November 26, 1862
Beverly, Va., Nov. 19, 1862.
I fell somewhat like writing a line or two this evening, concerning the recent scout to Highland and Pendleton counties. Gen. Latham left here on the fifth of this month, with the 9th and 12th Virginia, and 87th Pennsylvania Infantry, and the “Kelley Lancers” (Co. A, 1st Va. Cavalry) and Capt. Ewing’s Artillery company—mounted as cavalry. The 12th Va. And part of the Kelley Lancers took the pike to Crab Bottom, and the 9th Va., with Ewing’s company and the remainder of the Lancers took the Seneca route via Circleville, Franklin and Monterey, to Crab Bottom.
At Franklin we captured four noted bushwhackers—one Capt. Boggs and one Wilfong; the other two names I have forgotten. On our road to Franklin we took the notorious Dr. Smith, a chief among bushwhackers, and in Franklin, Lieut. N. H. Hoffman took two men with him, and bagged Dr. Johnson—although his “better half” assured the Lieutenant that the Dr. had gone out in the morning to see some patients.—Dr. Johnson’s sins consist in pointing out Union men to the rebels, and furnishing powder and lead to guerrillas.
The whole scout resulted in the capture of about 40 or 50 bushwhackers, 150 cattle, and 25 head of horses, besides a considerable number of arms. The best features of the whole thing was the capture, by some Monongalia county boys, of Capt. Dudley Evans and Lieut. David Camp, of the same county. These two worthies were well received by the Lancers, and took a hearty shake of the hand all round, and then took up their line of march to General Latham’s headquarters.
The rebels in the mountains have heard of the Kelley Lancers being sent out here and have sworn eternal vengeance against them. They are going to clean them out, not “leaving a man to tell the tale.” In reply, I tell them that the Lancers are good for “three to one” of any cavalry the rebels may bring against them. We have no fears of the result. Let them come.
The scout, the cavalry part of it, returned to-day, much worn out, having been sent by Gen. Latham, to guard the trains around to Rowlesburg. We went down the North Fork, through hardy county to Greenland, thence to the top of the Alleghenies, then around the N. W. Pike to Cheat bridge, where we left the train, and came around via Grafton and Webster, making a march of about 170 miles, to come back within forty-two miles of Seneca, the still-house where we started from
On Monday morning, Lieut. J. H. Conn, of the Kelley lancers took ten men and went thirty-five or forty miles into Tucker county and captured 16 head of cattle, 4 mules and two horses, and brought them all safe to Beverly. These “chattels” belonged to General Imboden’s command, but the Lancers will “pick their bones.” The Lieut. Returned to-day.
In conclusion, I will say, that the citizens of Hardy county are the best Union men I ever saw. They carry their rifles constantly, and it was amusing to see them run from us, thinking we were secesh. But they always stood treat when found out. They are also sound on the new State question. God bless them for that!
P. S.—Send the Lancers a paper, also a Paymaster, and a few Toby Cigars.
New Creek, Va., Nov. 20, 1862.
Having just returned from an extensive scout through a portion of Western Va., under the direction of Gen. Milroy, I will endeavor to give you a more detailed account than that published in your yesterday’s paper of at least, the part assigned to that portion of the 12 Va. Regiment to which I am attached.
On Wednesday the 5th inst., company F, from Marion county (Capt. Pritchard) company I, of Hancock county (Capt. Brown) and company D, of Ohio county (Capt. Curtis,) consisting of 150 infantry and about 60 cavalry and company K, 1st Va. Regt., Capt. Rowand, left our camp at Beverly, under command of Major Peirpoint, with our blankets, over-coats and three days’ rations in our haversacks.
We camped the first night at what was formerly called Huttonsville, but at this time there is no sign of a town except the chimneys of houses that formerly constituted the town, as it has all been burned to the ground. We started next morning up Elkwater and passed through out old fortifications, which still remain visible, and and [sic] camped at Mingo Flats, on the side of Middle Mountain, on the night of the 6th. Next day we crossed Middle and Valley Mountains; passed round the end of Cheat Mountain, crossed Elk Mountain and camped on Stony Creek on the night of the 7th last. We learned here that notwithstanding the large supply of salt the rebels had lately got from the salt works the article is very precious with them yet, and they have appointed a Commissioner for each county, to distribute it among the citizens allowing but one pound per month to each person. This is in Pocahontas county and applies to all other counties adjoining them Eastward. Sugar is selling at 75 cents per pound, coffee not to be had at any price. Common brown muslin $1.00 per yard, and common prints from $1.00 to $1.25 per yard; and all other goods in proportion, payable in Southern scrip, as they refuse to take anything else. Our money is worth no more there than there is with us.
Next day we passed up Stony Creek, and crossed over on to Greenbrier river, crossed the river, passed up the north side to Huntersville, the county seat of Pocahontas county. Here we were fired on by some bushwhackers from the side of the mountain but their shots had no effect, as they were too far off to reach us. We stopped at Huntersville and took dinner, and consequently had an opportunity to see the place. It consists of some fifteen or twenty houses including the court house and jail, all deserted, there being but one family in the town. The houses are all old dilapidated frame buildings except the court house and jail, which are brick, and look more like old farm houses than public buildings.
Our men captured three drunken rebels here that had been indulging in a little too much apple jack to get out of our way.
From this place we crossed over on to Napp’s Creek Valley, camped overnight on the 8th inst., and started up the Valley that morning, and crossed over the Allegheny Mountain into Highland county, passing what is called Back Creek, where we captured some sixty head of cattle, twenty five head of horses, two wagons, horses and drivers. One of the wagons was loaded with 1,500 lbs of very nice butter for the rebel army. We also took sixteen prisoners, arriving at Monterey about 1 o’clock the next morning, forming a junction with the balance of our regiment having made a march of thirty-five miles that day, and 105 miles in four and a half days. This I believe is considered as hard marching as has been done in Western Virginia, especially by green troops, and I can assure you your correspondent felt the effects of it for several days afterwards. Monterey is a very ncat[?] inland town and rather an exception to the balance of the towns we passed through, and looks like it would be a pleasant place place [sic] in the Summer season. The public buildings are neat and well constructed. The town is well supplied with water from strong springs gushing forth from the side of the mountain, conveyed through the place by pipes something similar to the manner your city is supplied by water. But this town like all the balance where the two contending armies have been encamped shows very plainly the destruction that follows them. Our forces entered here without any opposition and without firing a gun, as the small force under the rebel Capt. Murman, had got word of our coming and skedaddled before our forces reached the place, and consequently was neither surprised nor surrounded as stated by your informant of the 19th inst. Next morning the regiment started for Crab Bottom, six miles west of Monterey where we arrrived [sic] about noon.
Here was met the 87th Pennsylvania, Carlin’s Battery, and the members of Ewing’s Battery who had gone out as cavalry, the 9th Virginia also arrived there that evening, each by different routes. That night General Milroy received information of the capture of Capt. Hall and twenty-nine of his men by Imboden, near Rowlesburg, and next morning by daylight five companies of the 22th [sic] Virginia, viz: F, D, E, G, B, were started to intercept him over what is called the Seneca route passing through Franklin the county seat of Pendleton county, on to Circleville to leave us. We then had fifty miles to travel over the several mountains with nothing but a horse path, where we had to march single file the road being so narrow that we could not march in any other manner. Going up the first mountain a rather singular circumstance happened. Some of the men espied three bushwhackers off to our right and gave chase and fired on one of them wounding him as they say he hollowed most lustily. At the same time a deer jumped up just by his side which was shot by one of the men, and brought on with them. But the bushwhacker made his escape.
After crossing the several mountains we traveled down the Dry Fort of Cheat river which well deserves the name it bears, as there is no signs of water for miles along its bed. We here learned that Imboden had dodged us and taken another mountain path leaving us about ten miles to his right as he passed through.
That evening we fell in with five companies of the 87th Pa. that had been sent through by another route for the same purpose. We traveled with them next day, and while passing along the mountain side on our narrow trail a very sad accident occurred resulting in the death of one of their regiment by the name of Colehouse, by the accidental discharge of a gun by the man in his rear. The ball entered the back of his head coming out at this forehead, killing him instantly. His comrades buried him on the top of the mountain, as there was no wagon road within six miles of us by which we could be conveyed to any other point. With this exception we all arrived safe within four miles of Beverly on the Webster road that evening, when we received marching orders for this place and started for Webster next morning, arriving at that place on Wednesday the 19th inst., making a march of 250 miles in about 12 days, averaging 21 miles per day without tents during the whole time and without commissary teams a part of the time.
C, Co. D., 12 Va. Regt.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: November 1862