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Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
September 10, 1862


Point Pleasant Register
October 2, 1862

THE LATE BATTLES.

Fifteen killed and seventy-five wounded is a fair estimate of the Federals at the battle of Fayette. As I stated in my dispatch yesterday, the 34th Ohio, Col. Toland, were the principle sufferers in the contest, on our side. The rebels after several unsuccessful attempts to take the breast works by storm, sought shelter in the woods from the falling fire of the 37th Ohio, Col. Siber in command. – Not less than 200 of the enemy has fallen, and their efforts has as yet been fruitless, when they took to a thicket near by. The Piatt Zouaves (there were only six companies of them on the ground) were ordered to dislodge the rebels, and boldly made the attempt. To do this it was necessary to leave the breastworks and exposed themselves to the fire of an ambushed enemy seven times their number. It was here that the long mortality list of the brave regiment was made.

The rebels were completely foiled and beaten back. The Zouaves returned to the entrenchments, where they lay, with the 37th, expecting a night attack – but the enemy made none. He had been too severely punished during the day.

Col. Lightburn, who, with his command, the 4th Virginia infantry, was at Gauley, hearing of the engagement at Fayette, sent two companies of his regiment to reinforce Col. Siber. Before they arrived, however, Col. Siber had determined to fall back on Gauley. – The retreat was commenced about midnight, the detachment of the 4th Virginia acting as skirmishers and guards for the wagon train. Gauley was reached in safety by 7 o’clock P.M. on the 11th. – Col. Lightburn deemed this post untenable, fearing that the rebels would cut him off at Loop Creek. The 44th and the 47th Ohio regiments, and a part of the 2d Virginia cavalry had just arrived at Gauley from Camp Piatt, but even with this reinforcement Col. Lightburn feared he would not be able to cut his way through the rebel ranks, which had also been greatly increased in numbers. The enemy did make the effort to cut off our retreat, but arrived at the desired point a few minutes after our rear guard had left it. They then proceeded to Cotton Hill, where they hope to accomplish their purpose, but failed again.

Our forces burned Gauley Bridge, a structure which our government paid a heavy sum of money for, and retreated on both sides of the Kanawha, closely pursued by the rebels, and skirmishing with them all the time. They reached Camp Piatt with the enemy hard upon them. Here was another untenable point, and nothing was now left for our men but a retreat to the Ohio River. On the road to Charleston our forces destroyed two salt works and all the Government stores they came across. Charleston reached, notice was given to the citizens that the town would be destroyed, and all non combatants were advised to leave. Our troops first destroyed the Government, Commissary, and Quartermaster’s stores, and then fired the town in different places. The condagration(?) was not complete. Before the Federals had left, the rebels arrived in the rear of the town, and commenced shelling it also. Between the two fires, however, Charleston was not destroyed. The snake was scotched not killed.

LOSSES ON BOTH SIDES

There was considerable skirmishing and fighting in and around Charleston, many of our men were shot at from the windows of houses, and a few were wounded in this way. We lost five men killed and ten or twelve wounded during the day. Added to our loss on the 10th, this makes t total of twenty killed and eighty-seven wounded. The 2d Virginia Cavalry – a regiment which, by the way has rendered very active service since its organization – lost seven men taken prisoners on the night of the 12th. They were on picket duty, near Charleston. – The names of the six captives are as follows: Millas Hoffman(?), Jeremiah Wilson, Joseph Dodds, Elisha Barker, F.(?) Steele and Enoch Dye. Corporal Gilliam, of Pomeroy, Ohio, also belonging to the 2d Virginia was killed while on patrol duty, near Camp Piatt; Lieut. Weir, of the same company, was killed in a picket skirmish, at Fayette, on the 10th. – A member of co. C, whose name I could not learn, was wounded on the night of the 13th while acting as a courier. Jesse Joseph of Clinton county, Ohio, a member of the 47th Ohio, was killed at Charleston, on the 13th.

The value of the property lost to the Government, in the retreat from the valley, is estimated by the post commissaries and quartermasters in whose charge it was, at $500,000. This includes one small train of wagons which was cut off near Gauley, and all the commissary store destroyed at Charleston.

It is important, of course, to make an accurate estimate of the rebel loss at Fayette and Charleston, but it may safely be put down at four(?) times that sustained by our forces. In their assaults upon the earth works at Fayette, and their subsequent skirmishes, it is believed one hundred of them were killed and five hundred wounded. Save the possession of the Salt Works, they certainly gained nothing by driving our men out of the Kanawha Valley. They got no army stores, for everything of that kind was destroyed in time to prevent it from falling into their hands; and the country they temporarily hold will not afford any facilities for foraging parties, as it has already been completely eaten out.

SICK SOLDIERS

There are about five hundred sick and convalescent soldiers in this city at present, and more are expected tomorrow. There are a hundred and fifty at Point Pleasant, who are to be removed here. Every church and school-house in the city is now used for hospital purposes, and divine service in public is entirely dispensed with. There are no wounded men here except those engaged in the late battles, and I have already sent their names for publication. Typhoid fever has been largely prevalent in the hospitals, but a majority of the patients are now convalescent.

At one of the hospitals, this morning I witnessed an illustration of the inefficient management of the Medical Department of our army, which I think worthy of mention. By inefficient management I mean retaining in office, with the rank and pay of Surgeon, men who, either from incapacity of something worse, are totally unfitted for such position. A member of the 2d Virginia Cavalry, who was shot in the shoulder at Charleston, on Saturday last, applied to the Surgeon attached to one of the hospitals to dress his wound, the of about half an hour, I suppose. The Doctor told the poor fellow that his was not a wounded hospital, but “only a sick one,” and that he must go to an establishment more than a mile distant to receive the necessary attention. The soldier was scarcely able to walk. The sun was shining strongly, and the heat was intense, yet the Surgeon would not do what he is paid for doing but completed the applicant for relief to walk over a mile, on a dusty road, and if he met as competent or patriotic a Surgeon there, I suppose he had to talk further. The wound was a slight one, no operation was required, only simple “dressing,” and the man had the necessary bandages with him.


Richmond Daily Dispatch
September 15, 1862

Movements in Western Virginia.

From a gentleman who arrived in this city yesterday, we have some interesting particulars of the movements of the forces under Major General Loring, in Western Virginia. On Saturday week the army broke camp at their former headquarters, (the Narrows of New river. in Giles county.) moving in three columns. These three columns formed a junction on Tuesdaymorning at Shady Springs, in Raleigh county, and that evening encamped a short distance beyond Raleigh Court- House. On Wednesday they reached McCoy's, in Fayette county, nine miles southeast of the Court House. On Thursdaymorning they continued their march in fine spirits. Our informant says that within the last ten days not less than eight hundred loyal Western Virginians have passed through Greenbrier county, enroute to join the forces of Gens. Loring and Floyd, These represent that thousands of others will unite with our forces as opportunity affords.


September 27, 1862

Gen. Loring's campaign in the Kanawha Valley.

A correspondent of the Lynchburg Republican gives a well condensed and interesting account of General Loring's campaign in the Kanawha Valley. The army camped near Fayette Court-House, leaving a march of 14 miles the next day to bring them upon the enemy. The letter says:

We started early next morning, and when in a few miles of Fayette Court-House divided into two columns and advanced upon the enemy--General Williams to advance upon the enemy's front, and Col. Wharton to march around through the woods, over a most precipitous mountain, (seven miles,) and attack him in the rear. The attack was made most desperately in front with artillery, (Otey's battery,) while Wharton was thundering in the rear with his infantry. The fight continued from 12 o'clock till dark put a stop to it, when all became quiet. Very soon, however, Wharton discovered that the enemy was taking advantage of the darkness to make his escape, and at midnight the rattling of Wharton's musketry told a tale that could not be mistaken.--From his well chosen position, deadly volleys were pouring into the enemy's trains and columns. His artillery escaped, and most of his infantry, but to the next morning there stood his trains.

Everywhere lay his dead, dying and worn out.--They burnt the most of their quartermaster and commissary stores, but left a million worth unharmed. We lost a few of our men killed and wounded, Otey's battery was the only command that suffered much. We pursued them. They made a stand at Cotton Hill, seven miles further on. A few hours fighting dislodged them, and we pursued on to Kanawha Falls, where they again made a stand; but a few hours contest made us again masters of the field, with no less than two million dollars worth of stores and some prisoners, notwithstanding the millions worth which they had destroyed. On we still pursued, and again attacked their rear guard and repulsed them, till the night again stopped the pursuit. But next day we commenced again, but did not overtake any except the pickets, two of which we captured.

The next day (13th) we marched to this place and attacked the enemy in two columns--Colonel McCausland on the north, and Gen. Williams and Col. Wharton on the south side of the Kanawha.After a sharp fight the enemy was put to flight again. He abandoned the Kanawha Valley, as well as the stores, &c., burning all he could, even his dead! and even I, a rebel, am sorry to say, some of his wounded also ! So, to have the whole in a nut shell, it is this; We have, in one week, marched from Giles and Monroe counties to Charleston, Kanawha, completely routing the enemy, capturing millions of dollars worth of stores, killing a host of Yankees, capturing a number of them, and losing not a hundred men in all! I should have stated that Charleston was fired by the Federal, they giving the women and children fifteen minutes to escapes out of town. But our brave boys extinguished it before even one square was burned. Oh, how we were encouraged by the fair ones. They threw open their doors, took us in fed us, and lavished then hospitalities upon us. God bless the ladies of Charleston. We have the salt works.


The Rebellion Record: A Diary of American Events, with Documents, Narratives, Illustrative Incidents, Poetry Etc., Frank Moore, ed. Vol. 5. New York: G. P. Putnam, 1863.

1862

Doc. 206.

Fight At Fayetteville, Va.

Colonel Toland’s Report.

Headquarters Thirty-Fourth Regiment, O.V.I.,
On Steamer Mary Cook, Ohio River

September 17, 1862.

Sir: I have the honor to report the following engagements of the forces under my command, during the four days commencing September tenth, 1862, and ending September thirteenth, 1862.

On Wednesday, the tenth inst., I ordered four companies under command of Lieut.-Col. Franklin, Thirty-fourth regiment O.V.I., to make a reconnaissance to Cassidy’s Mills, two companies to go on the Laurel Creek road, and the remaining two on the Raleigh road. He did not discover the enemy.

Soon after the engagement had commenced in town, I sent a division under command of Capt. H. C. Hatfield, Co. A, to our right to skirmish and protect our train on the Gauley road. I then advanced with the two remaining divisions and attacked the enemy on his left, who was posted in the woods on the summit of a steep hill, overlooking my advance. After three hours’ fighting with a heavy loss, being unable to gain the woods, I retired to the base of the hill, from which I had engaged the enemy, leaving a number of skirmishers on the field until after dark.

The four companies under Lieut.-Col. Franklin, returned about seven o’clock P.M.

About ten o’clock P.M., I ordered two of said companies under command of Capt. J. A. Anderson, Co. I, to try and ascertain the strength of the enemy on his left flank. By skirmishing, with a loss of several wounded, he was found in heavy force. This caused him to place a picket near the Gauley road.

On our retreat on the morning of the eleventh, the head of my column was fired on by the pickets of the enemy on the Gauley road, who were driven in, but firing soon followed from the left flank of the enemy, on my whole column. I succeeded, however, in passing, but with a loss of several wounded and missing.

During the engagement at Charlestown, Va., several of my command were wounded by shell.

The casualties were one commissioned officer and twelve enlisted men killed; six commissioned officers and seventy-four enlisted men wounded; one commissioned officer and thirty-five enlisted men missing. Aggregate, one hundred and twenty-nine.

The command fought bravely, the officers particularly, who did much to encourage the men, and considering our exposed position, and the heavy force of the enemy, fought in good order.

I had two horses killed under me, the first pierced with four balls, the second with three. I, however, escaped uninjured.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

John T. Toland,
Colonel Commanding Thirty-fourth Regiment, O.V.I.


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

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