Series 1, Vol. 12, Part II, p 115-18
Reports of Col. Edward Siber, Thirty-seventh Ohio Infantry.
Raleigh, August 6, 1862.
Sir: I just received the report from Wyoming Court-House that the detachment at that place had been attacked by some hundred rebel cavalry yesterday morning. Captain Messner has fallen back to Coal River, but he reports that 1 lieutenant and 18 men had been cut off and either been taken prisoners or cut to pieces. I march with two companies to join him, taking with me cavalry. Could there be done anything from Flat Top to intercept the retreat of the enemy?
G. M. Bascom,
August 9, 1862.
Sir: The rebel cavalry which made the sudden raid from Jeffersonville over Wyoming consisted of 140 horse, Captains Straton’s and Witcher’s, and retreated, after having been repulsed before they reached Logan (Horse-pen Creek), by the Federal forces there stationed, August 7, by Gilbert Creek and Big River to Jeffersonville. We were consequently not more able to reach them. I am still with five companies of the Thirty-seventh Regiment in Wyoming, sending the horses back to Raleigh.
Union men of this place are about to form a home guard, under command of Mr. Walker, which formation I shall protect, but shall leave as soon as this is done, if I receive not counter order.
Floyd is said to be at Jeffersonville with 1,500 men, awaiting more. It seems that he intends to invade this country. Have repaired the roads. A Union Home Guard just arrived here telling that the major who commanded the detachment of Fourth Virginia was killed in the Horse-pen fight, and that two rebel bushwhacker companies are still there.
The loss of my regiment consists in 2 killed and 1 officer and 5 privates taken. The others I have rallied again.
Capt. G. M. Bascom.
Hrqrs. Thirty-seventh Regt. Ohio Vol. Infantry,
Raleigh, August 12, 1862.
Captain: According to the received orders, I sent, August 2, early in the morning, a scouting party, consisting of two companies (H and I), about 100 men, under command of Captain Messner, to Wyoming, and one company (G), under Captain Schoening, to Coal River marshes, for the purpose of serving to this scouting party as a reserve and of clearing the mountain passes of Guyandotte Mountains from bushwhackers. Captain Schoening arrived the same day at his post (Trump’s farm), 14 miles from Raleigh. Captain Messner reached Wyoming (35 miles) the next day, without any impediment. A party of four orderlies of the Second Virginia Cavalry, who had been sent after Captain Messner, were fired upon near the mountain passes, and one of their horses was wounded. They fell back upon Captain Schoening, who thereupon cleared that country which had so long time been infested by a few bushwhackers.
Captain Messner was apparently well received by the citizens of Wyoming Court-House, and being informed that about 15 miles from Wyoming, on the Tazewell road, Floyd’s scouts were driving away cattle and gathering wheat from Union men, he sent also a scouting party, consisting of 16 men, under Lieut. G. Wintzer, accompanied by Mr. W. Walker (a member of the Wheeling convention) and two other armed Union men to McDowell’s farm, 4 miles distant from Wyoming Court- House, to burn also the wheat stacked there, and belonging to an inveterate and fugitive secesh.
Lieutenant Wintzer left the Court-House August 5, at 8 o’clock in the morning, and reached the above-named farm, where he suddenly was surprised by the advanced guard of Captains Straton’s and Witcher’s mounted rebel companies (140 men strong). After a short combat, Private Benton, of Company I, was killed, Lieutenant Wintzer and 7 privates taken prisoners; the remainder scattered in the mountains.
The news of this disaster was brought to Wyoming by a young Union man by name of Cook; whereupon Captain Messner marched immediately with both companies to the relief, reaching Isaac Cook’s farm (1 1/2 miles from town), when he saw at a distance of about three-quarters of a mile the cavalry advancing, and concluded to fall slowly back upon the Court-House. In this movement he was not molested by the cavalry, and succeeded in reaching the barricade on The Narrows, which had [been] occupied in the meanwhile by Lieutenant Krumm with one platoon. Ten minutes later he saw the enemy advancing, dismounted, along the brow of the mountains to intercept his retreat to Clear Fork whereupon he fell back to the mouth of Laurel Fork.
In this combat Private Loewer, Company I, was killed, but no other harm done by the fire of the enemy, which was answered by our own and soon ceased.
Captain Messner continued his retreat over Guyandotte Mountain to Trump’s farm, where he joined Captain Schoening early in the morning of August 6, sending [by] a mounted orderly these events to me. I received the news at noon and immediately started to Trump’s farm, ordering Companies D and E and Captain Wallar with 25 men of his cavalry company to join me at this place, from which I started at 3 o’clock next morning, August 7, with about 250 men, and reached Wyoming late in the evening by the Clear Fork. On this march I rallied some of those men who had been scattered in the woods. During the night I occupied the Court-House and closed the communication on the Tazewell road. Early in the morning, August 8, I started again and occupied all those communications (by pass) which lead from the above-named road to Logan, having been informed that the enemy had marched to Logan from Isaac Cook’s farm. The cavalry detachment under Captain Wallar went forward on the Tazewell road as far as Guyandotte (big river) River, where he was informed that the enemy had already, between 9 and 10 o’clock on the previous evening, passed in utter confusion the Guyandotte River, and the remainder during the night, carrying along their wounded, Captain Witcher on a sled. Captain Wallar pursued the teeing enemy beyond the Guyandotte up Indian Creek, but was not able to reach any of them. During this time numbers of armed Union men came over the mountain from Huff’s Creek and informed me that on the 6th of August the enemy’s cavalry companies under Straton and Witcher had joined the bushwhacker companies of Chambers and Beckley at Horse-pen Creek, driving before them some armed Union men, who brought the news of the enemy’s arrival to a company of the Fourth Virginia scouting in these parts.
At Dick Cannady’s farm, near Beech Creek, another short combat was fought, in which on our side the major of the Fourth Virginia was killed by four balls, and on the enemy’s side, Straton mortally and Witcher dangerously wounded, besides a few men were killed.
Witcher received the news of our arrival and immediately backed the cavalry to Tazewell road. The company of the Fourth Virginia was reported to be still surrounded by the bushwhackers, and I was entreated by the Union men of Huff’s Creek to join in an attempt to relieve them. When about moving in this direction more Union men arrived and told me that the Fourth Virginia men were all safe on the other side of the Big Sandy (in Kentucky) in Peter’s Creek. As I had during all this not received any information about Colonel Hines detachment I gave my men the rest, of which they were much in need, and quartered the next day the whole force in Wyoming, from which place the male inhabitants had mostly fled before my arrival, notwithstanding that there some had taken the oath of allegiance before Captain Messner. The place, however, was soon filled by Union men coming from Union Fork and Rockcastle Creek, meeting at the Court-House in order to form a Union militia company, under the leadership of Mr. Walker, from Laurel, and H. M. Cook, from Rockcastle, both members of the Wheeling convention. All the Union men of those creeks are well armed and disposed to fight when sustained by any regular force. They apprehend an invasion (Floyd’s) on the Tazewell road, which I believe very probable as soon as the harvest allows to sustain in Wyoming County without any assistance from other parts. He might march on the Tazewell road either along Guyandotte to Big Sandy or over Wyoming and Pond Fork to Brownstown, on the Kanawha; on both roads teams might be driven along.
There is no danger that the enemy would march from Wyoming to Raleigh. Guyandotte Mountain and Clear Fork cannot be passed by wagons in the present state of the road. This circumstance caused me to march back to Raleigh, being already two days without rations, notwithstanding the pressing demands of inhabitants to stay. The loss of the regiment on this expedition consists in 2 privates killed and 1 lieutenant and 7 privates missing (prisoners). One private has been left behind in Clear Fork for sickness, in the house of a Union man George Canterbury.
I am, with all respect, yours,
Colonel Thirty-seventh Regiment Ohio Volunteers.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: August 1862