July 27, 1861
FROM THE KANAWHA EXPEDITION.
Gen. Cox still at Poca – Capture of a Bull – Foraging – Successful Scouting Expedition – Capture of Secession Major – Cols. Woodruff, De Villiers and Neff sent to Richmond – The Former Seriously Affected at his Capture – They were Betrayed by a Display of the Stars and Stripes – Gen. Cox Preparing to Advance.
POCATALICO CREEK, KANAWHA RIVER,
July 22, 1861.
Here we are, at this date, lying around loose, with a heavy storm of rain pouring down upon our devoted heads, making locomotion rather an unpleasant recreation among the Virginia hills – to your correspondent especially, in seeking for something to interest your many readers. But I fear of being unsuccessful in the present monotony of the camp. The Kentucky boys, for the want of more active service, resort to various amusements to while away the time, varying from musical concerts to sham engagements, and from chicken practice to the chase and capture of a bullock, should one unconsciously show his horns – two of whom, poor souls! were made to suffer yesterday.
Quite an amusing scene occurred in the capture of one of them. Being a powerful fellow, he scattered the boys around quite unceremoniously. About one hundred men were in the chase – some armed with muskets, some with axes, some with clubs, some with stones, and others with fence rails. In his flight he upset several of the “boys,” in their efforts to catch him by the horns. The cry was: Head him here – head him there – shoot – don’t shoot – knock him in the head – catch him by the horns – throw a rope over him, &c, &c. After a long chase, one fellow, armed with an axe, succeeded in getting in a blow between the horns, which fetched him to the ground. The rest is soon told: Being turned over to the butcher’s hands, his remains were soon disposed of.
Captain Cahill, with a squad of men, went on a scouting expedition in search of some Seceshers, living four miles from the camp. Coming upon the premises of Squire Martin, a noted Secessionist, his men charged upon a flock of ducks and chickens. The matron of the premises plead to Capt. Cahill in behalf of herself and seven children in the loss of her poultry. The gallant Captain’s heart melted to her appeals; on learning her estimated value of the seizure, he drew forth his purse and deposited the amount in her hand. On his return to camp, your correspondent was made the recipient of a nice duck and chicken, which was duly appreciated as a luxury in camp fare.
This morning, notwithstanding the rain, a reconnoitering party was sent up the river on one of the steamboats, and was landed for the purpose of proceeding up the river on one of the steamboats, and was landed for the purpose of proceeding up to the mouth of Coal River, and ascertain, if possible, where the enemy are entrenched.
The expedition was composed of the following commands: Major Leiper, with companies G and K of the First Kentucky, and Major Hines, with companies A, F and H of the 12th Ohio Regiment. They returned at 6 o’clock this evening, with the following intelligence: After leaving the boat the column moved on up the river, without meeting with the enemy until arriving near the mouth of Coal river. Upon their appearance the enemy suddenly fled, setting fire to the bridge across Coal River as they left. Major Leiper’s command succeeded in capturing one of Jenkin’s dragoons and horse, and also Major Patton, the commander of the enemy’s forces. Major Patton was severely wounded in the last engagement, and was there, attended by his wife.
He was left by Major Leiper, under a parole of honor, subject to exchange. Two of the wounded of the Twelfth Ohio Regiment, were found there, receiving every attention at the hands of the enemy. The camp at Coal River was found to be excellently located. Comfortable cantonments had been erected there, and every comfort and convenience had been added. The headquarters were established at the palatial residence of Beverly Tompkins, a neutral, surrounded by a beautiful grove and pleasant lawns. A council of war was held here by the Majors and Captains in command, over which presided Major Leiper, of the First Kentucky Regiment, to take into consideration the propriety of burning the camp and its surroundings.
The result of the conference was, that in consideration of the attention being paid to our wounded there, and the former attentions of Mr. Thompkins, the owner of the grounds, when Col. Norton was a prisoner and wounded with them, it was resolved to spare the premises. The burning of the bridge at Coal river, by the enemy, was wholly unnecessary, as the Federal troops in their march, will proceed up the opposite side of the Kanawha and have also the advantage of the Kanawha river as a means of transportation, which is at present in good stage and rising. The steamer Mary Cook arrived, this evening, with one company of recruits for the Eleventh Regiment O. V. They also bring information of Col. Guthrie and his command having arrived at Ravenswood. The steamer Eunice was dispatched to transport them up the Kanawha to join the main army.
TUESDAY MORNING, 23d July. After a continued rain throughout the entire day yesterday, the morning of the 23d opened with a clear and cool atmosphere. The sun rose in its majesty, proclaiming a serene and pleasant day; The heavy rains have left the camp grounds in a muddy and unpleasant condition for locomotion. The “boys” throughout the camp are quite busily engaged this morning in cleaning up their arms and accoutrements preparatory for active service. An accident occurred this morning from the careless use of fire arms. John E. Spicer, of Co. F, Twelfth Ohio, was shot through the arm by the accidental discharge of a pistol.
Major Leiper was informed yesterday, while at Camp Cole, of the removal of Colonels Woodruff, De Villiers and Neff, together with Captains Hurd and Austin, from the town of Charleston, to the city of Richmond.
Col. Woodruff was represented to have been effected to tears from the humiliation of his position. Colonel De Villiers pronounced their capture as contrary to all honorable military rules. They all claim that they were treacherously ensnared into the enemy’s camp, by the enemy displaying the American flag. They have been kindly treated by their captors, and complain only of the mode of their capture. Col. Norton is fast recovering of his wounds, and it is supposed will soon be exchanged with Major Patton of the Confederate army. I cannot now inform you of our future movements. General Cox is at present quite busy in perfecting his movements, which will soon be completed and then onward will on the watchword. I could give you some information in regard to it, but do not think it advisable to do so at present, as it might fall into the enemy’s hands, or otherwise prejudice the General’s plans. When the circumstances will admit, you can depend upon being fully advised by your own correspondent. The “boys” here express their gratitude for your generous and constant supply of the Times.
C. W. B.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: July 1861