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Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
October 24, 1861


Wheeling Intelligencer
October 29, 1861

A LETTER FROM A WHEELING MAN.

Narrow Escape of the Steamer Victor from Capture on the Kanawha – Attack on the Mary Cook.

GALLIPOLIS, Oct 24, 1861.

Editors Intelligencer: -

I have just returned from a trip up as far as Gauley, barely making our escape from being on the road to Richmond instead of being here to-night.

On last night I left Camp Enyart with the Victor No. 2, loaded with clothing and Commissary stores, for Gauley. We proceeded on our way as far up as Cannelton. We there found a large lot of cavalry coming down the opposite side of the river. – We were hailed by Capt. Kid, of the 1st Kentucky regiment, who called us in just in time to save ourselves. If we had have been one hour later we should have taken, boat and all. But arriving at the same time as the rebels saved us. They were three hundred strong. Capt. Kid immediately got up three companies and sent them over the river, but abandoned going after them, as they could not be overtaken.

I then thought of the Mary Cook, which was to leave Camp Enyart after me, loaded for Gauley. We dispatched an express, but could not reach her before the cavalry came to her. They met her at the foot of an island and pour a heavy fire into her, completely riddling her sides, but wounding only one man. It occurred about 3 o’clock in the morning, when all hands on board were lying down. The bullets went through the pilot house, state rooms, chimnies and siding. It is remarkable that a number were not killed. The boat made her way inside of the island, landing on the opposite shore from the enemy, by that means only saving the boat, crew and passengers. The rebels had all kinds of arms. I have in my possession six different kinds of bullets, Minie musket, rife and pistol, which was picked up on the boat next morning.

I stopped to-day, coming down, at the place where they made the attack, and found, by responsible persons, that there were 300 cavalry, which, I have no doubt, is a fact. They are using this kind of guerilla warfare. They disband in squads and meet at night appointed for such attacks. I am in hopes General Rosecrans will hereafter use some precaution to stop such warfare. Until something is done it will be dangerous for our government boats to venture up the river. It was only by good luck we saved ourselves.

These are facts, being from my own examination and what I saw. If worth publishing you can do so.

Respectfully yours,
J. McL.


Richmond Daily Dispatch
November 8, 1861

Kanawha Valley.

[from the Cincinnati Gazette,] Oct. 30th

The shipsteamer Dunlelty arrived from Camp Enyart last evening, and brings the intelligence that on Friday last our pickets were fired upon on the Fayetteville road, South of Gauley Bridge, killing two members of the First Kentucky Regiment, but their names had not been ascertained when the boat left. Heavy cannonading was heard at Camp Enyart. on Sundaynight, in the direction of Gauley Bridge, and it is supposed that an engagement was going on. The Victor No. 2 was fired into, but without any effect to those aboard.

Since writing the above the Allen Collier arrived at our wharf, with Col. Guthrie, of the First Kentucky regiment, on leave of absence. From him we learn that the firing on pickets at Fayetteville was done on Thursday, and that seven rebels were killed in return, and the bodies of our two men were recovered under a flag of truce.

The firing into the Victor No. 2 was done on Saturday last, and immediately after Colonel Guthrie came down from Gauley with three companies of infantry and three pieces of artillery, and on Sunday shelled the hills whence the firing came, from the opposite side of the river, dispersing the rebels. It is understood that a rebel camp of about eight hundred cavalry is situated about nine miles up Paint and Cabin creeks; and it is from that place that the rebels came who have been firing upon the steamers.

Captain Simmons afterwards shelled a house on the south side of the Kanawha river, whence shots were fired, destroying it completely; but whether it contained any inmates was not ascertained.


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

West Virginia Archives and History