Frank Moore, ed. Vol. 6. New York: G. P. Putnam, 1863.
On Sunday last, the seventeenth, the National pickets stationed on the road between Fayetteville and Raleigh, Va., were attacked and surrounded by a force of rebels, but, after a short fight they escaped all but one, the skirmishing continuing until noon, when the National pickets were driven in. Yesterday the attack was renewed and kept up until to-day, when the rebels were repulsed with slight loss.
Skirmish near Fayetteville, Va.
Fayetteville, Virginia, May 27, 1863.
We have perfect quiet here now, though but a few days ago matters were lively.
On Sunday, the seventeenth of May, our cavalry outpost on the Raleigh road, distant from Fayette Court-House something like eight miles, were informed of the presence of the enemy in their front; and one company of the Second Virginia cavalry was sent to their assistance. About fifty men of the Twelfth regiment had been stationed on Blake’s farm, one mile and a half inside of the cavalry outpost. Saturday morning the infantry force was drawn in, and arrived at camp about dark.
Some time during the night the cavalry were attacked, and the pickets driven into our outside camp-guard, where they remained until the morning of the eighteenth, when Captain Robert Wilson arrived with companies A, F, K, and E, of the Twelfth, from this point; and proceeded with his whole force, consisting of one company of the Second Virginia cavalry and the four companies of the Twelfth, toward Blake’s Farm, which they reached without molestation.
Here the infantry was halted, and Captain Wilson took the cavalry and moved out on the Raleigh road four or five miles beyond the point from which they had been driven the night before; and there encountered the enemy in considerable numbers. After exchanging a few shots, he fell back to Blake’s farm; and then sent Lieutenant Ankrom and twelve men up the Raleigh road the second time, with orders to ascertain, if possible, the strength of the enemy. Lieutenant Medlicott, with twelve men, was also sent out on the old mountain road that intersects the main road near Blake’s farm.
Lieutenant Ankrom advanced on the Raleigh road a short distance beyond where we first saw the enemy. After firing a few shots, he fell back to the main body, and reported that he had seen about one hundred men.
A courier was then sent to Lieutenant Medlicott, ordering him to fall back for fear of an ambuscade. It being late when he arrived, the whole party bivouacked for the night.
About seven o’clock in the morning of the eighteenth, twenty men, under command of Lieutenant Glotfeldter, of the Twelfth, were sent to the front to reconnoiter. Just as they were starting, one of the advanced pickets came in and reported that a squad of fifteen men had made their appearance, but, upon discovering our pickets, had fallen back. The two lieutenants of cavalry were then ordered to take twelve men each—one squad to follow, and, if possible, overtake the fifteen men; the other to proceed to McCoy’s bridge. Neither squad had got out of sight before the pickets on the Raleigh road commenced firing. The lieutenants were immediately ordered to return, and the whole force drawn up to receive the enemy.
Company K, of the Twelfth, were sent back to the cross-roads, two miles in our rear, with orders to hold the road; but before he got his position the enemy appeared in sight on the front and on our left flank, and attacked our pickets, who fell back, disputing the ground all the way, until they reached the main body.
In a few minutes information was rec4eived that company K had been attacked on their rear, at Huddleston’s Bridge. Captain Wilson gave Lieutenant Glotfeldter command of the three remaining companies of infantry, with orders to fall back into the woods and make their way to camp. About the time the infantry had gained the cover of the woods, the rebel cavalry appeared in force. The cavalry under Captain Wilson fell back for the purpose of reenforcing company K, of the Twelfth. The Captain’s horse not being as fast as the others, he could not keep the lead, but the company charged down the road toward the bridge at Huddleston, under a heavy fire. The rebels had torn the bridge up, and some ten or twelve of the foremost horses went through into the run, carrying their riders with them. The balance of the company were led by First Lieutenant Joseph Ankrom, who rescued some of the men who had fallen through the bridge, and making their way around the bridge succeeded in getting into position. They then commenced firing, and thus enabled company K, of the Twelfth, and some of the cavalry, to gain the woods. The cavalry skirmished all the way back until they reached the outside picket fort. While running the road, Captain Wilson ahd his horse shot from under him, but escaped unhurt, and soon after his arrival at the outside picket, had the pleasure of meeting the other companies of his command, who had been brought in safely by Lieutenant Glotfeldter. They then proceeded to camp. In a few minutes the enemy got their artillery into position, and began shelling the woods, but without doing any damage.
When the detachment under Captain Wilson reached camp, the works were all filled with troops, and every thing prepared to receive our visitors, who soon made their appearance. They fired the first shot at two A. M., and as soon as our guns could be brought to bear, we replied. The second shell fired by the rebels killed the only man killed during the engagement. His name was Owen McGinnis, a sergeant of company A, of the Twelfth, Captain Wilson. He was struck on the head with a ball from a twelve pound spherical case-shot, killing him almost immediately. The firing of the rebels was rapid, and, as a general thing, wild. One section of Captain McMullen’s battery, which was stationed in the outside redan, compelled the rebels to move their artillery nine times during the afternoon, and disabled one piece. The firing was kept up until night, when both sides ceased, and the troops rested on the ground all night.
About five A. M., on the nineteenth, company K arrived in camp, they having gone entirely around the right flank of the rebels. They were hailed with a hearty greeting by the rest of the boys. During the operations of Captain Wilson and his command, three men were wounded and six missing. One of the wounded—George Bahan, company K, Twelfth O. V. I.—has since died. The others are doing well.
Early on the morning of the twentieth our battery opened on the rebels and elicited a reply. The firing was kept up until two P. M., when it was ascertained the enemy was retreating. Colonel White, of the Twelfth, who has command here, asked for permission to follow, which was granted, but not until late in the evening, when the enemy had got a good start; but, thinking that he might overtake them, he started after dark, with about two thousand men and part of McMullen’s battery, and after pursuing them a distance of twenty-five miles, gave up the chase as hopeless, and returned to his camp with as dusty a crowd of boys as ever any one witnessed.
Our total loss was fourteen killed, wounded, and missing, in the Twelfth Ohio; three men and six horses missing in the Second Virginia cavalry, and three horses wounded.
Among the men who went through the bridge at Huddleston, was Lieutenant J. J. Medlicott, of the Second Virginia cavalry. He was fortunate enough to escape, and two days after, made his appearance in camp. The coolness and daring of Lieutenant Ankrom, of the same regiment, is deserving of notice; and owing to his exertions at the bridge, Lieutenant Atkinson of company K, Twelfth Regiment, was enabled to get a good position for his command, and then he handsomely returned the compliment by pouring into the rebels a hot fire, which aided the cavalry in getting out. In the attack on our works here, no anxiety was felt as to the result.
Since the fight several of the enemy have come in and given themselves up. They report that they are most all willing to lay down their arms and take the oath, but are watched too closely. They say that it was the expectation that a large body of mounted men, under Imboden and Jones, would attack Gauley Bridge at the same time that McCausland would at attack us here; but it is the opinion that the movement of some of our forces from the direction of Clarksburgh, changed the notion of the rebels, and, therefore, the column operating on this road was left to take care of itself.
Twelfth O. V. I.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: May 1863