Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
June 30, 1863

Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
July 1, 1863

Skirmish with Rebel Horse Thieves. - Passengers who arrived last evening from Grafton, report that on Monday evening a little skirmish took place at Newberg, on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, between a company of Union soldiers and a lot of rebel horse thieves: It appears that within the last few days, the rebel sympathizers living along the upper portion of Monongalia, and the lower portion of Marion county, have organized a band of pirates for the purpose of stealing horses and escaping within the rebel lines. They had succeeded in stealing quite a number of horses, and a number of our soldiers having been sent in pursuit, the rebels were intercepted at the place above stated. An engagement took place, and the rebels were scattered and fled in all directions. It is reported that a couple of the thieves were killed and two were captured.

Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
July 2, 1863

From Preston. - On yesterday Capt. Godwin, with 25 men of Company G, 6th Va. Infantry, and Capt. Parker, with one company of the 8th Va. cavalry, encountered near Kingwood 31 of the rebel gang who attempted to leave Preston co. for Dixie, carrying with them all the horses they could steal. They succeeded in killing one of the gang, and wounding and capturing another. They captured all the horses, but the balance of the men escaped to the woods.

And yesterday Lieut. McDonald, with a squad of men from Company L, 8th Va. Infantry, attacked another gang of sixteen rebels near Evansville, in Preston co., and captured all their horses. The men succeeded in escaping to the hills.

We are told that nearly every man capable of bearing arms has turned out, and is giving aid to the soldiers in running down and capturing the infernal scoundrels who have always been a nuisance to the neighborhoods where they lived.

Give the loyal men good arms and plenty of ammunition, with liberty to fire at will, and they will do more towards clearing the country of these desperadoes than a whole regiment of soldiers, and at greatly less cost to the government.

Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
July 3, 1863

The Outlaws of the Interior - Some twenty or twenty-five of the outlaws who within a few days past undertook a wholesale escapade into Dixie from the counties of Preston and Monongalia, carrying with them the best horses of their neighbors, were brought up to the city last evening and lodged in prison. We are told that the same devilish audacity characterized their conduct on the train as in their frustrated attempt at horse stealing, and that when placed aboard the cars they yelled and shouted for Jeff Davis with all the brazen vigor of so many pirates. It will be the duty of the authorities to make them feel quite different before they are through with their jolly scrape. Public sentiment will demand the condign and rigorous punishment of these men. They are not prisoners of war but thieves, who were caught in the act, and who ought as speedily as possible to be tried by the courts and given the full benefit of the longest possible term in the penitentiary. If this thing of midnight plotting by rebels enjoying peace and security in our midst, and who, up to the very hour of their outbreaking, profess to be loyal, is not effectually broken up and stopped in the bud it will produce bitter fruit for the people of our interior counties yet. As a matter of self protection such men ought never to be taken alive, and we trust that when each county gets its quota of arms for its loyal people, they never will be. The plainest dictates of self defense and intelligent humanity, demand that no such thing as secret organization and sudden rising be tolerated for a day.

The patriotic people who turned out and hunted down and captured these scoundrels deserve the greatest credit for so doing. - Surely the patience of a long suffering people was never so tried as has been that of our West Virginians in the interior. All the misfortunes of regular and irregular was have been theirs. It is bad enough to endure the former without suffering the latter. When it comes to destructive organizations within our very midst it is time the people organized themselves for such summary protection as they would seek from wild beasts.

Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
July 4, 1863

Facts Concerning the Rebels Brought in on Thursday. - They numbered 30 and were citizens of Monongalia, Marion and Wetzel counties, and probably one or two from Pennsylvania. We know of 5 or 6 horses stolen by them. If they had arms they threw them away before surrendering. Their horses, numbering 30, were captured by the cavalry men while fleeing to the mountains. The U. S. soldiers then left and Company A, of the 148th V. M., Col. Brown, took up the search for the men. They surrounded them, and the rebs, finding out their fix concluded to surrender which they did on Wednesday morning to Preston Trowbridge and Richard Neugen, belonging to Company A. They claim to have enlisted in Company A, 19th Virginia cavalry (rebel) Capt. John Righter, about the 10th of May last. They were found 6 miles Southeast of Kingwood, in Cheat River hills.

Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
July 5, 1863

The Origin, Progress, Decline and Fall of the recent Horse-Thief Escapade in Preston and Monongalia.

Wadsworth, West Va., July 5.

Editors Intelligencer:

One week ago to-night, that band of land pirates left this town that were captured near Cranberry Summit during the week by the soldiers and militia.

The loyal citizens of this country anxiously awaited the intelligence of their demise or capture. The loyal men have considered them rebels and looked upon them with disdain and contempt ever since the war commenced, and it is a mystery to me why such disloyal persons have not been dealt with according to their crimes long before this, ralling out as they did against the federal administration and the prosecution of the war, in the most sarcastic manner. They were drafted into the militia service for six months, about three weeks since, and instead of reporting at Morgantown, as ordered by their officers, they conspired together and skulked away into the woods, determining to resist arrest by bushwhacking. The militia orders were countermanded, and the men that went at their country's call returned, determining that the miscreants should either be arrested or leave the country.

The malcontents finally disbanded, came sneakingly back home, where they remained a few days in great dread and suspense, which was in no wise pleasant, after their infamous conduct. They soon found that the loyal men would have them brought to justice, and being conscious of their sins, they concluded to "light out" as the time above specified, with, as it is conjectured, their recruiting officer or spy as a guide.

The Unionist hailed with infinite delight the intelligence of their capture, and hope and pray that the authorities will accept no petition, for the release or exoneration of such venal and mercenary hirelings, and that the authorities remove from their midst others, who are more cowardly, but more sarcastic in their disloyal proclivities. There are many that deserve the same treatment as those who were caught on their way to Dixie. The captors of those rascals, together with Capt. George Kenney, deserve great commendation for their vigilance, energy and perseverance during the "siege."

It will be remembered that their commander, Sam Showalters, held a Captaincy (under Letcher) in the 178th Va. Militia, but would not subscribe to the restored government; consequently abdication, or rather dismissal, was the result. He now holds a Lieutenancy in the C. S. A., which proves that he would prefer being a doorkeeper in the house of Jeff, than to dwell in the tents of the Yankees. If you think this worthy, please give it an insertion and oblige.

Yours & c.,
H. S.

Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
July 6, 1863

Horse Thieves Captured. - The Fairmont National says that during the early part of last week a band of home rebels from along the line between Marion and Monongalia counties undertook to make a journey in search of their lost "rights." After helping themselves to their neighbors horses and saddles they started with the intention of making their way out through Preston county and crossing the railroad about Newburg. In this they were slightly disappointed. Gen. Averill's cavalry got after them and captured about twenty-five of them and scattered the rest. There were said to be about thirty-five of them in all. Their horses were all captured and the prisoners sent to Wheeling where we hope they'll be permitted to remain until their hair grows gray. Another party of about the same number are said to have left later in the week, but as yet, we have not heard of their capture. - They all deny the "soft impeachment" of being horse thieves and claim to be regularly enlisted recruits for the C. S. A.

On Wednesday several persons who were charged with being privy to their movements and to have harbored them were brought to Fairmont by a squad of Monongahela militia. The names of those arrested are Henry Glover, Jacob Tennant, Milton Wilson, Alpheus Lemasters, Stephen R. Wilson and Otha B. Jones. Glover started with the recruits but he says he couldn't keep up and started to return when he was taken. They reside near McCurdysville. Tennant and Wilson were released; the others were held subject to Col. Darr's order.

Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
July 6, 1863

Letter from Preston County.

Preston Co., W. Va., July 3.

Editors Intelligencer:

On last Monday it was ascertained that a number of rebel horse thieves had assembled from several counties west of this and were trying to make their way through our lines to Dixie, stealing all the horses they could as they went along. Captain Parker of the 8th Va., got on their track with a company of mounted men and pursued them until near Kingwood where they took a circuitous route and passed to the right of town. It being night, the Captain was unable to find their whereabouts and concluded to halt near the west bank of Cheat river until daylight. By the time it was light Lieutenant Menear with [with] a number of the militia from the vicinity of Kingwood, had got on their track and informed the Captain, who at nce started after them again and scoured the country pretty well until about 11 A. M., when they came upon them on the east side of the river near the Dunkard Bottom, in a dense thicket, where they routed the party and captured thiry five horses. Capt. P., with his company, then left for Grafton. By this time the country was in a fever of excitement and Col. J. W. Brown started runners through the country to call the militia together and capture the scoundrels, if possible. By the time it was dusk the citizens had responded nobly to the call and large numbers were collected at designated points. The hunt then commenced and was continued faithfully until after daylight the next morning when the rebels finding themselves completely surrounded, the villains, twenty-five in number, came in and gave themselves up, saying the Preston county militia had outgeneraled them.

They say their number was twenty nine, four of whom are yet at large. Their main guide, Bill Yost, of Marion county escaped.

Col. Brown's regiment has not been armed and many were kept at home on account of not having guns of any description. Give them arms and they will take care of all such bands in their district, I assure you.


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

West Virginia Archives and History