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Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
February 16, 1863


Wheeling Intelligencer
February 20, 1863

Another Train Captured.

New Creek, Feb. 17, 1863.

Editors Intelligencer:

On yesterday the forage train from Romney, consisting of sixteen wagons with from four to six horses each, and the guard of thirty to forty cavalry with their horses, were captured by McNeill's squad about thirty-five in number. The wagons laden with hay were burned, and the men and horses taken off toward Moorefield. Two of the men escaped and carried the news to Romney, when a detachment of cavalry were sent after them. After following them some fourteen miles, and when they had nearly overtaken them, turned about and returned to camp.

When will our men learn wisdom? Only last week as they were fully aware McNeill threatened them near the same point, and yet with a batallion [sic] of cavalry in camp idle, such a disgraceful occurrence as this take place is it is too bad. This McNeill should be taken as an example by our men. He is doing his party vastly more service with less than fifty men that the whole Keys Battalion is doing the Government. Why is this? Who is at fault? Not the men surely. Verily at this rate we shall keep the rebels supplied with horses for some time.

Hampshire.


Wheeling Intelligencer
March 2, 1863

The Capture of that Forge Train near Romney.

Romney, Feb. 24, 1863.

Editors Intelligencer:

In your issue of the 20th inst. there is a communication in relation to the capture of a forage train near Romney, not one sentence of which is true from the beginning to the end of it. Who is this correspondent “Hampshire?” who coward like flees his home to New Creek, not even stopping to take along breath by the way, until safely anchored there, and there only to send his foul breath of slander broadcast through the Intelligencer over the land against the soldiers of Pennsylvania who for the last 20 months have stood side by side and fought with the bravest of his own and other States to suppress this accursed rebellion, and at the same time protect the loyal citizens of West Virginia both in his home and his rights? The train spoken of in our former issue and the one in this slanderous communication are one and the same. It consisted of about 29 wagons of 4 and 6 horse teams, and was guarded by a Capt. And 60 infantry, with a Sergt. and 8 or 9 cavalry men of the Ringgold Battalion, and four or five Virginia cavalry. These were in front of the train when the dash was made by Capt. McNeill and 26 men. The infantry craven and cowardlike threw down their arms and surrendered without firing a gun, as well as their teamsters and teams with their wagons, which were all burned except five which were rescued by a stand made by four or five Ringgold cavalrymen, after the rebels had taken the horses from them. The Captain of the Infantry ran off as fast as his horse could carry him, as he said, to carry the news of this glorious feat to camp. Meeting the cavalry from the front of the train coming to the rescue. He said don’t go back for God’s sake, the road is full of them.” Nevertheless five of the Ringgold cavalry battalion went and made such a fight as not only to prevent them from taking any more but saved the 5 wagons already unhorsed and about to be burnt. Not a man – not a wagon – not a horse which they were guarding was lost or captured. The only cavalry we recaptured were teamsters and two or three of the Virginia cavalry, who had struggled behind. Who is this director of wisdom, who advised decent, well-bred men and soldiers – who have been taught to fight for the Flag and Constitution of our country alone – to take patter by and learn wisdom from McNeil, the robber and highwayman who lies skulking in the pine bushes or on the hill-tops, waiting like a beast of prey for his victims – who never attacks unless he is first informed that the party he is about to fight have declared they won’t fight – or are so few as to be unable to resist him. Then, and then only, he pounces on them from his hiding place, grasps his prey and runs off with it, as he did in this case, to hide in some mountain fastness, where the uninitiated can never come – Devil’s Hole.

We come not here to rob, pillage and destroy; but to restore our distracted and divided country. God help us if “Hampshire’s” is the kind of counsel that in the future, we must follow. Poor, narrow-hearted contracted soul, to see no interest, no country, beyond his own farm. To say that we are lying idle in camp, when not a day since we entered the service but that we had over half our men on active and hard duty whilst he, no doubt is sitting in some safe corner, (better paid by Uncle Sam) reading the news and studying how make it.

It will not do, if he is responsible, for him to say he was told to. A clever man knows facts, is sure, before he writes what might prove a base slander. If he is not responsible, then forever hereafter throw his communications away. Who is he? We want to know where and what caused the shoe to pinch is toes.

John Keys,
Capt. com’dg Ringgold Cav.


Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: February 1863

West Virginia Archives and History