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Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
June 2, 1862


Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
June 7, 1862

The Guerrillas in Roane County.

[From the Fairmont National.]

Capt. J. H. Showalter was on a visit to our place on Wednesday. He has had some very narrow escapes among the guerrillas, seven of whom be brought with him as prisoners; the most prominent of whom were Silcott and Hays, two of the leaders. He says there are more than 150 bush whackers altogether, and, as was supposed here, the guerrillas took advantage of the armistice granted by Col. Rathbone to perfect their arrangements for further depredations. The captain and his men have been engaged for some time in guarding wagon trains passing from Ravenswood to Spencer, and at every trip have been fired on by the Rangers, who take advantage of secluded places along the road. None of our men have been injured as yet; but a few days ago got into a very tight place, some seventeen miles from Spencer. After having been fired on at several points, the Captain ran his train down into a meadow, at the side of the road, to camp all night, the men sleeping on their arms. Knowing the rebels to be in force at a mill some distance ahead, the Captain determined to send to camp for reinforcements. He started Joe Hershberger and a daring cavalryman to cut their way through. Coming near to the mill, they ran their horses over the picket and knocked him down; went on to the bridge, ran over the party who were attempting to destroy it, knocking one of them into the creek, and then started at full speed. Opposite the mill, a full volley was fired at them, knocking off Joe’s cap and injuring the cavalryman’s horse, which threw him off. Joe started back, the rebels still firing, got the cavalryman on behind, and got into camp with flying colors, the wounded horse passing them on the way and reaching Spencer first. Reinforcements were procured, but the Captain took the train round safely by a new route, without passing the mill. On the way, they were fired on from a small ravine, and our boys returned it with interest, two of the guerrillas being left dead on the ground, and it is not known how many more may have been killed or wounded by our boys during the whole time.

On Monday last the Captain, while bringing on the prisoners, had a hair-breadth escape. While passing a point where the road was very narrow, the creek on one side and a brush-covered cliff on the other, the train was fired on from the hill, the balls whizzing past thickly, and glancing in the creek. One just grazed the Captain’s forehead, raising a large lump, and as the Captain says, “giving him a severe headache.”

The bushes are so dense in some places that you can’t see a man ten yards distant from him. The Captain says the Union men are extremely scarce, and most of them will not dare to give any information against the Rangers. He was in the guerrilla camp several times during the armistice and was treated very well by Downs, though some of his men tried unsuccessfully to waylay him on his last return, for the purpose of getting his horse and trappings. A squad of nineteen Rangers, under command of one Dusky, were not included in the armistice, and he and his men were very abusive to Capt. Showalter, when Downs threatened to put them under arrest. These were probably the men who tried to play the bandit.

The Captain says the boys are all well and in good spirits. Charley Eyster came with the Captain on his home trip; he has in his possession a tremendous two-edged bowie knife, captured from one of the prisoners, which is quite a curiosity.


Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: June 1862

West Virginia Archives and History