Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
June 20, 1861

Wheeling Intelligencer
June 22, 1861

ATTACK ON A SCOUTING PARTY - TWO OHIO SOLDIERS KILLED - On Thursday night last a squad of some ten men from a Company of the 20th Ohio Regiment, under Col. Morton, and stationed at Benton's Ferry about four miles east of Fairmont, were out scouting when they came upon a lot of secessionists in the house of one Pete Righter, on Coon river, five miles in a westerly direction from the Ferry. - The squad was fired upon from the house, when one of them was killed instantly and another received a shot in the breast from which he cannot recover. The balance of the soldiers returned to camp and Col. Morton immediately sent forward a company of sixty men to dislodge the rascals. It was feared in Fairmont that there would be a great slaughter if the secessionists were still visible, for the soldiers were much enraged at the loss of their companions. This Righter is a notorious character and has been the right hand man of Fletch Vincent.

The letter which conveys the above information also makes the gratifying announcement that Tom and Sam Vincent, brothers of Fletch, have been taken prisoners and are now in possession of the Federal soldiers. Fletch cannot be found. Col. Morton's 20th Ohio Regiment are scattered along the railroad at different stations between this point and Grafton.

Wheeling Intelligencer
June 24, 1861


More about the affair at Righters - More Men Killed and Wounded.

We have been permitted to make the following extracts from a letter received Saturday evening, by a member of the Convention:

SHINNSTON, VA., June 22, 1861.

DEAR SIR: Startling events have taken place in our quiet section of the country during your absence. Yesterday a detachment of Ohio troops, under Capt. Calle, of the 20th Regiment, company I, arrived here from Mannington, via Hessville and Lumbersport, at which last place they took several prisoners. Shortly after nightfall Capt. C. detached a squad of men to go down to Righter's under the guidance of two of our citizens. On arriving at Righter's House, Capt. C. left his men in the yard and advanced to the door, but could not gain admittance. In a few moments a signal was heard at the back of the house and instantly about seventy or eighty rebels who had been collected and concealed by Righter in the orchard, rushed around the corner of the house and fired on Capt. C. and his men, wounding one in the breast, another in the arm and wounding John Nay, one of our citizens, (one of the guides) very badly in the groin. On this attack the troops fired and dispersed, leaving Nay and the man wounded in the breast lying on the ground. They were afterwards carried to Nay's fathers, who lives about half a mile from Righters. The man wounded in the arm is at your house. The one wounded in the breast has since died. The ball has been extracted from Nay's wound and it is thought he will recover.

Capt. C., before daylight this morning, despatched messengers to Clarksburg and went himself to Fairmont. He returned about noon to-day, with about 250 men - went on to Righter's, great numbers of our citizens accompanying. They found the premises deserted. The troops entered his house, and appropriated everything they thought would be useful. They then set fire to the house, (which you know is one of the finest in this section of the country.) to the stables, barns, and all the outbuildings, and they were consumed in one general conflagration. I was present and witnessed it. They then took all the horses on the farm, several wagons and buggies, loaded the wounded men into them and moved to Mannington. Another company from Fairmont went to Worthington. About 150 came down from Clarksburg this afternoon, and in company with a body of home guards from Simpson's Creek, went over to the Coon's Run country just after dark. Their object is to form a sort of ring hunt and close in on Righter's posse. I think the expedition will be successful. One incident occurred at Righter's, at the sacking of the premises, that I must not omit. Our troops had one Banks Corban (a noted rebel) prisoner. While they were guarding him he (being on horseback) started off as if to escape. - They commanded him to half twice but he paid no attention. They again told him to stop or they would shoot him from his horse. Instead of complying he put spurs to his horse and attempted to escape. The Captain ordered his men to fire on him, when about a hundred obeyed, at least fifty balls striking him in the back, and nearly cutting him two. He fell from his horse, lifeless, not knowing what hurt him.

Another letter received at this office from the same place, in relation to this same affair, giving substantially the same account, says that Nay is supposed to be mortally wounded - and that after the Secessionists fired on our men, they retreated a short distance, and then went back and returned the fire, and brought down some four or five of the rebels, killing three certain. The property destroyed at Righter's was very valuable. The residence was a very fine one, and the horses and other stock on the farm, (which is one of the best in Marion county,) are of superior quality. It is a terrible retribution on a man who lived like a prince, and could have continued to do so, but for an inborn deveiltry and sympathy for ruffianism and treason, which had thus worked his ruin.

Wheeling Intelligencer
June 29, 1861

Statement of the Affair at Coon's Run by the Commanding Officer

MANNINGTON, June 26, 1861.

Editors Intelligencer:

As I have observed several published accounts of the late skirmish at Righter's, on Coon's Run, in the adjoining county of Harrison, that contained many erroneous statements, I have concluded in justice to all parties, to give you a brief statement of the facts of the case.

Having received repeated information from persons of the highest respectability in the county, of the existence of an organized band of rebels on Coon's Creek, who assembled nightly at the residence of Righter for drill, I headed a detachment of twenty-seven members of my company and started on a tour of observation. On the route we were met by several good Union men, who had been sent to us to obtain protection for their property and their lives from the rebel marauders that infested the neighborhood. Accordingly on the night of the 20th inst., I left Shinnston for Coon's Crek under the direction of two reliable guides. The object of the expedition was to observe for myself the condition was to observe for myself the condition of affairs in that neighborhood, and afford any assistance to the peaceably disposed citizens that might be required. Ten of my detachment were left behind to assist the people about Sinnston in guarding that place. When I approached to within a short distance of Righter's, I halted the men and sent forward the guide. He approached within two hundred yards of the house, when he was challenged by a picket guard of the enemy. He immediately returned and reported. Dividing my men into two squads, I posted them in such a manner as to surround the house on three sides, and gradually closed upon it. All was dark within. We approached the door and knocked. The only reply we received was three distinct blasts of a horn. Knowing that this was a signal that meant fight, we first tried to batter in the door of the building, but it was so strongly barred that it resisted all our attempts. I therefore ordered my men into concealment. Before we were properly concealed we were fired upon from the house and from several points upon the outside. We returned the fire; but appreciating our great danger from the number of the enemy, of being surrounded and cut off, I ordered the men to fall back gradually, which they did. We rallied at a log house about two hundred yards from Righter's. I immediately dispatched for aid, and on the same morning (the engagement was from three to four o'clock on the morning of the 24th) about 8 o'clock, Lieut. Smith with twenty men arrived. We charged down the hill and the enemy fled to the woods. As many as eighty of them were seen and counted. We took possession of Righter's house, and it having shown undoubted evidence of its having been recently arranged with a view to military purposes, it was destroyed. On the following morning, having received additional assistance, the enemy was surrounded and routed.

During the engagement four of our men were severely wounded, and three others but narrowly escaped. The enemy had four killed and from four to six wounded. Seven prisoners were also brought in. The only property taken away were beds, blankets and teams, with which to remove the wounded. Righter and a number of his associates escaped, and made tracks for the Southern army. Since the affiar quiet has been restored to the neighborhood, and hundreds have voluntarily come forward and taken the oath of allegiance.

20th Reg't O. V. M.

Richmond Daily Dispatch
July 2, 1861

Barbarities in the Northwest.

The account published this morning of the destruction of the fine dwelling, barn, and other houses and property generally of Mr. Richter, near Fairmont, in Marion county, brings to the notice of the Southern people one of the most execrable acts of vandalism of the present ruthless invasion. It is copied from that Black Republican organ, the Wheeling Intelligences, and therefore is hardly magnified in its enormity. The traitors in the Northwest are heaping up trouble for themselves, and if there are engaged in this war one class of men whose outrages excite a thirst for revenge more than any other, they are the people of Ohio. They come from a State teeming with fertility : having perhaps more rich arable land than any other State of like area : which was carved out of the princely domain given to the Federal Government by Virginia. Vengeance wreaked upon such men will be especially grateful to every Virginian. We trust and believe that they will get what they deserve.

Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: June 1861

West Virginia Archives and History