October 23, 1861
FIGHTING IN WIRT COUNTY - COL. RICHMOND WITH HIS FOUR COMPANIES FROM THIS CITY, PURSUES THE REBELS. - A telegraphic dispatch, from Parkersburg, in the Cincinnati Commercial of last night, says that on Wednesday night last a messenger arrived at Elizabeth, Wirt county, reporting that a party of rebels were committing depredations in the neighborhood of Burning Springs - eight miles distant. Capt. Hill, of the 1st Virginia Cavalry, stationed at Elizabeth, with forty of his company started in pursuit of the rebels. When six miles beyond Elizabeth, he was fired into from the side of a hill, close to the road, by seventy-five rebels. He then returned the fire, completely routing them, killing twelve, wounding one, and taking five prisoners. Two of Capt. Hill's troops were wounded.
On Friday night a force of two hundred rebels attacked Elizabeth, but were repulsed by Capt. Hill with the aid of a few Home Guards; but little damage was done on either side.
On Saturday night the rebels robbed and burned several houses at Burning Springs, stealing a number of horses, &c. Capt. Hill was reinforced on Sunday morning, by four companies of infantry from Wheeling, under command of Lieutenant Col. Richmond.
There are from three to four hundred rebels in Wirt county, most of whom belong to that and adjoining counties. Col. Richmond is now in pursuit of them.
October 29, 1861
THE EXPEDITION TO WIRT COUNTY. - Major Kreps of the 1st Va. Cavalry, who accompanied the expedition to Wirt county, returned last evening. The expedition was delayed a day in Parkersburg, and the rebels getting wind of the coming of the force managed to keep about a day ahead and finally to get away altogether. The four companies, however, pursued the rascals hotly, and succeeded in capturing a large number of prisoners, horses, guns, &c., in the vicnity of Elizabeth and Burning Springs. The rebels had been perpetrating all manner of outrages in the places above named, and when the expedition reached there it was warmly welcomed by many of the citizens, numbers volunteering to guide the boys through the county. In Elizabeth a Union company was formed, and about fifty men were sworn in.
While our forces were at Elizabethtown, a Secessionist named Roberts fired upon a Union man who was plowing in a field near the town. The Unon man reported the fact, when a squad of our men went out on the double quick after Roberts. They soon got sight of him, and succeeded in running him into a raid pile out of which he was fool enough to stick his head for reconnoitering purposes. He was fired upon and killed.
Capt. Donnelly and Capt. Morgan, with their companies, are at Burning Springs. The other two companies were sent up to Clarksburgh [sic].
Murder by Secessionists in Wirt County.
October 30, 1861
Murder by Secessionists in Wirt County.
We yesterday heard the particulars of a cold blooded murder which was perpetrated about eight miles from the town of Elizabeth, in Wirt county, a few days before the expedition from this city reached that place. A young man named Dowland, a strong Union man, had given information which led to the arrest of one Devers, a strong Secessionist. For this, Dowland's life was threatened and he managed to keep out of the way of the more violent rebels for several days; but on the day of his death, he happened to meet the wife of Devers who prevailed upon him to accompany her home. Dowland and the woman accordingly proceeded on the way towards the house of the latter's husband, but stopped at a house occupied by an aged couple who are mutual friends of both. Dowland not thinking it safe to go any further, remained at this house, and the woman went on home, where it appears, she gave information of Dowland's whereabouts, and a large party of reckless rascals soon came back in search of him. Dowland determined to make a stand in the house, and refused to admit the crowd. They finally forced open the door, when Dowland fired his pistol and retreated up stairs. One of the crowd attempted to follow him, when he shot him in the jaw, which caused a retreat. The rebels then set fire to the house, and Dowland not wishing to see the aged occupants of the house perish in the flames, agreed that if his enemies would extinguish the flames he would give himself up. This was done, and when Dowland made his appearance he was roughly seized, and carried away a short distance from the house, tied up to a tree and shot. Major Kreps who accompanied Col. Richmond, on the recent expedition from this city, informs us that he visited the place where Dowland was shot and saw the ground all besmeared with his blood. Our boys found a piece of his skull and discovered other evidences of a brutal and most fiendish murder. They killed the brave fellow as they would have killed a dog, and paid no more attention to his body afterwards.
WTimeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: October 1861