Frank Moore, ed. Vol. 5. New York: G. P. Putnam, 1863, pp. 3-4
FIGHT AT CLARK’S HOLLOW, VA.
May 1, 1862
A correspondent of the Cincinnati Commercial gives the following account of this affair: Camp Flat Top Mountain, May 20, 1862.
Had an opportunity presented itself, long since the details of the desperate fight of company C, Twenty-third regiment Ohio volunteer infantry, from Galion, Crawford County, Ohio, J. W. Stiles, Captain, would have been given.
Our movements on this line have been so rapid, for the last three weeks, that no time was found for letter-writing; and knowing the details will be interesting to the friends in Northern Ohio, though late, I will try and give them. On the thirtieth of April, company C, under command of First Lieut. Bottsford, was ordered to proceed from Camp Shady Springs, scout the hills, and capture, if possible, the notorious Capt. Foley and his band of bushwhackers. After a march of over eighteen hours, the company surrounded Capt. Foley’s camp, but found the bird had flown. After destroying all the effects, they started to join the regiment which was still advancing. When they arrived at Clark’s Hollow, five miles from camp, Lieut. Bottsford concluded to take possession of the house, situated in the hollow, surrounded on all sides by hills, and rest his men until morning. At daybreak, the boys were aroused and the company formed, when, to the surprise of all, they found themselves surrounded, and before they could retire to the house Capt. Foley’s company rounded the point and came within forty yards of our line. The murderous bushwhacker made an effort to deceive, by first saying they were Bill Richmond’s company, a band of loyalists. This man Foley closely resembles Richmond. The ruse was soon discovered, and at once a volley from the whole company was poured upon them, which checked them, and caused them to take shelter. The boys, in admirable order, fell back to the house, Lieut. Bottsford assigning squads to the three apartments in the house. Capt. Foley, on discovering that we were after him, sent hastily to Princeton Court-House for three companies to reenforce him. Some three hundred and eighty men were at this time around us, at intervals pouring a fire upon the boys who only numbered sixty-five men. With the coolness of veterans they made port-holes through the chinking, and whenever a rebel showed himself it was only to take his pill and retire. They made one desparate effort to charge, and their lieutenant-colonel, who, by the way, was a brave man, advanced, waving his sword, crying: “Charge the damned Yankees, and they will surrender.” It was his last war-cry. Sergeant Lyon, with his trusty Enfield, fired and the rebel fell. In their efforts to get his body, three more met the same fate. For two hours and a half this little band of heroes fought, when, as the rebel wounded since informed us, they thought they had woke up the wrong passengers, and had met a company of sharpshooters, so they beat a hasty retreat. Shortly after, Lieut.-Col. R. B. Hays, of your city, came up with his regiment and followed the scoundrels, scattering them in every direction. Our loss in this encounter was one killed and twenty-one wounded. Three of the wounded have since died. The loss of the enemy was sixteen killed and sixty-seven wounded. The Twenty-third, who are in the advance on this line, marched on rapidly, pursuing the advantage gained. But the rebels, having had a summer’s experience in running, under Floyd, reached Princeton in time to apply the torch, and as the regiment entered on a charge, through the burning town, the rear of the retreating force was seen going over the mountain. Tired and almost worn out, Col. Hays called a halt, saved what was possible of the buildings, and around camp-fires all laughed over the various scenes of the day.
After a short rest, three companies, F, I, and H, were ordered forward towards Parisburgh, Giles County, twenty-eight miles from Princeton Court-House. Still driving what scattering force was left of the rebels, they rushed into and took possession of the town, and captured a large quantity of rebel supplies and some twenty prisoners, and held the town four days, when it became known that a force four thousand strong, under Heath, was about to surround d them. Never was a regiment more reluctant to yield a point, but necessity demanded it, and in the best order they fell back, with the loss of one man killed and seven wounded. For five hours, companies B and H covered the retreat, and kept the force of the enemy checked until reenforcements arrived. Lieut.-Col. Hays, in the whole affair, has shown himself an able commander, and fully established the confidence of every man in the Twenty-third Ohio regiment, and while he exhibits the true gentleman in every respect, he is a noble, brave officer, and the men under him are willing to follow him under every circumstance.
Charles Peffer, killed, Galion; Ord.-Sergt. Ritts, wounded slightly, Haysville; Corp. Love, wounded severely, New-London; Privates Capon, wounded severely, Galion; Huber, wounded slightly, Galion; Mason, wounded slightly, Falion; McIntosh, wounded severely, Galion; Noblit, wounded slightly, Galion; Parks, wounded severely, Galion; Wetherick, wounded severely, Galion; Wight, wounded, since dead, Galion; Nase, wounded slightly, Glaion; Reuben Coates, wounded slightly, New-London; Hazzard, wounded, since dead, New-London; Jliff, wounded severely, Olmstead; Neff, wounded slightly, Columbus; Runyan, wounded severely, New-London; Winch, wounded severely, Bettsville; White, wounded slightly, Haysville; Truax, wounded, since dead, New-London; Griggs, wounded slightly, Clyde; Heckler, wounded slightly, Galion.
The wounded are doing well. Some of the boys who received very slight wounds, have since returned to duty, and while on picket-duty a few days since, in an attack, were active in driving the rebels back.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: May 1862