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Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
October 21, 1861


Richmond Daily Dispatch
November 1, 1861

Affairs on the Kanawha.

We are able to correct this morning many errors that have got into the newspapers in regard to the operations of our army on the Kanawha. We have received the following letter, dated at Dublin Depot, Pulaski county, from a gentleman of great intelligence who left our camp at Cotton Hill, directly opposite the mouth of Gauley river, last Friday, to-day week. The news is entirely authentic and reliable:

Dublin Depot,Oct. 29th, 1861.

The rumors in many of the newspapers, as to Gen. Floyd's movements, are so full of errors, that I feel authorized to write you from this place to possess you of such facts as will enable you to give such reliable information as will be admissible to the public. General Floyd left Big Sewell some two weeks ago with the 22d, 36th, 45th, 50th, and 51st Virginia Regiments; the 20th Mississippi; 13th Georgia; 4th Louisiana Battalion, and other forces which I need not enumerate, Colonel Phillips's Georgia Legion en route for Kanawha; via Richmond's Ferry, Raleigh and Fayette Court-Houses. After ten day's hard marching over almost impassable roads, building coast, making roads, and constructing bridges, the command reached Fayetteville the 21st, about noon, and without halting, marched to the junction of the Miller's Ferry road with the Raleigh, turnpike, some three miles East of Fayette Court-House. The enemy had pickets stationed near the junction of these roads. The advance was halted here, and a part of Colonel Phillips's cavalry dismounted — some seventy in number — as skirmishers, commanded by Col. Phillips in person Gen. Floyd, with his staff proceeded down the Miller's Ferry road about one mile, the pickets of the enemy retreating before our skirmishers without even firing a gun. Here the General we stopped by a blockade of the narrow pass in the river bluffs made by the enemy. The militia and those who followed to the Ferry, some three-quarters of a mile further, had to clamber over timber and trees fallen across the road on foot. The road is very narrow and down a deep defile between the bluffs, to the river bank. The pickets of the enemy crossed the river on double-quick, and commenced a brisk fire from the opposite heights, at 3 o'clock P. M. which was returned by our skirmishers and kept up until sundown. The enemy brought to the did of their infantry two pieces of artillery, which were used in firing without effect upon our men until the light closed at night Our loss I killed and 3 wounded very slightly; the damage to the enemy was considerable, judging from the screams of their men, occasioned by the shots of our skirmishers, who used their Sharp's carbines with telling effect upon their artillerists.

Gen. Floyd holds the landings on this side of Kanawha, at Bowyer's and Miller's and Montgomery's Ferries. Montgomery's Ferry is across the Kanawha river, just below the mouth of Gauley. Our main force is at Cotton Hill.

Gen. Floyd's Brigade Quartermaster, Col. Isaac B. Dunn, has just established a daily line of express from Cotton Hill to this depot — distance 115 miles from headquarters, making 7 miles per hour, at stages of 5 miles each.--The express is formed of the cavalry who are without arms. It makes close daily connections with trains East and West, at Dublin. I left headquarters Fridaymorning, was with the General at Miller's Ferry and Cotton Hill, and know that Rosencranz, or Cox, or both, have a heavy force, say seven to ten thousand men, at Gauley, Hawk's Nest, and along the Valley for seven miles up to Hamilton's. Their tents are visible from Cotton Hill, and their band may be heard distinctly at night at Gen. Floyd's headquarters. Our cavalry have proceeded as far down as Malden, fighting their boats and annoying their trains.--The enemy have no force west (south) of Kanawha river, (up to the time I left,) as far down as Malden. The statement in to-day's Dispatch, in regard to Captain R. G. Banks, who is credited as brigade quartermaster, with the whole labor of transporting the brigade over the route so recently taken, is unjust to Col. Dunn, the real brigade quartermaster. Capt. B. is assistant quartermaster to 50th regiment, has not been with the command since it left Sewell, has been and is now absent at Wytheville settling business of his regiment. Col. Davis left the command at Richmond's Ferry, and only returned to Cotton Hill last Saturday. Col. Dunn was the only brigade quartermaster with Gen. Floyd through the mountains. The General's health is improving Mrs Floyd was at Pack's Ferry on Saturday, on her way to Raleigh. From this imperfect statement you can glean such facts as will enable you to form a pretty correct opinion of our position. All our supplies will e drawn from this depot, and our success must depend very much on the support we receive from Gen. Lee, at Sewell.

Apropos of our army on the Kanawha, the truth is beginning to come out at last from the enemy's side, of the damage inflicted upon them by General Floyd's army at the battle of Carnifax Ferry. The Cincinnati Times thus speaks of that affair, and of the enemy's condition in that quarter generally:

The mismanagement in Western Virginia.

The glory of Carnifax Ferry was dearly purchased. The list of killed and wounded on our side will never be known, but we see and hear enough to know that it is tremendous. The Valley of the Kanawha, from Gallipolis to Sewell's Mountain, is strewn with the dead and dying. The forced marching, and the unwise exposure of the troops to win that bit of glory, has swept the ranks worse than all the rebel artillery of Western Virginia could have done.

All the hospitals, from Gallipolis to Cross Lanes, are crowded with sick. Fevers are raging in every regiment. Companies have become fearfully decimated. So prevalent is disease that the sick and dying are sent in hundreds to Cincinnati to obtain shelter and medical assistance, and Rosencranz has been compelled, from sheer necessity, to fall back some distance from the enemy. This is the result, the very sad result, of the mismanagement in Wester. Virginia. The robbed and swindled troops, badly clothed, half red, and many of them without even the shelter of tents, are falling before they meet the enemy.

It is with sorrow — yes, with pain — that we lift our pen to write a word condemnatory of Gen. Rosencranz. We admire his courage and military genius, and acknowledge has services with pleasure. We had hopes to see him rise rapidly, and add brilliancy to his military career; but the truth is too apparent, and duty to the country demands that it should be spoken. Gen. Rosencranz can lead, out cannot manage, an army. He is sadly deficient in administrative qualities. All through the campaign his troops have been suffering, and, instead of remedying the evil, he permits it to grow.

It is the best attribute of good generalship to have the troops in good condition. In this Gen. Rosencranz has failed. In not a single camp in Western Virginia have the troops been property supplied. The evil may have been beyond the power of Gen. Rosencranz, but we cannot so sea it. He advanced with a badly conditioned army, and plunged it in to a worse condition. We see the result--Crowded hospitals and multiple graves — a energies of human life to win a little, very little doubtful


Wheeling Intelligencer
October 26, 1861

[From the Cincinnati Gazette of last night?]

Latest Intelligence from the Kanawha Valley – Skirmish at Hawk’s Nest.

The steamers Glenwood and Freestone, from the Kanawha Valley, arrived at our wharf – the former yesterday morning and the latter last evening. The Glenwood brought down nine prisoners, in charge of Sergea[n]t-Major King and a detachment of soldiers from the Seventh Ohio Regiment.

The prisoners were sent directly to Columbus.

The Freestone brought Major Joseph W. Burke, of the Tenth Ohio, who is quite ill of fever, and Lieutenant Ross, Quartermaster Roosa and Adjutant Pauley. The Tenth has not now a single field officer on duty.

From those officers we have obtained the particulars of a skirmish which took place in the neighborhood of Hawk’s Nest, on New river, seven miles above Gauley Bridge, on the afternoon of Monday last. About three o’clock on that day our pickets were fired upon across that river, but without any damage. Parts of the 9th and 28th regiments, under command of Col. McCook, immediately repaired to the spot, which was at Miller’s Ferry, when suddenly a rebel cavalry company and between two hundred and three hundred militia appeared from among the woods and skirmishing commenced. A desultory firing was kept up across the river for four or five hours, with no other loss upon our side than one killed and two wounded, belonging to the 28th regiment. Two mountain howitzers were brought to play upon the rebels, who managed to dodge the musket fire behind the trees, but some shot and shell from the howitzers dislodged them, and they fell back, dragging five or six killed or wounded with them.

The next day, however, they re-appeared in stronger force but they hugged the woods and fired from behind trees. Col. McCook ordered a rifled six-pounder to be brought to bear, and a few rounds, well directed, shivered huge splinters from the trees, and these flying in all directions made it too dangerous for them to remain, and they had entirely disappeared when the Freestone left.

There is a great deal of sickness in the Eleventh Regiment, which is at Gauley Bridge, and a great want of forage for horses, but otherwise, the condition of things remains unchanged.


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

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