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Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
July 12, 1861


Richmond Enquirer
July 17, 1861

The Battle of Laurel Hill

Cincinnati, July 16.—A special dispatch to the “Gazette” reports that Laurel Hill was evacuated on the night of the 11th inst. The Confederate troops were overtaken by the advance of the Hessians on the 12th, when the rear slowed battle to recover their retreat. At the next ford Gen. Garnett was killed. Col Ramsey, of Georgia, succeeded Gen. Garnett in command, and the pursuit ceased. The result of the whole affair is, that Laurel Hill camp, with equipage, forty baggage-wagons, field chest, and two regimental banners were captured. Four Georgia Captains and Lieutenants were taken among the prisoners. Gen. Garnett and twenty of his men were killed. The general’s body is at headquarters, awaiting orders from Richmond.


Richmond Enquirer
July 24, 1861

Correspondence between Colonel Pegram and General McClellan.

The Louisville “Courier,” of the 19th inst., has an article from Cincinnati “Commercial,” of the 16th, containing a long account of the Rich Mountain fight, the following correspondence being part of it:

HEADQUARTERS AT MR. KETTEL’S HOUSE

Tygart’s Valley River, 6 miles from Beverly, July 12, 1861

To “Commanding Officer” of Northern Forces, Beverly, Va:

SIR—I write to state to you that I have, in consequence of the retreat of Gen. Garnett, and the jaded and reduced condition of my command, most of them having been without food for two days, concluded, with the concurrence of a majority of my captains and field officers, to surrender my command to you tomorrow, as prisoners of war. I have only to add I trust they will only receive at your hands such treatment as has been invariably shown to the Northern prisoners by the South.

I am, sir,

Your obedient servant,

JOHN PEGRAM,
Lieut. Col. P.A.C.S., Com’dg

It is asserted by guides that Col. Pegram’s force, collected since his flight, is between 600 and 700 men, who have thus offered to surrender.

Gen. McClellan sent the following reply by his Aid-de-Camp, Lieutenant Williams, U.S. Army:

HEADQUARTERS, DEPT OF THE OHIO,
Beverly, Va., July 13, 1861

John Pegram, Esq., Styling himself Lt. Col. P.A.C.S:

SIR—Your communication dated yesterday, proposing to surrender as prisoners of war, of the force assembled under your command, has been delivered to me. As Commander of this Department, I will receive you and them with the kindness due to prisoners of war, but it is not in my power to relieve you or them from any liabilities incurred by taking arms against the United States.

I am, very respectfully, your ob’t serv’t,

GEN. B. McCLELLAN,
Maj. Gen’l U.S.A, Com’dg Dept.


Richmond Enquirer
July 20, 1861

THE BATTLE OF BEVERLY—ADDITIONAL PARTICULARS.

We have some further particulars of the engagement near Beverly, Va., between the Federal and Confederate forces. The Washington Star publishes the following:

BEVERLY, July 13.—Gen. McClellen’s victory of today is complete. General Garnett, on learning of the engagement, imprudently left his entrenched camp at Huttonville with the main body of his army, leaving what is supposed to be but a camp guard there. He advanced to succor Col. Pegram, and had arrived within three miles of Beverly when he was met by those of Pegram’s flying forces who were foremost in the retreat. As they rushed in among Garnett’s troops they created such a panic among them as to make it necessary for him at once to decline standing to give our pursuing forces battle, and to fly himself in turn. He decamped accordingly in the direction of St. George’s with all possible haste and disorder.

Gen. McClellen’s pursuit of the main body of Pegram’s retreating force was in the meantime vigorously pushed, and, on coming up with them, (disheartened by the intelligence that Gen. Garnett, instead of carrying out his original purpose of covering their retreat, had himself turned and fled with his whole force of eight thousand men,) Pegram promptly made propositions to Gen. McClellan for the surrender of all that remained of his force, admitting that he had a hundred and fifty killed, and the rest, except those he offered to surrender, scattered in the woods, God knows where.

Gen. McClellan offered to treat them as prisoners of war, but expressly stipulated that he could give them no guarantee whatever concerning the disposition the Government might eventually make of them for having taken up arms against its authority, it not being in his power to relieve them of their liability to the law on that account.

Gen. Pegram accepted those terms, and all that remained of his command of about 2,000 to 2,500, between 600 and 700 have accordingly surrendered. With the prisoners Gen. McClellan made in the forty-eight hours, this makes full one thousand prisoners on his hands—near half of Pegram’s command a troublesome encumbrance truly.

Speculations are rife as to what will be Wise’s course on learning of this defeat, route and dispersion of the best part of what was lately his army of the Northwest.


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

West Virginia Archives and History