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Doc. 3. battle of Cloyd's Mountain, Va.

A National account

Charleston, West Virginia, May 22, 1864.
B. R. Cowen, Adjutant-General, Ohio:
General: You have doubtless ere this been informed with reference to the operations of this division. I will, however, feeling sure that anything from the old Kanawha division will be of interest to you, add a short epitome of our operations for the past three weeks.

Our forces, consisting of three brigades of infantry, under command of Colonels Hays, White, and Sickels, and two battalions of artillery, left for Fayette on the twenty-eighth of April. The whole command moved from Fayette on the third of May. About three miles this side of Princeton, our advance guard, under my command, drove in a squad of the enemy's cavalry. Our advance exchanged shots with them every day until we reached Shannon's, which is about seven miles from Dublin, when we were informed that the enemy was in position with the intention of disputing the crossing of Cloyd's Net. General Crook ordered Colonel White's with a portion of Colonel Sickels' brigade, to move across the mountain and through the woods in order to flank the enemy. The remainder of the command was directed to move by the road. General Crook and staff accompanied Colonel White to examine the enemy's position. The route we took to the top of the mountain was exceedingly difficult, steep, and rocky, but from the top we obtained a view of the enemy's position which amply repaid the toil. We found them posted upon the slope of a hill under the edge of a wood, and in a position strong by nature and fortified by rail breastworks. We discovered nine pieces of artillery, apparently waiting impatiently for action. While reconnoitring, a large body of rebel troops, afterward found to be from Morgan's command, moved up and formed a line in rear of the first line of the enemy.

General Crook having satisfied himself, turned to Colonel White, handing him his glass, and at the same time said: “The enemy is in force and in a strong position. They may whip, but I guess not.” The remark, uttered so coolly and quietly, as he was giving Colonel White his last instructions, made us all confident of victory.

The colonel was directed to move along the crest of the mountain and turn the enemy's right. The portion of the Third brigade with Colonel White was sent to join our column, which was moving over the mountain by the road. As soon as our troops moving up in front were discovered, the enemy opened with artillery, and, though it was served with fearful accuracy, our loss from shells was very trifling. As fast as the column moved up the road it was formed in line of battle in the wood, in order to be concealed from the enemy, and thus to prevent excessive loss from his shells. The First brigade, Colonel Hays,.was formed in two lines of battle — the Twenty-third Ohio being in the first, and the Thirty-sixth Ohio and a portion of the Thirty-fourth Ohio in the second--and was to charge the enemy's right and centre as soon as Colonel White should commence the action on our left. The Third brigade, Colonel Sickels, was formed on the right of the First, and one regiment of the brigade was sent to gain the enemy's rear, on his extreme left. Our troops were formed in the woods, just beyond rifle range, and in order to move upon the enemy's line must charge across an open field of some fifty rods, then wade a brook, knee-deep, before reaching the foot of the hill upon which the enemy was posted.

While these movements were being made, [15] under General Crook's personal supervision, amid a terribly severe fire of shells Colonel White moved up, opened the fight just at the moment the order was given for the First and Second brigades to charge, the General himself leading the men. I wish I could describe the action at this moment. The crash of the musketry was terrific, the roar of the artillery deafening. The charge itself was never surpassed in gallantry, and though moving up under a fearful fire, hardly a man flinched. The enemy fought desperately, but not for,a single moment was the result doubtful. The enemy gave way utterly routed. The Twelfth Ohio and the Ninth Virginia, of Colonel White's brigade, and the Twenty-third Ohio, of Colonel Hays' command, lost fearfully. The Ninth Virginia, Colonel Duval, took two pieces of artillery, charging over the intrenchments, fighting the rebels hand-to-hand till they fled. The regiment left one hundred and eighty-seven, out of four hundred and fifty, on the battle-field dead or wounded. The Twenty-third Ohio lost one hundred and eight men, and the Twelfth Ohio eighty-seven men. We pursued the enemy about two miles, when we were met by a body of fresh troops from Morgan, but they were routed in a short time and fled in confusion.

We remained over night at Dublin Depot, and the next day fought with artillery across the New River at the railroad bridge. We again drove the enemy from the field, burned the bridge, and also the bridge at Central Station. We destroyed a large amount of quartermaster and ordnance stores. The battle, which is called the battle of Cloyd's Net, was fought on the ninth of May. I escaped without a scratch, though under the heaviest fire. Captain Hunter, Lieutenant Seaman, of the Twenty-third Ohio, Captain Channel, of the Twelfth Ohio, Captain Clark, of the Ninety-first Ohio, Captain Wetzel and Lieutenant Jenkins, of the Ninth Virginia, and Colonel Wolworth, of the Fourth Pennsylvania, are among the killed. Captain Williams, of the Twelfth Ohio, was severely wounded, and I fear will not recover.

We captured three hundred prisoners. General Jenkins, Lieutenant-Colonels Smith (son of Extra Billy) and Lynches are among the number.

After burning the New River bridge, we crossed the river to Blacksburg, and marching through the counties of Pulaski, Montgomery, Monroe, and Greenbriar, reached Meadow Bluff on the nineteenth of May. In crossing Peter's Rill we captured a train of thirty wagons and a piece of artillery from Jackson, and had he not been very good on the run, would have caught his entire command. Our loss in the battle at Cloyd Net was at least five hundred, and the enemy must have lost at least a third more, in addition to prisoners. We captured six pieces of artillery on the trip, three of which we brought away with us.

Very respectfully,


Another account.

headquarter's General Crook's command, Meadow Bluff, West Va., May 25.
This division of the army having returned from its recent expedition and encamped at this place, I was enabled to join it last evening, and to learn, through the kindness of General Crook and the officers of his command, all the particulars of their recent journey into Dixie, and of the success they met there.

First, as to the present condition of the army. It is encamped--one brigade being in Lewisburg, on Meadow Bluffs, fifteen miles north-west of the former place, while the men and horses are resting from the exhausting work of the past three or four weeks.

The whole command bear the marks of their long march through a mountainous country, with but little supplies. Indeed, at one time the rations were exhausted, and for several days they were forced to live upon the country. As soon as thoroughly rested and supplied, we are promised another expedition whose results I hope to report from my own knowledge. You will better appreciate the importance of the expedition, when told that its object is the destruction of the Newbern bridge, which has been attempted several times each campaign of the war, and every time has failed, To General George Crook was left the honor of succeeding where all others before him had failed.

On the second of May, the General and command left the Kanawha valley, to destroy the line of communication over the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad.

The column moved towards the railroad by way of Fayette and PrincetonWhite, to protect its right; General Averill, with a strong mounted force, marched by Logan Court House, intending to strike at Saltville, a branch railroad, and to destroy it and the main line to Dublin depot; this latter is the railroad station for the town of Newbern.

To deceive the enemy as to the route, General Crook sent the Fifth Virginia infantry, Colonel A. A. Tomlinson, with Lieutenant Blazer's scouts, on the Lewisburg road; so effectually was this done, that all rebel forces were withdrawn from the Princeton road, and no opposition was met until in the vicinity of Princeton, a small company of cavalry, after a skirmish with our advance, fled precipitately toward Rocky Gap. We entered Princeton May sixth.

So completely were the rebels deceived as to our line of march, that on the evening of the fifth McCausland's brigade had left Princeton for Lewisburg, leaving their tents standing, and the tools with which they had erected a strong fortification. These we destroyed and marched during the next two days to Shannon's bridge, on the north-western slope of Walker's or Cloyd's Mountain, where Colonel J. Holey, Seventh Virginia cavalry, with four hundred mounted men, joined the force. During these [16] two days straggling bands of guerillas fired occasional shots at the column, doing no damage.

Here the General was informed that the enemy were holding the summit of the mountain; and on the morning of the ninth, with the Second brigade, Colonel C. B. White, and two regiments of the third, he ascended the mountain to the left of the road, but found the enemy posted on a wooded spur of the mountain about three-fourths of a mile distant, and opposite to and commanding a point where the road debouched from the mountain. The Second brigade was sent to the left to turn the enemy's right flank, while, with the two regiments, the General joined the main body, by this time descending the slope of the mountain. The enemy all this time kept up a perpetual discharge of artillery whenever our men appeared. The Second brigade having many sharp, wooded ridges and deep gulleys to cross, was very much delayed when getting into position. The First brigade was then sent to the left of the road to form in the edge of the wood and support the right of the Second, while the Third formed on the right of the First. As soon as the Second brigade had fairly engaged the enemy, the other two brigades were ordered to charge. The hill was thickly wooded, steep, and was encircled by a stream of water from two to three feet deep, and was approached through a beautiful meadow five or six hundred yards in width. Across this the First and Third charged through a most galling fire of musketry and artillery. For a moment a part of the Third was thrown into confusion, but they soon rallied and came up in good style. On this meadow the gallant Colonel Wolworth fell.

At the foot of the slope the men plunged through the muddy creek, and crossed where they were under shelter from the enemy's fire. A moment's pause, and once more on hard up the ridge, in places ascending at an angle of sixty degrees, under the same withering fire. At the crest of the bridge the men rushed forward over the enemy's breastworks, the enemy bravely remaining and contesting every inch, the artillery men attempting to retreat when our line was within ten paces. Heaps of their dead lay behind their works, mostly shot in the head. Finally the enemy wavered and gave way before the impetuosity of our men, who followed them as fast as their jaded and worn-out condition would permit. Colonel Oley, with his four hundred cavalry men from different regiments, and horses — almost broken down — was ordered in pursuit, and did all that could be possibly done under such circumstances. “Had I but one thousand effective cavalry,” says General Crook, “none of the enemy could have escaped.” Two pieces of artillery and a great number of small arms were captured on the field. Moving on toward Dublin, we encountered some five hundred or one thousand of Morgan's men, who had just arrived on the cars from Saltville; these were soon driven to a rapid flight after their comrades. At Dublin depot we found no enemy, all had fled to the New River bridge.

In the Cloyd's Mountain battle the enemy numbered from four to seven thousand, under the command of General A. G. Jenkins. A rebel Captain, mortally wounded and prisoner, stated that their force outnumbered ours. The prisoners taken were from fourteen different regiments. We buried over two hundred of their dead, and captured two hundred and thirty prisoners, besides the wounded. General A. G. Jenkins and Lieutenant-Colonel Smith fell into our hands, and were paroled to report at Charleston as soon as capable of removal.

Our loss in killed was one hundred and seven; wounded, five hundred; missing, twenty. Most of the latter straggled back to the hospital. Owing to the lack of transportation, it was found necessary to leave two hundred of the most seriously wounded in a hospital near the battle-field, with whom ample supplies and medical attendance were left. Colonel Woolworth, of the Fourth Pennsylvania reserves, fell while leading his men across the meadow. The Ninth Virginia, Colonel J. H. Duvall, lost one-third of its number in killed and wounded while in the same charge.

At Dublin a great amount of rations and cavalry equipments of all kinds fell into our hands, and here the General saw despatches from Richmond stating that Grant had been repulsed and was retreating, with which deceit their leaders had hoped to bolster up the weakened spirits of their men.

On the morning of the tenth the advance reached New River bridge, and found the rebels drawn up in line on the opposite side, having evacuated their works and burned the carriages of two siege guns. After an artillery duel of two hours, they retreated, when the bridge and public property in the vicinity were destroyed. Our loss here was one killed and ten wounded.

On the morning of the eleventh, fifty prisoners arrived from General Averill, with the report that he had been able to reach Saltville, but would strike the railroad at Wytheville. General Crook moved to Blacksburg on this day, and that night heard by courier from General Averill that he had met a large force and could not reach Wytheville, but would be at Dublin that night. Orders were sent to him to destroy the railroad moving towards Lynchburg, which was done for five miles, as far as Christiansburg. Averill rejoined Crook at Union.

Crossing the New River at Pepper's Ferry, the command started for Union through a drenching rain. At the crossing of the road from the Narrows of New River, we met Mudwall Jackson, with fifteen hundred men, who fled toward the Narrows, leaving knapsacks, camp and garrison equipage, etc., in our hands. Owing to the impassable condition of the roads — the mud being hub deep — and the worn out and almost starved condition of the mules, it was found [17] necessary to destroy part of the loads. The General regards the bringing through of the train with such slight loss as one of the most remarkable features of the expedition, and as reflecting great credit on the Quartermaster's department. On Peter's Mountain a cannon and eight or ten wagons and ambulances, abandoned by Jackson, were taken. Nine days were occupied in coming from Blacksburg to Union, which, were it not for the rains, could have been done in four. On arriving here many of the men were barefoot, and the whole command was entirely out of provisions and had been subsisting for several days on the country.

Such was the expedition — as far as I have been able to learn from the reports of the commanders engaged. It was completely successful in its object, and that was no small one. The supplies destroyed, the line of communications broken, over which troops could be, and have been, hurried either way, to succor either Lee or Johnston; the rebel General Jenkins killed, whose name has been a tower of strength to the cause in West Virginia; the armies broken up and scattered — all unite to render this no small link in the great chain of disasters binding our foe. From its success we augur still greater success for the second, which we hope soon to start. Rest and rations are rapidly restoring the men to their usual vigor and elasticity. Reinforcements have already joined us, and already we feel the flush of certain victory.

The following is a summary of killed and wounded, furnished by Dr. E. M. Kellogg, Chief Division Medical Director of General Crook's command:

List of casualties.

First brigade.    
Twenty-third Ohio 21 78
Thirty-sixth Ohio 4 19
Thirty-fourth Ohio 3 23
Second brigade.    
Ninety-first Ohio 2 25
Ninth Virginia 45 125
Twelfth Ohio 9 69
Fourteenth Virginia 13 62
Third brigade.    
Third Pennsylvania Reserves 3 37
Fourth Pennsylvania Reserves 6 33
Eleventh Virginia 1 14
Fifteenth Virginia 1 18
Total casualties in First Brigade 28 118
Total casualties in Second Brigade 67 285
Total casualties in Third Brigade 11 102

Grand total.

  killed wounded. missing.
Infantry 109 505  
Artillery   8  
Cavalry 17 72 34

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