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Doc. 150. Massacre at Guyandotte, Va.

Adjutant wheeler's report.

the undersigned, acting as Adjutant of the Ninth Virginia regiment, would beg leave respectfully to report, that, on Sunday evening, the 10th Nov., a little after seven o'clock, the said regiment, consisting of only one hundred and fifty men yet in camp, was completely surprised by seven hundred cavalry, under command of Jenkins, the guerilla chief, and cut to pieces or captured, with the loss also of about thirty horses, a small stock of Government stores, and two hundred Enfield rifles. The dead and wounded on either side could not be clearly ascertained, but supposed to be ten or twelve killed, and twenty or thirty wounded. The enemy captured seventy prisoners, and their loss in killed and wounded was equal to, if not greater than ours. They left one of their captains dead in the street. His name was Hubbell, or a name similar in sound.

Three other bodies of the enemy were found in the street, and they were seen to throw several from the suspension bridge into the Guyandotte, killed by our men while they were crossing the bridge, besides a wagon load was hauled off in the night. Three of our dead were found--one was known to be shot one mile above town, on the bank of the Ohio River, and four in crossing the Guyandotte River. Several others are missing, and are supposed to be killed. Among the number is Capt. G. W. Bailey, of Portsmouth, who commanded a company in the railroad masked battery affair at Vienna, and also at Bull Run. Among those taken prisoners, are the Hon. K. V. Whaley, who was in command of the place; T. J. Heyslip, Clerk in the Quartermaster's Department; Capt. Paine, of Ohio, who was one of the first three to plant the Stars and Stripes on the walls of Monterey, in Mexico; and Capt. Ross, of Ironton, an intelligent Scotchman. Captain Thomas, of Higginsport, Ohio, is supposed to be taken; and also Dr. Morris, of Ironton, the first Surgeon.

The rebels also arrested and took with them the following Union citizens, after having first taken and destroyed their goods: Wm. Dowthit, merchant, and his son; Dr. Rouse, druggist, who was also a Commissioner of the Federal Court; Albert White, and perhaps some others. At Barboursville they captured John W. Alford, candidate for the Legislature; Matthew Thompson and all his goods; old Mr. Kyle and Morey. These prisoners were lashed together and compelled to walk. Among their other cruelties, I will mention one incident: James E. Wood, a citizen of the place for many years, but now in the army, had his hand shot off. He was then run over by the cavalry and his hips put out of place, but he managed to get to the middle of the suspension bridge, jumped off and swam to the opposite shore of the Guyandotte, where he was taken and his hands tied behind him and refused any thing to eat, until a secession woman almost compelled them to allow her tominister to his wants; and when they marched off, he was compelled to march afoot in his disabled condition.

The attack was so sudden and unexpected, that not more than forty of our men got into [355] line to resist them. Others, however, fought them singly, and those only made their escape, who were satisfied at the start that the number of the enemy was too great to contend against, and fled immediately, except in a few instances, where they hid under houses and log piles until the enemy retired. Some fifty or sixty are known to have got away, and perhaps others will turn up.

The rebels held the place until about ten o'clock the next morning, when the S. B. Boston came up with about two hundred of the Fifth Virginia regiment, under Col. Zeigler. They were joined by a number of the Home Guards, of Lawrence County, Ohio, who had assembled at Proctorsville, opposite, to prevent the rebels from landing in Ohio, which they had threatened to do.

On the arrival of the Boston, some shots were fired at her from Guyandotte, which were answered by a shot from a small two-pounder, sending a ball through a rebel's brick house. The rebels immediately left on double-quick time, and the hypocritical secession citizens, who had been instrumental in getting up the attack, came on the bank of the Ohio with a great number of white flags, which they waived quite enthusiastically, supposing they could still deceive our brave Union men, who had plead for them and saved their property from destruction, but it was all in vain.

Their destruction was decreed by an indignant people, and three regiments would not have prevented them from burning the town. Our troops passed over; a few shots were fired at the rear guard of the retreating rebels, and a few arrests made of leading secessionists, among them H. H. Miller, who had been for some time with the rebel army, and came in with Jenkins and got trapped at home; E. A. Smith, who was seen firing with a revolver on our soldiers in the street; John S. Everett, who shot at one of our soldiers swimming the Guyandotte, and several others. And then the town was soon in flames. No Union man's house was set on fire, but several caught from the others. The town is, at least three-fourths of it, burnt up. All the stores, the hotel, and the finest dwelling houses, are in ashes.

It is supposed that Jenkins went with his force to his own plantation, as the next night his warehouse was thrown open, a large fire burning in front of it, and a man with a lantern under the bank, hailed the steamboat Moderator, but our captain was not quite green enough to be caught in that secesh trap. He, however, rang the bell twice, as though he were going to land. But ten or twelve men showed themselves, and there is very little doubt that the warehouse was full of his ragamuffin crew.

When I left, there was a report that three thousand infantry of the rebel army were at Barboursville, marching on Guyandotte, but I supposed it to be a false rumor.

Yours, most respectfully,

Mr. Wheeler says, in addition to what he has written, that the first intimation he or any one else had of the attack upon the town — all was confusion, and indiscriminate fighting was going on in the streets. The attack was made about seven o'clock in the evening, and in a short time the rebels had formed their lines around the town. Mr. Wheeler made his escape, in company with his little boy, by running into a cornfield with a heavy fire in his rear. He walked all night before he met a man whom he dared to approach upon the subject of crossing the river. When he did finally encounter a Union (?) man, he had to employ the persuasive chink of the almighty dollar before he could be accommodated. Congressman Whaley acted gallantly, appearing in the streets and urging his men to resistance. The secession citizens who knew of the contemplated attack, had succeeded in completely deluding Whaley's men. There was not a single picket out at the time of the attack, and no alarm was given.

Ironton Register account.

Our neighboring town of Guyandotte, Virginia, opposite the upper part of this county — a town of about one thousand inhabitants when the war began — was the theatre of tragic events and terrible scenes last Sunday night and Monday. The town is two-thirds in ashes — hotels, business houses, and dwellings, all in one dreadful ruin. The people — nearly all of the bitterest and most violent secessionists and rebels, with scarcely “ten righteous” among them, far in advance, in rebel work, of any in all Western Virginia--the people have met with a terrible retribution, awfully severe, yet the fruit of their own works. What a reward is theirs! Ten of its leading men now prisoners in jail, their stores, hotels, and fine residences in total ruins, their families wanderers!

Col. K. V. Whaley, of Wayne Co., Va., was forming the Ninth Virginia regiment, with his camp at Guyandotte. He had altogether about one hundred and fifty men, but many were absent on furlough last Sunday. On Saturday, thirty-five men of the cavalry of Col. Zeigler's Fifth Virginia, under Lieuts. Feazzel and Shanley, joined him; and probably Col. Whaley had on Sunday night, when attacked, not to exceed one hundred and thirty-five or one hundred and forty men under his command in Guyandotte. Eighteen were in the hospital, mostly with the measles. The attack was sudden, and entirely unexpected, and his men were “taking it easy” --some at church, some sauntering about town, some asleep in their quarters, and only a “camp guard” out, no “pickets” out. In short, they were in a criminally careless condition, and, so far as Col. Whaley was concerned, merited to be “cleaned out,” and it was done, although there was abundant evidence of his gallant conduct in the fight. About eight o'clock in the evening the rebel guerilla cavalry of Col. Jenkins, in force estimated from four hundred to eight hundred--very good authority [356] puts it at eight hundred, but probably four hundred is nearer the actual number — suddenly fell upon Col. Whaley, from different directions. “Rally!” was instantly the word in Whaley's camp; the men gathered in squads, sheltering themselves behind buildings, embankments, and from the darkness of their various places of making “stands,” made a gallant resistance of over an hour, pouring a dreadful fire in upon their assailants in the streets. From their scattered condition at the onset, probably not many over one hundred Union men got to their guns — Enfield rifles, but those that did, fought desperately against four to one, and they only gave up the fight, at last, when overwhelmed by the superior numbers.

There was a sanguinary struggle at the bridge over the Guyandotte River, and those who have since visited the bridge report it covered with blood, as in a slaughter-house. Some of the Federal troops were killed here, and their bodies are said to have been thrown off the bridge into the river by their rebel antagonists. A reliable man, who was in the fight, tells us that one wounded man begged not to be thrown over, but he says, “I heard a splash.” Three of our men attempted to swim the Guyandotte River; two of them are reported shot; one did swim the river, but he received a bullet in the leg. One man was pulled out from under a house. Another concealed near says: “I heard an officer yell, ‘Here, shoot this d — d Yankee!’ ” Wm. Wilson, of Marion, in this county, is said to have been thrown from the bridge. He swam out, concealed himself, and after daylight the next morning, he with another man, having passed up under the bank of the Ohio, was shot from the house of Robert Stewart, a notorious rebel, just above Guyandotte, and wounded severely in the thigh. Wilson was lying at Fuller's, in Quaker Bottom, Monday night. Yells of the infuriated rebels were often heard, such as: “Don't let a man escape!” “Give 'em hell!” “Take no prisoners!” and language not best to repeat. There are reports of firing on our men from the windows in town; so men in the fight say.

The rebels pursued the squads, charging upon them around the corners, running down individuals, killing some, wounding others, taking others prisoners; and after the fight was over, they hunted many from places where they had attempted to conceal themselves. The rebel troops held possession of the town until about eight o'clock Monday morning, whom they left, just as the steamer Boston, with a portion of the Fifth Virginia, under command of Col. Zeigler, was about arriving, and other Union soldiers were gathering in; for the country, for thirty miles above and thirty below, had been alarmed.

We find it a difficult matter to arrive at the exact loss on either side, but probably can get fully as near to it as usual in such cases, perhaps nearer. The dead bodies of six--four Union, two rebels — have been brought down to Ceredo, one of them a rebel captain. They carried off their wounded, except one we hear of, said to be mortally wounded in the side. Also, they carried away, in wagons that belonged to Col. Whaley's men, several dead bodies. The names of the dead on our side, as far as we can learn, are James Massie, Wm. Vititoe, Pleasant Lunsford, all from the northeast part of this county, and John Malloy, an Irishman. We can arrive certainly at ten wounded on our side — among them Wm. Wilson, Clement Nance, George Sines, and Amos Lambert, of the northeast part of this county. The leg of Sines was broken by a ball. Also a man named Bragg was among the wounded. Dr. G. B. Bailey, of Portsmouth, who commanded the Portsmouth Company in the First Ohio, at the Bull Run defeat, is said to have been shot in the chin, and taken prisoner. He was acting as assistant surgeon in Col. Whaley's command. We know, leaving out of account any reported thrown into the river, that of the Federal troops five were killed, ten wounded--this positive; others probably killed and wounded. The rebel loss was probably greater, for they were exposed in the open streets, while our men fought from sheltered positions.

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