Doc. 88.-General McClellan's report.
General Garnett and his forces have been routed and his baggage and one gun taken. His army are completely demoralized. General Garnett was killed while attempting to rally his forces at Carrackford, near St. George. We have completely annihilated the enemy in Western Virginia. Our loss is but thirteen killed and not more than forty wounded, while the enemy's loss is not far from two hundred killed, and the number of prisoners we have taken will amount to at least one thousand. We have captured seven of the enemy's guns in all. A portion of Garnett's forces retreated, but I look for their capture by General Hill, who is in hot pursuit. The troops that Garnett had under his command are said to be the crack regiments of Eastern Virginia, aided by Georgians, Tennesseeans and Carolinians. Our success is complete, and I firmly believe that secession is killed in this section of the country.
McClellan's operations in Western Virginia.
Major-Gen. McClellan at its head, reached this place yesterday afternoon. Its achievements for the last two or three days will be memorable in the history of our country. I will give them briefly: Two good roads unite at an acute angle at Beverly, one from Buckhannon, and the other from Phillippa. A mountain ridge crosses both roads, and at each point of intersection the rebels made strong intrenchments. The one on the road to Buckhannon is called Rich Mountain Camp, and the other towards Phillippa,  Laurel Hill Camp, both under the general command of Gen. Garnett, of Virginia, though he remained at Laurel Hill, appointing Col. Pegram to command at Rich Mountain. Beverly, at the junction of the two roads, was not fortified. The intrenchments at Rich Hill were very strong in position, and could not be taken in any direct manner without great loss of life. On the top of the mountain was a smaller intrenchment. The lower fort was surrounded by dense woods, for a mile in all directions. After ascertaining its position and strength, Gen. McClellan early sent Gen. Rosecrans, with the Eighth and Tenth Indiana Regiments, with the Nineteenth Ohio, to go around along the top of the mountain, to get upon the east side of the intrenchments, so as to surround the enemy. After going nine miles, through woods and over rocks, a march which Col. Lander, who was along, says is without an equal. Gen. Rosecrans came out upon the intrenchments at the top of the hill. They received a fire from the two guns, (six-pounders,) which killed one man and wounded several. Immediately Col. Lander called for twenty sharp-shooters, and with them hurried forward and placed themselves behind some rocks. These brave fellows soon picked off the gunners, but they were reinforced. The Nineteenth Ohio boys, who were in the rear and on high ground, fired a whole volley, after which the Indiana troops charged the guns and carried them, and in a moment the whole intrenchment, and utterly routed the enemy. The action was short but fierce. Two hundred and forty of the rebels have been found killed, and probably when the woods are searched the number will be increased. Our loss was very small, comparatively, not more than twenty or twenty-five being killed. General Rosecrans remained on the ground. His victory, however, was not known to Gen. McClellan, who heard the noise of the firing, but was in ignorance of the result. During the same afternoon, he was cutting a road for his cannon, nearly two miles long, through the wood to a point which commanded the lower intrenchments. It being too late to plant the guns that night, two regiments — the favorite Fourth and Ninth Ohio--were stationed on the new road to hold it till morning. In the morning a white flag was seen flying over the rebel fort, and it was soon afterwards found deserted. Col. Pegram left as secretly as possible, taking to the woods. He abandoned every thing — tents, horses, baggage, indeed every thing that could not be carried by men struggling for life in the Rocky Mountains, in a dark and rainy night. The victory was complete. The number of prisoners taken at the time was considerable, but has since been greatly increased. There will probably be a thousand, as Col. Pegram, with six hundred men, after wandering in the hills for thirty-six hours, and being completely hemmed in, sent in to Gen. McClellan, proposing to surrender as prisoners of war. The General required an unconditional surrender, to which Col. Pegram submitted. He was brought into our camp at Beverly yesterday. His force is chiefly from Easton, Va., and was made up of their chivalry. Among the prisoners is a Professor in Hampden Sidney College, with a company of his students. It is also said that some of his college boys were killed. Yesterday, the news came that Gen. Garnett, who commands the rebels at Laurel Hill, was retreating with his whole force, six thousand men, towards the east. He is compelled to take a miserable mountain road, and as Gen. Morris is after him, all his guns and provisions must be captured, and perhaps a large part of his army. Thus it will be seen that the backbone of the rebellion in Western Virginia is completely broken. The question is settled forever. Gen. McClellan has made a splendid beginning of this campaign. The Union people of this region have been treated by the rebels badly enough. The jail at Beverly was full of them. On hearing the defeat at Rich Mountain, they were taken out and sent to Staunton, twenty-five of them. One Union woman was in the jail, but she was liberated. She reports that another woman was carried away. Col. Pegram's army had been very boastful, and fully believed that the Yankees wouldn't fight. It is said that at Rich Hill they had, in anticipation of a battle, dug a pit into which to throw the killed of the enemy, and labelled it “For Union men.” The same pit was filled with their own ghastly dead.
U. S. camp near Huttonville, Randolph Co., Va., Sunday, July 14, 1861The campaign of Maj.-Gen. McClellan in Western Virginia has terminated in the complete destruction and rout of the rebel army. Sublime was Gov. Letcher's proclamation to the people of Western Virginia, and fearful was the retribution to be visited upon the army of the United States for invading the sacred soil of the Old Dominion. Behold the grand sequel! Gen. McClellan has just returned from beyond Cheat Mountain Gap, and no foe could be seen. After burning the bridge at this place, the rebels pushed into the mountains post-haste, and are half way to Staunton by this time. Such was their fear, that they threw away many things; even many soldiers left their muskets in the houses of Secessionists, and doubtless in the woods. The citizens here say that there were nearly 3,000 of them. One of the regiments was on its way to Rich Mountain to reinforce the forts, and within three miles of its destination, when they heard the guns at the battle, and, soon after the news of the rout, wheeled about and started for Staunton. Gen. McClellan feared that they might make a stand in the Cheat Mountain Gap — but their haste would not permit. Gen. Garnett, with six thousand men, is also on what Col. McCook calls “a clean trot” for Richmond.  He is in the mountains northeast of Beverly, and Gen. Morris is after him; and unless he throws away all his guns, and heavy incumbrances, and is nimble on foot,will surely take him. Glorious, isn't it! With the exception of a small force near Charlestown, on the Kanawha River, Gen. McClellan has swept the rebels out of all that part of Virginia which belongs to his military district. The rebellion can never organize itself again in this region. Gov. Pierpont and his new Government will have free scope. The course of our army has been most magnanimous in its treatment of the people. In the neighborhood of the camps, at all houses, there is, on the arrival of the army, a guard stationed to protect the timid from their own fears. On the march from Beverly to this place, many of the houses were vacated entirely by men, women, and children, all having been put in mortal fear by the terrible stories of our atrocities. In many cases, the men (Secessionists) fled, leaving their families, and these locked up in their houses, and closed the curtains, except, alas! when woman's irrepressible curiosity overcame them, and a slightly-drawn corner of the curtain revealed the gazing eye. A few who were Union people, stood in their front doors and yards and waved their handkerchiefs, in the highest joy. There was not the slightest difficulty in determining the character and sympathies of the people, by their appearance, as the United States army marched by. Around Huttonville, the slaves, who were told that we should cut off their hands to disable them from working for their masters, are delighted with the army pageant, and come about in great freedom, and tell with joy how they had been frightened and humbugged. Several Secessionists who have fled to the hills have returned. One man who had fled, driving away his cattle, came back, and was so well pleased with the Northerners that he brought back his cattle to sell them to feed our soldiers. Where Gen. McClellan will go from this point is not known — perhaps to the Kanawha region, to pay his respects to Gov. Wise. Foolish as the Governor is, he is too wise to be caught in the vicinity of Gen. McClellan. We feel very proud of our wise and brave young Major-General. There is a future before him, if his life be spared, which he will make illustrious. He is the son-in-law of Major Marcy, of the United States army. In conversation with Major Marcy about his Red River exploration some years ago, he pleasantly remarked that then McClellan was a lieutenant under him, but now he (Marcy) was under McClellan. P. S.--The news reached the camp to-night that Gen. Garnett is killed. He was followed into the mountains by Gen. Hill. He lost one cannon, several men killed, and several men taken prisoners. I am informed that the Seventh and Ninth Indiana Regiments, Cols. Dumont and Milroy, Fourteenth Ohio, Col. Steadman, and First Artillery, Ohio, Col. Barnett, were engaged in this work of routing the rebels in the mountains. I go up to Beverly to-day and shall learn all the particulars.
--N. Y. Times, July 20th.
“Cinoinnati Gazette” narrative.
To understand the exact location of the battle field it should be remembered that the enemy, after leaving the Beverly pike, had taken a mountain road leading back again to the western side of Laurel Hill, and across the mountains to the Shafer Fork of Cheat River, intending to proceed down the river to St. George. They had reached the Cheat River (near the Southern extremity of Tucker County) when they discovered our advance rapidly nearing. From that time Garnett's manifest object was to select some advantageous ground upon which he could drive us back and then make good his retreat. On reaching the third ford of Cheat River, his practiced military eye at once detected the advantages of the position. On the left bank of the river was a low level bottom — cornfields and meadows. On the right was a high bluff, commanding the fields below, and its brink fringed with an impenetrable thicket of laurel. Fording the river and placing his men on this high bluff on the right, he had them completely concealed from our advance by the laurel, while the situation gave him every advantage with his artillery. The wagon train was left standing in the river, manifestly for the purpose of deceiving us into the belief that the army had advanced and the horses were unable to draw the wagons over the rough rocks of the ford. He supposed rightly enough that we would advance and take possession of the wagons, and that thus the bait so nicely arranged would draw us directly under the fire of his army, concealed on the opposite bluff. His plan worked to a charm. The only defect was that he counted on four thousand soldiers to carry it out when he seems to have had only four thousand cowards. A properly directed fire, properly maintained, would have mown our three regiments to the ground long before the main body of the army (then two or three miles back) could have arrived and no power under Heaven could have prevented Garnett from making a successful retreat. But the men were panic stricken. This was business: those blue-blooded Yankees actually had the impertinence to stand fire, and to shoot too with uncomfortable accuracy. The bullets came too near the persons of the chivalry. The perfume of gunpowder was not near so fragrant as that of the cologne with which they had been so bountifully supplied at Laurel Hill, and in disgust they fled like a pack of frightened sheep. The bad shooting of the rebels alone saved Steedman's Regiment (Fourteenth Ohio) from being decimated by the first volley. They were in fair view, drawn up in marching order on the left bank, and with only the river between  them. Had Steedman been on horseback, he would assuredly have been riddled by a dozen bullets. But on foot, directing the movements of his men, the bullets went hissing like venomous serpents directly over his head. The enemy's artillery came crashing into action almost with their first volley of musketry, and the fire would have been murderous, had not they also aimed too high, as very likely to be the case when shooting down from an eminence, unless the gunners are thorough masters of their business. The shells passed about two feet over the heads of the Fourteenth, cutting off trees at that height, and bursting some distance beyond our lines. No praise can do justice to the gallant conduct of that glorious Fourteenth. From the first curdling surprise by the clash of musketry and artillery, when the whole hill above them seemed belching out fire and lead, they stood firm as the soil they trod, instantly forming their line of battle and returning the fire with a precision to which we soon found many a mournful testimony on the height above. Instantly, Milroy's 9th Indiana came rushing up, and the gallant Colonel attempted to form them in line of battle on Steedman's left. The ranks next to the Fourteenth were thirty deep. Every man wanted to be at the point of danger, and was crowding forward to be in front, till it was by the most energetic measures that the “Swamp devils” could be driven further from the scene of action in order to get them into line. Meantime what ought to have been the crowning manoeuvre of the engagement was going on. Capt. Benham had observed a point some distance up the river, where he thought the bluff on the right could be scaled, and a flank movement thus be made to turn the enemy's left. Old Dumont was instantly ordered to ford the river and lead the Seventh Indiana up the bluff. The ascent was terrible, and the thicket of laurel added fresh difficulties. But the Colonel had already reached the summit; Capt. Lord's company and another had followed him, and the rest were ready to ascend, when some one bore the word to Capt. Benham, who was on another part of the field, the statement that the ascent was impracticable. In five minutes more the enemy's flank could have been turned and the engagement ended, but Benham, acting on the information he had received, ordered Colonel Dumont then to proceed down the river and turn the other flank. When the order was delivered the Colonel was mystified. There he stood, the ascent made, his regiment partially up and the rest following, and now, having marched up the hill, instead of engaging the enemy before him, (and who had not yet, owing to the intervening thickets of laurel, discovered his presence,) he was ordered to march down again. But a soldier's duty is to obey, and down the bluff went the Colonel. Taking the middle of the channel, they then marched right down the river between two fires, with the bullets and cannon balls of both armies pouring across just above their heads, till they passed the wagon train standing in the ford. Then turning to the right, they forced their way through an almost impenetrable thicket of laurel, on the river's brink, and appeared on the right flank of the enemy. That decided the contest. The enemy had been wholly engaged with the Fourteenth Ohio, right in front of them, while, meantime, the Ninth Indiana had been pouring in its fire at a “left oblique.” The instant Dumont appeared on their flank, they fled in wild disorder, the Seventh forcing its way out of the laurel and starting in after them on an emphatic double quick. About a quarter of a mile ahead the ford was reached. The enemy had just crossed this when the Seventh came rushing up. They were four thousand; Dumont had perhaps six hundred. Yet the first volley drove them, and Garnett found it impossible to rally the main body of his army at all. The few around him continued to reply with a galling fire, when Major Gordon (who was acting as aide to Gen. Morris) rushed around a little thicket and came up to the river's brink at a point near which Garnett was standing on the opposite side. The remainder of the rebels fired one volley and incontinently fled. Garnett turned on his heel to wave back his men, when Sergeant Burlingame, of Capt. Ferry's company, raised his musket, took deliberate aim, and fired. Garnett fell instantly on his back, his head lying towards our forces, and his mouth opening wide, as if gasping for breath. He uttered not a single groan, and when Major Gordon reached him, scarcely a moment after he fell, his muscles were just making their last convulsive twitch. The Major stooped down, tenderly closed his eyes, bound up his face, disposed his limbs, and left him lying on the river bank, with a guard of patriot soldiers around to protect his corpse from any possibility of indignity. Not a Virginian stood by him when he fell. The whole cowardly crew had fled; and of all the army of four thousand, but one was with his General — a slight, boyish figure, with scarcely the dawn of approaching manhood on his face, and wearing the Georgian uniform and button. Bravely he had stood by his General to the last, and when Garnett fell, he fell too. There they lay, in that wild region, on the banks of the Cheat, with “back to the field and face to the foe.” The one was the representative of Virginia aristocracy and Virginia treason, educated, honored, accomplished, and now fighting against the flag under which he had been reared, and which he had followed to many a field of glory; the other, his deluded follower from another State, evidently from the lower walks of life, and with only a brave heart and stern determination to stand by the cause he had espoused to the bitter end. And there, on that  rugged bank, had come the solemn issue. They met it courageously, and fell as brave men fall. As soon as the proper arrangements could be made, Gen. Garnett's body was conveyed on one of his own litters, thrown from their wagons by his flying soldiers to hasten their retreat, to Gen. Morris' Headquarters. There fresh clothing was procured from a Georgia trunk in one of the captured wagons, and the body was decently laid out. The brave boy who fell by him was taken to the hill above the Headquarters and buried by Virginia troops. At his head they placed a board with the inscription: “Name unknown. A brave fellow who shared his General's fate, and fell fighting by his side, while his companions fled.” When Gen. Garnett fell it was only known that he was an officer attempting to rally the flying rebels. He wore a Colonel's uniform, with the epaulet changed, and the Brigadier-General's silver star glittering on the shoulder strap. Over this he wore a fine black overcoat. The ball struck him in the back, (as he was turning on his heel to rally his men,) passed transversely through his body, and came out on the left side of his breast. He wore a dress sword, with plated silver hilt, which had been presented to him by his old friend, Gen. G. M. Brooke, of war of 1812 distinction. This, with his gold chronometer, the opera glass slung across his shoulder, a fine topographical map of Virginia, and his pocket-book, containing sixty-one dollars in Virginia currency, were taken from his person by Major Gordon, to be kept at Headquarters till an opportunity should offer for returning them to his family. Two or three of the bills in the pocket-book were of the new edition of continental money lately issued by Virginia. Gen. Garnett was a slightly built man, with small head, finely cut and intelligent features, delicate hands and feet, black hair, and with full beard and moustache, kept closely trimmed, and just beginning to be grizzled with white hairs. His features are said, by those who knew him, to have retained their natural expression wonderfully. He was instantly recognized by Major Love, Gen. Morris, and Capt. Bentram, all of whom were intimately acquainted with him. Major Love had been for four years his room-mate at West Point, and had always cherished a warm friendship for him till he turned traitor to the flag and to the Government which had educated and made him what he was. Returning from the bank where Garnett lay, I went up to the bluff on which the enemy had been posted. The first object that caught the eye was a large iron rifled cannon, (a six-pounder,) which they had left in their precipitate flight. The star-spangled banner of one of our regiments floated over. Around was a sickening sight. Along the brink of that bluff lay ten bodies, stiffening in their own gore, in every contortion which their death anguish had produced. Others were gasping in the last agonies, and still others were writhing with horrible but not mortal wounds, surrounded by the soldiers whom they really believed to be about to plunge the bayonets to their hearts. Never before had I so ghastly a realization of the horrid nature of this fraternal struggle. These men were all Americans — men whom we had once been proud to claim as countrymen — some of them natives of our own Northern States. One poor fellow was shot through the bowels. The ground was soaked with his blood. I stooped and asked him if any thing could be done to make him more comfortable; he only whispered “I'm so cold!” He lingered for nearly an hour, in terrible agony. Another — young, and just developing into vigorous manhood — had been shot through the head by a large Minie ball. The skull was shockingly fractured; his brains were protruding from the bullet hole, and lay spread on the grass by his head. And he was still living! I knelt by his side and moistened his lips with water from my canteen, and an officer who came up a moment afterward poured a few drops of brandy from his pocket-flask into his mouth. God help us! what more could we do? A surgeon rapidly examined the wound, sadly shook his head, saying it were better for him if he were dead already, and passed on to the next. And there that poor Georgian lay, gasping in the untold and unimaginable agonies of that fearful death for more than an hour! Near him lay a Virginian, shot through the mouth, and already stiffening. He appeared to have been stooping when he was shot; the ball struck the tip of his nose, cutting that off, cut his upper lip, knocked out his teeth, passed through the head, and came out at the back of the neck. The expression of his ghastly face was awful beyond description. And near him lay another, with a ball through the right eye, which had passed out through the back of the head. The glassy eyes were all open; some seemed still gasping with opened mouths, all were smeared in their own blood, and cold and clammy, with the dews of death upon them. But why dwell on the sickening details? May I never see another field like that! There were on it ten corpses; two more died before they could be removed to the hospital; three died during the night; another was dying when I left. All around the field lay men with wounds in the leg, or arm, or face, groaning with pain, and trembling lest the barbarous foes they expected to find in our troops, should commence mangling and torturing them at once. Words can hardly express their astonishment, when our men gently removed them to a little knoll, laid them all together, and formed a circle of bayonets around them, to keep off the curious crowd, till they could be removed to the hospital and cared for by our surgeons. There was a terrible moral in that group on  the knoll, the dead, the dying, the wounded, protected by the very men they had been fighting, and who were as ready then as they had ever been to defend by their strong arms every right these self-made enemies of theirs had ever enjoyed. Every attention was shown the enemy's wounded by our surgeons. Limbs were amputated, wounds were dressed with the same care with which our own brave volunteers were treated. The wound on the battle-field removed all differences — in the hospital all were alike, the objects of a common humanity that left none beyond its limits. Among the enemy's wounded was a young Massachusetts boy, who had received a wound in the leg. He had been visiting in the South, and had been impressed into the rebel ranks. As soon as the battle began, he broke from the rebel ranks and attempted to run down the hill and cross over to our side. His own lieutenant saw him in the act, and shot him with a revolver! Listen to such a tale as that I did, by the side of the sad young sufferer, and tell me if your blood does not boil warmer than ever before, as you think, not of the poor deluded followers, but of the leaders, who, for personal ambition and personal spite, began this infernal rebellion. All the talk among the soldiers is still the retailing of facts and anecdotes about this battle. I have room or time to add but one or two. In one of the Indiana regiments is a Methodist preacher who is said to be one of the very best shots of his regiment. During the battle he was particularly conspicuous for the zeal with which he kept up a constant fire. The 14th Ohio regiment in the thick of the fight fired an average of eleven rounds to every man, but this parson managed to get in a great deal more than that average. He fired carefully, with perfect coolness, and always after a steady aim, and the boys declare that every time, as he took down his gun, after firing, he added, “And may the Lord have mercy on your soul!” Evidently he thought the body not worth praying for after the aim he had so carefully taken. Per contra: One of Steedman's men (in the 14th Ohio) was from Cheesedom, and didn't like the irreverent tone adopted by the southern chivalry in speaking of the “d — d Yankees.” He took deliberate aim, but, unlike the parson, after every fire he added the invariable formula, “God d — n your secession souls, how do you like the Yankees?” Another, an Englishman, was wounded. Steedman noticed him limping and called out “Jack, are you wounded?” “Yes, I'm ‘it.” “Where are you hit, Jack?” “Oh, I'm ‘it in the ‘ip, but--(in great anxiety lest Steedman should send him to the hospital) but it don't ‘urt me. I'm only ‘it in the ‘ip; it don't ‘urt me,” and away he blazed with another load, somewhat profanely adding, “God d — n you, I guess I paid you off that time.”
Cincinnati Commercial narrative.
General Robert S. Garnett, Adjutant General of the State of Virginia, and commander in the Confederate army in Western Virginia, of whom all that is mortal lies but a few feet from our tent. The right of our division proceeded to within nine miles of Beverly, where Capt. Benham, who commands the advance, ascertained at the village of Leedsville, that the rebels, after proceeding nearly to Beverly, and finding the road blocked by McClellan's advance, united with those that had been routed at Rich Mountain, and turned back and struck off on the Leading Creek Pike, half a mile this side of Leedsville, and were moving in the direction of St. George, Tucker County. We had tracked the rebels thus far easily. For three miles from their camp the road was literally shingled with cards. The trumps were against them, and they had thrown down their hands. Every few rods we found stacks of tent poles, tents, blankets, and other camp equipages, which they had thrown out of their wagons and off their shoulders, to lighten their burdens and facilitate their retreat. Several wagons had got off the track, and were found upside down in the gorges of the mountains. The right of our column turned off on the road the rebels had taken, and after proceeding some two miles halted for the night. The rear came up in a couple of hours with only four provision wagons. In the haste of starting most of our troops had left their haversacks behind. The supply of crackers averaged about one to each man; a little salt pork was served out, the men generally cutting it in thin slices, distributing it as far as it would go, and eating it raw with their crackers. Hundreds, however, went supperless to their bivouack in the bushes, lying down on their arms, and sleeping soundly. We were under way in the morning by three o'clock. The sky was overcast and the weather cold. A drizzling mist commenced falling, which, in an hour or two, turned into a steady, chilling rain, the clouds pouring down their burden in such torrents as you are accustomed to in a June thunder shower. We forded Leading Creek twice, and by the time we reached the miserable little village of New Interest, at the foot of Laurel Mountains, (another range of the Alleghanies, from which the Laurel Hill range is a mere spur,) there was not a dry thread in our clothing. Every hair on our heads became a safe conduit for the descending bounty of Jupiter Pluvius. Passing the village a few miles we struck directly over the  Mountains, for Cheat River, by a by-road which the rebels had taken. It was of the worst description. At every step the mud grew deeper and the way more difficult, and one felt as though somebody were tugging at his heels to pull off his shoes. Now slipping down in the mud, now plunging into a pool knee deep, staggering about in the mire like drunken men, the soldiers, elated with the prospect of a fight, pushed steadily and bravely on. So thoroughly was the mire kneaded by the feet of the thousands, pursued and pursuing, that it flowed down the mountain road like thick tar. Every rivulet, too, became a torrent, while the creeks, swollen with the burden of the rains, became dashing and foaming rivers. In the Laurel Mountains, we found more evidences of the disorderly flight of the rebels. For miles, tents, tent poles, knapsacks, every thing, indeed, even to personal apparel, was strewn in an indiscriminate litter, and trodden down under their flying feet. Here were more wagons upset, and kept from plunging over gorges down which it made me dizzy to look, only by the dense thickets of chapparel and the trunks of trees. Everywhere it was disaster following after disaster. Occasionally we halted, and those so fortunate as to have them, munched their wet crackers with as much satisfaction as you would sit down to banquet at the Gibson House. Others stretched themselves out along the roadside, and some were so weary that they sat down in the middle of the road to rest. A few gave out entirely. At last we emerged from the Laurel Mountains and came out on the Cheat River, at Kahler's Ford, about twelve miles from, and due south of St. George. It was then noon. Our advance consisted of the Ohio 14th, Col. Steedman, 750; Col. Millroy's 9th Indiana, 500 ; Dumont's 7th Indiana, 550, and two pieces of artillery, with 40 men — the total being 1,840. The reserve was an hour or more behind, their march being doubly wearisome because of the necessary halts, and roads made worse by those who had preceded them. The boys were glad to plunge into the ford, as the swift flowing waters of the Main Cheat purged them of heavy loads of mud, with which most were plastered to their waistbands. Emerging from the ford, our advance came in sight of the rear of the fugitive army, at the second ford below, where their baggage train was at rest, and their infantry drawn up to protect it. The advance regiment halted till Dumont's and the artillery came up to their support, when the unlucky firing of a gun by one of our men set the whole body in motion. The chase now became highly exciting. The enemy pitched the rest of their camp equipage into the bushes; the officers threw their trunks, containing their personal effects, into the gulleys and ravines, and the privates gave up their blankets, knapsacks, and canteens to the inexorable necessity of fighting or retreating, and they preferred the latter. Our advance pushed them so hard that they formed in line and commenced a scattering fire, when our artillery opened on them, and they instantly renewed their stampede. This stand, however, had given their baggage train time to get under way. The pursuit was hotly kept up for three miles, and they showed as wonderful an agility in flight as Porterfield's army at Phillippa. Within a mile of the next ford, the mountains recede on both sides from the river. The most of this comparatively level bottom land is comprised in the farm of Mr. James Carrick, and the fords are known by his name. In crossing the first of these fords to the right side of the river (as we were advancing) one of their wagons mired, and those in the rear had to halt until it could be relieved. The rebels meantime drew up in line on the opposite side of an oat field, and were concealed by a rail fence and the trees and bushes fringing that bank of the river. The bluff is from 50 to 80 feet higher than the land on the opposite side, down which the Ohio 14th was advancing, with Capt. Moe's company thrown out as skirmishers. As the skirmishers pressed on towards the ford, the teamsters cried out, “Don't shoot! don't shoot! We are going to surrender.” The Captain then called to the Colonel, “Come on, Col. Steedman, they are going to surrender,” and the regiment was ordered to advance at a double quick. As he came opposite the bank where the rebels were drawn up, Gen. Garnett cried, “Three cheers for Jeff. Davis,” and that instant the whole line was a blaze of light, as they poured a destructive fire upon the 14th. The men came to an instant halt, and returned the compliment without changing position, and then advanced nearer the river, taking position behind a worn out fence. The rebel battery then opened fire, and Burnett's artillery was ordered up. The action became general. Millroy's regiment came up to Steedman's support, but were compelled to deliver an oblique fire. Capt. Benham then ordered Dumont's six companies to cross the river about 300 yards above the ford, pass obliquely up the hill from our right, and take the enemy in the rear. The bank was exceedingly steep, almost perpendicular; but two companies had succeeded in clambering up, when the order was countermanded, and Col. Dumont ordered down the river to the ford, under cover of the height on their side, and protected by the fire from Steedman and Millroy's regiments, to take them in front at the road. The Colonel executed this order in gallant style. His line instantly formed and marched down the bed of the river, the water frequently waist deep, and the moment the head of his column appeared the rebels ceased firing along the entire line, and stampeded through a wheat field down to the second ford, the officers vainly trying to rally them. Gen. Garnett was the last to cross the ford, which he did on foot, and stood by the river shore, waving his handkerchief, and calling  them to come back and dispute the passage of the ford. Major Gordon of the U. S. Army at this moment appeared on the opposite side which the rebels had just left, and seeing them huddled in the road, called to the advance of Dumont's command, which was rushing along like a whirlwind, to come on. Gen. Garnett directed the attention of his panic stricken rear to the Major, and a volley of bullets fell thick as hail around him, many lodging in the sycamore stump on which he was standing. The Major at the same time saw Garnett, and pointing him out to a squad of Capt. Ferry's company, Sergeant Burlingame drew a deliberate sight on the General and fired. He was seen to throw up his hands and fall back on the sand. At the same instant almost the only man who had the pluck to stand by the General, (a Georgian be it said, to the shame of the chivalry of Virginia,) fell dead by his side. Dumont's regiment had come up in much less time than it has taken to record this event, and poured a raking fire into the enemy, who made a stand of some ten minutes, during which the fire was sharp on both sides, and then they ran, crowding upon each other in the wildest confusion. Dumont's regiment crossed the ford, and chased them two miles up the St. George road, where they gave out from absolute exhaustion, and bivouacked for the night. Major Gordon had crossed the ford in the mean time, and came up to General Garnett, who was in the last agony of death. He discovered his rank by the star on his shoulderstrap, closed his eyes, and seizing a linen handkerchief from an Indian boy, tied up his face, and composed his limbs. The action was over. The reserve of the army came up soon after, and each regiment was assigned quarters on the battle field, built rousing fires, and proceeded to dry their clothes. The wounded of our own and the rebel forces were carried off on litters to hospital quarters, where they received immediate surgical aid, while the dead were collected, and a guard placed over them for the night. The loss in killed and wounded fell entirely upon the Ohio 14th; they occupied the post of danger, and behaved like veterans under the fire of infantry and artillery. There was no flinching, but on the contrary. a coolness and determination, not only characteristic of the men, but their gallant Colonel, who rode up and down the ranks cheering them on, as regardless of danger as though by his own fireside. Capt. Benham, in his plain brown suit, walked his horse up and down the ranks, giving his orders clearly and calmly as in the terrible day of Buena Vista, while the chivalric Colonel Millroy chafed like a lion because his now famous regiment could not be brought into direct collision with the enemy. The losses on our side were as follows: Fourteenth Ohio--killed: Samuel Mills, Company A, shot through the head; Henry Reifeldiver, third sergeant, Company C, killed by cannon shot through left breast. Mortally wounded: Daniel Mills, Company A, in leg — since died; John Kneehouse, Company A, shot in side. Seriously wounded: Henry Murrow, Company B, in side; Casper Sinalf, Company D, in wrist. Slightly wounded: Capt. Fisher, Company C, in face; privates S. Richards, in arm; Richard Henderson, in calf of his leg; orderly Charles Greenwood, along side of his head; William Smith, Company K, buckshot in hip — flesh wound; Lieutenant Sherman, Company K, finger shot off. Several others were slightly scratched. Total: killed, 2; mortally wounded, 2; otherwise wounded, 8; in all, 12. On the other side eight were killed on the field; three died in hospital, and some ten were more or less severely wounded. They carried off many of the wounded in wagons; how many was not known. Prisoners were taken in any quantity; the scouts kept bringing them in all night and the next day till I left. The hills were full of them, and doubtless our forces had more on hand than they could provide for. Among the captured were many officers, including six Georgia captains and lieutenants, a surgeon of the army, (from Richmond,) and a number of non-commissioned officers. We captured two stands of colors, one of the Georgia regiment; one rifled cannon; forty loaded wagons; hundreds of muskets and side arms; the army chest, but how valuable I did not learn; with amount of personal effects and military equipments. This action must speak for itself. To pursue and overtake an enemy having twelve hours the advance; a forced march of nearly thirty miles in less than twenty-four hours, over the worst of roads, and with scarcely a mouthful of food for the men — some, indeed, being thirty-six hours without nourishment; fight a battle, cut off the baggage train, capture the cannon, and rout the enemy, is not a feat of every day record, even in times of war. All honor to the gallant soldiers from Indiana and Ohio, and the true men of Virginia! They prove themselves worthy of the inheritance their fathers bequeathed to them, and as ready to sacrifice their lives to preserve, as their sires were to establish, the independence of the people, and the Union of the States.
New York Tribune narrative.
Grafton, Va., July 15, 1861.In my last letter I left Gen. Garnett in full retreat across the country, and Gen. Morris in possession of his camp at Laurel Hill. There was little time left for delay. Our boys entered the camp at 10 A. M. on Friday the 12th, and at 11 o'clock the 14th Ohio and 7th and 9th Indiana regiments started on in pursuit. The command pushed on about two miles south of Leedsville that night, and halted to rest from 11 P. M. till 2 A. M. At that early hour on Saturday morning, the force pushed forward in a pitiless rain storm, guided by the baggage, tents, trunks, blankets, haversacks,  knapsacks, and even clothing, of the flying enemy. It was found by our advanced guard that the enemy, in striking off on the “Leading Creek” road, had felled trees across it as they fled, to retard the movement of our artillery. Fortunately, a guide directed our men into a cross-road, which, though extremely rough, led again into the route of the enemy, at some distance from the Beverly road, and this road for that distance was unobstructed. Reaching the enemy's track again, it was found necessary to keep relays of axe men at work in advance to clear the road, and yet, in the face of the terrible storm, our gallant men literally cut their way through, handling their axes like heroes, and gaining on the enemy sensibly every hour. The road first mentioned was a terribly rough one, and was rendered extremely muddy by the rain, and the passage of several thousand troops in front had not improved its condition; but when it was found that the enemy had left the “turnpike” and struck off to the right over a mere wood-path, up and down the roughest hills, over rocks, and through a dense forest, hoping to discourage pursuit, there was still no flinching. The boys had no time to eat or rest, and thought nothing of such things--they were after the enemy, and with this incentive, and the prospect of a fight ahead, they performed one of the most severe marches of the war with an eager alacrity exhilarating to behold. This route led across the branches of Cheat River several times, the men plunging through the streams with a dash, and hurrying forward with renewed zeal as the articles thrown away along the road began to indicate that the foe was so hard pushed that he must soon endeavor to make a stand. At the fourth ford, known as Carrick's Ford, we caught sight of the enemy. Some thirty or forty wagons were discovered in the river, and at the banks of the ford, apparently stuck fast. As our column pushed rapidly forward across a level space, the 14th Regiment, Col. Steedman, in front, the teamsters called out that they would surrender. The position, however, looked so suspicious that the men were disposed in proper order, and skirmishers were thrown out towards the ford, the line moving down in fine order. Just as our advance was near the stream, and only about 200 yards from a steep bluff rising on the other side, an officer was seen to rise from the bushes and give an order to fire, and immediately a volley, coming from the brow of the hill, followed by a very rapidly delivered fire from their artillery, announced the fact that the enemy had taken a stand on his own ground. The 14th and 7th Indiana regiments formed under the fire, and with the utmost rapidity began to return it, our sharpshooters picking off numbers of the enemy, whose fire went almost entirely over the heads of our men, the shot from three rifled guns cutting off the trees from two to four feet over the heads of the troops in position. The 14th Ohio, being nearest the ford, were almost exclusively aimed at, and for a while the iron hail above them was terrible, the roar of the guns across the river, the crashing of trees, shells bursting, and volley upon volley of musketry making “war's fell music” for at least twenty minutes. Yet the men stood like stones, and returned fire with the greatest rapidity and the best of order. Not a man flinched. Meantime, Burnett's artillery came up and opened, and under cover of their well-directed fire, the 7th Indiana was directed to cross the river and climb the steep, almost perpendicular face of the bluff, on the enemy's right. The order was in process of execution, and two companies had nearly scaled the cliff, when they were directed to return, and Capt. Benham directed them to take down the bed of the stream, under the bluff, and between, but below, the fire of both armies, and turn the enemy's right flank. No sooner said than it was undertaken. Col. Dumont led his men down the stream so rapidly that the enemy were unable to bring their guns to bear upon them until they were concealed by the smoke, and out of reach of the depression of the guns on the bluff. Meantime the 14th Ohio and the 9th Indiana, with the artillery, kept up a brisk fire in front, until, with a cheer, Col. Dumont's men scaled the lower bank of the enemy's right, and poured in a volley. No sooner were our boys seen coming over the brink of the river bank than the entire force of the enemy, variously estimated at from 3,000 to 4,000, fled in the wildest confusion. On came the regiments and artillery from beyond the river, and our whole force joined in a hot pursuit. After leading along about a quarter of a mile the road again crosses the stream, and at this point Gen. Garnett endeavored vainly to stop his routed troops and rally them around him. Major Gordon, of the 7th Indiana, leading the advance, reached the bank in pursuit among the first, and, discovering a point from which fire could be effectively delivered, called up Capt. Ferry's company of his regiment, and ordered them to fire. Garnett stood near the river bank, and fell, shot through the heart. A Georgia boy was the only one who fell near him. The panic-stricken forces of the enemy abandoned the dead body of the General, and fled up the hill in utter rout. They were pursued about two miles, when our exhausted men were recalled. Gen. Morris, however, is to follow on to Rowlesburg. Crow Hill is situated beyond West Union, where, it is hoped, the remnants of the force will be secured. Garnett's body was brought to this place to-day, and properly cared for, and word has been sent to his friends that it is at their disposal. The rout and demoralization of the rebel army is most utter and complete. Our four columns — Cox's, up the Kanawha, McClellan's, over the mountains at Huttonsville, and Morris's and Hill's, along Cheat River — are all following up the advantage, and moving on.
Grafton, Virginia, July 15, 1861.“The day after the battle,” and all was quiet, where but a few hours before armies had contended. The dead of the enemy were collected on the field and buried, with those who died at the hospital, at night. The brave young Georgian who stood by the side of his equally brave General when the Virginians slunk away at the presence of our troops, was honored with a separate burial in the orchard back of Mr. Carrick's house. A simple tomb, with an inscription in pencil to note his bravery in that deadly hour, marks his place of final rest. The body of General Garnett was placed in a substantial coffin of rough boards, and it was determined to forward it to Rowlesburg, and thence to Grafton, where a metallic coffin could be procured, and the remains preserved subject to the order of his friends. General Garnett was a cousin of the noted ex-Congressman, and was purely a military character by choice and education. He graduated at West Point in 1841, at the same time with one of General Morris's staff, who was for a time his room-mate. He distinguished himself in the Mexican war, and has since held important positions in the service of the Government and his native State. He chose to strike the hand that had bestowed honors upon him, and prove that if republics are sometimes ungrateful there are those who can be ungrateful to republics. In person General Garnett was about five feet eight inches, rather slenderly built, with a fine, high arching forehead, and regular and handsome features, almost classic in their regularity and mingled delicacy and strength of beauty. His hair, almost coal black, as were his eyes, he wore long on the neck, in the prevailing fashion among the Virginia aristocracy. His dress was of fine blue broadcloth throughout, and richly ornamented. The buttons bore the coat of arms of the State of Virginia, and the star on his shoulder-strap was richly studded with brilliants. Major Gordon was detailed to convey the body to Grafton, via Rowlesburg, and to return his sword, (evidently a family relic, and presented by Gen. George M. Brooke,) and other personal effects, to his family. The correspondents of the Commercial and Gazette, and Mr. Ricketts, (one of four brothers in the Indiana Seventh, all as brave and true men as are in the army,) were to act as escorts. A mule team, attached to an ambulance which had been captured the previous day, were the best outfit we could find for the purpose of the 30 miles of rough mountain travel before us. Shaking hands with a host of friends we had formed in the army, we started on our journey a little before noon on Sunday. Our progress was exceedingly slow, owing to the intolerable condition of the road, but we hoped to make better time after passing St. George, where, we were informed, we would reach the pike leading to Rowlesburg. For four miles out we followed the track of the rebel fugitives, who, fearing to go to St. George, struck off in a bye-road at Horseshoe Run, with the intention of crossing the mountains into Hardy County, and proceeding to Winchester to join General Johnston. The road they had taken was impracticable to wagons and artillery, and we were informed by a Union woman at the ford near Horseshoe Run that they had left their baggage train two miles up the river, of which fact Gen. Morris was advised by a special courier. The lady told us that a few days before the rebels had come to her husband's house, and taken all his grain; that they returned next day, took his horse, tied his hands, and lashing him to another prisoner, marched him off between files of soldiers, while the officer rode his horse. The woman was nearly frantic, and begged us, if the rebels were captured, to return her husband to her alive. She further stated that many of their wagons were filled with wounded men, whose groans were heart-rending, and their blood dripping from the wagons along the road. Notwithstanding the outrages heaped upon her, she returned good for evil, and when the distressed fugitives begged at her door for an onion, a piece of bread, any thing to save them from actual starvation, she gave them all she had; and so eager were they, that when she put corn cakes on the griddle, they would snatch them off half baked, and “bolt” them while hot enough to blister their throats. But these instances of the terrible distress that surrounded them must answer, out of many similar incidents. Straggling parties were to be found in every direction, and our troops could, and probably did, take hundreds of them prisoners. We hoped for a better road after we left St. George, but were disappointed. The pike, so little travelled that grass grows in it now, follows the tortuous course of Cheat River, and through a country as wild and picturesque as that of Switzerland. The road is an eternal zigzag, creeping along the shelving steeps of the mountains, with so little room in many places that six inches from the track would plunge a vehicle a thousand feet down precipitate gorges and dismal ravines. At one place we came to two trees blown down by the tempest across the road, and by dint of hard lifting we succeeded in getting the wagon over. Had we failed in this, our only course would have been to turn back. When the sun went down we were still sixteen miles from Rowlesburg, with the most dangerous part of the road to travel. Once our hind wheels slipped off, and it was with the utmost difficulty that we prevented the whole going over a tremendous precipice. Proceeding at a snail's pace, we almost felt our way, and were aided over the most dangerous part of the road by two Union men, who, with their families, took to the woods on our first approach,  supposing us to be Secessionists. They were glad to do us any service. About eleven o'clock we approached the lines of our own pickets, though we could not tell exactly when we should meet their outpost. We were within four miles of Rowlesburg and two of Buffalo Creek, where seven companies of the Ohio Fifteenth were encamped. From some experience among pickets, I felt apprehensive that they would fire upon us, but Major Gordon felt sure they would halt us before firing, especially as we bore the flag of truce. We were jogging along pleasantly, Mr. Ricketts riding before, picking out the way, when pop, pop, pop, went several guns, within thirty paces, the bullets whistling unpleasantly close to our ears. We hallooed to them to stop firing, that we were friends without the countersign, bearing a flag of truce and important despatches. But they would not stop to listen. Under the impression that the enemy was coming on them in force, they ran to the camp with a frightful story. Presently we heard the long roll beaten, and the crash of trees, which were cut down to obstruct our passage. We held a council of war, picketed our horses, unhitched the mules, stuck our flag of truce up in the wagon, and took to the chapparel and hid behind logs. We very well knew that men so alarmed would do any thing desperate. Notwithstanding the novelty and peril of our position, some of us fell asleep, overcome with fatigue. I was awakened about three hours after by something crawling along the dead bark of the log, and it was exceedingly like the crawl of a snake, that doubtless intended to have a warm bedfellow. The woods abounded in rattlesnakes and copperheads, and I was not long in changing quarters. Shortly after a picket, under charge of an officer, came softly venturing out along the pike and walked up to our wagon. When they saw that it was' not cannon, and that a flag of truce waved over it, one faintly cried out, “Who's there?” --“Friends without the countersign,” replied the Major. “Come forward,” was the response, and he obeyed orders. After a long parley and explanation, the guard standing with muskets cocked, we were allowed to come forward, and were conducted to quarters. Soldiers were detailed to cut away the timber and bring in our horses and team, and in the light of new day we arrived at Rowlesburg, chartered a special train, and found ourselves at Grafton by ten o'clock. Thus ends the first campaign in Western Virginia, and my correspondence. The army of Gen. Morris was to return, via St. George, to Laurel Hill, and go into camp. The three months men will soon return home for reorganization. The grand army of the rebels, over 10,000 strong, in Northwestern Virginia, has melted away like mist in the morning. Utterly routed and scattered, the men are so demoralized that they never will stand fire if they should escape and join the army in the Shenandoah Valley or beyond the Blue Ridge. The probabilities are that they never will succeed in getting back. Hundreds will perish of hunger and exhaustion in the mountain wildernesses, and hundreds will desert and return to their homes or deliver themselves up as prisoners of war. It is the proper place at which to terminate a six weeks campaign. Hail and farewell.