a detachment of Floyd
's men had surprised and dispersed (Aug. 26, 1861.) some Nationals, under Col. E. B. Taylor
, not far from Summersville
At the summit of Gauley Mountain Rosecrans
's scouts and drove them before him; and on Sept. 10, Floyd
's camp having been reconnoitred by General Benham
fell upon him with his whole force (chiefly Ohio
troops), and for three hours a desperate battle raged.
It ceased only when the darkness of night came on. Rosecrans
intended to renew it in the morning, and his troops lay on their arms that night.
Under cover of darkness, Floyd
stole away, and did not halt in his flight until he reached Big Sewell Mountain
, near New River
, 30 miles distant. The battle at Carnifex Ferry
was regarded as a substantial victory for the Nationals.
The latter lost fifteen killed and seventy wounded; the Confederates
lost one killed and ten wounded.