October 28, 1862
The following is the copy of a letter from an officer of Gen. A. G. Jenkin’s cavalry to a member of Congress, dated:
Charleston, Sept. 21, 1862.
Dear Sir:--In accordance with my promise to give you a history of our expedition to the Northwest, I have stopped back here to-day to write to you. We left Union, in Monroe county, on the 24th of August, with six hundred cavalry, for Beverly, Randolph county. On arriving at Huttonsville, or rather what was Huttonsville, we met Gen. Kelley’s pickets, some of whom we killed and took prisoners. From the prisoners, also the inhabitants, we learned that Kelley had three thousand men and eight pieces of artillery. We concluded that it would not be wise to attack him there, and took a cow path across Rich Mountain, a distance of thirty miles, to Upshur county, on the headwaters of Trench Creek. The Home Guards there had just received their arms, and we skirmished with them about ten miles. We killed a few of them and had one man wounded—Captain Ferguson—whom we left in Buchanan [sic]. When we arrived in about a mile of the town of Buchanan, we ascertained that they had news of our approach, and were preparing to receive us. We dismounted the cavalry, and began the attack. The fight lasted about ten minutes, when the Yankees cried out for quarter. We then took possession of the town, and found immense commissary and quartermaster’s stores, besides between four and five thousand stand of arms, all of which we destroyed. We found overcoats and gum blankets enough for all of our men, besides other things too numerous to mention. I think that at the least calculation we destroyed at least a half a million of stores, and between four and five thousand stand of arms. We left that same night for Weston, which we took at daylight the next morning, the garrison having run at our approach. We stayed there that day and left in the night for Glenville, where we arrived on the day following. The Yankees gave us one volley and broke to the woods. Here we rested our jaded men until the next day, when we marched on Spencer, Roane county. On arriving within two miles of the town, Gen. Jenkins sent me in with a flag of truce, demanding an unconditional surrender. As I went into the town the first man I saw was Major Trimble, who immediately recognized me, and professed to be very glad to see me. I asked to be shown to the Commander of the Post who was Col. Rathburn [sic] of Parkersburg. I stated my errand; and, after deliberating about fifteen minutes, he laid down his arms and surrendered the whole garrison, amounting to two hundred and twenty men, all of whom we paroled and sent home. On the day after we camped at Ripley, Jackson county; on the day following we took possession of Ravenswood, the garrison having crossed the river at our approach. We staid in Ravenswood about five hours, when we crossed the Ohio river into the dominions of Abe. The General sent me ahead with two companies, to take the town of Racine, which I did in double quick time. The Home Guards turned out to oppose our entrance into town, and fired at us, when I ordered a charge and scattered them to the winds. Thus I had the honor of taking the first town in Old Abe’s dominions. We recrossed the river and arrived at Buffalo, on the Kanawha river. We staid there the next day, and on the day following we crossed the Kanawha into Cabell county, where we remained for several days, waiting for Gen. Loring to come down the valley, but could hear nothing of him. We then took up our line of march for Union. On arriving at Wyoming county we learned that Loring had gone down the Valley.
Our cavalry are at present, about twelve miles from here—our advance post is at Buffalo, thirty-two miles from Charleston. We captured here and at Gauley, and the enemy had destroyed, about five million dollars worth of stores.—Our forces have possession of the entire Valley to Point Pleasant, which is occupied by the enemy.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: August 1862