Series 1, Volume 5, pp. 118-119
Reports of Brig. General William S. Rosecrans U. S. Army.
CLARKSBURG, August 28, 1861.
General Cox reports, under date 27th, Seventh Ohio, under Tyler, advanced regiment at Cross-Lanes, below Summersville, was surprised by Floyd while eating his breakfast, and dispersed. Baggage trains saved and half the regiment come in. Other half continues to straggle in. Floyd, with five regiments and three guns, at Cross-Lanes, 5 miles below Summersville. Wise, with about the same force, on New River. General reports give Lee and Loring 10,000 men at Huntersville. Troops sickly. Reynolds endeavoring to get close information to-day. News not in yet. I have twenty-two companies infantry, one of cavalry, two guns at Sutton, and Macks battery; one regiment of ten companies at Bulltown to-night; ten companies more and mountain-howitzer battery will probably reach there to-morrow; eight companies of infantry to-morrow night; fifteen companies now on rail for this place, to go down as soon as possible; total, sixty-five infantry. They will be down there by Saturday evening. This will be all I can spare, unless news from Cheat Mountain indicates the possibility of using some of the eight regiments there.
Col. E. D. TOWNSEND.
AUGUST 28, 1861. Dispatch from General Cox says that Seventh Ohio, 5 miles below Summersville, on Gauley road, was overpowered by superior numbers and scattered. A good many missing, but thinks the casualties not great. Expects them all in. Has orders in full to hold his position at Gauley. Thinks he can do it. Enemy estimated at from 5,000 to 10,000. Am moving down all available force to Sutton. Will have fitty-five [sic] companies there by to-morrow evening. Expect to attack the enemy on Friday or Saturday, and crush his column, if possible, at or near Summersville.
September 10, 1861
In reference to this battle a Lewisburg correspondent writes to us as follows.
"On Saturday, the 24th of August, General Floyd, having separated his command from Gen. Wise's (with the exception of the cavalry) and having taken, in addition to his own forces, the regiments of Cols. Tompkins and McCausland, advanced on the "Sunday" road to "Carnifax's Ferry," and began conveying his troops over in a boat. After he had gotten the greater portion of his infantry over, (the artillery and baggage being still on this side of the river) the boat, by some mismanagement, as they were returning to this side, was carried over the Falls, and four of his men lost. He immediately set his forces to building another boat which was completed by the next (Sunday) evening, and the remainder of the troops were carried over that night. The enemy having heard that a small force had crossed Gauley River, Col. Tyler advanced with his command to surprise them; but when they arrived at the Cross Lanes in Nicholas Co., about 4 miles from the Ferry, finding our forces larger than they expected, they encamped there for the night. Floyd having heard of their advance, early next morning (Monday, the 26th of August) advanced on them and attacked them about sun up. The 50th Reg't (Col. Reynolds) leading the attack. After fighting about 15 minutes the enemy broke and retreated in great disorder.---Indeed, it was a perfect rout. The loss on our side was but 4 killed and ten or 12 wounded.---On theirs upwards of 40 dead bodies have been found and buried, and about 100 taken prisoners. Our men also took 5 wagons and one ambulance the latter said, by those who have seen it, to be a very fine one."
The following is an extract from a letter of Mr. R. H. Glass, Editor of Lynchburg Republican, who was present at this battle:
"All of our men and officers acted with the greatest gallantry and courage. Col. Heth led in front of his men and was shot through the coat. A minnie ball wounded the horse of Major Hounshell. Col. Reynolds was also shot through the coat and came near losing his life.
General Floyd, who is as brave as a lion, followed with his staff, and in his red hunting shirt, upon the very heels of the troops, (frequently in their very midst,) encouraging them by his example and commanding voice. * * *
Col. Tompkins' regiment was held in reserve, and did not, I think, get actively into the fight. The Col. and his men, however, were hotly in the chase, and took many of the prisoners, the Colonel himself taking Captain Sburleft, and others.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Col. Tyler's command was one of the very best of the enemy--he was one of their crack officers. It has for a long time been prowling all through this country, holding it in complete subjection. Tyler it was who boasted that he would march to Lewisburg at all hazards, and would catch Floyd and Wise and feed them on beans. It has now been defeated, routed, and disgraced, with all its prestige gone.
The people in this section have confidence in our strength again, and will rally to our standard at once. I think, too, the rout will alarm General Cox, at Gauley Bridge, and I should not be surprised if he beat a hasty retreat to the Ohio river.
The battle of Cross Lanes.
September 7, 1861
The battle of Cross Lanes.
complete defeat and rout of the enemy--Gen. Floyd in the midst of the fight names of our killed and wounded, &c. the editor of the Lynchburg Republican, who was a participant in the battle of Cross Lanes, communicates the following interesting particulars in regard to the fight to that paper. Although our readers are acquainted with the fact of the glorious success of our arms in that quarter, yet we doubt not perusal will fully repay them for the time occupied in so doing.
Headq'rs Floyd Brigade, Aug. 26, 1861.
I reached here last evening, just in time to participate this morning in our first engagement with the enemy.
when I arrived yesterday, at 6 P. M., I found the Brigade drawn up in beautiful line of battle, and Gen. Floyd and his staff upon the field, in momentary expectation of an attack from Col. Tyler's command, which has driver in our pickets and was in a mile of our lines. Our artillery were posted on the brow of the hill which we occupy, commanding the main road, while to the right and left our infantry lines extended, protected by some has y thrown up rail breastworks. The enemy did not attack us, however, and at nightfall our men were ordered to stand upon their arms all night, while our horses stood under their saddler, and their riders slept in their boots and spurs.
During the night our scouts brought us accurate information as to the position of the enemy, and General Floyd determined to attack him near the dawn of morning. It was arranged that Col. Heth should advance it the centre, Col. Reynolds to conduct the fight wing, while Col. McCauslin was to cut on the enemy's retreat by a circuit to the left.
at four o'clock A. M. The Brigade was in motion, and the clear ring of the General's ntorian voice was heard along the lines in the fresh morning air like the blast of a trumpet. We were all instantly to our arms and to our saddles, and advanced rapidly at double quick. A heavy fog hung over the hills and along the valleys, and we approached almost upon the enemy's pickets before they saw us. They fired and far, distinctly in our view and not a hundred yards in our advance. Our men gave a shout at the sound of that sort of music, and dashed on with accelerated speed. In a few minutes we discovered the blue coats of the enemy, as they stood drawn up in line near a church by the road side, while to our right, and behind a fence, stood another column of the enemy. As soon as Col. Heth's regiment emerged from the woods into the open field, which commanded the church, they opened fire, and, after a few rounds, the enemy hastily retreated across a and to the brow of a precipitate and commanding hill. In the meantime, Colonel Reynolds' regiment had opened on the enemy upon the right, and they, too, were soon made to beat a precipitate retreat, as shout on shout of our men rent the air. Gen. Floyd then gave the command to throw down the fence on the right of the road, and charge the enemy on the hill. In an instant, and almost at a single stroke of the arm, the fence went down, and our men, led on by their gallant Colonel (Heth,) dashed across the corn-field and charged to the top of the hill, driving the enemy to a still higher eminence, completely commanding the first. Here the sharpest part of the conflict occurred. The enemy maintained their position with considerable obstinacy, wounding several of our men and killing some.
our fire becoming too hot again for the enemy, they retired to an adjoining wood. Again our men dashed on to the charge, ascending the brow of the second hill, and shooting as they went. At this stage Capt. Jackson's artillery was hurried to the front. It came dashing through the field and to the brow of the hill, and letting fly two rounds, the enemy disappeared through the woods. In the meantime, Capt. Hart's artillery had crossed the field and ascended an adjoining hill, but not in time to give the enemy a few of his grape. The Hessians were now in full retreat on all hands, and as they descended from the hill to the raving and road upon the other side, Col. McCanklin pitched into them with his force, when the whole broke and took to the woods, every man for himself. Had not the Yankee Colonel ran before his men, he would doubtless have been captured by this part of our force.
Pursuit was immediately determined upon by our General. On our gallant men rushed in more than double quick time, and continued the Pursuit for some eight or ten miles, but with no other result than the capture of a number of prisoners, four baggage waggons, one ambulance, and several guns and other articles. A fine chest of medicines was captured, which is now in the hands of my friend, Dr. Gleaves, from Wytheville.
we attacked the enemy so early and unexpectedly that they evidently had to leave without breakfast, for, as we passed their camp, bushels of sicken roasting earn, quantities of beef, pigs and bread were found on their fires.
I have not learned the loss of the enemy, but it was several killed, many wounded, and still a greater number taken prisoners. All of them were Chioans, and we learned from them that Col. Tyler, his Lieutenant Colonel, Surgeon and preacher, all ran soon after the engagement opened. They cursed them soundly for their cowardly conduct in deserting their men so early in the action. They had left their main provision train (30 wagons) some fifteen miles to the rear, or we would have captured the whole of them.
All of our men and officers acted with the greatest gallantry and courage. Col. Hethed in front of his men and was shot through the coat. A Minnie ball wounded the horse of Major Hounshell. Col. Reynolds was also shot through the coat, and came near losing his life.
General Floyd, who is as brave as a lion, followed with his staff, and in his red hunting shirt, upon the very heels of his troops, (frequently in their very midst,) encouraging them by his example and commanding voice.
Capt. Shead's company, of Amherst, was actively in the fight, and performed admirably; and Capt. Henry, of Amherst, though not property belonging to the fighting department of the Brigade, shouldered his gun and was in the thickest of the fight. Captain Peters was also with us in the thickest of the fight.
Col. Tomkins' regiment was held in reserve, and did not, I think, get actively into the fight. The Colonel and his men, however, was hotly in the chase, and took many of the prisoners, the Colonel himself taking Capt. Shurfleft, and others. our scouts are still bringing in prisoners. Among the last is a strapping negro, who has excited considerable curiosity among our darkies.
this battle will be known as that of "Cross Lares," and is of far more significance than the number killed and wounded would indicate.
Col. Tyler's command was one of the very best of the enemy he one of their crack officers. It has for a long time been prowling through all this country, holding it in complete subjection. Tyler it was who boasted that he would march to Lewisburg at all hazards, and would catch Floyd and Wise and feed them on beans. It has now been defeated, routed and disgraced, with all its prestige gone.
the people in this section have confidence in our strength again, and will rally to our standard at once. I think, too, the rout will alarm Gen. Cox, at Gauley Bridge, and I should not be surprised if he beat a hasty retreat to the Ohio river. Gen Floyd's advance to this side of Gauley, with nothing but a single ferry-boat in the rear to command a retreat over a dangerous stream, was considered rash by some, but rashness is sometimes prudence, and it has proven eminently so in this instance.
We hold a position here from which four times our number cannot dislodge us, and are prepared at any favorable moment to make a rapid advance movement. Our friends may depend upon it that this Brigade will take no step backwards, and that, if it be properly supported, it will, together with Gen. Wise a Legion, drive the enemy across the Ohio before the fall campaign closes.
among the enemy killed is Capt. Dyer, of Ohio, who fought through the Mexican war in a much better cause. He was a gallant officer, and was killed in a fatal effort to rally his men. Among the prisoners is Capt. Shurtleft, who appears to be a gentleman, and fought bravely.
it is astonishing how few persons are killed and wounded in proportion to the shots fired in battle. As we rode through the field this morning, the enemy's bullets could be heard cutting through the corn and whistling by your ears as thick as hall, and yet but few of our men were touched. The calculation recently made by some one, that it requires seven hundred halls to kill one man, is really true, though the calculation is not of much consolation to the poor fellow who gets the lated shot. the following is a list of the casualties of the day on our side:
The loss of the enemy in killed, wounded and prisoners, will not fall short of one hundred. R. H. G.
Camp Gauley, Floyd's Brigade, August 29, 1861.
Since the battle on Monday morning last, nothing of special interest has transpired in this command. But little sickness prevails, and we are all in good spirits and quarters.
On yesterday I attended one of our Yankee Captain prisoners to the hospital to see the wounded men. It is on the opposite side of Gauley, distant two miles. His meeting with his men was quite affecting. Shaking them by the hand, he said he was glad to see them "under any circumstances." He was a tutor in one of the Ohio colleges, and among the most dangerously wounded were four of his old scholars. One of them died before we left, and some of the rest will.
As an evidence of our men's good marksmanship, it may be stated that nearly every one of the wounded are shot above the legs. I remember but two exceptions. One fellow was shot in the forehead, the ball passing obliquely out near the back of the right ear, and, remarkable to say, he is still living and rational. Occasionally he is delirious, and when so, I heard him frequently remark: "O! I wish I were in Cleveland," I reckon a good many of his more fortunate companions wish the same thing.
The suffering of these men is a most painful sight, and is calculated to soften even the hearts of those who most hate them, their race, and their unholy invasion. Our surgeons are as attentive to their necessities as they are to those of our own men.
These men are the most intelligent and best looking set of prisoners I have yet seen in Richmond or elsewhere. Some of them seem to have enlisted for a frolic, some to vindicate the stars and stripes, and some from pure hatred of our people and institutions. Some of them are polite and communicative, some educated and well bred, and some sullen and insolent.
On yesterday a large buck negro, body-servant of the Yankee Major, was brought in with the Secretary to the Colonel. They were arrested some eight miles distant from the battle field. The negro was frightened out of his wits. He told us he was servant to the Major, who was to pay him fifty dollars per month, which he thought was better than he could do at home. He had been paid nothing, however, as yet. He started in the retreat with his master, but before going far, he passed one of his regiment, shot in the leg, who asked him for some water. He jumped from his horse, and dashed off to a branch near by to fill his canteen, and while engaged in this errand of mercy, a fleeing column of his Yankee friends passed, one of whom, in his anxiety to escape, mounted his horse, and dashed off to the great discomfiture of the negro, and leaving him to foot it as best he could. But for this accident, he said he should have escaped. He was exceedingly solicitous to know what would be done with him. He had heard that some six or seven of his color were taken at Manassas, and had been hung or sold, and wanted to know if it were so. He got no consolation upon the subject, and has left us in handcuffs, under the impression that Jeff. Davis will sell him to some cotton planter of the South--which I hope he will do.
Our prisoners numbered 104, all of whom have just marched for Richmond under a strong escort. We are picking up others almost every hour, and I am sure the loss of the enemy will be at least from 150 to 175, and a complete disorganization of Col. Tyler's command. The general impression of their men seemed to be that we would shoot every one of them without judge or jury, and when this delusion was expelled by our kind treatment, a complete change in their spirits was plainly manifest, and they seemed quite pleased with their lot. The officers were placed on parole of honor, and were tendered all the courtesies of the camp. This is in striking contrast to the treatment received by our prisoners at the hands of the Yankees.
We arrested, yesterday, in our camp, four or five Union men, who have been guilty of the treasonable offence of piloting the enemy through this country. They were then here as spies under the garb of friendship. They were sent to-day to Lewisburg jail.
It appears that the scouting party of cavalry, under Colonel Jenkins, were not ambuscaded in their collision with the enemy on Sunday last, as at first reported, but that the accident occurred by a strategic movement on the part of the enemy, altogether unavoidable on our part. Col. Jenkins had out his scouts at a proper distance. He engaged a body of the enemy's cavalry for about an hour, and while thus engaged, a large party of his infantry, by a long circuit around a hill, got in his rear, too far for his sentinels to give the alarm. Before he discovered this, however, Col. Jenkins had ordered a retreat, he gallantly covering it with a small squad of his men. They had retreated but a short distance when the rattle of the enemy's musketry apprised them of their danger. They were compelled to run the gauntlet for a quarter of a mile, with the loss of one killed and several wounded. It seems providential that any escaped.
Col. Jenkins was seriously hurt by the fall of his horse, and will not be capable of service for several days. He compliments in the highest terms the soldierly conduct of Major Frank Reynolds, a son of Col. Reynolds, of this Brigade, and one of the best drilled and most gallant young officers of the army. G.
Battle of Cross Lanes.
September 2, 1861
Battle of Cross Lanes.
We are indebted to a correspondent in Fayette county, Va. for the subjoined account of the defeat of Col. Tyler's Federal Regiment by a portion of General Floyd's brigade!
An engagement took place to-day (August) 26th, between some eight hundred of the enemy under Col. Tyler, and General Floyd's forces, at a place called the "Cross Lanes," near the junction of Meadow and Gauley rivers, some twenty miles above the month of Gauley river.
Gen. Floyd had the misfortune a few days ago to lose a boat and four of his men, viz: Dantel Mallory of Grayson, and Hugh Scott, John Jones and George Bare, of Symths, who were drowned by the boat going down into the rapids below the ferry. The enemy supposed that he had gotten over only a portion of his force, and seized the opportunity while they were thus "cut off," as they thought, to march upon them; but they reckoned without their host, for Gen. Floyd had [ had ] a new boat but it and his whole brigade over before they got up. The two forces encamped about two miles apart on Sundaynight, and early on Mondaymorning the regiments under Cols. Heth and Reynolds attacked the enemy by order of Gen. Floyd, who were posted on a high hill, and dislodged them from their position; when they commenced a rapid flight, pursued by our forces.
The enemy lost in killed, wounded and prisoners, upwards of one hundred men. Seventy-four prisoners were brought into camp by 8 o'clock, of which fourteen were wounded some mortally. A number of others were no doubt killed and wounded that were not found.
Taking into consideration the topography of the country, it was a signal success. The road is skirted by high, precipitous hills, and the ground covered with thick bushes to the very road side, with but little cleared land along the road. The regiments under Cols. McCauslin and Tompkins participated in the fight. Our loss was three killed and ten or twelve wounded, as I am informed.
Gen. Wise's brigade being on the opposite side of Gauley river, and some eight miles distant, took no part in the action. W.
A Hero in the battle of Cross Lanes.
September 3, 1861
A Hero in the battle of Cross Lanes.
A young soldier, writing from Floyd's command, says that they are strongly posted on the Ganley. His letter is dated the 26th ult., the day of the battle of Cross Lanes. He thus speaks of one of the participants in that battle:
"While I write, there is a young man, who is the hero of the day. His clothes are perfectly riddled. He got surrounded by the enemy; but, getting behind a tree, he dared them to take him. One fired at him, cutting his cartridge box off, and almost instantly another one shot the lock off of his musket; when, drawing his revolvers--two six shooters he killed both and wounded several others. He is a surgeon by profession, and says that he was in the thickest of the fight.--He pitched in, and after fading that he had fought himself out of his scrape, he thought it time to commence his professional duties, and took two arms off, besides dressing a good many wounds and cutting out some four or five balls."
The battle of Cross Lanes.
September 4, 1861
The battle of Cross Lanes.
--We conversed yesterday afternoon with a young gentleman who was engaged in this battle. He says that our forces attacked Col. Tyler's camp early in the morning, and dispersed the enemy in a short time. Twenty-three killed were found upon the battle-ground, and fifteen other dead bodies soon afterwards discovered in the surrounding woods. Col. Tyler is represented to have left the scene ingloriously at nearly moment of the engagement. Our informant thinks that some two hundred and fifty prisoners had been secured when he left; and he heard, after leaving, that a number more had been brought in.
The Skirmish at Summerville, Va.
September 4, 1861
The Skirmish at Summerville, Va.
The Cleveland Plain dealer States that Col. Tyler's Seventh Regiment of Ohio at two skirmishes with the Confederates at Cross Lane. The first was on the 21st, in which only fourteen men were engaged. The second was on the 26th, when 15 were killed and 49 were wounded. Of the first affair the Plain dealer says:
Fourteen men from company K, (National Guard,) Seventh Regiment, under Captain Shutt, were engaged on the 21st, near Cross Lane, Virginia. They were surprised by the Richmond Blues, who killed privates John Relie and John Shussier, wounded and took prisoners the captain himself Bohn; and privates Henry Luiber, George Wensennseck, F. Bruckelmen. Corporal Grebe, Geo. Denzel, Lewis Demil and Andrew Marcher were also wounded, but not severely, and made their escape, Captain Shutte is said to be mortally wounded.
Of the killed and wounded in the engagement on the 26th, the same paper says:
Capt. Stering, who was killed, was from Youngstown. Capt. Shurtuff from Oberith, and Capt. Dyer, from Painesville. The latter served through the Mexican war, was in several battles, and came off without a scratch. He was Captain of the Painesville Greys cutting their brief existence. When the present war broke out, he proceeded at once to enroll a company, the Painesville Union Savers, and was chosen Captain. He was a brave man, and had many friends in Painesville, where he leaves a wife and several children. Sergt. Major Liecester King, of Warred, was the son of the late Judge King, and formerly a resident of this city.
Louis G. D. Forest, Adjutant of the regiment, was a young man greatly beloved in this city. He was of splendid appearance and possessed admirable qualities of both head and heart. He had been employed as a salesman in N. E. Crittenden's jewelry store for eight years past. He was formerly a private in the Light Guard, under Captain Sanford. He afterwards became a member of the Sprague Cadets, and went with them to the wars. He was advanced from private to orderly sergeant, then second lieutenant, and many was promoted to the position of adjutant of the regiment. He was about 28 years of age.
The battle of Cross Lanes.
September 5, 1861
The battle of Cross Lanes.
We give below a letter from a gentleman who was in the engagement at Cross Lanes:
Camp Gauley, Gen. Floyd's Brigade,
August 28, 1861.
General Floyd met the enemy in position at Cross Lanes, within two miles of Camp Ganley, on the 26th, under command of Col. Tyler. Col. McCaureland's regiment encountered the enemy on the left, breaking the centre, and Col. Heth's regiment attacking the enemy on the left. Capt. R. B. Linkous, with his company, belonging to Col. McCauseland's regiment, was stationed in a ravine in a most exposed position between the right and left wings of the enemy, and thus encountering front and rear fire. The Captain had three men badly and two slightly wounded. Three companies of the enemy retreated on the rear of Captain Linkous, Captain F. P. Tanner's and Captain Fife's companies giving fire as they passed, taking one man a prisoner, with the flag of the "Boone Rangers." The man who was taken was waving the flag to his company, and unarmed a trophy without any honor attaching to its capture. The "Boone Bangers" were on the right of Captain Linkous' company, firing on the enemy at a church.
The residue of the enemy fled in disorder and were pursued by Col. McCauseland's regiment, on the 26th, some eight miles, and some were captured. The pursuit has been continued for several days, and the enemy taken in squads, the number now amounting to nearly two hundred. The enemy lost in killed between fifty and seventy-five.--We lost four killed, seven badly, and three slightly wounded. Several of the Hessians are yet scattered in the woods, and will probably be taken. We captured four wagons, with some stores and one surgeon's carriage. Among the captured of the enemy, we have a free negro, a Massachusetts mulatto by birth, recently a resident of Cleveland, Ohio.
Col. Tyler ordered his men to a "double quick" and then fled by a bridle path, leaving his regiment under the command of Captain Shurtliff, who was taken prisoner.
General Floyd was greatly exposed, and the gallant officer was delighted at our success, and showed his gratitude to his men.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: August 1861