Series 1, Volume 5, pp. 501-503
JANUARY 12-23, 1862.—Expedition to Logan Court-House and the Guyandotte Valley, West Virginia.
Report of Col. Edward Siber, Thirty-seventh Ohio Infantry.
HDQRS. THIRTY-SEVENTH REGIMENT OHIO VOLUNTEERS,
Camp Clifton, January 23, 1862.
SIR: The high stand of the waters in Coal River did impede me from sending you particular reports concerning the expedition to Logan and the Guyandotte Valley. It was not before the evening of January 11 that I could get real information about the enemy I have been sent to pursue. On this evening some Union men opposite the side of Boonetown informed me that from Little Coal River to Guyandotte a great number of the inhabitants formed a company, which they called “Black Striped Company,” and which may number about 60 or 70 men, for the most part of the poorest class, who never did act in any greater force than 10 or 15 men, but which such band did overrun the country between Guyandotte, Mud, and Coal Rivers. In consequence of this information I forded the Little Coal River on the morning of the 12th of January, and moved the same day four companies, under command of Major Ankele, to Chapmanville and on to Guyandotte, whilst one company, under Captain Messner, advanced by Turtle Creek towards the head of Mud River. One company remained with me at Ballard’s, on Spruce Fork. All these detachments met with no resistance, because all male inhabitants of this part of the country had fled previous to their arrival to the other side of the Guyandotte. But the next morning, when Major Ankele moved up the right bank of the Guyandotte from Chapmanville, his column was fired at from every house on the opposite side of the river, which by this time was nowhere fordable. By this fire was mortally wounded Captain Goecke, of Company B, which exasperated the men of the regiment so much, that a number of them threw themselves in the river and reached by swimming the opposite bank, destroyed the houses from where they had been fired at, took away some rifles, and made some prisoners.
Having received the report of these unexpected hostilities, I hastened with the companies from Turtle Creek to join those in the Guyandotte Valley, which I reached in the morning of January 14. Marching with the whole detachment under my orders immediately and on both banks of the Guyandotte to Logan, I found this place completely evacuated by the whole male population, which, armed with rifles, had retreated to a steep mountain on the other side of the Guyandotte, where at the same time appeared a number of horsemen, and where had been assembled a number of bushwhackers. By all these was opened a sharp skirmishing fire upon my advanced scouts on the other bank of the Guyandotte and upon pickets which occupied the town. Corporal John Behm, of Company C, was killed on this occasion. The enemy, however, were driven back with loss of men on the road to Sandy. I remained during the night in the court-house at Logan, having occupied the position around it. Seeing, however, that this position was completely commanded by the mentioned mountain on the other side of the Guyandotte, the waters of which began by the heavy rain suddenly to rise, I ordered for the next morning at 4 o’clock the evacuation of the place, which under these circumstances could not be held without more sacrifice of life; and as the inhabitants of this town had acted with so much animosity and treachery, as besides the court-house of Logan and other public buildings of this place had been long ago converted into barracks, used as a principal point of refuge for the rebel cavalry, I thought it to be my duty to deprive the enemy of such position, only valuable to him and useless to us, and ordered to set fire to these buildings before my departure. I retreated through Crooked Creek, Hewitt Creek, and Spruce Fork to Boone, and succeeded in crossing Little Coal River before it became completely unfordable, but was stopped for some days at Peytona by the high waters of Big Coal River.
I have to report that, with the exception of a Union settlement in Hewitt and Spruce Fork, the whole population between Little Coal and Guyandotte are in the highest degree hostile to the Union; that especially at Big Creek, Mill Creek, Upper Hewitt, and on both sides of Guyandotte those men lived who composed the so-called Black Striped Company. As these men had tied to the other side of the Guyaudotte I could not take them up in their houses, and it appears to me that this can only be done by a small detachment of light cavalry who arrive before the news of their march has reached the country. I have sent a list of those men who are reported most dangerous to Brig. Gen. J. D. Cox; also some prisoners.
I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel Thirty-seventh Regiment Ohio Volunteers.
Adjutant- General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.
Logan Court-House burned.
February 1, 1862
Logan Court-House burned.
--Mr. Pack & Son, who have made many hair-breadth escapes from the Yankees, arrived in town a few days since. They report that Logan Court-House has been burned by the enemy. They are in possession of Boone county. Mr. Pack says 1,000 Yankees are quartered on his farm, and occupy his dwelling and other houses. They captured fourteen of his negroes, who had hidden out for weeks to elude their trap, and, when taken, wept bitterly.--Jeffersonville Democrat.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: January 1862