Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
December 12, 1863

Richmond Daily Dispatch
December 16, 1863

Fight in Greenbrier county.

We understand that a dispatch was yesterday received in official quarters that an engagement had taken place on Sunday last at Greenbrier Bridge, a few miles from Lewisburg, between the forces under Gen. Echols and a largely superior force of the enemy, who advanced on the turnpike road imaging from Lewisburg to Charleston, in Kanawha country. Of the particulars of the fight we could learn nothing, except that Gen. Echols was compelled to fall back through Lewisburg, which was afterwards occupied by the enemy. Their force numbered about 4,500.

Richmond Daily Dispatch
December 17, 1863

Averill's movements in Western Virginia.

After the skirmish at Greenbrier Bridge, noticed in our paper yesterday, in which Gen. Echols was defeated, and retreated into Monroe county, the enemy under Averill, about 4,500 strong, consisting of 3,000 mounted infantry and 1,500 cavalry, pushed on to the Sweet Springs, in Monroe, some fifty miles from Salem, Roanoke county.--Gen. Echols, in the meantime, fell back to Union, Monroe county, twenty-three miles from the Sweet Springs, where a portion of the command of Gen. Sam Jones was stationed. Averill, finding the way open and his course unopposed, moved on to Salem, on the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, which point he reached yesterday morning. Here they burned the court-house and one or two other buildings, including the railroad depot.

Information received last night states that the rolling stock of the railroad was saved by being run off on the approach of the enemy.

The force under Averill started out from Beverly, in Randolph county, a distance from Salem of nearly 170 miles, and the only force which made a show of opposition to their progress was that of Gen. Echols, at Greenbrier Bridge. In their route they travelled through Pocahontas on the Huntersville road till they struck the Marlins Bottom road, by which they approached Lewisburg. After leaving Lewisburg they took the road leading direct to Salem, by way of the Sweet Springs. The statement, therefore, that they came, in from Kanawha is incorrect.

The force which engaged Gen. Imboden's attention at Shenandoah Mountain, west of Staunton, seems to have had no immediate connection with Averill's command. The latter moved up the South Branch Valley from Hardy county. After their check on Monday it is believed they fell back to Moorefield.

These movements of the enemy would seem to have a double object. First, to prevent our forces from reaching the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, with a view to conceal the transfer of troops from Grant's army to that of Gen. Meade, on the Rappahannock; and, second, the interruption of railroad communication between Gen. Lee's army and our forces in Southwestern Virginia and East Tennessee.

Salem, in Roanoke county, which has been reached by the enemy, is not immediately on the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, but about one mile distant therefrom. It is about sixty miles southwest of Lynchburg, and is the county seat of Roanoke. The country around is rich and productive.

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

West Virginia Archives and History