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Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
November 27, 1861


Wheeling Intelligencer
December 6, 1861

Fight with Guerillas—The Moccasin Rangers.

[Correspondence of the Intelligencer.]

Parkersburg, Va., Dec. 1, 1861.

Messrs. Editors.—On Tuesday, Nov. 27th, Capt. Simpson, of the 11th Virginia Regiment, Col. J. D. Rathbone, started on a scouting expedition with twenty-six men of his command. The detachment arrived at the little Kanawha early in the morning, and were fortunate enough to capture Old Pat Rafferty, of Moccasin Ranger notoriety, having in his keeping a considerable amount of property, including ladies’ wearing apparel, children’s clothing and a host of other articles, all of which he had stolen from the Union people of the surrounding country.

The detachment retrograded to the house of one Jackson Wright, another gentlemen of the Moccasin persuasion, who at the particular moment happened to be at home, for a wonder, as most of the Moccasin chaps are “out” when called upon.—Capt. Simpson very politely requested Mr. Jack Wright to accompany the expedition which polite request said Wright could not refuse.

From this point the party proceeded to a place known as Sycamore Creek, in Calhoun county, and to a house used as a place of public worship, at which place the party encamped until the 28th. Capt. Simpson and seven of his men then proceeded to the house of one McDonald, a mile and a quarter from the church. At this point the party were to separate to obtain dinner. Three of the men had started for that purpose, and had proceeded but a short distance from the house when they discovered the “Moccasin chaps,” about seventy-five strong advancing, for the purpose of surrounding and capturing the party.—They immediately returned to the house and gave the alarm, which was given just in time to allow Captain Simpson to prepare for their reception. The Guerillas surrounded the House, promising safety to the entire party in case the demand was complied with. Of course the demand was scornfully refused, and the ball was at once opened by the “Moccasins” firing a volley into the house. Captain Simpson and his men promptly returned the fire and drove the rascals back. When finding the quarters in the house too close to operate effectually they left the house and posted themselves in the yard surrounding the house. This move drew a terrible fire from the “Guerillas” wounding one of the Captain’s men. This volley was returned, killing two and wounding others. The Captains men then took cover behind such articles as were large enough for the purpose, and by an indiscrimate fire killed four others and wounding some. The notorious Perry Connolly was in the fight and got desperately wounded in the left breast. He was shot by private Ben. Johnson.—Before being wounded, he was heard to yell to his men, “there’s that damned infernal Simpson. Kill him boys; don’t let him get off,” and immediately raised his rifle and fired, the ball passing alongside the Captain’s ear. The next moment Perry’s carcass came to contact with mother earth. This villain Connelly told “Generalisimo Wise,” while he (Wise) was at Charleston, that if he would give him a good rifle, he (Connolly) would give Wise one hundred Yankee buttons for it. Indeed it is currently reported, and believed, too, that the cut-throat has actually got thirty-three of them now, and that he has killed two women, and wounded one other. This is an absolute fact. Capt. Simpson obtained several excellent rifle guns, one of which is to be sent to the Governor as a present. One of the villains got two fair shots at Capt. Simpson, with an old flint lock musket, both of which were dodged. The Moccasins finely concluded to leave our little band to the rigors of the coming winter, leaving four dead on the ground, and carrying off two dead and all their wounded. The fight lasted about forty-five minutes. Immediately after the fight Capt. Simpson recruited nine men for his company. More anon.

Yours, C.


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

West Virginia Archives and History