Battle Of Dry Creek
March 19, 1908
Battle Of Dry Creek
Mrs. E. A. Humphreys of Greenville, this county, who had six brothers in the Confederate army, sends us with the request that we publish it the following recent letter from her youngest brother, Mr. David C. Jones, now of De Soto, Mo., which we are sure will interest his old comrades and others:
"You take great interest in the stories and reminiscences of the civil war, and I am anxious to know what has been published about the Dry Creek fight. It was true we fought through the fence, but the enemy was not sticking to the other side; they were behind a bank of the branch about 15 or 20 steps from the fence. It was in the night and we could only see the blaze of their guns to shoot at and nothing but their heads above the ground. When they shot at the flash of our guns we were all exposed to their fire, being protected only by the rails. Col. Geo. M. Edgar, the commander of our Battalion, the 26th Virginia, was right beside me, and he and I felt the wind of several bullets that passed between our faces. My gun got so hot and dirty from rapid firing that a ball choked in it. I had to ask the Colonel to hold his hands on the rod to stiffen it while I hammered it down with a rock; then I went on firing as hard as I could. After awhile the blaze of guns disappeared from our front and we sup[p]osed the enemy had retired; but in from 1 to 2 hours he was at us again. They fought us thus from 7 a. m., one day until daylight the next. I think they made fourteen different charges, two of this number with cavalry. They charged all night, from 1 to 2 hours apart. The last charge just before day was the most determined and the hardest to repel. Then they retreated via Callaghans, Morris hill, Back creek and Huntersville.
"All this time about 2,500 of our cavalry were lying at White Sulphur taking no part in the fight, and Gen. Wm. L. Jackson (Mud Wall Jackson) was lying up on Warm Springs Mountain where he had retreated from off the Alleghany at the head of Back Creek, and never made a move to attack Averill's rear, or to cut him off from his line of retreat. Major General Sam Jones was in chief command; so all can guess whether he was a general or not by the way the campaign was managed. "Mud Wall" Jackson's command consisted of about 3,000 cavalry, mostly made up of Tennessee troops, I think. We called him "Mud Wall" in constradistinction from Stonewall Jackson, because "Old Averill," as we called Gen. Averill, always without exception ran over him, knocked him down and ran him off, as he did at the time of the Dry Creek fight. And when he got switched off out of Averill's way he was in no hurry to get back.
"I could tell of other campaigns in Monroe, Greenbrier and Craig that were as badly managed as this one. Many of my old Confederate comrades were from Monroe and some from where Alderson now is. It used to be called Alderson's ferry and we crossed the river there several times in our campaigning. I think we marched over almost every hog-path in Monroe and adjoining counties.
"Gen. Echols' Brigade was composed of the 26th Battalion, 22nd and 45th Va. Regiments and sometimes Derrick's Battalion. ____ written about the Cry Creek fight? I would like to hear from him. We went into that battle with something over 60 men in my company (Co. B, 26th Va. Battalion) and came out with 39 able for duty - over one-third killed and wounded; but the loss of the entire command was not so heavy. Our battalion and my company in particular happened to get into the most exposed positions. We were under heavy shell fire in the forenoon, and in the afternoon our line was moved to the right to let Derrick's Battalion come into position; and then our company got in front of this bank of the branch I have described above, and we lost more or less men every charge we repelled. You can send this to your county paper if you think the editor will publish it.
Your brother. "David G. Jones"