Skirmish Near Buffalo Va.
October 2, 1862
Skirmish Near Buffalo Va.
On Friday evening, 6 P.M. the 91st regiment O.V.I., left this place, and proceeded up the Kanawha to within one mile of 18 mile creek, where it captured one of Jenkins’ pickets, and learned from him the situation of the enemy.
The rebels opened upon the attacking force with two pieces of cannon, when our forces unslung blankets, knapsacks, &c., and striking a double-quick, attempted to capture the pieces; but the enemy being mounted; could not be overtaken, though our gallant boys chase the thieves though the town, and to the river, when they separated, part continuing up the river and the rest crossing it, but finding the opposite bank too warm for safety, they unchivalrously retired beyond our range of fire. It is said the blinding dust “kicked up” by the skedaddling cavalry, prevented our boys from aiming with precision, or they doubtless, would have been much more severely handled, and if the 40th reg’s O.V.I. which had gone up the river on the other side, and the 2nd Va. Cavalry which had by a circuitous route, obtained their rear, been in co operating distance, the whole rebel crew might have been bagged; but the expedition was not bootless, notwithstanding this unfortunate failure to “come to time,” as we captured three of Jenkins’ cavalry killed five and wounded five, captured all their tents and camp equipage, &c., brought away 13 head of horses, 17 head of cattle, and a number of Enfield rifles. Considering this was the first time the 91st was under fire, after a night march of 22 miles, their conduct deserves the highest praise.
A march of 45 miles in thirty hours, and the surprise of the wily foe, with an hours successful skirmishing and without a casualty, may well receive our unqualified commendation.
[From the Gallipolis Journal]
Series 1, Vol. 19, Part II, pp. 6-7
Report of Col. John A. Turley, Ninety-first Ohio Infantry.
Hdqrs. Ninety-first Regt. Ohio Vol. Infantry,
Point Pleasant, Va., September 28, 1862.
Sir: I have the honor to submit, for your consideration, the following report of the part taken by the Ninety-first Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, in the expedition against Buffalo:
My regiment left camp at Point Pleasant at 6 o’clock p.m. on Friday, the 26th instant, and proceeded up the Kanawha River to within 1 mile of Eighteen-Mile Creek without any interruption, at which point we encountered the rebel vedettes of Jenkins’ cavalry, one of whom my advance captured, and from whom we learned the strength and situation of the enemy’s forces in front, and, not yet hearing from either the Second Virginia Cavalry or from the Fortieth Ohio Infantry, both of which were to have co-operated with us, I pushed forward my regiment as rapidly as possible on Buffalo. My advance met with such a warm reception that, after crossing the creek, I deployed on the right and left of the road and kept up a continual skirmish with rebel cavalry, driving them before us to within 1 mile of Buffalo, when the rebels opened upon us with two pieces of artillery, throwing small shells, which chiefly passed over our heads; and, not yet hearing from the Second Virginia or Fortieth Ohio, I ordered my regiment to unsling blankets and haversacks and move on, double-quick, and try to capture the enemy’s guns, which were placed near the bridge, at the lower end of the town; but, the enemy being mostly mounted and my force having to cross a marshy ravine, our progress was so impeded that we were unable to overtake them. We pursued them into the town and to the river, where they separated, panic-stricken, a portion of them retreating up the river and the rest crossing over the river, upon whom we opened a brisk fire, driving them from the opposite bank. We remained one hour in Buffalo, hoping to hear from our forces on my right and left, which were expected to co-operate with me; but, not hearing from them, and ascertaining the strength of the enemy in front, I followed your order to fall back, bringing away all the property my regiment could carry, and destroying all commissary stores below Buffalo belonging to the enemy. Had the bridge along the Kanawha been standing, I should have brought the commissary stores to headquarters. We captured 2 of Jenkins’ cavalry, killed 5, and wounded at least as many more, and took a number of horses and 8 or 10 Enfield rifles; and, had the forces sent by your order to co-operate with us arrived at the scene of action in time to act in concert with us, the expedition would doubtless have accomplished all that you desired, even to the capturing of Brigadier-General Jenkins and his entire force, as he slept in a private residence in Buffalo on the night previous.
In conclusion, permit me to say that not a single officer or soldier of the Ninety-first faltered, and, as this is a new regiment never before under fire, I cannot refrain from saying that they acted like veterans and elicited my admiration. I returned to camp last night, after having marched 45 miles in thirty hours, skirmishing four hours of that time, without the loss of a man.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
John A. Turley,
Colonel, Comdg. Ninety-first Regiment Ohio Vol. Infty.
Col. J. A. J. Lightburn,
Commanding District of Kanawha.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: September 1862