Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
December 2, 1862

Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
December 15, 1862

Among the Guerrillas

Camp Sutton, Dec. 7, 1862

Editors Intelligencer:

Recuperated in body and mind after our trip; we will give a short account of an important scout, conducted by Captain Thompson of the [illegible] Va Regiment in the counties of Clay, Gilmore and part of Braxton in search of a hand on noted guerillas, known as the "Cotteral Tribe," charged with and guilty of the most heinous crimes known to civil or military law.

In high spirits, the command left Sutton on Tuesday last and marched some twenty miles, took supper at Mr. Wm. Rollyson's, and rested a few hours and started again at 1 o'clock A.M. for the rendezvous of our game. Arriving just before day, at a house occupied by one of the gang, we surrounded it and made a "charge" which had the effect of frightening the inmates of the house out of their wits, and chasing every dog and cat off the place, with an unusual disturbance amongst the faithful tribe. - In the midst of the confusion we entered the house and found Jeff Cotteral, a noted member of the gang, lying on a palled, paying the penalty of his crimes, by nursing a painful and dangerous gunshot wound in the left breast, inflicted the day before, by some of the members of Capt. King's energetic Home Guards. Satisfied with his inability to render immediate aid to the enemies of the Republic, we left him by carrying off some stolen property and relieving the invalid of his nurse and medical advisor, who was taken on to have a hearing at the next place.

Daylight overtaking us we stopped for breakfast at old Thomas Cotteral's, the patriarch and father of all the Cotterals, and here, for the want of better employment and in view of coervive[sic] information, a squad of the boys concluded to execute Harris (the prisoner.), erected a gallows, adjusted a trace chain and placed him on the scaffold with permission to speak ten minutes, which was occupied in loud and earnest declarations of innocence, calls for give me time, waken up the captain and let me have a full hearing, &c. The time drawing near that was set apart as the terminus of his mortal career, some thoughtful soldier reminded him that an earnest prayer might be of some benefit to him, and moreover, was customary at such proceedings. "Pray the Devil what time have I got to pray now?" was the only answer. At this juncture of affairs the lady of the house becoming interested in the affair, no doubt from natural considerations, mildly requested them to "take him a little further from the house to hang him." This reasonable and thoughtful request, with the abrupt and unexpected departure of the captain from the land of dreams, postponed the performance for an indefinite period. Taking up our line of march we visited many other houses, captured a noted rebel by the name of Solomon Carpenter, recaptured some rifle guns, went through a mock execution of one Miles Macumbery, who told us of some stolen property which we got, and finally returned to camp loadened[sic] with trophies, and weary in well doing. This is a sample of the kind of labor soldiers on detached service have to perform.

Outside of our scouting performances we have nothing new or interesting to relate.

The citizens of Braxton, what few are left, are rampant for the new State, and will be satisfied with nothing else.

Our young and talented representative, W. D. Rollyson has been petitioned and instructed to use all his influence and energy for the speedy accomplishment of that end, by personating the wish of the citizens of Braxton, whenever and wherever it may be conductive to the interest of West Virginia.

Yours, Truly,

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

West Virginia Archives and History