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Chapter 5:

  • Battle of McDowell
  • -- the Princeton campaign -- Loring's advance down the Kanawha valley -- battle of Fayetteville -- occupation of Charleston -- Jenkins Enters Ohio -- Echols in command -- Imboden's operations.

As the season approached for opening military operations again, after the winter of 1861-62, General Rosecrans was sent to the West, and the general command of the Federals in West Virginia, now called the Mountain department, was given to Gen. John C. Fremont, with headquarters at Wheeling. On the Confederate side there was considerable activity in March on the border. General Johnson had reoccupied Huntersville, and at Camp Alleghany and other posts had a force of about 3,000 men present. Among his soldiers were the Thirty-first, Fifty-second, Twenty-fifth, Fifty-eighth and Forty-fourth Virginia regiments and the Churchville cavalry. Brig.-Gen. Henry Heth, who in a subordinate capacity had gained distinction in the campaigns of the previous year, had his headquarters at Lewisburg, with 1,400 men and four guns, including the Twenty-second and Forty-fifth infantry and the Eighth cavalry, and had called out the militia of Mercer, Greenbrier and Monroe counties.

But the military events in western Virginia were for some time to be subordinate to the great campaigns of the year, the plans of which were speedily developed. As it became evident that McClellan would menace Richmond from the peninsula, Johnston's army withdrew from Manassas about the middle of March, and Jackson fell back from Winchester to Mount Jackson. General [57] Banks, with 12,600 men in the field, including Shields' division, and 10,500 on post duty, occupied Winchester and Strasburg. Ashby soon reported the evacuation of Strasburg, and Jackson, fearing that Banks would leave the territory, promptly attacked him at Kernstown, where he was repulsed by superior numbers. Retreating to Swift Run gap, he was reinforced by Ewell's division, while Banks pushed up the Shenandoah valley to Harrisonburg. Meanwhile Gen. Edward Johnson's army of the Northwest had withdrawn from Alleghany mountain to Valley Mills, Augusta county, and Milroy advanced to Monterey and thence to McDowell, where he was reinforced by Schenck. The army of the Northwest, backed by Jackson, occupied Bull Pasture mountain and repulsed two assaults by Milroy, who then retreated to Franklin, Pendleton county, while Jackson moved northward to assail Banks.

This battle of McDowell is of special interest to West Virginia soldiers. General Johnson, commander of the army of the Northwest, had command of the troops engaged in the fight, until he fell wounded, when his place was taken by General Taliaferro. Johnson's army had previously been divided into two brigades, under the command of Colonels Porterfield and Baldwin, the First embracing the Twelfth Georgia, Twenty-fifth and Thirty-first Virginia regiments, Hansbrough's battalion and the Star battery; the Second including the Forty-fourth, Fifty-second and Fifty-eighth Virginia regiments and Miller's and Lee's batteries. These seven regiments were the ones which first occupied Setlington's hill, bringing on the Federal attacks, and there they bore with great gallantry the heat of the battle. When it became desirable, the Georgia regiment at the center was reinforced by the Twenty-third and Thirty-seventh regiments, formerly of Loring's command, while the Tenth Virginia went to assist the Fifty-second, which, after repulsing the enemy from its front, was about to make a return blow [58] on the flank. Almost the entire loss was suffered by the regiments named, mainly by Johnson's army, which lost 388 of the total 498. The gallantry of these regiments was particularly commended by Jackson, and it is but justice to say that here the army of the Northwest, so long condemned to suffer the hardships and none of the distinction of war, won at last a permanent title to fame by gaining for Jackson his first victory in the campaign which established his place as one of the world's greatest generals. At the previous battle of Kernstown, the other division of the old army, Burk's brigade (the Twenty-first, Forty-second and First battalion), and Fulkerson's brigade (the Twenty-third and Thirty-seventh), had also fought with great distinction.

Thus in a blaze of glory the old Army of the Northwest passes from history. During the remainder of the Valley campaign its regiments were incorporated in the divisions of Jackson and Ewell, and the cavalrymen shared the adventures of Ashby. The story of that campaign is elsewhere told, and we return to the consideration of events beyond the Alleghanies.

General Loring had been assigned to the department of Southwest Virginia, and General Heth had gathered near Lewisburg a little force of good fighters called the ‘Army of New River.’ His First brigade, under Col. Walter H. Jenifer, included the Forty-fifth Virginia infantry, Lieutenant-Colonel Peters, the Eighth cavalry (Jenifer's) and Otey's battery, while Col. John McCausland, returned from the Fort Donelson campaign, commanded the Second brigade, including his own Thirty-sixth regiment and Col. George S. Patton's Twenty-second.

Early in May, Scammon's brigade of Cox's army was moving toward Princeton, threatening the Virginia & Tennessee railroad. The advance guard of Col. R. B. Hayes' regiment, the Twenty-third Ohio, upon reaching Camp Creek, Mercer county, was attacked and severely [59] handled. All the rolling stock of the railroad had been withdrawn west of Staunton, and General Heth, still at White Sulphur Springs, near Lewisburg, was ordered by General Lee to defend the approaches to Dublin Depot, and Gen. Humphrey Marshall, of Kentucky, commanding the district of Abingdon, moved with about 2,000 Virginians and Kentuckians toward Princeton. The latter point was now occupied by Cox, who also held the Narrows of New river, and the town of Pearisburg or Giles Court House. On the 10th, Jenifer and McCausland drove the Federals out of Pearisburg by a gallant charge, with a stout ‘rebel yell,’ and continued to drive them from hill to hill until they made their last stand in the Narrows, from which a well-directed artillery fire dislodged them, leaving the approaches to the railroad in this direction in the hands of General Heth. In this fight Colonel Patton (wounded), Lieutenant-Colonels Peters and Fitzhugh, and Captains Otey, Chapman and Lowry, of the artillery, won especial distinction.

Calling to his aid Colonel Wharton, who was at Rocky Gap with some of the old Floyd brigade, not with Heth, Marshall attacked General Cox at Princeton on the evening of the 6th with such vigor that the Federals retreated in haste, abandoning General Cox's headquarters. From the Federal correspondence Marshall discovered that he was near a superior force of the enemy, and he withdrew from the Federal camp and the ruins of the town, occupying a stronger position, where Wharton soon joined him. Throughout the day there were spiteful skirmishing and artillery combat, and Wharton, attacked in flank, repulsed a Federal regiment with heavy loss. Marshall maintained his position and Cox retreated, frightened by a demonstration toward his rear by Heth, to Flat Top mountain, which bounds on the west the valley of the Blue Stone, in which Princeton lies. Marshall then withdrew. The proposed Federal invasion had been defeated with little loss in his command, 4 dead and 12 wounded. Cox reported [60] a total loss of 113 killed, wounded and missing, while Marshall stated that he left 71 Federals badly wounded at Princeton, and took 29 prisoners.

Heth then marched against Lewisburg, which was held by Col. George Crook with about 1,500 men. With a superior force, including the Forty-fifth and Twentysec-ond regiments and Cook's battalion, Heth attempted a surprise, and succeeded well at the start, but as he reported, ‘one of those causeless panics for which there is no accounting seized upon my command.’ Lieutenant-Colonel Finney, Major Edgar and other officers, while gallantly attempting to restore order, were captured, and 93 prisoners, 66 wounded, 38 dead, four pieces of artillery, and about 300 stand of arms fell into the hands of the enemy. Heth retired beyond Union, to the Narrows.

During June, July and August, 1862, while splendid victories were being won in eastern Virginia, driving the Federals without the State, the enemy remained in unchallenged possession of the West. A few raids and skirmishes alone disturbed the quiet. Some mention of these gleaned from the Federal reports will serve a useful purpose, notwithstanding the tone of enmity which pervades them, in showing the hardships of citizens who maintained allegiance to the Old Dominion, either passively or actively by forming organizations for protecting their property, and watching or annoying the enemy. At Shaver's river in May, a band of Confederate partisans was surprised and several wounded; near Palestine, early in June, a squad of men of the Greenbrier cavalry and White's cavalry was attacked, and Lieutenant Hanover killed, and two others, whose bodies floated down Muddy creek. A scout from Flat Top mountain into Wyoming county reported: ‘Took Squire Clendennen, a noted rebel, prisoner, and fired on his son, who escaped to the mountains.’ A surprising affair at Summersville, or Nicholas Court House, July 25th, showed the activity [61] on the other hand of the loyal Virginians. Lieutenant Miller, of the Ninth Virginia (U. S. A.), reported that he was awakened by a shot, and saw the street full of ‘rebel cavalry, dressed in gray uniforms, yelling at the top of their voices.’ He went out of the back window and into the woods, and found on his subsequent return that all his comrades had been ‘gobbled’ except those who were as lucky as himself. In Wyoming county, near where Floyd was stationed, in Tazewell, a daring cavalry raid was made by Captains Straton and Witcher, joining the companies of Chambers and Beckley at Horse Pen, and several skirmishes were fought, in which brave men fell, Straton and Witcher both being reported dangerously wounded.

Early in August, General Cox was still at Flat Top mountain and Brook at Meadow Bluff, on opposite sides of the junction of the New and Greenbrier, before which lay Colonel Hayes near Pack's ferry, maintaining the communications of the two commands. Before him, about the Narrows, was General Loring with the Confederate forces. On August 6th, Col. G. C. Wharton with 900 men moved from Peterstown and made a demonstration against the outpost at the ferry, driving the enemy from their camp with considerable loss and destroying two flatboats.

A week or two later General Cox was ordered to retire from the Kanawha with most of his troops, which were sent to Washington and thence to reinforce Pope on the Rappahannock, and Col. J. A. J. Lightburn, of the Fourth Virginia (U. S. A.), was left in command of the Kanawha, with headquarters at Gauley. The Federal force in the vicinity of Franklin and Moorefield had been previously withdrawn, and as soon as Lee was informed of Cox's orders by the capture of Pope's headquarters and letter-book at Catlett's Station, he requested that Loring be ordered ‘to clear the valley of the Kanawha and then operate northwardly, so as to join me in the valley of Virginia.’ [62]

During the summer J. D. Imboden, subsequently colonel and brigadier-general in the Confederate service, had been organizing a cavalry battalion in Highland county, enlisting refugees from Braxton, Lewis and Webster counties and other regions, a large majority of his men having ‘but recently escaped from Pierpont's dominion, brimful of fight.’ In a private letter written about this time, he gave a graphic picture of the situation in the mountain region. He said:

No Oriental despot ever exercised such mortal terror by his iron rule of his subjects as is now felt by three-fourths of the true men and women of the northwest. Grown — up men came to me stealthily through the woods to talk to me in a whisper of their wrongs. They would freely have given me grain and meat, but dared not do so. They begged me in some instances to take it apparently by force, so that they might not be charged with feeding us voluntarily. Men offered to sell me cattle or horses secretly, if I would send armed men to seize and carry off the property. Their pious Union neighbors, they said, would watch and report their every act as soon as my back was turned, and the Yankees would strip them of all they possessed.

In conformity with orders, General Loring on August 22d sent out Brig.-Gen. A. G. Jenkins, with his cavalry, about 550 in all, to sweep around the northwest by the Cheat valley, destroy the Baltimore & Ohio railroad, and fall upon the rear of the enemy in the Kanawha valley, while the infantry under Loring in person advanced toward Gauley.

In the meantime Imboden, with about 300 men, had made an expedition, attended by several skirmishes, to St. George, and thence returned to Cheat mountain. Jenkins, who expected to surprise Beverly, found it reinforced by General Kelley, and though joined by Imboden he was not strong enough to attack. Consequently Imboden remained and amused the Beverly garrison, while Jenkins rode on, crossing Rich mountain by a trail through the unbroken wilderness. So arduous was this [63] march that some of his men and horses broke down and were left behind. Finally emerging from the wilderness he suddenly entered the fertile valley of the Buckhannon, and after the first consternation due to his appearance had passed, was assailed continually on his march by the home guards of that region. In one of the skirmishes Capt. J. M. Ferguson was painfully wounded. Approaching Buckhannon, by a skillful disposition of his cavalry and a gallant attack of three parties under Colonel Corns, Captain Spotts and Captain Preston, the enemy was defeated, with a loss of 15 wounded and 20 prisoners, including the commanding officer, Captain Marsh. Lieut.-Col. A. F. Cook, Eighth Virginia, and three others of Jenkins' men were wounded.

Jenkins now cast aside his shotguns, armed his men with handsome new rifles, and otherwise supplied himself, and then destroyed the remainder of the vast stores, including 5,000 stand of arms, ordnance stores, clothing, etc. At Weston next morning, August 31st, the Federal garrison escaped in the fog, leaving but a dozen prisoners, and Jenkins destroyed all the public property, after which he drove the garrison out of Glenville, and reaching Spencer, September 2d, surprised and captured Col. J. C. Rathbone and Maj. George C. Trimble and their entire command, six companies of the Eleventh West Virginia infantry. Having paroled the prisoners, Jenkins went on to Ripley, finding a lone paymaster, whose funds on hand, $5,525, were applied to the Confederate cause, and then moved to Ravenswood, where, after resting his men, he forded the Ohio river on the evening of September 4th, and was the first to carry the Confederate flag into Ohio. ‘The excitement of the command as we approached the Ohio shore was intense,’ he wrote, ‘and in the anxiety to be the first of their respective companies to reach the soil of those who had invaded us, all order was lost, and it became almost a universal race as we came into shoal water. In a short time all were over, [64] and in a few minutes the command was formed on the crest of a gentle eminence and the banners of the Southern Confederacy floated over the soil of invaders. As our flag was unfurled in the splendors of an evening sun, cheers upon cheers arose from the men, and their enthusiasm was excited to the highest pitch.’

General Jenkins made a considerable march in Ohio, and surprised the inhabitants, who begged in abject terror that their homes might be spared from the torch, by committing no depredations, assuring the people that though many of his soldiers were homeless and their families in exile because of such warfare in Virginia, he did not represent barbarians, but a civilized people struggling for their liberties. On more than one occasion, also, he was gratified by the friendly waving of handkerchiefs, and ‘shouts for Jeff Davis and the Southern Confederacy.’ Recrossing the Ohio at Racine, he made a demonstration against Point Pleasant, proceeded to Buffalo, crossed the Kanawha, advanced to Barboursville, and thence returned down the Guyandotte valley to Wyoming.

Lightburn's command in the valley consisted of two Ohio regiments at Raleigh Court House, two companies of West Virginia cavalry at Camp Ewing, 10 miles in advance of Gauley bridge, four West Virginia companies at Summersville, and the remainder of the Ninth and Fourth infantry and Second cavalry, West Virginia Federal troops, at different points from Gauley to Charleston. He soon began concentrating upon hearing of Jenkins' movements, and the force at Raleigh fell back to Fayette. Loring advanced with a little army of about 5,000 men, organized as follows:

Army of Western Virginia.

Maj.-Gen. W. W. Loring commanding. Maj. H. Fitzhugh, chief of staff; Col. C. E. Thorburn, chief of ordnance; Capt. R. L. Poor, chief engineer; Surg. John A. Hunter, medical director. [65]

First brigade, Brig.-Gen. John Echols: Fiftieth Virginia infantry, Col. Thomas Poage, Colonel Rodgers; Sixty-third, Col. J. J. McMahon; Twenty-third battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel Derrick.

Second brigade, Brig.-Gen. John S. Williams: Forty-fifth Virginia infantry, Col. William H. Browne; Twenty-sixth battalion (Edgar's), Maj. A. M. Davis; Twenty-second regiment, Col. George S. Patton.

Third brigade, Col. George C. Wharton: Fifty-first Virginia infantry, Lieut.-Col. A. Forsberg; Thirtieth battalion sharpshooters, Lieut.-Col. Melvin Clarke.

Fourth brigade, Col. John McCausland: Thirty-sixth Virginia infantry, Sixtieth (?) Virginia infantry.

Artillery, Maj. J. Floyd King, chief of artillery: Otey's, Stamps', Bryan's, Lowry's and Chapman's batteries.

Cavalry, Gen. A. G. Jenkins: Eighth Virginia regiment and other companies. Major Salyers commanding cavalry with Loring's advance.

General Loring approached Fayetteville on the 10th of September, and after driving the enemy in his works, which were of great strength, prepared for an attack. Williams made the assault in front, while Wharton, reinforced by Colonel Patton, made a demonstration against the turnpike to Montgomery Ferry. Williams' brigade drove the enemy from hill to hill by sharp fighting, after which ‘the artillery dashed in magnificent style over the ridge, down the slope and up to the top of the next hill, where they unlimbered within 300 yards of the enemy's fort, and opened a terrible cannonade upon it.’ Browne with the Forty-fifth and McCausland with the Thirty-sixth drove the enemy from their front in gallant style. In the meantime, Wharton was making a determined attack, under great difficulty, against another fort which he encountered in his flank movement, and still another fort beyond, in a commanding position, frowned upon the gallant Confederates. Night coming on, they slept upon their arms, within stone's throw of the enemy. Shrouded by darkness the Federals evacuated their works, attempted to fire the town, and made a precipitate retreat toward [66] Gauley. At Cotton hill, next morning, reinforced from Gauley, they made a desperate stand against the pursuing Confederates, pouring grape and canister into the advance, but were finally driven, and the entire brigade, headed by Browne and McCausland, went down the hill with a shout, giving the enemy time to transfer but a small part of his force by ferry to the north bank. Those who got across fired the ferryboat, under the protection of their guns, and the magazines and commissary stores were seen to be in process of destruction. Dr. Watkins of the Thirty-sixth, Lieutenant Samuels of Williams' staff, W. H. Harman and Allen Thompson of the Forty-fifth, and some others, boldly sprang into the river, and swam across in a shower of grape and canister, seized the ferryboat, and brought it back to the south shore, extinguishing the fire with their hats as water buckets as they came. Echols' brigade, McCausland and Patton, crossed the Kanawha, seized the Federal camp without resistance, and pursued the retreating enemy across the Gauley toward Charleston on the north bank, while Williams and Wharton followed them up rapidly on the south side, with a skirmish at Montgomery's Ferry. On the following morning the enemy crossed at Camp Piatt. The artillery was active in the pursuit, keeping up a fire upon the enemy at their rear, as well as across the river from Williams' column.

As Charleston was approached, the Federals, who under the circumstances had displayed much gallantry, the fighting qualities of West Virginians being proved on both sides, made a sally across the river to check Williams, but unsuccessfully, and the enemy soon withdrew, mainly to a fortified eminence across the Elk river, while a portion of the command contested the advance of McCausland, then in command of Echols' brigade, and fired the buildings used for military storehouses. There was a hill on the south shore, commanding the Federal intrenchments and artillery beyond the Elk, from which sharpshooters [67] attempted to keep back the victorious Confederates, but Otey, Bryan and Stamps brought up their guns at a gallop and soon made the Federal infantry abandon their last position. McCausland, with Derrick's battalion as skirmishers, McMahon, Rodgers and Patton in line, and his own regiment in reserve, Lowry's battery and a section of Otey's, advanced with some brisk skirmishing into Charleston, and on reaching the Elk found the suspension bridge cut down. The artillery opened a warm fire upon the enemy opposite, while McCausland moved to a ford further up the Elk, where he was able, however, to cross his cavalry only. By night he was ready to move his infantry over in boats, but on the following morning it was found that the enemy was in full retreat, and it was not thought advisable to pursue further. Jenkins, meanwhile, had moved down the Coal river and struck the enemy on the flank, compelling him to abandon his proposed march down the Gauley, and take the road for Ravenswood, whence he reached Point Pleasant on the 16th.

In this brilliant campaign, involving a mountain march of 169 miles, the Confederates lost 8 killed and 89 wounded. Lightburn reported a loss of 25 killed, 95 wounded and 190 missing. He was compelled to abandon all the immense stores, worth by Loring's estimate about $1,000,000, and did not have time to destroy the important Kanawha salt works.

The Kanawha valley was now in the hands of the Confederate forces, and General Loring at once issued a congratulatory address to his command, and a proclamation to the people of western Virginia, opening with these well-chosen words:

The army of the Confederate States has come among you to expel the enemy, to rescue the people from the despotism of the counterfeit State government imposed on you by Northern bayonets, and to restore the country once more to its natural allegiance to the State. We fight for peace and the possession of our own territory. We do not intend to punish those who remain at home as [68] quiet citizens in obedience to the laws of the land, and to all such, clemency and amnesty are declared; but those who persist in adhering to the cause of the public enemy and the pretended State government he has erected at Wheeling, will be dealt with as their obstinate treachery deserves.

He appealed to all able-bodied citizens to join the army to ‘defend the sanctities of religion and virtue, home territory, honor and law,’ and declared that the oaths imposed by the invaders were void, being ‘immoral attempts to restrain you from your duty to your State and government.’

Loring had considerable success at first in securing recruits and collecting conscripts, but these accessions were checked by rumors of another Federal invasion, and complaints began to go into Richmond of his course in gathering men, also regarding the methods of General Floyd, commanding the State line in Logan and Boone counties. Reconnoissances were made toward Point Pleasant, in one of which General Jenkins had a skirmish near Buffalo, September 27th. Loring at this time had about 4,000 men at Charleston and garrisons at Gauley and Fayette. On September 30th the secretary of war ordered him to proceed soon, leaving a detachment to co-operate with General Floyd in holding the Kanawha valley, toward Winchester, to make a speedy junction with General Lee, destroy the Federal depots at Clarksburg and Grafton, make impressments from the Union men en route, paying in Confederate money, and capture and send to Richmond such prominent Union men as should come within reach. ‘Assure the people that the government has no animosities to. gratify, but that persistent traitors will be punished, and under no conceivable circumstances will a division of the State be acquiesced in.’

Loring replied, October 7th, that his most practicable movement was by way of Lewisburg to Monterey, which he had begun that day, and that he had sent out expeditions [69] against the railroad at Parkersburg and Clarksburg, while General Jenkins would be sent against Cheat river bridge. Loring announced to his troops, October 11th, that they would be withdrawn to another field, but soon becoming aware of the increasing strength of the enemy in his department, he advised the government that he could not do more than possibly hold the valley. His infantry, meanwhile, had retired to the verge of western Virginia He was relieved from command October 15th, and Gen. John Echols, appointed his successor, was ordered to reoccupy the valley, where only Jenkins' cavalry had remained. The army started back toward Charleston on the 17th, though very poorly supplied.

But overwhelming forces were being massed against Echols. Gen. J. D. Cox had been returned to the department of Western Virginia from corps command under McClellan, with his old division, which, with Milroy's brigade, was sent to Clarksburg, while Lightburn was reinforced at Point Pleasant by Morgan's division from Ohio, and a brigade under Colonel Cranor was sent into the Guyandotte country against Floyd. The Confederate artillery checked Lightburn's advance up the Kanawha at Poca on the 23d, and later a stand was made at Tyler mountain and Two-mile creek, but perceiving that the enemy was advancing in force on both sides of the Kanawha, while a division under Crook was threatening his flank by Nicholas Court House, Echols fell back in good order by way of Gauley and Fayetteville toward Raleigh, General Jenkins protecting the rear, obstructing the roads and destroying the river transportation behind him. Crook was in the vicinity of Gauley by November 1st, and the country to the north was in the hands of the Federals as far as Beverly. It was feared that Crook would advance against the Virginia & Tennessee railroad, but according to the reports of Cox and Echols alike, the most effective protection against such a movement was the absolute destitution of the country. Even the inhabitants [70] would find it difficult to survive the winter in this devastated region, and few dwelling-houses were left standing from the Narrows to the Gauley along the main lines of travel. For lack of subsistence, Echols withdrew to the Princeton and Lewisburg line, and Jenkins was ordered into Greenbrier and Pocahontas counties. This was the situation as winter came on in 1862, practically the same as in the previous year at that season.

In the Northeast there had been active operations fol-. lowing the battle of Sharpsburg and Lee's occupation of the lower Shenandoah valley. A few days before Stuart set out on his famous Chambersburg raid around Mc-Clellan's army, Col. J. D. Imboden had made an attempt to destroy the Cheat river bridge, but was prevented by the daring of a Union woman, who rode 25 miles through the woods to warn the enemy. He next made a raid to Romney, seized the town and scouted toward the railroad, drawing a party of the enemy into ambush. He reported, ‘We unhorsed fifteen of the rascals, wounding several; captured two unhurt,’ and horses and arms. He had now about 900 men, but only 600 armed, and with this little force kept Kelley with 2,500 men running up and down the railroad. Imboden did much to restore order in Hardy county, and reported that the mountains were full of willing recruits for the Confederate cause. He also gathered cattle and other supplies under the orders of General Lee.

In November Imboden made an expedition which, in connection with reports that Stonewall Jackson with 40,000 men had returned to the Shenandoah valley, created consternation in the North and caused the recall of many Federal regiments from the Kanawha valley. Imboden with 310 mounted men set out from his Hardy county camp on the 7th, in a snowstorm, for Cheat river bridge. All the next day he marched along a cattle path over the Alleghanies, his men being compelled by the storm to dismount and lead their horses. At mid- [71] night preceding the 8th he learned of the movements of Federal troops threatening him, but nevertheless proceeded to St. George through the snow and sleet, and reaching his destination safely, received the unconditional surrender of Captain Hall, with 31 men, well armed and occupying the courthouse. It was impossible for him to go further, and on his return trip, which he soon began, he had to avoid Kelley's cavalry and the forces of Milroy at Beverly. Fearing Kelley most he advanced toward Milroy with the intention of attacking his baggage train at Camp Bartow. All day the 11th he marched through an unbroken forest, and on the 12th attempted to find Camp Bartow, but the day being rainy and gloomy he was lost in the gloom of the pine wilderness. Finally he learned that the Federal forces were in great commotion, and parties were moving in all directions to cut off his retreat. He managed to gain the rear of 1,300 men moving down South Branch in search of him, and crossing a high mountain safely, reached Augusta Springs on the 14th, evading all the enemy's detachments. It was believed that at this very time Milroy was en route to make a raid on Staunton, which Imboden's raid happened to prevent. Milroy in his advance had captured several cavalrymen, twelve or fifteen citizens, and burned some houses in Highland county. A few days before this there had been a skirmish near Petersburg, in which a herd of cattle seized by the Confederates had been recaptured by Kelley and some prisoners taken, and Milroy had ‘swept the counties of Highland, Pocahontas, Pendleton and parts of Augusta and Bath,’ taking in 45 prisoners and some cattle and horses, and immediately after Imboden had left his camp on South Fork with his cavalry, Kelley had swooped down upon the infantry with a large force of cavalry, and captured the camp and supplies and 50 prisoners. [72]

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