Series 1, Volume 2, pp. 211-212
BUCKHANNON, VA., July 8, 1861 – 3 p. m.
GENERAL: My scout Edwards, just in, effected his escape through the enemy’s lines at Glenville about two hours after the fight began yesterday. Thirty-five men first attacked and fired upon our pickets without injuring them. They returned the fire effectually, and got safely into camp. All of our pickets got safely in during the night. The advance of the enemy was composed of about 160 well-armed and disciplined men, and by dark last night our little force was surrounded, the enemy covering the three roads leading past the Court House.
He brings no definite information as to number of enemy; thinks at least 2,500, 1,000 of whom are an Eastern Virginia regiment, well armed and equipped and disciplined, the rest militia.
Irregular firing was kept up during the night. At daybreak, in the language of the scout, “Both sides were firing like hell,” our men holding good their position. Tyler’s two companies stopped last night ten miles this side of Glenville, for what reason God only knows. But the delay has probably occasioned the cutting off of my brave boys.
Colonel Tyler himself at 10 o’clock this morning was not a mile and a half from Weston. If our men at Glenville cannot hold out till to-morrow morning Tyler and Lytle will not reach Wise at all.
The scout reports that our men are behaving nobly, determined to hold their position.
J. M. CONNELL,
Seventeenth Ohio Volunteers.
July 22, 1861
THE GLENVILLE AFFAIR.
Something About Matters and Things Generally in that Section.
[Communicated to the Intelligencer.]
HARRISVILLE, VA., July 17.
HON. F. H. PEI[R]POINT – Dear Sir: Having just come in from Gilmer county, I am able to inform you that Glenville has been in possession of the Federal troops for the last two weeks. Col. Connel, of the 17th Ohio, marched in and took possession with four companies of his command on this morning two weeks ago. Col. Connel left this battalion under command of Lieut. Col. Pond a day or two subsequent to that time, and went to Buckhannon, to rejoin there the balance of his regiment. The rebel forces that had been congregated there fled as soon as they got wind of the approach of the Federal troops. They sent on for reinforcements and an officer to lead them, with a view of retaking Glenville. Col. Caskie was sent for to reinforce and command them, having under his command four companies of well armed and well drilled soldiers, and, I am informed, a company of cavalry. He had in connection with this force several hundred raw and undisciplined volunteers, armed with common country rifles. His whole force amounted in all, as nearly as I can learn, to one thousand or eleven hundred men. His force was to have been joined by O. J. Wise and whatever force he had under his command, but for some reason this arrangement was not consummated. Col. Caskie advanced on Glenville on Sunday, the 8th inst., and after driving in his pickets, threw his raw force clean around the little force stationed on the hill in a strong position under Col. Pond. His regular troops he kept out of sight on the opposite side of the river.
After some slight skirmishing, and a good deal of firing on pickets at different points, and a close reconnaissance of the place, the Colonel suddenly recollected the sage conclusion of the redoubtable Falstaff, that the better part of valor was discretion, and withdrew his forces, retreating via Arnoldsburg, to Charleston. In his advance upon the town, the Federal pickets conducted themselves with the utmost coolness and bravery. Two of them were fired on by about forty of the rebels, and although grazed by their bullets, returned the fire, not without effect, reloaded as they returned, and fired again. Two of them were cut off by forces thrown between them and their quarters, and had to run the gauntlet, but succeeded in eluding the enemy, and on the following morning, after many exciting incidents, arrived safely in camp. My little son, about ten years of age, was with the pickets that were first fired on, at the time that they received a volley of forty or fifty shots. He says that the leaves that were cut from the bushes around them, fell in showers about him.
I understand that the version of this Glenville affair given by the Baltimore Sun, reports two regiments of Federal troops to have been captured. This is the rebel account of it, and for veracity, is in keeping with most of the dispatches that find their way into the Sun, I conclude the editor must be deliberately false at heart, or else the most gullible of men.
Gen. McClellan, having been informed that Col. Bond was surrounded by a superior force, under O. J. Wise, sent the 7th Regiment O. V., under Col. Tyler, to his assistance, and followed it immediately by the 10th, under Col. Lytle, but finding the true state of things, and knowing that there was little probability of the rebels being able to reinforce from Charleston and return, as they promised to do, Col. Lytle and Lieut. Col. Pond were removed, and Glenville left in possession of the 7th Ohio, under Col. Tyler, who has been actively engaged in putting down the spirit of rebellion amongst our people, both by word and act. The Colonel being well acquainted with most of our prominent citizens, being also thoroughly acquainted with human nature, and a man of fine sense and judgment, and at the same time possessing in a high degree the executive faculties, is the very man to do up the work necessary there to be done.
The civil authority under the Provisional government, might now be established in Gilmer, by the election of county officers, at any time after the routing of Wise’s forces from Charleston shall have been accomplished; but the rebels, in order to embarrass and prevent of the establishment of the Provisional Government in our county, as soon as they found that they probably have to surrender the town to the Federal troops, carried off all the books and papers from both our Clerk’s offices, to parts unknown. The Clerks were absent, and the books were removed by Dr. M. W. Hughes and S. J. C. Kerr McCutchen. They probably were merely executing an order from headquarters. They are both, I believe, volunteers amongst the rebel forces. I have thought it would be well for you to offer ___ for the individuals who carried them off.
The rebel counties of Gilmer, Calhoun and Braxton, and probably others in that direction, will resist the provisional government, or rather, there are many men who have been leading men in all these counties, who will throw every obstacle in the way of the organization of the counties by the election of officers under it, and who will seriously interfere with the execution of the laws under it, after such organization. To meet this difficulty, it will be necessary, for sometime to come, to keep quartered amongst them a military force that will be able to quell rising insurrections, and secure to the people freedom of elections. I would suggest that three or four companies from each regiment of the militia, selected with reference to their loyalty, bravery, and willingness to devote themselves to the service of their country in an emergency, should be armed and drilled, and placed under a competent commander, to secure the peace in those counties. This commander should have under his command four or five companies, that should be quartered at some convenient point within the territory to be protected. This force should be kept constantly in the field, ready for service, and the selections referred to from the militia, armed, and drilled should be, also under his inspection and control, ready to cooperate, in case of emergency, in putting down any unlawful combinations of disaffected men.
The person entrusted with this command should be well acquainted with the country and the people, in order that he might know what men and what localities to keep his eye on, in order to nip in the bud, the first seditious attempts. There will, necessarily, for some time to come, be personal animosities amongst neighbors and citizens, and bad men will seek opportunities for private revenge. The presence of such a force will more than anything else, tend to repress lawless acts of this kind. The person entrusted with this power, should combine judgment and discretion with a correct moral conscientiousness; should be a man of enlarged and liberal views, and not liable to be swayed by passion or prejudice. He should combine dignity and firmness with kindness and conciliation; he should be able at the same time, to make his power respected and feared and to win men to loyalty by addressing himself to their reason. If, under the present military organization of the State, this thing cannot be satisfactorily provided for, I would suggest, whether or not, it might be necessary to provide for the preservation of the peace, and authority of the laws in those counties by special legislation, appointing and empowering a suitable person to recruit and command such a force, and to attend to the selection of a portion from each regiment of the militia, in the counties and vicinity named, that should be armed and drilled under his inspection, and be at his command.
Very respectfully and truly,
Your friend, T.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: July 1861