January 6, 1863
Reported Battle at Moorefield Hardy County --- Senator Carskadon, who arrived last evening from New Creek reports that the rebels attacked our forces under Col. (Vauborn?)
Saturday Morning and the fighting was going on during Saturday and Sunday. During the whole of Saturday cannonading was distinctly heard at New Creek. We had a small force stationed at Petersburg, north of Moorefield. This force was sent to the latter place and the baggage train came by way of a mountain road and reached New Creek Sunday. On Saturday night Col. Mulligan, at the head of his brigade left New Creek for Moorefield reaching that place on Sunday evening. It was reported that the Union forces had driven the rebels a distance of four miles and were still pursuing the m---. The rebels were commanded by Imboden and Jenkins. Gen. Milroy was at Winchester.
There was considerable excitement at New Creek on Sunday night. The Soldiers there slept upon their arms and skirmishers were sent out. This precaution was taken in consequence of the report brought by those in charge of the wagon train from Petersburg that they had been pursued by a large body of Rebel Cavalry.
Battle Of Moorefield.
January 10, 1863
Battle Of Moorefield.
Moorefield, Jan. 7th, 1863.
The 116th Regiment O. V. I. commanded by Lieut. Col. Wildes, and one section of Keepers' battery, on the morning of the 3d inst., at 8 o'clock, were attacked by Gen. Jones with three thousand cavalry and a battery of six field pieces. Our camp was on an elevated piece of ground, east of Moorefield, with a ravine between us and the mountain in the rear, the broad valley of the South Branch on our right flank, and the valley of the South Fork on our left. The enemy approached us down the South Fork valley, driving in our pickets and throwing his force all around us. We poured a few shells into the enemy, checking his advance; but soon, on our left flank, boom, boom, went the rebel cannon, followed by the demon whistle of rebel shells. Our fire was then directed to the rebel guns, which, after a few rounds, we silenced, disabling one, as we afterwards learned.
The rebel cavalry, in increased numbers, at this juncture of affairs, appeared in the ravine and on the side of the mountain in our rear, with the intention, no doubt, of making a concentrated dash, but the boldness with which the three companies of our skirmishers met their advance, held them in check. The enemy, by this time had succeeded in planting two of his guns, supported by a considerable body of cavalry immediately on our front, and opened on us by firing over the town of Moorefield. Thus we were under two fires. Their shells flew thick and fast, falling and bursting in our midst. But not a man faltered. Col. Wildes and Major Morris had placed their small force in the most available position for defense, and were riding in this iron tempest of bursting shells, from point to point, cheering the men to stand firm to their posts. Lieut. Daniels of Keeper's battery, with one gun replied to the enemy's guns on our front, planting shell after shell in his midst.
The rebel cavalry on our rear now made a dash, but were driven back by the fire of three of our companies, under command of Captains Keyes, Brown, and Golden. These three captains on our rear, and Capt. Teaters on our front, who were deployed as skirmishers, displayed the skill and courage of veteran officers.
Thus matters stood in doubt, but with the firm determination on our part to fight to the last. The enemy's forces were closing in on every side, when, lo! in the dim distance, in the direction of Petersburg, the thunder of two cannon fell on our ear. The yell went up, "It's Washburn, with the 12d Ohio regiment, and Chalfant, with part of Carlin's battery." Lieut. Daniels cried to his gunners, "Give it to them, boys, thick and fast!" and, in concert with Lieut. Chalfant's guns, silenced the enemy on our front in ten minutes.
Washburn started out two companies of infantry, supported by a part of a company of the 3d Virginia Cavalry, led by Lieut. Colonel Hunter, of the 123d Ohio regiment, to open communication with us. The rebels on our left, and in the front of Washburn opened with two guns upon Lieut. Colonel Hunter's force, at the same time sending out a body of cavalry to meet him. Washburn, thus ascertaining the position of the rebel guns on our left, we opened fire, and in earnest, with one of our pieces, soon disabled both of their guns, as the enemy have since stated. The 123d then started across the valley for our camp without any molestation from the enemy, who appeared eager to make good his escape. Major Morris, not content to let the retreating enemy escape without a parting salute, ordered one of our pieces to a high elevation commanding the valley of the South Fork road, and poured shell after shell into th ranks of the retreating foe. this closed the action of the day, and night coming on, part of the enemy escaped up the South Fork Road, and part over the mountain west, and down through Petersburg, stopping long enought to parole the sick left by Washburn at the latter place.
All praise is due to Col. Wildes and Maj. Morris, of the 116th Ohio, for the skill and courage they displayed throughout the entire action. Gen. Washburn, who marched to our assistance from Petersburg, 12 miles distant, at the first sound of the cannon in the morning, has endeared himself to the officers and men of the 116th regiment forever. On his march here the citizens represented to him that the enemy were nine thousand strong. "Nine or twenty thousand strong," replied our heroic General, "I am going, and intend to show the enemy fight to the bloody end." So said the officers of the 123d Ohio. Nor can I forget to make mention of Lieutenant Chalfant, of your city, belonging to Carlin's Battery. He led the advance with his two pieces of ordnance, supported by 30 men of the Third Virginia Cavalry, on the march from Petersburg. A truer man and hero never lived.
The enemy lost a number killed and wounded, according to his own acknowledgement to some of the citizens. Twenty of our men, on picket duty, were taken prisoners on the morning of the attack: Lieut. Okey, of Woodsfield, Monroe county, Ohio; Harrison Cochran, John Watters, A. W. Henthorn, Robert Hathaway, A. Olem, Sam'l Luthy, of Clarington, Monroe county, Ohio; the remaing thirteen belong to Athens county, Ohio. We lost, in all, one hundred men. This number includes those who were paroled in the hospiital at St. Petersburg. None of our men were killed or wounded.
We are now reinforced, and feel ready for the enemy. The hero of Lexington is here, with a big supply of brass guns and men.
The dash into Moorefield, Va.
January 10, 1863
The dash into Moorefield, Va.
[Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]
Headq's Jones's Brigade, New Market, Jan.6, 1863.
I hasten to give you the news from the late expedition to Moorefield. On the 2d of January a portion of this brigade, with a few pieces of artillery, started from this point, reaching the vicinity of Moorefield about daylight the next morning, having marched about sixty miles. The enemy had at or near the town a camp of infantry and one battery. The pickets were surprised and a portion of them captured. An artillery duel then commenced which lasted, with several intervals, till late in the evening. During this time a detachment of cavalry, under Col. Dulaby, passed around a portion of their force and advanced on Petersburg, which is a beautiful village twelve miles from Moorefield. When within a half mile of the place he belted for information a short time. Unfortunately for him the enemy heard of his approach, and taking advantage of this delay set fire to their stores. The Colonel charged, but too late to get any amount of plunder. The flames had nearly consumed the building which was a very fine church, and sugar and coffee in small quantities were about all his men obtained from the consecrated ruins. After paroling the small garrison, with one commissioned officer, they returned to their command. News of the fight was immediately conveyed to Milroy, thirty-two miles distant, and he reinforced the place with a heavy force of infantry and artillery.
Sixty-five prisoners, with their rifles, were captured, together with six fine horses. After the enemy had been so strongly reinforced. General Jones, with his command, returned to camp, with out the loss of a man.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: January 1863