Frank Moore, ed. Vol. 3. New York: G. P. Putnam, 1862
ATTACK ON RIPLEY,VA.,
December 19, 1861.
The following account is given in the Wheeling Press of December 27:
Ripley, Jackson Co., Va.,
December 20, 1861
Colonel D. Frost:
It is with pain and regret that I have to inform you that on last night about nine o’clock our town was visited by a band of Moccasin Rangers, and the town completely taken possession of. They numbered about twenty-five, all well armed. A gentleman of the name of Dr. O. G. Chase came here some eighteen or twenty days ago, for the purpose of forming or raising a company. He brought some fifty stand of arms, ammunition, clothing, &c., without any protection whatever. I think he had got his company made up to twenty or upward. He took all the arms from the citizens, rendering them entirely defenceless, and on yesterday morning Mr. Chase locked his arms up in the jail, and his clothing, &c., in a room in H. Progler’s upper house, gathered up his men and went off to Cottageville, saying that he would hold the citizens of Ripley responsible if the arms, &c., were taken out or molested, when at the same time he had rendered the citizens entirely defenceless. Mr. Chase did not even stop (as I understand) at Cottageville, but left his men there and went on himself to Mason County.
The Moccasins took all the arms, clothing, &c., rifled the post-office, robbed my store of considerable, and then put off, with their booty. It has caused great excitement. They did not injure the person of any one. They got about ten muskets, five rifles, twenty suits of clothing, shoes, &c.
The people condemn the action of Mr. Chase, and in fact there is something very mysterious about the matter. Chase had old John Stalmaker arrested a few days ago, who is known to be one of the hardest cases in Brown County. He took him along with him yesterday, saying that he would send him on to Wheeling; but instead of so doing he took him as far as Cottageville and there released him, which is by no means approved by the citizens.
Can there be no arrangement made by which we can get say two hundred troops stationed here during the winter? Provisions can be obtained here as cheap as at any other point. We will either have to have a sufficient force here to protect the place, or else have no force at all. I think the action of Mr. Chase should be examined into. Yours, in haste,
J. L. Armstrong.
In corroboration of the above is the following from the postmaster of Ripley.
Jackson C. H., Va., December 21, 1861.
Colonel D. Frost:
SIR: On the night of the 19th the Moccasin Rangers came into Ripley and took all the United States arms and ammunition that Dr. Chase had here recruiting for the Tenth regiment, (J. Boheve’s) robbed the post-office of all its contents and all my clothing but what I had on my back, and a box of clothing for the soldiers, and took from J. L. Armstrong’s store a considerable amount. I wish you would see if we could have a force to protect us here; if we can’t we will have to let all go in this county, and all Union men will have to leave. The Rangers have all been driven in here from Calhoun, Gilmer, Wirt, and Roane, on to the head of the right-hand fork of Sandy Big Run and the left-hand fork of Mill Creek. When they came into town Dr. Chase took his men and went to Cottageville, and the arms he left he locked up in the jail. They took an axe and picked the lock and took them. Chase had gathered up all the arms in the country of different persons. There was but one or two guns in the place, and one of them I had with me. We are in a bad way here.
John H. Wetzel.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: December 1861