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tates Government, more clearly than the Confederate, appreciated the character and importance of these mountaineers, and secured the adhesion of their leaders to the Federal side. The consequence was, the loss of the whole population, from the crests of the Alleghanies to their Western foot-hills, and the creation of a disloyal and hostile section, severing the East from the West, and converting the Gibraltar of the South into a stronghold for its foes. a line from the mouth of the Big Sandy River, where West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky corner, to Bowling Green, roughly indicates the Western edge of this Union district. But a belt of country through Western Kentucky and Tennessee, from the Ohio River to the State of Mississippi, was also full of Unionists ; and, indeed, in all Western Kentucky county was set against county, and every house was divided against itself. The whole land was become a debatable ground. The chief Confederate element, however, was contained in a narro
nd took up arms. But this episode will be given hereafter. While Grant was counting his losses on the day after Belmont, another contest was occurring at the other extremity of the hostile lines in Kentucky. Although the eastern part of the State had adhered with great unanimity to the Federal cause, many localities and families were favorable to the South. About 1,000 men, poorly armed and equipped, had enrolled themselves as Confederate soldiers at Piketon, near the head of the Big Sandy River. Their commander, Colonel John S. Williams, was endeavoring to supply and equip them. from the resources of the neighborhood. But lie was not to be left unmolested. Brigadier-General Nelson, who had advanced to Prestonburg with a Federal force, now pushed forward, and attacked Williams on the 8th of November. Nelson had four large regiments, a battalion, and two sections of artillery — nearly 4,000 men. Williams made a stand for time to get off his stores, which he did with little
eer cavalry in the Mexican War, and at Buena Vista had won distinction. He was a very vigorous and able lawyer, a shrewd politician, and a man of wit, humor, acumen, and judgment. In fact, his mind was essentially judicial. The writer has rarely known any man who impressed him so strongly in this regard. But he was not a man of action. Besides, his unwieldy size, weighing as he did some 300 or 350 pounds, unfitted him for the field. Marshall moved forward to Paintsville, on the Big Sandy River, about battle of Fishing Creek. the middle of December. This place was thirty-three miles above Louisa, and sixty from the Ohio River. At and near the mouth of the Big Sandy, and in the intervening region, were clustered some half-dozen towns of from 1,000 to 5,000 inhabitants each. The industries supporting this population were chiefly the working of coal and iron, with capital furnished by Ohio men. Hence, the people were generally hostile to the South. Marshall's force, when
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. Volume 4., Operations in east Tennessee and south-west Virginia. (search)
der had not been executed, and at 2 P. M. the enemy in force surprised his camp, attacking it from the surrounding mountains. After a desperate resistance he was forced to withdraw, leaving thirty-seven prisoners in the enemy's hands--nine wounded, two of them mortally. Colonel Clay lost his right eye during the engagement. Late in September, 1864, General Stephen G. Burbridge, with a force estimated at 5000 men, advanced upon King's salt-works, through eastern Kentucky, and up the Big Sandy River. He was met at Liberty Hill, Virginia, by Colonel H. L. Giltner, in command of a small brigade of cavalry. At that time not over 1000 men interposed between General Burbridge and the salt-works, only about 23 miles distant. But by dint of strategy and stubborn resistance Giltner detained the Federal army two days on the road, so that when Burbridge arrived there about an equal force confronted him, commanded by General John C. Breckinridge. On October 2d Burbridge attacked the forces
Benson J. Lossing, Pictorial Field Book of the Civil War. Volume 2., Chapter 3: military operations in Missouri and Kentucky. (search)
drawn, others were seen dragging cannon wearily up the hill for the defense of Camp Wild Cat. A little later a trial of strategy and skill occurred in the most eastern portion of Kentucky, between about three thousand loyalists, under General William Nelson, and a little more than a thousand insurgents, under Colonel John S. Williams. The latter were at Piketon, the capital of Pike County, and were marched against William Nelson. by General Nelson's force from Prestonburg, on the Big Sandy River. He sent November, 1861. ColoneI Still, with nearly one-half of that force, Sill's troops for this occasion were the Thirty-third Ohio (his own regiment), a light battalion, under Major Hart, composed of portions of the Second, Thirty-third, and Fifty-ninth Ohio, and two Kentucky companies; one hundred and forty-two mounted men, mostly teamsters, commanded by Colonel Metcalf; thirty-six volunteers, under Colonel Apperson, and a section of artillery (two rifled 6-pounders), under Co
Benson J. Lossing, Pictorial Field Book of the Civil War. Volume 2., Chapter 7: military operations in Missouri, New Mexico, and Eastern Kentucky--capture of Fort Henry. (search)
ionals. Thomas C. Hindman in 1858. In the mean time, stirring scenes were in progress in the extreme eastern part of Kentucky, and movements there caused a brief diversion of a part of Buell's army from the business of pushing on in the direction of Tennessee. Humphry Marshall was again in the field, at the head of about twenty-five hundred insurgents, and at the beginning of January was intrenched in the neighborhood of Paintsville, in Johnston County, on the main branch of the Big Sandy River, that forms the boundary between Kentucky and Virginia. Colonel James A. Garfield, one of the most energetic young men of Ohio, was sent with the Forty-second Ohio and Fourteenth Kentucky regiments, and three hundred of the Second Virginia cavalry, to dislodge him. Garfield followed the course of the river in a march of greatest difficulty and danger, at an inclement season. When Marshall heard of his approach, he fled in alarm up the river toward Prestonburg. Garfield's cavalry pursu
are. It began at Fort Henry and ended at Vicksburg, covered a year and five months, and cost tens of thousands of human lives and millions of dollars' worth of property — but it was successful. Eastern Kentucky, in the early days of 1862, was also in considerable ferment. Colonel James A. Garfield had driven the Confederate commander, General Humphrey Marshall, and a superior force into the Cumberland Mountains, after a series of slight encounters, terminating at Paintsville on the Big Sandy River, on January 10th. But one later event gave great encouragement to the North. It was the first substantial victory for the Union arms. General Zollicoffer held the extreme Confederate right at Cumberland Gap and he now joined General George B. Crittenden near Mill Springs in Central Kentucky. General Buell, in charge of the Army of the Ohio, had placed General George H. Thomas at Lebanon, and the latter promptly moved against this threatening Confederate force. A sharp engagement too
Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (ed. Benson Lossing), Kentucky, (search)
troops were from States northward of the Ohio, and loyalists of Kentucky and Tennessee. They occupied an irregular line across Kentucky, parallel with that of the Confederates. General McCook led 50,000 men down the railroad, and pushed the Confederate line to Bowling Green, after a sharp skirmish at Mumfordsville, on the south side of the Green River. In eastern Kentucky Col. James A. Garfield struck (Jan. 7, 1862) the Confederates, under Humphrey Marshall, near Prestonburg, on the Big Sandy River, and dispersed them. This ended Marshall's military career, and Garfield's services there won for him the commission of a brigadier-general. On the 19th, General Thomas defeated Gen. George B. Crittenden near Mill Spring, when General Zollicoffer was slain and his troops driven into northwestern Tennessee. This latter blow effectually severed the Confederate lines in Kentucky, and opened the way by which the Confederates were soon driven out of the State and also out of Tennessee.
urpose in drawing attention from Witcher. In the latter part of the same month, Witcher moved into the Mud river region, and rode through Teay's valley against a garrison at Winfield, a company of the Seventh West Virginia. He sent his men into the town in two detachments, Capt. Philip J. Thurmond leading one. In the desperate fight in the streets which followed, Thurmond was mortally wounded at the head of his command. With continued audacity Witcher turned his attention to the Big Sandy river early in November, on the 5th captured and burned the United States armed steamers Barnum and Fawn at Buffalo shoals, and on the same day captured and destroyed the military stores at Mellonsburg and drove the enemy's cavalry under his guns at Louisa. At Logan Court House, a few days later, this indomitable officer reported that he had collected six companies of recruits, and had four or five other companies forming. He had increased his own battalion to a regiment, and had collected
; Grant feared to intrust McClernand with an independent expedition, which the movement against Jackson seemed likely to prove; and therefore put him on the left. McClernand was sure always to claim the most important position or command, but as he was now really nearer the great bulk of the rebel army, he had no reason to complain, supposing himself to be in the advance. McPherson marched, accordingly, on the 9th of May, to a point seven miles west of Utica, and Mc-Clernand to the Big Sandy river. That evening, McPherson was directed: March your command to. morrow to water beyond Utica, provided you find it within six or seven miles of the place, on the direct Raymond road. The only regiment of cavalry in the command was now given to McPherson, and, by Grant's orders, it reconnoitred vigorously on the right flank and front of the Seventeenth corps. The same day (May 9th), McClernand was ordered: Move your command to-morrow, on the telegraph road, to Five-mile creek. Instruct
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