Series 1, Volume 29, Part 1
Report of Brig. Gen. William W. Averell, U.S. Army.
September 25, 1863.
All quiet 4 miles beyond Cheat Mountain Summit at 8 a.m. On the Seneca road a picket of the Second (West) Virginia was attacked and captured this morning about daylight by about 100 rebels. The officer in command of the picket had disregarded his orders. Our loss was about 30. I have a hundred infantry in pursuit, and some cavalry ahead of the rebels. The picket at Parsons’ Mills report all quiet. They have been strengthened. Do you hear anything of Enfield rifles? I have 200 men without arms.
WM. W. AVERELL,
Brig. Gen. B. F. KELLEY,
Report of Brig. Gen. John D. Imboden, C. S. Army, including operations September 24-30.
HEADQUARTERS VALLEY DISTRICT,
October 1, 1863.
GENERAL: Your order in regard to the Baker horses has been complied with. The residue were started to Staunton day before yesterday. As soon as Major Shumate, my quartermaster, gets his receipts from Major Bell, I will forward to you his official statement of the horses turned over. Although somewhat improved – those that are living – they are still unserviceable for artillery or transportation.
I sent 250 men to Hampshire, to attempt to break the railroad, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Beall, Eighteenth Cavalry, a brave and energetic officer, a citizen of Hampshire. If anything can be done he will accomplish it. I also ordered Major Gilmor to try it in the valley above or below Martinsburg. I have but little hope that any considerable damage can be done. The bridges are all too strongly guarded to be destroyed by a small force, and damage elsewhere must be necessarily easily repaired; and with a considerable force stationed at Romney, Martinsburg, and Petersburg, the enemy can render the escape of an attacking party a difficult undertaking. As soon as I hear the result I will communicate it to you.
My cavalry (Eighteenth Regiment) made a scout last week and this down into Frederick, Jefferson, and Clarke, remaining the greater part of three days below Winchester, hoping to draw the enemy out from Martinsburg and Harper’s Ferry, but were unsuccessful, and returned without accomplishing anything beyond gaining information of the enemy’s position and strength. The force at Martinsburg is about 1,000 men – infantry, cavalry, and artillery – and at Harper’s Ferry 1,200 or 1,500, and a small force fortified in the jail at Charlestown. The railroad is most vigilantly watched at all points. The enemy is not harassing the citizens much in the lower valley. McReynolds commands, and he seems to be somewhat of a gentleman in habits, conduct, education, and general bearing, and does not imitate his fiendish predecessor – Milroy.
I have the honor to report that Maj. D. B. Lang, Sixty-second Virginia Infantry, whom I sent week before last, with 100 men on foot, across the Allegheny, toward Barbour County, had returned safely without the loss of a man.
On last Thursday night, the 24th, at midnight, he attacked a Yankee camp, 9 miles northeast of Beverly, where the Seneca trace, or road, crosses Cheat River, near what is called the Burnt House, and captured the whole concern and brought them safely out, except 2 so badly wounded they could not travel, and 1 drowned in the river in attempting to escape. His prisoners were Company A, Second (West) Virginia Infantry (bogus), mounted; part of Averall’s command. He brought out 1 lieutenant and 36 non-commissioned officers and privates; 38 horses, with new saddles, bridles, and halters; 3 carbines, 31 Minie muskets, 3 swords, 1 pistol, with their accouterments, &c. The whole affair was admirably managed by Major Lang, who was General Edward Johnson’s old scout, and one of the best mountain soldiers in the service.
The enemy has a mounted force of over 3,000 men at Beverly, evidently preparing for a raid toward this valley or Lewisburg (the latter, I think), though I have taken every precaution to be advised of their advance in this direction in time to meet them on Shenandoah Mountain, where the pass is fortified. I have an outpost 60 miles to my front at the base of the Allegheny Mountains, with relays of couriers back to my camp.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant.
J. D. IMBODEN,
General R. E. Lee.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: September 1863