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Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
November 24, 1862


Point Pleasant Daily Register
December 4, 1862

Brilliant Cavalry Exploit in Western Virginia.

New York, Nov. 29—The Herald has the following special:

“CHARLESTON, Va. Nov. 26—I have just learned additional particulars of the successful scout made by the Second Virginia Cavalry, under J. C. Paxton, in the vicinity of Lewisburg. The troops left Camp Platt, ten miles from here, on Monday last, 24th inst., from that time they marched 210 miles in 70 hours, passing over in the route four spurs of the Gauley mountains; part of the march was through a pelting snow storm.

“Col. Paxton came upon the enemy in the vicinity of Frankfort, attacked them with vigor, and after a short fight defeated him, capturing two commissioned officers and privates , and 100 horses, between 2,000 and 3,000 stand of arms, burned his camp and all his equipage, all his stores, and four waggons. Col. Paxton did not lose a man. Major Powell particularly distinguished himself.


The Rebellion Record: A Diary of American Events, with Documents, Narratives, Illustrative Incidents, Poetry Etc.
Frank Moore, ed. Vol. 6. New York: G. P. Putnam, 1863.

Expedition to Cold Knob, Va.

Colonel Paxton’s Report

Headquarters Second Virginia Volunteer Cavalry
Camp Piatt, December 2, 1862

Captain R. P. Kennedy, Asst. Adjt.-Gen., First Division, Kanawha, George Cook, Brig.-General Commanding:

SIR: In obedience to your orders, I marched my command, consisting of companies G, I, F, A, K, D, E, and H, Second Virginia volunteer cavalry, in all four hundred and seventy-five men rank and file, in good order, on the morning of the twenty-fourth of November, for Summerville, arriving there at ten P.M. the same day; distance fifty-three miles. Left Summerville next morning at seven o’clock, and arrived at the “Hinkle Farm” at four P.M. – thirty-five miles – and being able to obtain some hay there, remained until four o’clock A.M., twenty-sixth, when we took up the line of march, in a blinding snowstorm, for Greenbrier, via Cold Knob Mountain, where we arrived at ten o’clock A.M., same day – distance twenty miles. Met Col. Lane’s Eleventh O.V.I., who was to assist us in breaking up a camp of rebels at the foot of the mountain, but on account of the severity of the weather and hard marching, he wished to return to his camp at Summerville. I asked him to take the advance until we met the enemy’s pickets, which he did, and in about one mile exchanged shots with the enemy’s scouts, wounding one. Colonel Lane at once opened his ranks and gave us the road. We pushed rapidly into the enemy’s camp, a distance of some miles, effecting a complete surprise at twelve o’clock M., the enemy scattering in all directions. We killed two, wounded two, paroled one, captured two commissioned officers, (one captain and one second lieutenant,) one hundred and eleven non-commissioned officers and privates, one hundred and six horses, five mules, burned and destroyed by fire about two hundred Enfield and Mississippi rifles, fifty sabres, with other accoutrements, five wagons, also, blankets, clothing, harness, saddles, bridles, and other stores and supplies, and other stores and supplies, and their camp-tents, ect.

I had two horses killed in the attack on the enemy’s camp, and lost ten on the march, from fatigue and exhaustion. The enemy was found three miles from the foot of Cold Knob Mountain, on Sinking Creek, Greenbrier County, Va., at Levis’s Mill, and consisted of a part of five companies of cavalry, namely, Rockbridge cavalry, Braxton dragoons, Churchville cavalry, and Nighthawk Rangers. They were men who had been in service fifteen months, and were located at that point to guard the mountain pass, and to organize the Fourteenth Virginia cavalry, to be commanded by Major Bailey, and constituted a part of A. G. Jenkin’s brigade. Our success was complete. We never lost a drop of blood.

After securing prisoners and horses, destroying camp, etc., we marched at four P.M. on the twenty-sixth for Summerville, where we arrived on the twenty-seventh, at noon, making one hundred and twenty miles for men and horses, without food or rest, except for one feed of hay for the horses, over the most mountainous and rugged part of West Virginia. We remained in Summerville until the twenty-ninth; left for Camp Piatt, and arrived in camp on the thirtieth, at noon. My men suffered severely from frost. I left two men in hospital at Summerville, whose boots were cut from their feet; others were more or less frozen. My horses were very much cut down.

I cannot close this report without deservedly complimenting officers and men; but where all behaved so gallantly it is impossible to particularize. But all honor is due Major Powell, who led the charge, and company G, Capt. McMahon, who led the column.

I have the honor to be your obedient servant,

J. C. Paxton,

Colonel Commanding Second Virginia Volunteer Cavalry.

E. F. Gillen,
Adjutant .


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

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