Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
July 04, 1861

Richmond Daily Dispatch
July 9, 1861

From Charlestown, Va. Gen. Patterson's report : gross Misrepresentation : another skirmish : assassination, &c. [special correspondence of the Dispatch.]

Charlestown, Va., July 5, 1861.

Our citizens have been greatly disappointed during the present week at not receiving the Dispatch regularly. It is eagerly sought here, and read with great interest. Its failure to reach us is a matter of much regret.

You have doubtless been apprised of the engagement on Tuesday, at or near Halnesville, in Berkeley county, where a portion of the gallant Fifth Regiment, of Virginia, under Col. Harper, encountered a large Federal force, under Gen. Patterson's report of this engagement (as published in the Baltimore Sun) has elicited no little amusement here, where its untruthfulness is so well known. Gen. P. says his men "routed and put to flight ten thousand of the rebels," when the truth is that only about four hundred and fifty of our men were engaged.--That this lying report of the Hessian General should have been sent to headquarters is not at all surprising, as it is in perfect keeping with other reports which have been rendered of incidents transpiring in this region of country. Our loss in the engagement referred to, amounted to two killed and six wounded.--The loss of the enemy in killed and wounded was certainly much greater; and it is asserted on quite as good authority as General Patterson himself, that not less than three hundred killed and wounded were hauled into Hagerstown on Tuesdaynight. Besides this, some eighty prisoners were taken, who are now in Winchester. The principal loss sustained in this fight, was suffered by the Winchester Continentals, commanded by Capt. John Airs, than whom, a mere gallant officer does not wear a sword in defence {sic} of the Southern Confederacy. His coolness and gallantry on Tuesday are highly commended.

For several days exciting reports have been circulated here of the presence of a large Federal force near Harper's Ferry, on the Maryland side; and yesterday morning we received intelligence from an unquestionable source that some twenty of the enemy had crossed over and were attempting the hoisting of a Federal flag on the staff in the Armory yard. Acting upon this information, Lieut. Henderson, of the Virginia Rangers, with twenty-five men, repaired to the Ferry, with a view of capturing the flag. The Hessians, however, had become alarmed, and fled across the river without accomplishing their purpose, and only succeeded in carrying a way a small portion of the Confederate streamer which was left floating there when our troops evacuated the town. Lieut. Henderson remained at the Ferry several hours, when the enemy again appeared on the Maryland side of the river, in a force supposed to number from one hundred and fifty to two hundred. A fire was at once opened upon them by our boys, which was responded to by the Hessians, supposed to be a detachment of the Ninth Regiment of New York. A lively skirmish was then kept up for over an hour, during which time three of the hirelings were observed to drop from the ranks. Our men fought under cover, and consequently came off without injury. They left their positions only when they had exhausted their ammunition, and Lieutenant H., with several of his men, visited our town last night to obtain a supply, with the intention of opening the fight in the morning, should the enemy present himself. You may rely upon it, an attempt to cross there to-day will subject old Abe's boys to no little annoyance, as Lieut. Henderson and his men are determined to dispute every inch of ground, which they can do successfully, with very little risk, under cover of the bridge, abutments and stone tressel-work of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. Yesterday evening, after Lieut. Henderson left Harper's Ferry, Mr. Roeder, a quiet citizen, but staunch Union man, was walking on the platform of the railroad in front of the Wager House, when a fire was opened upon him from the other side, and one of the balls striking him, he was almost instantly killed. In this instance they were guilty of the assassination of one of their own friends.

Nothing certain is known here of the movements of Gen. Johnston's army. They are within striking distance of the Hessian forces, now posted at Martinsburg, and a big fight is daily expected. Should anything occur, I will write you again.


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

West Virginia Archives and History