5th West Virginia Infantry
5th West Virginia Infantry
Battle and Service History of the 5th West Virginia Infantry, U.S. Volunteers
Service and Battle History of the 5th West Virginia Infantry, U.S. Volunteers, from Frederick Dyer's, A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion.
Organized at Ceredo, W. Va., September 2, 1861, and mustered in October 18, 1861. Served Unattached, District of the Kanawha, West Virginia, to March, 1862. District of Cumberland, Md., Mountain Department, to April, 1862. Milroy's Independent Brigade, Mountain Department, to June, 1862. Milroy's Independent Brigade, 1st Army Corps, Army of Virginia, to September, 1862. Defenses of Washington, D. C., to October, 1862. District of the Kanawha, West Virginia, Dept. Ohio, to January, 1863. Unattached, District of the Kanawha, West Virginia, to March, 1863. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 8th Army Corps, Middle Department, to June, 1863. 1st Brigade, Scammon's Division, Dept. of West Virginia, to December, 1863. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, West Virginia, to April, 1864. 1st Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, West Virginia, to November, 1864.
SERVICE.-Duty at Ceredo and in the Kanawha Valley, W. Va., to December 10, 1861. Moved to Parkersburg, W. Va., December 10, thence to New Creek, W. Va., February, 1862. Linn Creek, Logan County, February 8. Duty at New Creek till May. Joined Milroy's Brigade May 2. Battle of McDowell May 8. Near Franklin May 10-12 and May 26. Battle of Cross Keys June 8. At Strasburg June 20-July 5. Advance to Luray July 5-11. Moved to Sperryville July 11, thence to Woodville July 22, and duty there till August 9. Battle of Cedar Mountain August 9. Cedar Run August 10. Pope's Campaign in Northern Virginia August 16-September 2. Fords of the Rappahannock August 20-23. Freeman's Ford, Hazel River, August 22. Johnson's Ford August 22. Waterloo Bridge August 24-25. Gainesville August 28. Groveton August 29. Bull Run August 30. Duty in the Defenses of Washington, D. C., till September 29. Moved to Beverly, W. Va., September 29-October 9. Parkersburg October 10. Duty at Ceredo till March, 1863. Scouting Little Kanawha and east side of Big Sandy Rivers. Ordered to Wayne Courthouse March. Hurricane Creek March 28. At Charlestown, Barboursville, Hurricane Bridge and other points in the Kanawha Valley till April, 1864. Scammon's demonstration from the Kanawha Valley December 8-25, 1863. Crook's Raid on the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad May 2-19, 1864. Rocky Gap May 6. Battle of Cloyd's Mountain May 9. New River Bridge May 10. Blacksburg May 10. Union May 12. Meadow Bluff May 24. Hunter's Expedition to Lynchburg May 26-July 1. Lexington June 11-12. Buchanan June 14. Otter Creek June 16. Diamond Hill June 17. Lynchburg June 17-18. Buford's Gap June 19. Salem June 21. Moved to the Shenandoah Valley July 13-15. Kablestown July 19. Battle of Kernstown, Winchester, July 23-24. Martinsburg July 25. Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign August 6-November 1. Strasburg August 15. Summit Point August 24. Halltown August 2. Berryville September 3. Battle of Opequan, Winchester, September 19. Fisher's Hill September 22. Battle of Cedar Creek October 19. Consolidated with 9th West Virginia Infantry November 9, 1864, to form 1st West Virginia Veteran Infantry (which see).
Regiment lost during service 4 Officers and 57 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 2 Officers and 88 Enlisted men by disease. Total 151.
Service and Battle History of the 5th West Virginia Infantry, U.S. Volunteers, from Theodore Lang's Loyal West Virginia, 1861-1865.
The Fifth West Virginia Infantry was organized at Ceredo, W. Va., during the summer of 1861, and was mustered into the United States service October 18, 1861, with the following field officer: John L. Zeigler, colonel; Stephen P. Colvin, lieutenant-colonel, and Ralph Ormstead, Major. The regiment was engaged in protecting the loyal citizens of the Kanawha Valley, and ridding it of the Confederates, until ordered to Parkersburg on December 10. A principal part of the regiment was sent to New Creek and in February, 1862, accompanied Colonel Dunning of the Fifth Ohio, commanding brigade, on his expedition to Moorefield, against Colonel Harness of the Confederate army. On the 2d of May, the regiment left New Creek, and went to McDowell, joining the command of General Milroy, and taking part in the battle at that place, and after that battle became a part of General Milroy's brigade. They remained with the brigade all through Pope's campaign, participating in all the battles in which the brigade took a part, from Cedar Mountain to the second battle of Bull Run, both officers and men being conspicuous for their soldierly conduct while in camp and on the march, and for gallantry upon the battlefield.
The regiment returned to the Kanawha Valley in October, 1862, and was detached from Milroy's brigade, and in May, 1864, it became a part of General Crook's command, participating in his expeditions. It took a part in General Hunter's advance on Lynchburg, and the battle at that place June 18. Returning, it proceeded with General Hunter's army to the Shenandoah Valley, forming a part of the Army of West Virginia under General Crook in the brigades commanded by Col. I. H. Duval, Ninth W. Va. Infantry, and Col. Rutherford B. Hayes, 23rd Ohio Infantry. Colonel Hayes commanded the brigade for several months, during which time he fought a number of closely contested battles. The survivors of the regiment have cause for congratulation that they had served under a commander who not only illustrated the highest idea of the true soldier while on the field of battle, but when the war was over and the people of the nation had called the commander of the First Brigade, Army of West Virginia, to the Presidential chair, he illustrated the same high idea of American statesmanship in the exalted civil position he had shown on the battlefield.
On the 9th of November, 1864, the Fifth and Ninth West Virginia Infantry were consolidated by order of the War Department, and designated the First Regiment West Virginia Veteran Infantry, and were mustered out of service July 21, 1865. The regiment lost during the war, killed and died of wounds four officers and 57 enlisted men; died of disease and accident, two officers and 88 enlisted men. Total, 151.
Extracted from the The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies
CAMP BUCKNER, October 14, 1861.
I have information that General Zeigler has advanced from mouth of Sandy to Louisa, Ky., with 1,500 men. Our friends are assembling at Prestonburg1---4,000 or 5,000, with less than 2,000 home guns---needing powder, lead, and buckshot; without organization. A general officer needed. A timely move may save that country.
F. K. ZOLLICOFFER2,
(The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Ser. 1, Vol. 4, Chapt. 12, p. 448; hereafter, this source will be referred to as O.R.)
1. Prestonsburg was the site of a Confederate recruiting camp in East Kentucky. The aggregation of Rebels at that location would be the nucleus of the first version of the 5th Kentucky Infantry, and, later, the 10th Kentucky Cavalry (May's-Trimble's-Diamond's), Ben Caudill's 13th Kentucky Cavalry, and at least parts of two Kentucky Mounted Rifle Battalions.
2. Felix Zollicoffer was a Tennessee politician and newspaper editor, originally against the idea of the dissolution of the United States. Events convinced him otherwise and he accepted a commission in the Confederate army. He was killed on January 19th, 1862, at the Battle of Mill Springs, just west of Somerset, Kentucky.
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA,
Adjutant-General's Office, Wheeling, November 13, 1861.
The undersigned, adjutant of the Ninth Virginia Regiment, a new regiment just forming at Guyandotte, Va., would beg leave respectfully to report that on Sunday evening, the 10th instant, just after 7 o'clock, the said regiment, consisting of only 150 men yet in camp, was completely surprised by 700 cavalry, under command of Jenkins, [Clarkson], the guerrilla chief, and cut to pieces and captured, with the loss also of about 30 horses, a small stock of Government stores, and 200 Enfield rifles. The dead and wounded on either side could not be clearly ascertained, but supposed to be 10 or 12 killed and 20 or 30 wounded. The enemy captured 70 prisoners and their loss in killed and wounded was equal to if not greater than ours. They left one of their captains dead on the street. His name was Hubbell, or a name similar in sound. Three other dead bodies were found in the street, and they were seen to throw several from the Suspension Bridge into the Guyandotte River, 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 have been shot 1 mile above town, on the bank of the Ohio River, and 4 in crossing. Several others are missing and supposed to be killed. Among the number is Capt. G. B. Bailey, of Portsmouth, Ohio, who commanded a company under Colonel McCook at Vienna and Bull Run, and was to have been the lieutenant-colonel of this regiment. I have since learned that his body was found in the river near the mouth of the Guyandotte.
Among those taken prisoner are the Hon. K. V. Whaley, member of Congress, who was in command of the post; T. J. Hayslys [Hayslip], esq., quartermaster-sergeant ; Capt. Uriah Payne, of Ohio, who was one of the first three to plant the American flag on the walls of Monterey, in Mexico, and Captain 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 enemy also arrested and carried off the following Union citizens, after having first taken and destroyed their property: William Dowthit, merchant, and his son; Dr. Rouse, druggist, who was also a commissioner of the Federal court; Albert White, and perhaps others. At Barboursville, the county seat of the same county, they captured John W. Alford, a candidate for the legislature; Matthew Thompson, a merchant, whom they stripped of all his goods; old Mr. Kyle, a gunsmith, and Mr. Morey, a tanner.
The attack was so sudden and unexpected that not more than 40 of our men got into line to resist them. Others, however, fought them singly, and all who got into the fight at all exhibited commendable courage and contended against the overwhelming force with which we were surrounded for more than one hour, and those only escaped who were satisfied at the beginning of the overwhelming number of the enemy and fled immediately, except in a few instances, where they hid under houses and log piles, and were not discovered. Some 50 or 60 are known to have got away, and perhaps others will yet come in.
The rebels held the place until about 8 o'clock the next morning, when the steamboat Boston came up with about 200 of the Fifth Virginia Regiment, under Colonel 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 from a small cannon aboard, 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 with great apparent earnestness. Our troops passed over, fired a few shots at the retreating rebels, whose rear was still in sight, and the armed citizens from Ohio set fire to the town, and a large portion of it in value was burned up. All our papers, books, rolls, &c., were captured. Respectfully submitted.
J. C. WHEELER,
Adjutant Ninth Virginia Regiment of Vols., U. S. Army.
[To:] General W. S. ROSECRANS.
(O.R., Ser. 1, Vol. 5, pp. 411-2)
NOVEMBER 24, 1861.
Col. W. B. Hazen, Gallipolis, Ohio:
Zeigler's detached companies return to Ceredo; the Thirty-fourth Ohio occupies Barboursville. Either of them can strike Front Hill and catch that cavalry. The only road known of here from Ceredo to Logan Court-House is by Louisa and Sandy. It is not less than 60 miles from Front Hill to Logan, through a mountainous country, traversed by streams, now swollen, and over roads that cannot be good. The expedition you propose with a regiment, in such weather and by such a route, seems to be likely to break down your troops and be unsuccessful. You will observe the distance from Front Hill is such that it would take you nearly three days, as the reads are, to Logan. You speak of returning by Barboursville. The Commanding General has ridden that road on horseback about this season of the year, and it took two full days to ride it. The road is utterly impassable for wheels, and nearly so for horses, the nearest mountain paths in many places twice or thrice fording the Guyandotte belly-deep to a horse, besides crossing several of its tributaries that have no bridges. As for sustenance along that route, he found it difficult to get feed for self and horse. You can now judge from this of the practicability of the march, and then all the cavalry have to do to escape is to get on their horses and ride back to Raleigh.
(O.R., Ser. 1, Vol. 5, pp. 663-4)
HDQRS. SCHENCK'S BRIGADE, MOUNTAIN DEPARTMENT,
Camp Franklin, May 14, 1862.
I have had the honor in my dispatches, heretofore transmitted through you, to inform the general commanding of my march with my brigade from Franklin to McDowell to the relief of Brigadier-General Milroy, who, with his force, fallen back to and concentrated at the last-named place, was threatened with attack by the combined armies of the rebel Generals Jackson and Johnson. By leaving my baggage train under a guard in my last camp on the road 14 miles from McDowell, I was able to push forward so as to make the whole distance (34 miles) in twenty-three hours. I added, however, but little numerical strength to the army I was sent to relieve. My brigade, consisting of but three regiments, and with several companies then on detached and other duty, brought into the field an aggregate of only 1,300 infantry, besides De Beck's battery, of the First Ohio Artillery, and about 250 of the First Battalion of Connecticut Cavalry. With this help I reached General Milroy at 10 a.m. on the 8th instant. I was, to use his own expression, "just in time." I found his regiments of infantry partly in line of battle in the plain at McDowell, covering some of the various approaches from the mountain, and partly disposed as skirmishers on the heights in front, and his batteries in position, expecting momentarily that the enemy would attempt to descend into the valley to attack him under cover of artillery that might be brought forward to command the place from different points.
A little observation served to show at once that McDowell, as a defensive position, was entirely untenable, and especially against the largely outnumbering force that was ascertained to be advancing; and if it had been otherwise there was no choice left on account of an entire destitution of forage. I determined, therefore, to obey, with as little delay as possible, your orders to fall back with the force of our two brigades to this place. Such a movement, however, could not with any safety or propriety be commenced before night, nor did it seem advisable to undertake it without first ascertaining or feeling the actual strength of the rebel force before us, and also, perhaps, taking some step that would serve to check or disable him from his full power or disposition to pursue. This was effectually done by our attack of his position on the mountain in the afternoon, and in the night following I was enabled to withdraw our whole little army along the road through the narrow gorge, which afforded the only egress from the valley in which McDowell is situated, in the direction of Franklin. This withdrawal we effected without the loss of a man and without the loss or destruction of any article of public property, except of some stores, for which General Milroy was entirely without the means of transportation.
I submit herewith the reports of Brigadier-General Milroy and of Col. James Cantwell, commanding the Eighty-second Ohio Volunteer Infantry, of my brigade, giving an account of the affair with the rebel forces that day and of the parts severally taken in the fight by the different regiments engaged.
At 3 o'clock, General Milroy having reported to me that his scouts informed him of re-enforcements continually arriving to the support of the enemy, concealed among the woods on the mountain, and that they were evidently making preparations to get artillery in position for sweeping the valley, I consented to his request to be permitted to make a reconnaissance. The force detailed for this purpose consisted of portions of four regiments of infantry of his brigade-- the Seventy-fifth, Twenty-fifth, and Thirty-second Ohio and the Third West Virginia-- and the Eighty-second Ohio, of mine, the latter regiment gladly receiving the order to join in the enterprise, although the men were exhausted with the long march from which they had just arrived, with want of food, sleep, and rest. The infantry was supported in a degree also by a 6-pounder of Johnson's battery, which General Milroy had succeeded in conveying to the top of one of the mountain ridges on his left. The movement resulted in a very sharp encounter with the rebels of which details are given in the accompanying reports. To those details I refer. I will only add, by way of general summing up, that, adding to the 1,768 of Milroy's brigade about 500 of the Eighty-second Ohio, which was the number in the action, the entire force we had engaged was 2,268. That these men were opposed to, I believe, not less than 5,000 of the enemy successively brought into action, besides their reserved force of some 8,000 in the rear; that the casualties on our part amounted in the aggregate to 28 killed, 80 severely wounded, 145 slightly wounded, and 3 missing, making a total of 256.
As the evening closed in, and it was ascertained that, from the unexpected severity and protraction of the fight, the ammunition of some of the regiments was almost completely exhausted, I endeavored in person to get a supply of cartridges to the men, and had three wagon loads taken some distance up the Staunton road for that purpose, but the only way it could reach them up the steep mountain side was to be carried by hand or in haversacks. I ordered up the road also the Fifth Regiment West Virginia Infantry, Colonel Zeigler commanding, of my brigade, to the relief of the other troops, if needed, and they most promptly and actively moved to the field, but it was not necessary to bring them into the action. The troops that were engaged, after fighting with a coolness and order and bravery which it is impossible to excel, and after pressing back the enemy over the mountain crest and maintaining unflinchingly and under the most galling and constant fire their ground until darkness set in, were then withdrawn under the immediate order of Colonel McLean, of the Seventy-fifth Ohio, leaving, as I believe, not a prisoner behind, for the 3 men reported missing are supposed to be among the killed.
We took 4 prisoners of the enemy. His loss in killed is thought by all engaged to have much exceeded ours. From prisoners since taken I have ascertained that his killed on the field was admitted to be not less than 30 and his wounded very numerous.
Among the rebels wounded I learn was General Johnson himself and at least one of his field officers. The colonel of a Virginia regiment is known to be among the slain.
Too much praise cannot be awarded to General Milroy himself; to Colonel McLean, of the Seventy-fifth Ohio; Colonel Cantwell, Eighty-second Ohio; Lieutenant-Colonel Richardson, commanding the Twenty-fifth Ohio; Major Reily, Seventy-fifth Ohio; Lieutenant-Colonel Swinney, commanding Thirty-second Ohio; Lieutenant-Colonel Thompson, Third West Virginia Infantry, and the officers and men of their several commands for their steady gallantry and courage manifested throughout the whole affair. No veteran troops, I am sure, ever acquitted themselves with more ardor, and yet with such order and coolness, as they displayed in marching and fighting up that steep mountain side in the face of a hot and incessant fire.
From McDowell I fell back by easy marches on the 9th, 10th, and 11th to this place, the enemy cautiously pursuing.
On a commanding ridge of ground 13 miles from McDowell, at the intersection of the road from that place with the turnpike to Monterey, I stopped from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the 9th, and made my dispositions to receive and repulse the attack of the rebels, who appeared in our rear, but they declined the undertaking.
While awaiting the arrival of the general commanding with re-enforcements at this point on the 11th, 12th, and 13th, the rebel army having advanced to within 2 miles of our position, we were kept constantly engaged in watchful preparation for an expected assault. I had my batteries and the forces so disposed as to feel confident of repelling any attack; but we had no collision, except some skirmishing with my pickets and portions of the infantry advanced on the range of hills to my right as I confronted the enemy's approach, and which resulted only in the loss of 2 men-- 1 of the Fifth West Virginia Regiment on the 11th, and 1 of the Third Regiment Potomac Home Brigade on the 12th-- on our side, and 4 or 5 of the enemy killed by our shells.
The approaches were so guarded as to prevent the enemy from getting his artillery into any commanding position, and in the night of the 13th he withdrew back along the turnpike road to the southward.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
ROBT. C. SCHENCK,
Col. ALBERT TRACY,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Headquarters Mountain Department.
(O.R., Ser. 1, Vol. 15, pp. 462-5)
HEADQUARTERS ARMY IN THE FIELD,
Mount Jackson, Va., June 12, 1862.
I arrived at this place to-day. My officers have been so much engaged with marching duties since the battle of the 8th, at Cross Keys, that full reports of that engagement have not been made to me. Still, wishing to give you a fuller account of that battle than that contained in my telegraphic dispatch, I make the following statement:
The forces under my command left Harrisonburg on the 8th instant, the advance consisting of the Eighth West Virginia and Sixtieth Ohio, being under the command of Colonel Cluseret, aide-de-camp, who was temporarily supported by the Thirty-ninth New York Volunteer Regiment of General Stahel's brigade.
At 9 a.m. the skirmishers of the advance discovered the enemy most advantageously posted in the woods at Cross Keys, on the road to Port Republic. A spirited bayonet charge was immediately made by the Garibaldi Guard, and his right driven back in some confusion. The main body of the army now coming up, General Stahel, commanding the First Brigade, of General Blenker's division, supported by the Third Brigade, General Bohlen commanding, entered the woods on our left with the Eighth, Forty-first, and Forty-fifth New York Volunteers and the Twenty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers. After an obstinate contest of three hours, during which the bayonet was used to extricate one of our batteries from more than three regiments of the enemy, and after some desperate struggles, in which canister-shot was used to repel him from an attempt to take Johnson's and Schirmer's batteries, the brigade (Stahel's) withdrew from the wood in good order, taking up another position under the support of Bohlen's and Steinwehr's brigades.
Meanwhile, on the right, Brigadier-General Milroy, with the Twenty-fifth Ohio, the Second, Third, and Fifth West Virginia, supported by the brigade of General Schenck, drove the enemy steadily forward until the withdrawal of General Stahel's brigade and the near approach of night prevented any farther advance. Colonel Cluseret, commanding the advance, maintained his position throughout the day, steadily resisting the attempts of the enemy to turn his flanks, until, at the approach of night, he was ordered to take position on the right wing. The enemy's force was so largely superior that he was enabled to attempt turning both flanks, and massed overwhelming forces against the brigade of General Stahel, on our left, with the obvious design of interrupting our line of communication. The plan was frustrated by the coolness and courage of our men.
Our troops slept on their arms through the night of the 8th, expecting to renew the contest at an early hour on the following morning. The enemy, however, retreated during the night, leaving behind on the field of battle the most of his dead and many of his wounded. His loss in killed, wounded, and missing cannot be less than 1,200. More than 200 dead were discovered in one field alone and buried by our men.
Our own loss amounts to 106 killed, 386 wounded, and 126 missing. Of these 43 killed, 134 wounded, and 43 missing are from one regiment, the Eighth New York Volunteers, which fought with the greatest bravery, and yielded ground only when opposed by four rebel regiments at once.
Our artillery, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Pilsen, aide-de-camp, was served with the greatest effect and precision, and contributed largely to the final result of the action.
Brigadier-Generals Milroy and Stahel and Colonel Cluseret deserve particular mention for the cool and effective manner in which their troops were handled. For a list of names deserving special commendation I refer to the reports of the brigade and division commanders.
Capt. Nicolai Dunka, one of my aides, and a brave and capable officer, was struck by a rifle-ball and instantly killed while carrying orders to a distant part of the field.
The steadiness and gallantry displayed by the army, after the hardships to which they had been exposed during their forced marches to the scene of action, elicited my warmest admiration, and I hope will give pleasure to the President.
J. C. FREMONT,
Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Washington, D. C.
(O.R., Ser. 1, Vol. 15, pp. 657-8)
HEADQUARTERS INDEPENDENT BRIGADE,
Near Fort Ethan Allen, Va., September 12, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the movements of my command since the departure from Woodville, Va., on August 8, 1862:
From the evening of the 13th to the 18th remained in camp on the banks of Crooked Creek. Nothing of importance occurred during the interval excepting the capture, on the 16th, of a lieutenant and 3 privates of the Second Virginia while on picket by a party of rebel cavalry. At 4 p.m. of the 18th received orders to prepare to fall back as far as Sulphur Springs, the enemy being reported as advancing in great force from Richmond. I soon had my brigade in readiness, and remained under arms until 4 a.m., when orders were received to move with my brigade in the rear, General Pope's command having required all night to withdraw.
On the 19th we marched all day, passing through Culpeper, and en-camping at midnight about 4 miles north of that place, on the Sulphur Springs road.
On the 20th at daylight resumed march toward Sulphur Springs, reaching there at 5 p.m. without any signs of the enemy in our rear.
Started on the morning of the 21st, with brigade in advance of corps, in the direction of Rappahannock Station, to re-enforce Banks and McDowell, who had thus far prevented the enemy from crossing the river at that point, and found a heavy artillery engagement going on. We arrived about noon, and were ordered to rest near General Pope's headquarters until a position in the field could be assigned me. About 2 p.m. I was ordered to advance toward the river and take position on the right of King's division. After advancing about a half mile my brigade was divided, yourself, general, taking two regiments along the road, myself moving with the other two through the fields, a small squad of rebel cavalry, who had been watching our movements from the edge of the woods in front of us, fleeing at our approach.
Upon arriving at the edge of the woods I halted my column and allowed the sharpshooters and skirmishers some five minutes in advance. I then started my two regiments, crossed the woods, about a quarter of a mile in width, and halted, finding ourselves on the right of the line of skirmishers then engaged, established by General Patrick, of King's division. Remaining here some two hours, the enemy making no demonstration, I fell back to the fields in the rear of the woods to rest for the night. In the mean while you, general, had placed my infantry and battery in position near the road on my right. Thus disposed of, we rested until the following morning.
On the morning of the 22d I was early ordered to take the advance in the direction of Freeman's Ford, about 1 ½ miles in front and to the right of us, where the enemy had massed the night previous, and were then holding the ford. When within a quarter of a mile of the ford, in order to reconnoiter and select position, I hurried forward, accompanied by my cavalry, being screened in my approach by a long belt of pines bordering on the river. Arriving at the edge of the pines I halted my cavalry, and, accompanied by my staff, crossed the road and ascended an eminence commanding the ford. Scarcely three minutes had elapsed when the enemy opened upon me from two batteries with grape and shell. I immediately hurried my cavalry across the road to a safe position, and ordered my battery, under Captain Johnson, forward on the double-quick. Too much praise cannot be awarded the captain for the promptness and skill exhibited in bringing his battery into position. In less than five minutes after receipt of the order he had his pieces in action amid a perfect shower of shot, shell, and canister from three of the rebel batteries, and in ten minutes after had silenced their heaviest battery. He continued engaging the enemy for about two hours, compelling them to constantly change the position of their guns, when, his ammunition having given out, I asked for another battery. Captain DeBeck's battery, of McLean's brigade, was sent me, he in turn being relieved by Captain Buell, of the reserve artillery, in about two hours. The enemy ceased firing about 3 o'clock p.m.
My infantry, which at the commencement of the action I had placed under cover of the woods on either flank of the battery, had suffered but little---some 2 killed and 12 or 13 wounded by canister and shell.
About 3 p.m., wishing to ascertain the cause of the enemy's silence, I determined to cross the river, and accordingly sent for my cavalry, numbering about 150 effective men. I then crossed the ford, sending a company of sharpshooters across and deploying them, ordering their advance up the hill occupied in the morning by the enemy's batteries, myself with my cavalry in the mean while going around by the road. Arriving at the summit of the hill, I discovered the greater part of the enemy's wagon train, accompanied by their rear guard, moving up the river in the direction of Sulphur Springs. Their cavalry, upon discovering us, gave the alarm, hurrying off their teams and stragglers in the greatest confusion. I posted a platoon of cavalry as vedettes, at the same time throwing forward 20 of my sharpshooters, who commenced skirmishing with their rear guard. Being merely reconnoitering, and not having sufficient force to pursue their trains, I ordered my two remaining companies of cavalry into line, under protection of the hill.
The remainder of the company of sharpshooters I deployed as skirmishers, ordering them to feel their way into the woods on my left. They had scarcely entered the woods when they met the enemy's skirmishers, and from their number and the length of their line I inferred that they had a large force to back them. Shortly after they opened a heavy fire to my left and rear beyond the woods I had thrown my skirmishers in, which I afterward learned was the attack of the enemy upon Bohlen's brigade, which had crossed the river below me. It now being sundown, and not being allowed to bring any force across, I returned, my brigade resting for the night without changing position.
At 7 a.m. 23d received orders to move in the direction of Sulphur Springs, my brigade bringing up the rear of the corps. When a short distance en route I was directed to take a road on my left, a rougher but shorter route to the Springs, the main body of the corps having continued on the main road. Upon coming into the main road again I found myself in advance of the corps. When within a mile of the bridge across Great Run I found our cavalry in line of battle behind the woods. Upon inquiring the cause, I was informed that the enemy were in force at and across the run and had fired on them. Upon this information I passed them with my brigade, and finding the rebel guns in position across the creek, I placed my battery in a commanding position on this side and commenced shelling them, at the same time throwing my infantry into the woods, who soon found and opened a brisk fire into the rebel infantry in front of them on our side of the creek, my men being exposed from the commencement to a cross-fire of grape and canister from a masked battery across the creek. But notwithstanding all these odds we soon forced them across the creek and to retire for protection behind their guns. The enemy having torn up the bridge, and it now being dark, I encamped my brigade for the night a short distance back from the banks of the creek.
Next morning, 24th, a strong pioneer party having been put to work on the bridge to repair for our artillery to cross, I crossed my infantry upon the sleepers, not waiting for my cavalry or artillery. I deployed a strong skirmishing party and was soon on the track of the enemy, who had fallen back during the night to their main body, which had crossed the river by the bridge at Sulphur Springs, my skirmishers advancing as far as the Springs. As soon as my infantry appeared on the heights commanding the bridge across Hedgeman's River the enemy, who were in position, opened fire from the opposite shore. I sent back for my battery and returned their fire. The other batteries of the corps soon coming up a general artillery engagement ensued, which resulted in our driving their gunners away, leaving their pieces very temptingly displayed. Wishing to take advantage of this unexpected opportunity in securing their guns, I had just crossed the bridge, with one of my regiments (the Fifth Virginia) following close behind, and when nearly in reach of the prize found myself in a hornet's nest. As if by magic the woods and hills became alive with the enemy; the deserted batteries were suddenly manned, and a semicircle of guns nearly a mile around us commenced pouring a steady stream of shell and canister upon the bridge. I called to my regiment, which was then crossing, to retire, which it did in very good order and rapid style. Our batteries immediately responded to their fire, thus drawing their attention away from us. In a moment the air was perfectly alive with shot and shell, and I took advantage of their elevation to join my command.
At this juncture I received orders to take the advance of the corps in the direction of Waterloo Bridge, 6 miles above Warrenton Springs. I got my brigade in motion and arrived at the bridge about 5 p.m. I placed Dieckmann's battery in position on a commanding eminence on the left of the road and near the bridge, immediately opening fire upon a rebel battery across the river, at the same time throwing my skirmishers down near the bridge and along the bank, where they were soon engaging the rebel skirmishers. Thus matters stood when darkness partially put an end to the firing, but the enemy opened on us furiously several times during the night with small-arms, which was promptly replied to.
On the morning of the 25th the batteries on both sides opened again, and continued through the day without serious loss to us. About 3 p.m. I received orders to burn the bridge at once at all hazards, and to this end brought forward my four regiments of infantry to engage the enemy's infantry, concealed in the woods near the bridge on the opposite bank. By keeping up a steady artillery and infantry fire I succeeded in covering a party firing the bridge, which, being of heavy oak, burned but slowly, and it was not till dark that the bridge was entirely consumed. We then received orders to march to Warrenton, my brigade to bring up the rear of the corps. We left about 9 p.m. and arrived at Warrenton next morning at daylight. Here we remained in camp until the morning of the 27th, when we received orders to take the advance in the direction of Gainesville.
My cavalry, upon arriving at Broad Run, within 4 miles of Gainesville, found the bridge on fire, and the rebel cavalry with one piece of artillery drawn up on the opposite side. Major Krepps, commanding my cavalry detachment, immediately ordered a charge, and after two successive charges succeeded in putting them to flight. By this time my infantry had arrived, and I set the Pioneer Corps to work repairing the bridge, which was executed with such promptness that in fifteen minutes after we were enabled to cross our artillery. Meanwhile I had pushed ahead with my cavalry and infantry in the direction of Gainesville. When within 2 miles of Gainesville I sent a platoon of cavalry with a regiment of infantry and a section of my battery to hold the road leading to Hay Market Station. With the rest of the brigade I continued on the main road, and upon approaching Gainesville found we had intercepted Longstreet from joining Jackson, Ewell, and Hill, who had just passed up the railroad toward Manassas Junction.
At Gainesville we took some 200 prisoners, stragglers from Jackson's army. I here received orders to halt my brigade for the night.
Next morning, 28th, took the advance toward Manassas Junction, arriving within a mile of the Junction at noon. I halted to await further orders. I accordingly turned my infantry aside into the shade of the woods, and sent my artillery ahead as far as the Junction, there being no water for them nearer. Upon visiting the railroad station at the Junction I found an immense amount of Government stores in cars, which were yet burning, having been set on fire by the rebels the night previous, after having helped themselves to all they could carry off. At 3 p.m. I received orders to join the balance of the corps, then marching in the direction of New Market. I accordingly moved across the country and soon overtook them. After marching about an hour skirmishing commenced in front. I was ordered to go forward and take position on Schenck's left, and pressed forward through the woods and underbrush in the direction of the rebel firing, which seemed to recede as I advanced. It finally grew dark, but I pushed forward in the direction of the firing, which had gradually grown into the thunder of a desperate battle. It becoming so dark, and the nature of the ground not admitting of my battery being pushed forward, I left it in charge of two companies of infantry, and started forward with my four regiments in the direction of the heavy firing, which suddenly ceased with great shouting, indicating, as we judged, a victory by the rebels. It being now 9 o'clock, and the darkness rendering the recognition of friend or foe impossible, I withdrew to my battery, which was on a line with the front of the corps, then fully a mile in my rear, resting my brigade here for the night.
On the following morning (the 29th), at daylight, I was ordered to proceed in search of the rebels, and had not proceeded more than 500 yards when we were greeted by a few straggling shots from the woods in front. We were now at the creek, and I had just sent forward my skirmishers, when I received orders to halt and let the men have breakfast. While they were cooking, myself, accompanied by General Schenck, rode up to the top of an eminence, some 500 yards to the front, to reconnoiter. We had no sooner reached the top than we were greeted by a shower of musket balls from the woods on our right. I immediately ordered up my battery and gave the bushwhackers a few shot and shell, which soon cleared the woods. Soon after I discovered the enemy in great force about three-quarters of a mile in front of us, upon our right of the pike leading from Gainesville to Alexandria. I brought up my two batteries and opened upon them, causing them to fall back. I then moved forward my brigade, with skirmishers deployed, and continued to advance my regiments, the enemy falling back.
General Schenck's division was off to my left and that of General Schurz to my right. After passing a piece of woods I turned to the right, where the rebels had a battery that gave us a great deal of trouble. I brought forward one of my batteries to reply to it, and soon after heard a tremendous fire of small-arms, and knew that General Schurz was hotly engaged to my right in an extensive forest. I sent two of my regiments, the Eighty-second Ohio, Colonel Cantwell, and the Fifth Virginia, Colonel Zeigler, to General Schurz' assistance. They were to attack the enemy's right flank, and I held my other two regiments in reserve for a time. The two regiments sent to Schurz were soon hotly engaged, the enemy being behind a railroad embankment, which afforded them an excellent breastwork.
The railroad had to be approached from the cleared ground on our side through a strip of thick timber from 100 to 500 yards in width. I had intended, with the two regiments held in reserve (the Second and Third Virginia Regiments), to charge the rebel battery, which was but a short distance from us over the top of a hill to our left, but while making my arrangements to do this I observed that my two regiments engaged were being driven back out of the woods by the terrible fire of the rebels.
I then saw the brave Colonels Cantwell and Zeigler struggling to rally their broken regiments on the rear of the forest out of which they had been driven, and sent two of my aides to assist them and assure them of immediate support. They soon rallied their men and charged again and again up to the railroad, but were driven back each time with great loss. I then sent the Second Virginia to their support, directing it to approach the railroad at the point on the left of my other regiments, where the woods ended, but they were met by such a destructive fire from a large rebel force that they were soon thrown into confusion and fell back in disorder. The enemy now came on in overwhelming numbers. General Carl Schurz had been obliged to retire with his two brigades an hour before, and then the whole rebel force was turned against my brigade, and my brave lads were dashed back before the storm of bullets like chaff before the tempest. I then ordered my reserve battery into position a short distance in the rear, and when five guns had got into position one of the wheel horses was shot dead, but I ordered it to unlimber where they were, and the six guns mowed the rebels with grape and canister with fine effect. My reserve regiment, the Third Virginia, now opened with telling effect. Colonel Cantwell, of the Eighty-second Ohio, was shot through the brain and instantly killed while trying to rally his regiment during the thickest of the fight.
While the storm was raging the fiercest General Stahel came to me and reported that he had been sent by General Schenck to support me, and inquired where he should place his brigade. I told him on my left, and help support my battery. He then returned to his brigade, and soon after being attacked from another quarter I did not again see him during the day. I was then left wholly unsupported, except by a portion of a Pennsylvania regiment, which I found on the field, and stood by me bravely during the next hour or two. I then rallied my reserved regiment and broken fragments in the woods near my battery and sent out a strong party of skirmishers to keep the enemy at bay while another party went forward without arms to get off as many of our dead and wounded as possible. I maintained my ground, skirmishing, and occasionally firing by battalion, during the greater part of the afternoon.
Toward evening General Grover came up with his New England brigade. I saw him forming a line to attack the rebel stronghold in the same place I had been all day, and advised him to form line more to the left, and charge bayonets on arriving at the railroad track, which his brigade executed with such telling effect as to drive the rebels in clouds before their bayonets. Meanwhile I had gathered the remnant of my brigade, ready to take advantage of any opportunity to assist him I soon discovered a large number of rebels fleeing before the left flank of Grover's brigade. They passed over an open space some 500 yards in width in front of my reserved regiment, which I ordered to fire on them, which they did, accelerating their speed and discomfiture so much that I ordered a charge. My regiment immediately dashed out of the woods we were in down across the meadows in front of us after the retreating foe, but before their arriving at the other side of the meadow the retreating column received a heavy support from the railroad below them, and soon rallying, came surging back, driving before their immense columns Grover's brigade and my handful of men.
An hour before the charge I had sent one of my aides back after a fresh battery--the ammunition of both my batteries having given out--which arriving as our boys were being driven back I immediately ordered them into position and commenced pouring a steady fire of grape and canister into the advancing columns of the enemy. The first discharge discomposed them a little, but the immense surging mass behind pressed them on us. I held on until they were within 100 yards of us, and having but a handful of men to support the battery, ordered it to retire, which was executed with the loss of one gun. I then rallied the shattered remnant of my brigade, which had been rallied by my aides and its officers, and encamped some three-quarters of a mile to the rear.
The next morning, 30th, I brought my brigade into the position assigned them, and remained in reserve until about 4 p.m., when I threw it across the road to stop the retreating masses which had been driven back from the front. I soon received an order to move my brigade off to the left on double-quick, the enemy having massed their troops during the day in order to turn our left flank. I formed line of battle along the road, my left resting near the edge of the woods in which the battle was raging. Soon our troops came rushing, panic-stricken, out of the woods, leaving my brigade to face the enemy, who followed the retreating masses to the edge of the woods. The road in which my brigade was formed was worn and washed from 3 to 5 feet deep, affording a splendid cover for my men. My boys opened fire on them at short range, driving the rebels back to a respectful distance. But the enemy, being constantly re-enforced from the masses in their rear, came on again and again, pouring in advance a perfect hurricane of balls, which had but little effect on my men, who were so well protected in their road intrenchment. But the steady fire of my brigade, together with that of a splendid brass battery on higher ground in my rear, which I ordered to fire rapidly with canister over the heads of my men, had a most withering effect upon the rebels, whose columns melted away and fast recoiled from repeated efforts to advance upon my road breastwork from the woods. But the fire of the enemy, which had effected my men so little, told with destructive results on the exposed battery in their rear, and it required a watchful effort to hold them to their effective work. My horse was shot in the head by a musket-ball while in the midst of the battery cheering on the men. I got another, and soon after observing the troops on my left giving way in confusion before the rebel fire, I hastened to assist in rallying them, and while engaged in this the battery took advantage of my absence and withdrew.
I had sent one of my aides shortly before to the rear for fresh troops to support this part of our line, where the persistent efforts of the rebels showed they had determined to break through. A fine regiment of regulars was sent, which was formed in the rear of my brigade, near the position the battery had occupied. The rebels came around the forest in columns to our right and front, but the splendid firing of the regulars, with that of my brigade, thinned their ranks so rapidly, that they were thrown back in confusion upon every attempt made. About this time, when the battle raged thickest, Lieutenant Esté and Lieutenant Niles, of General Schenck's staff, reported to me for duty, informing me that General Schenck had been seriously wounded and his command thrown back from the field. Most thankfully was their valuable assistance accepted, and most gallantly and efficiently did they assist me on that most ensanguined field until 8 o'clock at night in bringing up regiments, brigades, and batteries, cheering them on to action, and in rallying them when driven back before the furious fire of the enemy.
Shortly after sunset my own brigade had entirely exhausted their ammunition, and it being considered unsafe to bring forward the ammunition wagons, where the enemy's shells were constantly flying and exploding, and the enemy having entirely ceased their efforts to break through this part of the line and had thrown the weight of their attack still farther to my left, I ordered my brigade back some one-half of a mile to replenish their ammunition boxes and there await further orders. I remained on the field with Lieutenants Esté and Niles, my own having been sent to see to my regiments. The enemy continued their attacks upon our left until long after dark, which it required the most determined and energetic efforts to repel At one time, not receiving assistance from the rear, as I had a right to expect after having sent for it, and our struggling battalions being nearly overcome by the weight and persistence of the enemy's attack, I flew back about one-half mile to where I understood General McDowell was with a large portion of his corps. I found him and appealed to him in the most urgent manner to send a brigade forward at once to save the day or all would be lost. He answered coldly, in substance, that it was not his business to help everybody, and he was not going to help General Sigel. I told him I was not fighting with General Sigel's corps; that my brigade had got out of ammunition some time before and gone to the rear, and that I had been fighting with a half dozen different brigades, and that I had not inquired where or to what particular corps they belonged. He inquired of one of his aides if General ----- was fighting over there on the left; he answered he thought he was. McDowell replied that he would send him help, for he was a good fellow. He then gave the order for a brigade to start, which was all I desired. I dashed in front of them, waved my sword, and cheered them forward. They raised the cheer and came on at double-quick. I soon led them to where they were most needed, and the gallant manner in which they entered the fight and the rapidity of their fire soon turned the tide of battle. But this gallant brigade, like many others which had preceded it, found the enemy too strong as they advanced into the forest, and was forced back by the tremendous fire that met them. But one of General Burnside's veteran brigades, coming up soon after dark with a battery, again dashed back the tide of armed treason, and sent such a tempest of shot, shell, and leaden death into the dark forest after the rebels that they did not again renew the attack.
Perhaps some mighty cheering which I got our boys to send up about that time induced the rebels to believe that we had received such re-enforcements as to make any further meddling with our lines a rather unhealthy business. Feeling certain that the rebels had been completely checked and defeated in their attempts to flank us and drive us from the field, and that we could now securely hold it until morning, by which time we could rally our scattered forces and bring up sufficient fresh troops to enable us to gain a complete victory on the morrow--I felt certain that the rebels had put forth their mightiest efforts, and were greatly cut up and crippled--I therefore determined to look up my little brigade and bring it forward into position, when we would be ready in the morning to renew the contest, and renew the great, glorious drama of the war. I left the field about 8 o'clock p.m. in possession of our gallant boys, and with Lieutenants Esté and Niles started back in the darkness, and was greatly surprised, upon coming to where I expected to find my brigade, with thousands of other troops, to find none. I kept on half a mile farther in painful, bewildering doubt and uncertainty, when I found you, general, and first learned from you, with agonizing surprise, that our whole army had been ordered to retreat back across Bull Run to Centreville.
Comment is unnecessary. I felt that all the blood, treasure: and labor of our Government and people for the last year had been thrown away by that unfortunate order, and that most probably the death-knell of our glorious Government had been sounded by it. The highest praise I can award to the officers and soldiers of my brigade, in all the hard service and fighting through which we have passed, is that they have bravely, cheerfully, patiently, and nobly performed their duty. Colonels Cantwell, of the Eighty-second Ohio, and Zeigler, of the Fifth Virginia, deserve particular mention for their coolness and bravery in the long and desperate fight of the 29th with the rebels at the railroad. In the death of Colonel Cantwell the country, as well as his family, have sustained an irreparable loss. No braver man or truer patriot ever lived. He constantly studied the best interests of his soldiers and of the country, and his men loved, obeyed, and respected him as a father. Truly the loss of such an officer in these trying times is a great calamity.
I avail myself of this opportunity to return my thanks to the members of my staff, Captains Baird, Flesher, and McDonald, and Lieutenants Cravens and Hopper, for their promptness, bravery, and efficiency in the transmission and execution of orders. Captain Baird, unfortunately, in attempting to return to me on the field on the evening of the 30th, after dark, in company with one of my orderlies, Corporal Wilson, Company C, First Virginia Cavalry, took a wrong path, which led into the enemy's lines, and they were both captured and are still prisoners. My brigade surgeon, too, Maj. Daniel Meeker, is always at his post, whether in field of danger, camp, or hospital. His superior science, skill, and patient industry have proved the greatest blessing to our sick and wounded soldiers.
Lists of my killed, wounded, and missing have been sent you.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. H. MILROY,
Brig. Gen., Comdg. Indepdt. Brig., First Corps, Army of Va.
Maj. T. A. MEYSENBERG,
(O.R., Ser. 1, Vol. 16, pp. 315-23)
WASHINGTON, D. C., September 27, 1862.
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit a continuation of the report of the active participation of the First Division in the battles of the 29th and 30th ultimo.
I have already stated the position taken by the division after the battle of Friday, the 29th. We remained in this position until about 1 o'clock p.m. of Saturday, the 30th ultimo, when we were ordered to form column by division--by battalion. This was accomplished after some difficulty, occasioned by large bodies of troops pouring in from our rear getting in between the brigades, and causing great confusion and much counter-marching. After the movement was completed we stood as follows: To the right of the pike and to the rear of Dogan's farm, the Second Brigade in front of the First Brigade. We remained thus for some time, when you ordered us to detail one regiment to march to a point on the left of the road for the purpose of making a connection with General Reynolds, on our left. The Fifty-fifth Regiment Ohio Volunteers was selected by Colonel McLean, commanding Second Brigade, and proceeded, under the direction of one of your aides, to the designated place. Soon after you ordered us to send a battery, with a brigade to support it, across and to the left of the road, to occupy a bald hill. This order was executed by sending the Second Brigade, Colonel McLean, who placed his three remaining regiments on the slope of the hill, under cover and within easy supporting distance of the battery, which was placed on the crest.
General Stahel, commanding the First Brigade, at the same time marched forward and took position in advance of that but recently occupied by the Second, and on either side of Dogan's house, in the following order: Schirmer's battery on the crest of the hill, joining two other batteries that were already there, with the Forty-fifth, Twenty-seventh, and Eighth behind it to the right of the house, and the Forty-first Regiment to the left of the house and on the other side of the road. The Second Brigade had hardly taken their position on the bald hill when General Reynolds put his troops in motion, marching past their entire front to some point on the right or rear, thus leaving Colonel McLean on the extreme left without other support. This movement on the part of General Reynolds necessitated a change in the position of the troops, which was done by placing the battery in the center and two regiments on either side (the Fifty-fifth Regiment having rejoined the brigade), and deploying them in line of battle, fronting west.
It was at this time, while all attention was directed to the front, where General Porter was hotly engaged, that a heavy column of the enemy were seen advancing on McLean's front, driving before them a regiment of Zouaves, and also repulsing some other troops who advanced to meet them from his right. Colonel McLean now opened on them with his four pieces of artillery, throwing shell, and as they approached nearer, canister. The infantry also commenced a heavy fire, and in a short time they were compelled to retreat, which they did in great confusion. At this time a large force was seen advancing from a piece of woods to the left and rear, but they were supposed to be friends, from the fact of their clothes being dark. Soon after this another body of the enemy marched out of the woods across the position lately occupied by General Reynolds and commenced a heavy fire on the left flank, which was replied to with interest, and the contest became very severe. Almost at the same time those whom we had taken for our own men opened a heavy fire on our rear. General Schenck then gave the order to change front, so as to repel this attack. This maneuver was well executed, the regiments wheeling by battalion and coming up into line, fronting the enemy in fine order. It was about this time that you ordered General Milroy up to the assistance of Colonel McLean, but owing to some contradictory orders only one regiment, the Fifth Virginia, Colonel Zeigler, went up the hill, the Others going in a different direction.
The fight now raged fiercely, but so heavy and continuous a fire was delivered by the Second Brigade that the enemy were again compelled to retire. Our men followed them closely, and would undoubtedly have driven them from the field had it not been for another force of the enemy which was seen advancing on the right flank from the point where they had first been driven back--the late front. It was about this time that General Schenck was wounded and carried off the field. He had been in the thickest of the fight, cheering and rallying the men, and at the moment he received the wound he was gallantly leading on a regiment of Pennsylvania troops to the support of McLean.
The tide of battle now turned. After fighting most successfully against superior and steadily increasing numbers without any support, and their right flank threatened, they were compelled to retire. The order was given, and they fell back across the bald hill, and, following the road toward Centreville, halted at a white house on the left of the road a half mile from the stone house, where they commenced to reorganize.
It was about the time that the Second Brigade was retiring from the bald hill that General Stahel was ordered to send a regiment to its support. The Forty-first New York, and about the same time Colonel Koltes' brigade, of General Schurz' division, followed a short time after by Colonel Krzyzanowski's brigade, marched up the hill, but they arrived too late to render any assistance to McLean, and, after fighting most gallantly against heavy odds, were compelled to yield. The enemy followed up their advantage vigorously, took possession of the hill, and pressed steadily on the rood. General Stahel now moved the Eighth New York and Twenty-seventh Pennsylvania across the heights to the right and rear of Dogan's farm, leaving the Forty-fifth New York to protect Schirmer's battery, which he placed on the hill to the rear of Dogan's house, and directed its fire on the advancing enemy. The enemy still continued to approach. The Forty-fifth now changed their position to between the pike and Dogan's house, and succeeded in checking the enemy's advance and driving them back across the road. General Stahel then fell back, taking the road across the heights be hind the stone house to a position on the left (west) of the road, and here assembled his brigade. Colonel McLean soon after reported, and then General Stahel assumed command, on hearing that General Schenck had been wounded.
I am, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
WM. H. CHESEBROUGH,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
(O.R., Ser. 1, Vol. 16, pp. 281-3)
GALLIPOLIS, October 20, 1862.
Maj. N.H. McLEAN,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Cincinnati:
Colonel Cranor reports from Guyandotte no rebels in that immediate vicinity, but from "2,500 to 4,000" reported in Wayne and Logan Counties. He is sending reconnoitering parties, and will soon report the foundation for these probably exaggerated reports. The Fifth Virginia, which was irregularly furloughed en masse by General Milroy, is collecting at Ceredo. Cranor has with him at Guyandotte the Fortieth Ohio, Eighty-fourth Indiana, and a squadron of cavalry.
Lightburn moved up the Kanawha to-day. I have ordered him to remove the obstructions in the river at Red House, 25 miles up, and push on, repairing roads, &c., as he goes. I am waiting General Morgan's troops, none of which have yet arrived. The reports from Clarksburg and beyond indicate belief in considerable rebel force near Monterey. Milroy's force not all concentrated there yet; he will move toward Beverly as soon as it is, Crook taking the direction of Summerville. The delays in getting stores over the railway are very embarrassing.
J. D. COX,
Major-General, Commanding District of Western Virginia.
(O.R., Ser. 1, Vol. 19, Pt. 2, pp. 458-9)
On October 31st, 1862, the 5th West Virginia Infantry, U.S. Volunteers, was stationed at Ceredo, West Virginia, near the mouth of the Big Sandy River.
Charleston, [W. Va.,] November 28, 1862.
Col. J. L. ZEIGLER,
Commanding Fifth Virginia Cavalry [Infantry], Ceredo:
Floyd1, with some 700 or 800 men, principally cavalry, is reported on the Upper Guyandotte. Send your scouting parties well out in that direction, and report promptly all information you get. If Floyd shows himself in your vicinity, communicate with Colonel Cranor2, and take the most effectual measures to drive the enemy back.
By command of Major-General Cox:
G. M. BASCOM,
Major and Assistant Adjutant-General.
(O.R., Ser. 1, Vol. 21, p. 809)
1. Confederate General Floyd commanded the Virginia State Rangers and State Line at this time, some regiments of which were operating in the area along the border between Kentucky and Virginia/West Virginia.
2. Colonel Cranor was commander of the district in East Kentucky which was on the Kentucky side of the Big Sandy River and its Tug branch.
MARIETTA, OHIO, January 22, 1863.
Fayette, [W.] Va.:
Your dispatch this date received. Crook will take only the four regiments mentioned yesterday, without wagons or animals. All the cavalry will report to you except Schambeck's troop, which you will send, by way of Summerville and Bulltown, to report to General Moor, at Buckhannon. The troop will take its transportation, with forage enough to last them through. Give them the most stringent orders in regard to their conduct on the march. The Fifth [West] Virginia will remain at Ceredo; the Thirteenth [West] Virginia, half at Point Pleasant and half at Coalsmouth; at Charleston and Camp Platt, each half a regiment. You will command the whole Kanawha District. Headquarters had probably better be at Gauley, unless you prefer remaining where you are. Fuller advices by mail.
By command of Major-General Cox:
S. L. CHRISTIE,
Captain and Aide-de-Camp.
(O.R., Ser. 1, Vol. 21, p. 997)
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO,
Cincinnati, Ohio, February 14, 1863.
Brig. Gen. JULIUS WHITE,
Commanding District of Eastern Kentucky, Louisa, Ky.:
GENERAL: Yours of the 11th instant, giving information, received by you from Colonel Dils, that the rebels were collecting a force with a view to an attack on his post at Peach Orchard, or at Louisa, and stating the steps you have taken to secure the subsistence stores lately sent to Peach Orchard by Colonel Cranor, has been received.
Your telegram, giving in brief the same information, was also received, and, in reply, you were authorized to retain one of the infantry regiments recently ordered to this point from your district, till you could ascertain the truth of the report, and become satisfied it was no longer needed. I must say, however, that I do not attach the least confidence to the rumor, believing it to be one of the many stories constantly gotten up by the disloyal and timid. It may be true, however, and proper precautions should be taken to meet it.
In regard to the troops in the district, I would say that after you left this place I concluded, in view of the necessities elsewhere, that two infantry proportion of cavalry was as much as could regiments of and a properly be assigned to that section, and if those regiments were familiar with the country in which they were to operate, they could accomplish more than the larger force recently stationed there. In this view, and with the concurrence of the Governor of Kentucky, an excellent regiment, raised in the Big Sandy region, was ordered there, and three regiments withdrawn. I believe this force to be enough, as soon as Colonel Dils' regiment is mustered in, and a mustering officer has gone up for that purpose.
You will be left with a comparatively small command, and will be relieved and ordered elsewhere in consequence, if you desire it. It would be well for you to remain a short time, however, till you have become somewhat familiar with the district, and have arranged for the proper distribution of the troops.
I regret that the low stage of the river prevents the accumulation of supplies higher up the valley.
The great object of the troops in that section is to prevent depredations by parties of guerrillas, and to watch the practicable route into Kentucky, passing through or near Piketon and Prestonburg. The latter cannot be accomplished by troops stationed in Louisa and vicinity; the former may be to some extent, at least, by sending detachments of proper strength to scour the country and return. This is practiced constantly in other districts of the State, and Colonel Dils kept his command at Piketon for a considerable time, and only fell back on account of his communications being cut by the enemy, and this through a want of proper understanding between himself and Colonel Cranor, resulting from the former not being mustered into service--did not acknowledge the control of the latter. The muster-in of the Thirty-ninth will prevent the repetition of such an occurrence. The troops should not be allowed to lie still; they should be kept moving, and I am sure it is practicable to do this with the men you have, and that with results that shall be beneficial to the troops and the country in which they operate. Operations can scarcely be carried on in accordance with the regular system of warfare in that section of Kentucky. It must be partisan warfare, like that which the rebels are pursuing in that region; we must meet them with their own tactics, and with the man you have, who know every portion of the ground, we can do it effectually. At the same time the troops must be kept well in hand, to be able to operate on the flank and rear of any force endeavoring to make its way into Kentucky by Pound Gap.
Major General Horatio Wright (left) advised Brigadier General Julius White (right) on how to protect his lines of communication along the Big Sandy River while the latter was in command of the Union forces in the Sandy Valley during the early part of 1863.
The country higher up is said to still possess considerable in the way of subsistence and forage. Certainly it has enough to support the predatory rebel bands which constantly roam over it, committing outrages upon the persons of citizens and depredations on their property.
The troops in your vicinity, in regard to which you inquire in a former letter, are, first, one West Virginia regiment (the Fifth), at Ceredo, which scouts the valley of the Little Kanawha and up the eastern side of the Big Sandy. Second, the troops, some 6,000 strong, in the valley of the Kanawha, under the immediate command of Brigadier-General Scammon. It would be well to keep in communication with Colonel Zeigler and General Scammon. Third, to the west there are no troops nearer to you than Mount Sterling and Irvine, where there are at the former one battalion and at the latter two battalions of the Fourteenth Kentucky Cavalry. Those at Irvine are not yet fully equipped. This three scouts eastward to West Liberty.
In regard to your communication with Catlettsburg, I should say that it may be made secure by sending small detachments to guard your transports or trains, as the enemy cannot get at them in any force without your receiving timely warning. Possibly in this opinion I may be in error, but all the information I have regarding the character of the country and the localities of the enemy's forces confirms its correctness.
In conclusion, I would say that the efficiency of the force in the district must depend mainly on the officer in command, since the operations to be undertaken are of such a character as to preclude any but general instructions. All the details must be left by me to his judgment and discretion, and he must act according to the necessities of the ease, ever varying with the movements of the rebels, which cannot generally be provided against by positive instructions from these headquarters.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
(O.R., Ser. 1, Vol. 23, Pt. 2, pp. 69-70)
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO,
Cincinnati, Ohio, March 13, 1863.
Brig. Gen. JULIUS WHITE,
Louisa, Ky., via Portsmouth, Ohio:
General Scammon, commanding at Charleston, W. Va., telegraphs that he expects a raid from the enemy, but is not certain of its direction. Keep on the alert. Communicate with General Scammon and the force at Ceredo, with view to mutual co-operation, and keep out scouts on your left, and also in front, upon the Pound Gap route. Don't spare money in this service; it can't be better expended.
H. G. WRIGHT,
(O.R., Ser. 1, Vol. 23, Pt. 2, p. 140)
MARIETTA, [OHIO,] March 30, 1863..--2 p.m.
Capt. E. P. FITCH,
I have a dispatch from Mr. [William H.] Tomlinson, of Point Pleasant. He is at Mr. Langley's, I suppose. See him, and, if his report is reliable, the company at Gallipolis, together with citizens who will volunteer and arm for that purpose, ought to make force enough to relieve Captain Carter before night. See Captain Smith, and, if possible, let this be done at once. I am trying to get aid from below. Send down a boat if you have one, and bring up Zeigler's regiment unless it has its hands full where it is. Sign orders by my command.
J. D. COX,
(O.R., Ser. 1, Vol. 25, Pt. 2, p. 175)
MARIETTA, [OHIO,] March 30, 1863-2 p.m.
Assistant Adjutant-General, Baltimore:
Latest and most reliable reports are confirmatory of the first sent you as to enemy's numbers. The company at Point Pleasant was this morning, at 11, still in the court-house, and hoped to hold it till night. I have directed the company at Gallipolis to raise volunteers of the citizens there, and endeavor to relieve the garrison. Have also ordered a boat to go down from Gallipolis for a regiment (Fifth Virginia), lately at Ceredo, and bring it unless it has its hands full there. Have also telegraphed General Burnside to send some aid from below, if possible, and have warned Kelley and all in Northwestern Virginia. Am still confident Scammon will be able to hold his position in the upper valley, and detach force enough to reopen his communications.
J. D. COX,
(O.R., Ser. 1, Vol. 25, Pt. 2, p. 174)
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA,
Dublin, October 18, 1863.
Maj. Gen. SAMUEL JONES,
Colonel McCausland's scouts report enemy's cavalry in Kanawha gone to Tennessee One regiment from Fayetteville gone below Charleston. Twelfth and Ninety-first Ohio at Fayette Court-House. Fifth [West.] Virginia Infantry from Gauley, and Twenty-third Ohio from Charleston, gone to Tennessee, and report is they are destined for Chattanooga. Scammon has gone to Washington, and Duffie is in command. McCausland thinks Scammon has gone to Rosecrans, with his cavalry, two regiments of infantry, and one battery, leaving Duffie with two regiments at Fayetteville, one at Charleston, and one scattered, with one battery. I think if you were here a good move on Gauley and Charleston could be made. May not the enemy have pushed forces to Rosecrans and made this move on Williams to cover them?
CHAS. S. STRINGFELLOW,
(O.R., Ser. 1, Vol. 29, Pt. 2, p. 793)
MEADOW BLUFF, W. VA.,
December 14, 1863.
Reached Lewisburg Saturday, 2 p.m. Duffie in advance, with Lieutenant Blazer's company1, Ninety-first. Twelfth and Ninety-first skirmishing in front. Haves, with Fifth [West] Virginia, a part of Twenty-third, and White, with Twelfth and Ninety-first, and two sections of artillery, following. Enemy's scouts assailed our skirmishers on Big Sewell, and kept it up from point to point to Greenbrier River, with few casualties. Two of ours wounded and 4 captured. On the part of the enemy know of but I killed and 3 or 4 wounded. We have a dozen or more prisoners, including the ordnance officer of Echols' staff. Enemy had the Twenty-second, Edgar's and Derrick's battalions, Fourteenth Cavalry, and fifteen pieces of artillery.
Ordered Duffie in pursuit, hoping to cut off train, but crossing was defended by artillery. Major [Carey], with the Twelfth and one section of McMullin's battery, pushed on to crossing of Greenbrier River, and, after exchanging a hundred shots, with little result, night ended the affair. Enemy said they were ordered not to fight at Lewisburg. Learn that the Forty-fifth and Thirty-sixth [Virginia Infantry] were en route to re-enforce Echols. Enemy left on White Sulphur road yesterday. Left Duffie's brigade at Lewisburg, with one section of artillery, and moved to Meadow Bluff, with part of First and Second Brigades.
Bushwhackers are active between this and Gauley. Mail with this dispatch could not get through. Send this by stronger escort. Am anxious about Valley of Kanawha. Troops were in excellent order, but have been marching through mud two days, exposed to a cold rain. Enemy are evidently hanging on our right flank. The Twelfth took 4 cavalry horses and equipments on the road this afternoon. Riders, supposed to be enemy's vedettes, came off Blue Sulphur road.
E. P. SCAMMON,
[To:] Brigadier-General KELLEY.
B. F. KELLEY.
(O.R., Ser. 1, Vol. 26, Pt. 1, p. 940)
1. For more information about Blazer's Scouts, an elite unit of Union scouts, see Darl Stephenson's, Headquarters In The Brush.
HDQRS. FIFTH REGT. VIRGINIA VOL. INFANTRY,
Camp near Charleston, July 2, 1864.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report the part taken by the Fifth Regiment Virginia Volunteer Infantry in the fight near Lynchburg on the 18th ultimo:
Between the hours of 1 and 2 p.m., in obedience to orders from the brigade commander, the regiment left its position in the woods on the right of the road, three miles from the city, and moved across the road to another wood, where the enemy was making a vigorous assault on the Second Infantry Division. A line of battle was formed and the regiment ordered forward. Just at that moment the general commanding the First Infantry Division rode up and directed that if the enemy gave way to pursue him closely and charge his fortifications. The regiment was moved rapidly forward directly on the enemy's works. The ground was rough and rocky, but the line of battle was kept well formed and the men moved steadily forward. The fire from the enemy was pretty sharp while we were advancing through the woods, but no line of battle was apparent, the enemy being scattered and firing from behind trees and fences. After moving forward nearly half a mile from the place we entered the woods, crossing a deep ravine and ascending to brow of the hill, we found our line within a few yards of a strong fortification, from which the enemy opened a very severe fire upon us, when we were compelled to retire. The men were soon rallied, supplied with ammunition, and ready for another engagement.
The loss of the regiment was 8 killed, 27 wounded (Lieut. D. J. Thomas mortally), and 6 missing: Others who left the battle-field with the regiment are since missing, having become exhausted on the march, and there being no transportation for them were necessarily left behind, and probably fell into the hands of the enemy. The number is not known, as some are still coming in.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. A. TOMLINSON,
Colonel Fifth Regiment Virginia Vol. Infantry.
Capt. R. HASTINGS,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., First Brigade, Second Division.
Recapitulation.--Left Meadow Bluff, May 31, with 567 men. Killed at Belle Valley, Lieut. A. W. Miller; killed at Lynchburg, 8: wounded at Lynchburg, 27; missing in action at Lynchburg, 6. Distance marched from 31st May to 1st July, 467 miles.
(O.R., Ser. 1, Vol. 37, Pt. 1, pp. 123-4)
HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE, ARMY OF THE KANAWHA,
Camp Crook, W. Va., July 4, 1864.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit a brief report of the part taken by the First Brigade, Second Infantry Division, Department of West Virginia, in the late campaign against Staunton and Lynchburg.
The brigade left Meadow Bluff May 31 with 2,433 men and officers, viz: Twenty-third Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry, under Lieut. Col. J. M. Comly, 534; Thirty-sixth Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry, Col. H. F. Devol, 553; Fifth West Virginia Volunteer Infantry, Col. A. A. Tomlinson, 572; Thirteenth West Virginia Volunteer Infantry, Col. William R. Brown, 774; total, 2,433.
We reached Staunton June 8 without loss, the enemy frequently appearing in our front and making several ineffectual efforts to delay or stop our progress. At Staunton 9 officers and 160 men of Twenty-third Ohio Volunteer Infantry, whose term of service had expired, were sent to Ohio to be mustered out of service.
On the 10th day of June we started via Lexington and Buchanan toward Lynchburg, reaching the vicinity of that city June 17, after a march of about 100 miles and a delay of two days at Lexington. On this march the First Brigade led the column on the day we reached Lexington and the greater part of the day before, and during both days was engaged in several brisk skirmishes with the enemy. On the day before reaching Lexington, June 10, an advance guard, composed of four companies of the Fifth West Virginia Infantry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Enochs, engaged the enemy twice, driving them rapidly, with some loss. In one of these skirmishes at Newport Lieutenant Miller, Fifth West Virginia Volunteer Infantry, was killed at the head of his command.
On the 11th, during the attack on Lexington, the Thirty-sixth Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry, under Colonel Devol, led the column, and pushing rapidly up to the enemy's position near the town, occupied their attention until a part of our forces crossing the river above town compelled its evacuation. In this advance and attack Lieut. J. M. Hamlin, Thirty-sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, was severely wounded, and of the same regiment 3 men were killed and 7 wounded.
At Lynchburg, on the 18th, the brigade was formed to repel what was deemed at the time an assault of our position by the enemy in force. A line was formed with the greatest promptness, the Fifth West Virginia Infantry having formed in a part of the line, when the enemy, after a sudden approach, hastily withdrew. Pursued the retreating rebels and drove them from their rifle-pits to the protection of their main works. The works being too strong to be carried by the force there before them, the regiment retired in some disorder, but was promptly reformed before reaching our own lines. I regret to state that in this charge Lieut. D. J. Thomas fell mortally wounded.
After leaving Lynchburg the officers and men of the First Brigade sustained themselves through the hardships and privations of the retreat like good soldiers. No words of praise could do more than justice to their good conduct throughout the campaign.
We reached Charleston July 1, after a march from Meadow Bluff of almost 500 miles . . .
I herewith transmit copies of the reports of regimental commanders.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. B. HAYES1,
Capt. J. L. BOTSFORD,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Kanawha.
(O.R., Ser. 1, Vol. 37, Pt. 1, pp. 122-3)
1. Rutherford B. Hayes would be elected to serve as the President of the United States from 1877 to 1881.
HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE, SECOND INFANTRY DIVISION,
ARMY OF WEST VIRGINIA,
Cedar Creek, Va., October 23, 1864.
LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the First Brigade, Second Infantry Division, Army of West Virginia, in the action of October 19, 1864:
About 4, o'clock in the morning, or perhaps a little earlier, I was alarmed at what seemed to be very heavy picket-firing in the direction of the camp of the First Division. I immediately caused the reveille to be sounded, and about the same time received orders from Col. R. B. Hayes, commanding division, to get the brigade under arms immediately. This I succeeded in doing in a short time. The picket was soon driven in on my left, and front was changed to the rear on the right, so as to face hi that direction. This threw the brigade into line parallel with the Winchester pike and some seventy-five yards from it. The movement being executed, two companies were deployed as skirmishers and became engaged with the enemy at once, were driven back, and a number of the men captured. While this was transpiring a heavy column of the enemy could be seen marching as if to gain the pike between us and Winchester, and the troops on our right had given way, exposing the brigade to a flank fire from that direction. Orders were then received to retire, which was done in some confusion. A portion of the command was rallied by myself in front and to the left of General Crook's headquarters, and the enemy checked long enough to enable the train to get off. Another portion formed in a belt of woods to the left, and did excellent service. I did not fall back from this place until forced to by vastly superior numbers. Some distance back the men were again got together, and under orders from General Crook I charged the enemy and drove him in confusion until completely outflanked, when I returned on the main line of the army, reformed about three miles from the camp of the morning. I reached this front near 11 a.m. Prior to the general advance of our army toward Cedar Creek I joined the remainder of General Crook's command on the east side of the road, and moved forward with it, camping in the same place as on the previous night.
With few exceptions, both officers and men behaved in a becoming manner.
Lieut. Col. James R. Hall, Thirteenth West Virginia Infantry, fell early in the day while gallantly doing his duty. In him the Thirteenth Regiment loses a brave and efficient officer. Lieutenants McBride and Mahan, of the Twenty-third [Ohio], and Zimmerman and Anderson, of the Fifth [West Virginia], were wounded during the action.
The loss in the brigade is 23 killed and 102 wounded, including the officers above mentioned.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. F. DEVOL,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
Lieut. C. B. HAYSLIP,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Second Infty. Div., Army of W. Va.
(O.R., Ser. 1, Vol. 43, Pt. 1, p. 406)
Memoranda of Various Political Arrests--From Reports of Confederate Commissioners.--#1
May 21, 1862?
George Pach.--Prisoner says he was born in Giles County, Va. Removed to Lawrence County, Ky., and then to Wayne County, Va. Is the uncle of Samuel Pach. Lives near Sandy, across from Louisa, Ky., and about twenty-eight miles distant on Twelve Pole River from that town. Says he voted for members of time convention held at Richmond and never voted since. Is a Southern man. Never had anything to do with the Union men of Kentucky or of his neighborhood. Says some of his neighbors went to Ceredo and got arms from Zeigler. He remonstrated against it at the beginning of bloody times at home. Took the part of the South. I have no information in reference to this man except from his own examination and his manner creates some doubt in my mind of his sincerity. But he is a very old man (near seventy) and his health much broken by his confinement. He is willing to take the oath of allegiance. I recommend he be discharged on taking the oath of allegiance. (O.R., Ser. 2, Vol. 2, p. 1443)
Death of Major Ralph Ormstead According to Judge John Frew Stewart
"About July or August of that year  a couple of companies of the Fifth Virginia Infantry came to Cassville, opposite Louisa, Ky., and remained some two or three weeks, recruiting up Tug River. They were under command of the Major of the regiment, Ralph Olmstead [sic], of Catlettsburg, Ky., whom I well knew. When on their return, Major Olmstead bringing up the rear, they stopped at the Fred Moore, Sr., house, the first below Cassville. He did not dismount but talked to someone on the porch of the house, when he was shot by the enemy from the graveyard point opposite the house. The ball entered his head back of one ear, coming out just above the eye. He fell from his horse dead. This was the second person killed in Sandy Valley on account of the war." ("Last Statement of Judge John Frew Stewart," p. 5)
More by this Author
John Mason Brown, a prominent Louisville attorney, would serve so well as a major in the 10th Kentucky Cavalry that he would go on to serve as the commanding officer of the 45th Kentucky Mounted Infantry from late 1863...
39th Kentucky Mounted Infantry, U.S. Volunteers, Regimental Standard. According to at least one source, this regimental flag is unique in the fact that it does indeed say "Mounted Infantry" in the banner...