Confederates Capture Fairmont

Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
May 9, 1863

The Virginia Boys and the Fight at Fairmont.

Burton, Va., May 5, 1863.

Editors Intelligencer:

As there is no account taken of the Virginia boys in your preceeding [sic] report of the Fairmont fight, we have concluded to write you a short letter, wishing you to give it an insertion in your excellent paper. We had been stationed at Bridgeport since last September guarding the bridge. On Monday we received orders from Col. Wilkinson to destroy the railroad bridge there and fall back on Fairmont. Immediately after we destroyed the bridge, we commenced our first retreat with great reluctance, leaving the citizens in a complete panic, and reached Fairmont next day at noon. We found the town almost deserted, the prominent men having left the night before. The town was full of various rumors and exaggerated reports about the rebels being in Morgantown. We found the force at Fairmont to consist of Cos. D and F of the 106the New York, 20 of Co. A, 6th Va., and 100 militia and home guards - all told, 234 men, commanded by Capt. Chamberlain of Co. D, 106th New York. The Rebel force was estimated at 4,500. On Wednesday morning April 29th, the rebels were reported approaching Fairmont from the east, in the direction of Mr. Forney's. Reconnoissance was made and the report found to be false. We then concluded there would be no fight; but in half an hour another report came in that they were coming in by way of Barracksville, which proved to be a sad reality. Capt. Chamberlain detailed a squad of home guards to go on the hill back of town and watch their movements. Soon the rebels came up in a large body, on what is known as Hamilton's hill, and such fiendish yelling never was heard in that vicinity before. Our pickets commenced firing and falling back, and at 8 o'clock A. M. they finally fell back to the main body, which was posted on the hill above the bridge, principally behind trees, stumps, fences and everything that would protect us from the missiles of death which were sent by the thousand by the demons of the Richmond autocrat.

We were surrounded on all sides, including the West Fork river. Gen. Jones commanded. From Palatine knob they concentrated three fires on us two hours and thirty minutes, which we resisted manfully, but we surrendered just in time to save ourselves from a grand charge which they were making. Gen. Mulligan had started reinforcements to us but they did not arrive until after we had surrendered. They threw a few shells but did no damage more than make the rebels skedaddle with their prisoners. They also bushwhacked them awhile but to save the artillery and train fell back to Grafton. The number of rebels killed and wounded is variously estimated. I think that the number may be put down at 12 killed and 20 wounded - not less than that. Our loss 2 killed and 3 wounded; C. Brown of Co. D 106, N. Y., killed; Kaufman, militiaman, killed; T. S. Barnes, home guard, wounded in the head, H. S. White Co. N, 6th Va., shot through the arm; ___ Trough, of N. Y., shot through the knee. After the fight the rebels returned to town, paroled their prisoners and then inaugurated a system of brigandage, theft, plunder and vandalism scarcely known to the vandals of ancient Europe. They ransacked every store and shop in town - stole all the horses that were within six miles of town, and left the same night with their plunder. The sympathizers found they had placed a wrong estimate on Southern "chivalry." They made no difference between friends and foes in their fiendish work.

Co. A and Co. N were subject to many imprecations from the rebels because we were fighting the F. F. V.'s; they said we fought "like d__d tigers." Lieut. Moore and Sergt. H___, of Co. A, walked along the lines telling us to be calm and keep "cool" during the fight.

The rebels have now left for Dixie with the just execrations of all loyal Virginians and most of their former sympathizers. Also their father the devil left with them. May West Virginia never be again disgraced with such greasy Southern "chivalry."

Yours &c.
H. S.

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