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Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
January 30, 1864


The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.
Series 1 - Volume 33

JANUARY 27-FEBRUARY 7, 1864?Operations in Hampshire and Hardy Counties, W. Va.

SUMMARY OF THE PRINCIPAL EVENTS

Jan. 30, 1864.?Capture of wagon train at Medley.

Feb. 2, 1864.?Skirmish at Patterson?s Creek.

Feb. 4, 1864.?Skirmish at Moorefield.

REPORTS.

No. 1.Brig. Gen. Benjamin F. Kelley, U. S. Army, commanding Department of West Virginia.

No. 2.Lieut. Col. Charles Fitz Simmons, Third New York Cavalry, commanding cavalry, First Division.

No. 3.Col. James A. Mulligan, Twenty-third Illinois Infantry, commanding Second Division.

No. 4. Col. Jacob M. Campbell, Fifty-fourth Pennsylvania Infantry, commanding First Brigade.

No. 5.Col. Joseph Thoburn, First West Virginia Infantry, commanding Second Brigade.

No. 6.Col. Joseph Snider, Fourth West Virginia Cavalry.

No. 7.Lieut. Col. Francis W. Thompson, Sixth West Virginia Cavalry.

No. 8.General Robert E. Lee, C. S. Army, commanding Army of Northern Virginia.

No. 9.Maj. Gen. Jubal A. Early, C. S. Army, commanding Valley District.

No. 10.Brig. Gen. Thomas L. Rosser, C. S. Army, commanding expedition.

No. 1.

Reports of Brig. Gem. Benjamin F. Kelley, U. S. Army, commanding Department of West Virginia.

CUMBERLAND, MD., February 2, 1864?7 p. m.

(Received 12 midnight.)

At 1 p. m. to-day about 500 of Rosser?s brigade made an attack on the forces guarding the bridges across Patterson?s Creek and North Branch of Potomac. Several of our men were wounded, 1 killed, balance either captured or dispersed. Both bridges were fired. Re- enforcements were promptly sent forward, and arrived in time to drive the enemy away and save the Pattersons Creek bridge. About 1 mile of the telegraph line destroyed. It will be repaired to-mor- row, and in three days the bridges will be repaired and the road in working order. Mulligan still driving the enemy back from New Creek. If Sullivans cavalry arrives at Romney to-night I hope to cut Rosser off.

B. F. KELLEY,
Brigadier-General.

Brigadier-General. CULLUM,
Chief of Staff.

CUMBERLAND, MD., February 5, 1864?10 p. m.

(Received 10.45 p. m.)

Colonel Mulligan reports that he drove Early?s forces through Moorefield up the South Fork till darkness put a stop to the pursuit. I have yet no particulars of the affair. Early is making a rapid retreat into the Shenandoah Valley.

B. F. KELLEY,
Brigadier-General

Brigadier-General CULLUM,. Chief of Staff.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WEST VIRGINIA

Cumberland, Md., March 8, 1864.

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations in this department from the 27th of January, 1864, until the 7th of February, during which time our troops were engaged in perceiving that his line of communication was held by the enemy, and that his force was weakened by the absence of the Twenty-third Illinois Regiment, he determined to evacuate Petersburg and fall back on New Creek, according to precautionary orders already received. He accordingly withdrew his forces at midnight, and carrying with him all stores and Government property he retired by way of Greenland Gap, and arrived at New Creek safe and in good condition on the 1st of February.

At daylight on the 31st, the enemy opened fire on the abandoned works at Petersburg, and shelled them for some time before he discovered that they were unoccupied. Perceiving at length that the garrison had escaped, he hastened by the direct route to Greenland Gap, hoping to cut off Colonel Thoburns retreat, but he arrived too late.

The enemy still continued to press upon Colonel Mulligans outposts, both in the New Creek and Patterson?s Creek Valleys, showing a considerable force of all arms on both points. I began to apprehend that his ultimate designs were to effect the destruction of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and that at the same time he might attack the post at New Creek, or even hazard a coup de maim upon Cumberland with a view to plunder. I therefore held Mulligans division, strengthened by Thoburn, ready for defensive or offensive operations, as circumstances might dictate, and sent an order after the mounted column at Wardensyille to move as speedily as possible upon Romney, at which point this force would have an opportunity to strike the enemy in flank and rear, and would be able to communicate more directly with Colonel Mulligan. In the mean time two regiments of infantry, Twelfth [West] Virginia and Thirty-fourth Massachusetts, arrived by rail from Harpers Ferry, and with one light battery were held to secure Cumberland against any sudden movements.

On the morning of February 2, hearing from Colonel Mulligan that the enemy were retiring, I ordered him to follow at once, and notified him that four regiments of our mounted troops would arrive at Romney that night to co-operate with him. Suddenly, about noon on the same day (2d), the enemy, about 300 strong, under Rosser, made his appearance at Patterson?s Creek Station, capturing a portion of the company of infantry guarding the road, killing and wounding several, and setting fire to Patterson?s Creek bridge and also to North Branch bridge, 2 miles from the former and 6 miles from Cumberland.

I immediately took command of the forces at this place, and marched toward the menaced point, but presently ascertained that the enemy was hastily retiring by the way he came, having failed to do any serious damage to the road. Rosser retired by way of Sheets Mill, where two regiments of infantry were stationed to support him. It being impossible to pursue with the infantry under my immediate command, I now depended on the mounted troops I had set in motion to intercept and punish the enemy?s temerity.

Lieutenant-Colonel Fitz Simmons, commanding the mounted column from the valley of the Shenandoah, received the order directing him to move on Romney while at Wardensville, and responded with commendable promptness, arriving at the time expected. Unfortunately he here received information that the enemy was destroying the railroad in the neighborhood of Green Spring. Leaving a detachment to hold Romney, lie followed this false scout to Springfield, while Rosser, secured from view by the Patterson?s Creek Mountain, was rapidly escaping through a parallel valley in the opposite direction. Before this error could be rectified the enemy was well on his way to Moorefield, and on the 3d February, communication having been opened with the infantry under Colonel Thoburn, the whole force under command of Colonel Mulligan, started in pursuit, the cavalry, under Colonel Fitz Simmons, taking the old road to Moorefield and the infantry, with the artillery, following the new road west of the South Branch River.

On the morning of the 4th our advanced cavalry came in sight of the enemy in the Moorefield Valley. At this place, according to the report* of Colonel Mulligan, herewith transmitted, the enemy appeared in strong force with infantry, cavalry, and artillery, and maintained a determined front for the evident purpose of securing the safe retreat of baggage trains and droves of cattle, which could be seen defiling by the roads leading southward over the mountains. Pressed by our artillery and advanced skirmishers, he retired through the village of Moorefield, but before our troops, already harassed by loss of sleep and worn down by forced marches, had arrived in sufficient force to justify a general attack, the enemy?s trains were beyond our reach and his troops had gained the defile in the mountains, where he could not be attacked except at a great disadvantage, and from whence he could retire from position to position, inflicting serious loss upon an assailant with comparative safety to himself. As there seemed to be no adequate advantage promised that would justify so hazardous an attack, Colonel Mulligan followed the enemy slowly with cavalry and artillery until night.

On the following morning, 5th of February, ascertaining that General Early was still rapidly retiring toward Harrisonburg by the Lost River road and Brocks Gap, Colonel Mulligan ordered the co-operating forces back to their respective stations, and leaving Colonel Thoburn at Burlington, he returned with his own command to New Creek.

The principal object of the enemy in this movement appears to have been the capture of the garrison at Petersburg, and incidentally to collect supplies from the Moorefield Valley. His main object failed entirely, and the small amount of damage resulting [from] his hurried attempt upon the railroad hardly justified the hazard incurred. I do not think his falling upon the supply train was the result of any information received of its movements, but simply accidental.

The fact that citizen refugees brought the first information of the enemy?s approach, and that cavalry scouts sent out for the express purpose failed to obtain any information on the subject, is highly discreditable to the officers conducting these reconnaissances [sic]. I have heretofore maintained the post at Petersburg for the purpose of protecting the fertile and populous valley of the South Branch from plunder and conscription by the enemy. The line of communication with its depot at New Creek is long and difficult and the position a good deal exposed. Yet such is the value of the district covered by it that I have thought proper to maintain it, and it is now abandoned with great reluctance, and I hope only for a time.

The officers and troops engaged in the operations above reported, as far as I am informed, have behaved with commendable zeal and alacrity, and the enemy?s escape from the punishment due his temerity is entirely owing to fortuitous circumstances and the great difficulty of concentrating troops and combining movements from positions so distant and in a country whose topography is so difficult and intricate.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

B. F. KELLEY,
Brigadier-General

Brig. Gen. GEORGE W. CULLUM, Chief of Staff, Washington, D. C.

No. 2.

Report of Lieut. Col. Charles Fitz Simmons, Third New York Cavalry,
commanding cavalry, First Division.

HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY FORCES, FIRST DIVISION,

Charlestown, Va., February 7, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that in pursuance of orders I moved from this place on the 31st of January with the following force, viz: First New York, Major Quinn commanding, 230 men; Twenty-first New York, Major Otis commanding, 375 men; Fifteenth New York, Major Hyde commanding, 400 men; Coles (Maryland) cavalry, and detachments of the Second Maryland, Sixth Michigan, and First Connecticut Cavalry, Major Cole commanding, 225 men; one section of artillery, Lieutenant Hoffman. I arrived at Winchester at 8 p. in., and bivouacked, 3 miles west, on the Romney road. At 10 p. m. Lieutenant-Colonel Thompson and 500 mounted infantry, with four guns, passed through Winchester to- ward Strasburg, he having orders to join me at or near Wardensville.

The next day I received orders in the morning from General Sullivan to call in all detachments and move toward Romney direct. I sent Lieutenant Rivers and 12 men of Cole?s battalion to intercept Colonel Thompson and inform him I had received intelligence that the enemy was in Romney on the night of the 31st, and moving toward Green Spring Run. Upon the arrival of my wagon train I moved to Romney, stopping at Cacapon Bridge to allow my column to close up and to feed, leaving my train at Blues Gap, in charge of Major Hyde and all but one squadron of the Fifteenth, which I took with me. Upon my arrival in Romney Lieutenant Wyckoff, of the First New York, who had charge of the advance platoon, dashed forward and captured Lieutenant Allen and 2 men of the Seventh Virginia, from whom I learned that the enemy were in force and moving toward Frankfort, on the west side of South Branch Mountain. I sent Captain Firey, with his company of Cole?s battalion, to Springfield to ascertain, if possible, where the enemy was, and in which direction he was moving.

In the mean time I ordered Lieutenant Wyckoff with 10 men of the First New York to reconnoiter the gap, the result of which was to bring on a spirited skirmish. I at once supported Lieutenant Wyckoff with Coles battalion and Captain Hicks squadron of the Fifteenth. They drove the enemy through the gap, against great odds of position, killing 1 captain and 1 man and wounding Lieutenant Summers and 2 men, and capturing 2 men, all of the Seventh Virginia Cavalry. Our casualties, 1 man, Second Maryland, wounded; 2 horses of the First New York killed.

After driving the enemy through the gap, Major Cole asked leave to pursue him to the junction of the Moorefield and New Creek roads. This I refused, as at that moment Captain Firey and Lieu- tenant Rivers returned, both bringing information that the enemy was in strong force on the west side of the mountain, and numbering not less than 3,000 men of all arms; also, that the advance under Rosser had not reached above Frankfort. I waited until Lieutenant- Colonel Thompson and my wagon train arrived, and left Romney for Springfield at 4 a. m., hoping to head off the enemy and to protect the bridge at Green Spring Run.

Upon arriving at Springfield, I sent a party to Frankfort and another to Green Spring Run. Upon their return I found Rosser had retreated on one side of the mountain while I passed up on the other. I returned to Romney and halted my command to rest and feed, while I rode through the gap to communicate with the force from New Creek. I overtook there, 16 miles from Moorefield, Colonel Thompsons command and the portion of the Fifteenth I left at Blues Gap, all having joined Colonel Mulligan. Colonel Thompson informed me that orders had been sent me to move to Moorefield, that I might send my artillery to Burlington, as Colonel Mulligan had then eight or nine guns. I returned to Romney and marched with my command at 1 a. m. for Moorefield by the old road, sending Captain Hicks squadron of the Fifteenth by the new road, to notify Colonel Mulligan of my whereabouts.

I arrived in sight of Moorefield at dawn of the 4th instant. Sent a party to communicate with Colonel Mulligan, whose command just came in sight on the new road, 5 miles from the town. I at once pushed forward; Major Quinn, being in the advance, dashed after the enemy?s pickets in a splendid manner, driving them back precipitately on the main body. At this point I received orders from Colonel Mulligan that he depended upon my command to gain the earliest intelligence of the enemy, his numbers, position, and intentions. In about fifteen minutes I was able to inform him the enemy occupied Moorefield, numbering 1,000 cavalry and about 500 infantry. His intentions were evidently to cover the retreat of his train through the mountain pass or gap 3 miles in rear of the town.

I was then ordered to watch my left flank, as it was found the enemy meditated an attack in that direction. I had already sent two companies toward the Wardensville road for that purpose, but they were driven back by a gun stationed at the first ford. I sent to the colonel commanding asking that the gun at the ford be sent across to me. This he did not deem p roper to do, but informed me he would send one to Inskip?s Ford, which he did, but with no better results than the first, the shells all bursting either in rear of Major Quinn?s line or among his skirmishers. Major Quinn kept continually informing us that the enemy was falling back, and that unless soon attacked he would be in the defile and beyond our reach. I attempted to join him at all hazards, and was going up at a gal- lop, when I received peremptory orders from Colonel Mulligan I must move no farther; that the enemy?s falling back was for the purpose of entrapping us, as he had information that a large force of infantry and twelve guns were on our left flank. He ordered me to send 200 men to scour the hills, and to move up only as fast as they were able to move through the hills on our left.

Major Quinn in the mean time pushed through the town, and the enemy took a position in column of squadrons, just in advance of the defile, well covered with skirmishers in front and on the flanks. A company of mounted infantry crossed at Inskip?s Ford and relieved Major Quinn?s skirmishers. The enemy at this point commenced maneuvering as if to charge. I made a disposition of the command to receive them, but the movement only proved to be a feint to draw in their parties on the right and left.

I was then ordered by Colonel Mulligan to carry out my original intention of precipitating my command upon the enemy, and that a gun would report to me in a few minutes. I moved my column to- ward the enemy as fast as the nature of the ground would admit, but no gun reporting, the enemy entered the pass before I could reach him, leaving only a small party of skirmishers, which we drove back at a trot. Shortly after the gun came up, and also Colonel Mulligan. We together pursued the enemy up, shelling him wherever we could use artillery, but night coming on and the position being one of evident advantage to the enemy, Colonel Mulligan ordered me to withdraw to the other side of the town and river, and on the morning of the 5th ordered me to report to my division commander without delay, which I did, reaching Halltown at 3 p. m. of the 7th instant.

I am, captain, your obedient servant,

C. FITZ SIMMONS,
Lieut. Col., Commanding Cavalry Forces, First Division.

Capt. WILLIAM M. BOONE,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

No. 3.

Report of Col. James A. Mulligan, Twenty-third Illinois Infantry,
commanding Second Division.

HDQRs. SECOND DIV., DEPT. OF WEST VIRGINIA,
New Creek, W. Va., February?, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to report that on the evening of the 3d instant I took command of the column then in pursuit of General Rosser on the Moorefield and Hardy pike, Colonel Thoburn commanding. On my arrival, reported the infantry, Fourteenth Virginia, Third and Fourth Pennsylvania Reserves, as exhausted, foot- sore, and unable to proceed. I ordered them into camp near Purgitsville, and with Lieutenant-Colonel Thompson, commanding 500 of General Averell?s cavalry, Captain Greenfields Independent Company of Cavalry, Carlin?s battery, and a section of Ewing?s battery, under Lieutenant Morton, moved to Reynolds Gap, where we halted to await the arrival of General Sullivan?s cavalry under Lieutenant-Colonel Fitz Simmons. The colonel not arriving, and unable to ascertain his location, at 4 o?clock in the morning I ordered Carlin?s battery, with a guard of 200 cavalry, back to the infantry at Purgitsville, it being hazardous to risk so much artillery with so light a force.

With the remaining force of 300 and the section of Ewing?s battery we moved forward to feel the enemy, whom we discovered at 8 a. m. at Parsons Ford, on the South Branch. At the same time Lieutenant- Colonel Fitz Simmons, advancing on the Romney road, reported to me with 600 of General Sullivan?s cavalry. Lieutenant Morton immediately opened on the enemy from the ford. I sent orders to Colonel Thoburn to come forward with the infantry, but he was unable to arrive in time to participate in the affair. Lieutenant-Colonel Thompson was directed to take a part of his force, with one piece of artillery, move into a good position near the Inskip?s Ford on the enemy?s flank, hold it, and harass the enemy, which movement he executed with rapidity and success. At the same time Lieutenant- Colonel Fitz Simmons steadily pressed the enemy in front until his advance, under Major Quinn, drove them through and out of Moorefield at 11 o?clock.

The enemy made another stand at Randolph?s, on the South Fork, but gave way as the artillery was brought up, and fell slowly back up the fork, when Early?s infantry were reported by Lieutenant-Colonel Fitz Simmons deploying into position.

Captain Myers, of the Ringgold Cavalry, being familiar with the South Fork pass, was ordered to the front with his company and Colonel Fitz Simmons ordered to press closely after him, using his artillery, and rout the enemy. Captain Myers, after an endeavor to break through their lines, returned and reported the enemy strongly lodged in the rocks. Lieutenant-Colonel Fitz Simmons reported the majority of his cavalry too exhausted for further efficient pursuit. At this point, about 3 p. m., the enemy?s train was discovered on the South Branch Mountains. The artillery opened on it without effect, the distance being too great. Colonel Fitz Simmons and the artillery were then stationed at the mouth of the South Fork defile, and Lieutenant-Colonel Thompson, with the whole available force of both commands, moved up the fork in pursuit. Lieutenant-Colonel Thompson followed the enemy, not returning until late in the night, having pursued him to the neighborhood of Lost River road.

The cavalry, having made forced marches from Harper?s Ferry and Martinsburg, were greatly worn down. The same is true of Lieutenant Morton?s artillery, some of whose horses dropped dead from exhaustion in the field.

Thanks are due Lieutenant-Colonels Thompson and Fitz Simmons for having overtaken and pursued the enemy until night and the mountains saved him. I am also much indebted to my staff, Captains Moriarty and Pease, Lieutenants Nugent and McKenzie, for their skill and efficiency.

This report has been delayed waiting for the reports of the officers commanding the cavalry, which reports have not yet been received.

With respect, faithfully,

JAS. A. MULLIGAN,
Colonel.

Capt. T. MELVIN,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

No. 4.

Report of Cot. Jacob M. Campbell, Fifty-fourth Pennsylvania
Infantry, commanding First Brigade.

HEADQUARTERS FIRST BRIGADE,

Cumberland, Md., February 24, 1864.

LIEUTENANT: In obedience to your letter of the 23d instant, directing me to report ?what damage was done to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, or any part thereof; where the troops of your (my) brigade were stationed; what bridges on said road were destroyed or injured; whether such bridges were protected by blockhouses or otherwise, and through whose fault, if any, the injury occurred; also what, if any, losses of men, animals, transportation, ordnance, quartermasters and commissary stores, in the last two movements of the rebel force in West Virginia, and also, as far as you have the means of knowing, the captures from and losses to the enemy in these operations,? I have the honor to report as follows:

At the time of the first rebel raid?January 4, 1864?I was stationed at Springfield, W. Va., with the Fifty-fourth Pennsylvania Infantry, and Battery E, First Virginia Volunteer Artillery. At 6 p. m. on that day I received orders from Brig. Gen. B. F. Kelley, commanding Department of West Virginia, to move to Cumberland, Md., by way of Patterson?s Creek, but which was afterward changed, directing me to move by way of Green Spring at once. This last dispatch was received at 8 p. m. My orders were to reach Cumberland at daylight. I immediately began the movement. My supply train had that evening arrived from Green Spring with a load of supplies. This materially reduced my means of transportation, and I had no time to send out to press teams, if, indeed, I could have found any in the neighborhood. Yet I took off all my stores except a few sacks of grain and some other stores of but little value, which were concealed in the night and afterward recovered by a scouting party sent out for that purpose. I arrived at Cumberland about daylight, January 5, having lost neither men, animals, or stores.

At the time of the second raid?February 2, 1864?I was stationed at Cumberland, Md. On that day Company F, Capt. John W. Hibler, Fifty-fourth Pennsylvania Volunteers, with 57 men of my brigade, was stationed at Patterson?s Creek bridge, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and a detachment of the company at the North Branch bridge as pickets. I had warned Captain Hibler to be on the alert and to keep scouts well out, but it seems that General Rosser (rebel), with from 400 to 500 cavalry, succeeded in penetrating to Patterson?s Creek bridge on the 2d of February. His advance guard were dressed in Federal uniforms, and succeeded in getting up to Captain Hibler?s by representing themselves as part of the Ringgold Cavalry (Union), and thus successively captured all the pickets on the Patterson s Creek road, and then rapidly dashed into camp while the men were at dinner. A slight skirmish ensued, in which we had 1 man killed, 1 mortally and 3 slightly wounded. The rebels captured 1 captain and 36 men, with all the camp and garrison equipage of the company, 40 Enfield rifles, and 4,000 rounds of rifle cartridges. They then set fire to the Pattersons Creek bridge, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and thence went to the North Branch bridge, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and fired it, the guard at the latter bridge making their escape.

I may here say that as there was known to be a large Union force some 18 miles south and west of Patterson?s Creek, and part of the Ringgold Cavalry there, taken in connection with the fact that the rebels wore our uniform and claimed to be Union cavalry, may, in a measure, account for the pickets being deceived.

Neither the Patterson?s Creek bridge nor the North Branch bridge were protected by block-houses, and the only protection for them was the company of infantry which the rebels captured.

As soon as the news of the rebel force being at Patterson?s Creek was received at this place, one company of the Ringgold Cavalry, Captain Myers, was dispatched to that point, and arrived at the North Branch bridge in time to put out the fire. Neither of the bridges?mere trestle-works?were totally destroyed. Captain Myers, immediately after putting out the fire, pushed on after the enemy. This is all the loss any portion of my brigade sustained, and the partial destruction of the two above-mentioned bridges being all the injury done to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. A scouting party from this place captured during the last raid 1 rebel captain. This is all the loss I know of the rebels sustaining.

As to whose fault it was that the injury occurred, whether the fault was with the large force that lay some 18 miles in front, near the junction of the Burlington and Patterson?s Creek roads, or with the mere detachments of a small company of infantry at the two bridges, I am not prepared to say.

I am, lieutenant, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. M. CAMPBELL,
Colonel, Commanding First Brigade.

Lieut. M. J. RUSSELL,
Acting Assistant Adjutant- General.

No. 5.

Report of Col. Joseph Thoburn, First West Virginia infantry,
commanding Second Brigade.

HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE,

New Creek, W. Va., February 14, 1864.

LIEUTENANT: In reply to your communication of the 13th, asking for a detailed report of my operations from the 30th ultimo to the 6th instant, I beg leave to report as follows:

At daylight on the morning of the 30th ultimo Captain Greenfield, with a squad of 20 cavalry, ran into a camp of rebel cavalry, 1 or 2 miles south of Moorefield, and returned, bringing with him a prisoner, from whom we learned that Rosser?s brigade with some other detachments was there. I at once notified the commanding officer of the train, then on its way from New Creek to Petersburg, of the threatened danger; also the commanding officer of the Twenty-third Illinois Infantry, then engaged in blockading the road leading from Moorefield to Patterson?s Creek Valley.

At 12 m. of the same day information was received from a deserter that Early?s command was moving from the valley in the direction of Moorefield, the intention evidently being either an attack on Petersburg or the railroad. Owing to the supplies at the former place being nearly exhausted (only having rations to last until the evening of the 31st), and the uncertainty of the arrival of the train, I determined to evacuate the place, and sent a courier to the wagon train directing it to return to New Creek. But before the arrival of the courier the train was captured, and information was brought back that Rosser?s brigade with artillery occupied the road at the Moorefield and Alleghany Junction.

A little after dark a scouting party brought in a prisoner taken from Early, as he was going into camp on the Moorefield road, 6 or 7 miles from Petersburg, from whom we learned that we would be attacked the following morning at daylight.

At midnight, every preparation being completed, the command moved off quietly, taking with us, with some trifling exceptions, all our stores and Government property. The Patterson?s Creek road being occupied by the enemy, I was compelled to take an unfrequented and difficult mountain road, through Reel?s Gap to the base of the Alleghany Mountains, and from thence to Greenland Gap, at which place the head of the column arrived at 10.15 a. m., January 31. The train was delayed eight hours crossing a spur of the mountain, where I was compelled to abandon several caissons, chests, and other property in order to enable the train to cross the mountain. Since our arrival here nearly all of the stores abandoned at that place have been brought in.

At 5 p. m. we went into camp 18 miles from New Creek. Shortly afterward information was brought in that the enemy was pursuing and was in force within a few miles of us. Having received orders from division headquarters to proceed to New Creek as rapidly as possible, I gave orders to move at 1 a. m., February 1, and arrived at this post at 11.30 a. m. The column arrived in good condition, without casualty or disaster on the way, with the exception of a few stragglers that were picked up by the enemy while in a state of intoxication. Among these I am sorry to say were Capt. John Rourke, Illinois Light Artillery, and Capt. William S. Robb, First West Virginia Volunteer Infantry.

On my arrival at this place the Third and Fourth Pennsylvania Reserves, Fourth West Virginia Cavalry, and the Sixth West Virginia Battery were temporarily assigned to my brigade, and in accordance with orders from division headquarters my command, with the exception of the Ringgold Battalion and Carlin?s battery, was moved upon the mountain east of this place called Piano Fort. At 12 p. m. Captain Greenfield, with 100 of the Ringgold Battalion and four companies of infantry, moved out on a reconnaissance to Ridgeville, where a body of rebel cavalry was supposed to be.

At daylight, February 2, information was received that the enemy had evacuated that place the evening before at 7 o?clock. Captain Greenfield moved forward to Burlington, and sent back information that Rosser?s command had left that place the evening before, going down Patterson?s Creek.

In accordance with orders, I sent to Burlington the Third Pennsylvania Reserves and Lieutenant Kelley?s two howitzers, all under command of Major Briner, Third Pennsylvania Reserves. At 4 p. m. I received orders to move to the same place with the First and Fourteenth West Virginia Infantry Regiments, Fourth Pennsylvania Reserves, and Carlin?s battery, where I was directed to bivouac and await further orders. On account of delay, caused by bad roads, it was after dark when the battery got down from Piano Fort, and owing to the darkness of the night the command did not reach Burlington until 3 a. in., February 3. At 5 a. m. a scouting party brought information that Rosser had left Sheets Mill the evening before, and was supposed to have gone in the direction of Romney. I immediately moved forward the cavalry and one regiment of infantry to Moorefield Junction, where it was discovered that the enemy had passed in the early part of the night. Communication was had with Lieutenant-Colonel Thompson, commanding General Averell?s cavalry, at Romney, and Lieutenant-Colonel Fitz Simmons, of General Sullivans command, near Springfield, W. Va. I requested them to move at once in pursuit of the enemy.

In the mean time my cavalry had come up with the rear of the enemy?s retreating column, who had camped within 4 miles of the junction. At 1 p. m. Lieutenant-Colonel Thompsons command (600 strong) arrived at the junction. Lieutenant-Colonel Fitz Simmons with 1,100 cavalry was reported on the way. I at once moved for- ward with Lieutenant-Colonel Thompson, the Fourteenth West Virginia, Third and Fourth Pennsylvania Reserves, and Carlin?s battery being directed to follow. At Purgitsville I was overtaken by Col. James A. Mulligan, commanding division. I then returned to the infantry, and went into camp on William Taylor?s farm.

February 4, at 7.30 a. m., I received orders to move forward as rapidly as possible. At Oldfields, the enemy having fallen back from vicinity of Moorefield, I received orders to halt and hold my command in readiness to return to New Creek.

February 5, at 6.30 a. m., the column moved and reached Burlington at 4 p. m. and camped for the night. February 6, the Fourteenth West Virginia Infantry was directed to remain at Burlington, and with the remainder of the command I moved to this place.

Very respectfully, & c.,

J. THOBURN,
Colonel, Commanding.

Lieut. M. J. RUSSELL,
Acting Assistant Adjutant- General.

No. 6.
Report of Col. Joseph Snider, Fourth West Virginia Cavalry.

HEADQUARTERS FOURTH WEST VIRGINIA CAVALRY, New Creek, WV. Va., February 9, 1864.

SIR: In obedience to your orders I started in command of the escort to supply train for the garrison at Petersburg on Friday, January 29, 1864.

On the next morning I received dispatch from Colonel Thoburn requesting me to hurry up the train, stating also that the Twenty- third Illinois Regiment was at the Moorefield Junction. Later in the day couriers came back with request from Lieutenant-Colonel Quirk to push forward the train. The train was moved forward with all possible speed, and proceeded unmolested until we arrived at Medley, 2 miles below the Moorefield Junction, when I met Lieu- tenant-Colonel Quirk, commanding Twenty-third Illinois, falling back before the advance of the enemy. Being the ranking officer present, I assumed command of the forces, and immediately formed line of battle on the right of the road, the Twenty-third Illinois, Lieutenant-Colonel Quirk, occupying the left, a detachment of the Second Maryland the center, four companies of the Fourth West Virginia Cavalry occupying the right. Two companies of the Fourth were placed in position on our right flank; also a detachment of the Ringgold Battalion, Lieutenant Speer, to prevent, if possible, a flank movement by the enemy, which I plainly saw was their object. Two Companies of the Fourth were ordered to take position on our left flank, to prevent a similar movement by the enemy; and the two remaining companies of the Fourth were placed in rear of the center, to be used as the exigencies of the engagement might demand. I had scarcely got my command in position when the enemy opened upon us with two pieces of artillery, their infantry advancing at the same time, which was met by a galling fire from my front, and caused them to fall back. Thrice they attempted the same thing with the same results.

During the engagement in front the enemy was extending their flanks, either of which line?front, right, or left?was longer than my entire command. At this crisis I ordered the train to be turned and started back, but to my great mortification two of the train-masters had fled and all the teamsters with few exceptions.

The position of my command was becoming perilous. I discovered that the train must be abandoned in order to save my command from capture. I then ordered my men to fall back to an elevation, where we reformed line of battle, giving the enemy several volleys, which checked their advance. Having foiled the enemy in their designs as long as it was possible for my little command to do so, having fought against great odds for one hour and twenty minutes, to save my command from capture I was compelled to order a retreat, which I did, my command leaving the field slowly and in line of battle.

My entire loss, killed, wounded, and missing, is as follows: Maj. N. Goff, jr., Fourth West Virginia Cavalry, captured (horse shot, fell on his leg, could not extricate himself); Lieutenant Elliot, slightly wounded. Privates killed, 5; wounded, 34; missing, 35. I am confident the enemy?s loss was much greater than ours. From information received since the engagement I am justified in saying that the rebel force consisted of Rosser?s command of Early?s corps, with five pieces of artillery.

A large proportion of the officers and men behaved admirably. It would be invidious to make distinctions, but I cannot omit to mention the name of Captain Pease, of your staff, who rendered me such valuable assistance during the entire engagement. I especially recommend him for favorable consideration.

My report having been delayed for days waiting for report of the extent of loss in horses, mules, and wagons, and not yet received, I have thought it prudent to send in this report without it.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JO. SNIDER,
Col. 4th W. Va. Cav., Comdg. Escort to Supply Train.

Col. JAMES A. MULLIGAN,
Commanding Second Division.

No. 7.

Report of Lieut. Col. Francis W. Thompson, Sixth West Virginia
Cavalry.

HDQRS. SIXTH REGT. WEST VIRGINIA VOL. CAV.,

Martinsburg, W. Va., February 27, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the march of detachments of the Fifth and Sixth West Virginia Cavalry and three guns of Ewings battery from Martinsburg to Moorefield and return.

On the morning of the 31st day of January I received orders from Col. John H. Oley, commanding the Fourth Division, Department of West Virginia, to take command of a detachment of 240 men of the Sixth West Virginia Cavalry and 170 of the Fifth West Virginia Cavalry, and proceed to Winchester, there to join forces from Harpers Ferry and receive orders from General Sullivan as to further movements. I arrived at Winchester about 9 p. m., received orders from General Sullivan to march immediately to Cedar Creek, and at daylight to occupy Strasburg, which was done promptly, after driving about 16 rebel pickets from Cedar Creek; then we marched to Wardensville by sundown that day, joining forces from Harper?s Ferry at Wardensville, the senior officer taking command, to push the enemy vigorously and recapture the train taken near Burlington.

On arriving at Hoff Gate I received orders to march by the nearest practicable route to Romney, as the enemy were at Green Spring. We marched until 2 a. m.; stopped to feed 7 miles west of Winchester, on the Northwestern road; started at 7 a. m.; arrived at Romney 2 a. m., joining Lieutenant-Colonel Fitz Simmons, in command of troops from Harper?s Ferry, comprising about 1,250 men and three pieces of artillery. Colonel Fitz Simmons was sent to the Wire Bridge over the South Branch of the Potomac, 7 miles below Romney, with about 900 men and three pieces of artillery, to hold the bridge and send a heavy advance toward Green Spring to find the course the enemy would take. At this time the rebels were holding Mechanicsburg Gap, 2 miles from Romney, on the Northwestern road. The gap was held by infantry from General Early?s command. Learning that Rosser had passed up the South Branch Valley between Romney and New Creek, I started the command on the Northwestern pike to join Colonel Thoburn?s command, which I was informed was at the junction of Moorefield and Northwestern pikes, 7 miles from Romney. I arrived there at 2 p. m., joined Colonel Mulligan, who assumed command and marched up the valley above Moore- field, returning to the junction of the pike with the Northwestern road. Received verbal orders from Colonel Mulligan to only report up to the time I joined his command, and after I left it arrived 4 miles east of Romney, encamped for the night; then marched to within 2 miles of Winchester, encamped for the night; arrived at Martinsburg. No casualties to report.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

F. W. THOMPSON,
Lieut. Col., Comdg. Sixth Regiment W. Va. Vol. Cav.

Capt. WILL RUMSEY, Assistant Adjutant-General.

No. 8.
Report of General Robert E. Lee, C. S. Army, commanding Army
of Northern Virginia.
ORANGE COURT-HOUSE, February 6, 1864.

On the 30th ultimo General Rosser captured a train of 93 wagons loaded with commissary stores and forage, on way from New Creek to Petersburg, 300 mules, 20 prisoners. The guard of 800 infantry escaped to the mountains. Our loss, 25 killed and wounded. Information of the advance upon Petersburg having been received, the garrison evacuated it during the night. On the 2d Rosser destroyed the bridges over Patterson?s Creek and North Branch of Potomac and canal, and captured 40 prisoners. Two hundred and seventy-eight prisoners, 50 wagons and teams, 1,200 cattle, and 500 sheep have been brought off. General Rosser has shown great energy and skill, and his command deserves great credit.

R. E. LEE.

General S. COOPER.

ORANGE COURT-HOUSE, February 6, 1864.

Please correct my dispatch of to-day. General Early reported only 78 prisoners; there was error in the telegraph.

R. E. LEE.

General S. COOPER.

No.9.
Report of Maj. Gen. Jubal A. Early, C. S. Army, commanding
Valley District.

NEW MARKET, February 6, 1864.

GENERAL: On January 28, leaving Imboden?s and Walkers brigades near Mount Jackson to guard the valley, I moved from this place with Rosser?s brigade, Thomas brigade, all the effective men of Gilmor?s and McNeill?s Partisan Rangers, and four pieces of McClanahan?s battery, toward Moorefield, in Hardy. I arrived at Moorefield with Rosser?s brigade and the artillery on the 29th, and early next morning (the 30th) Rosser was sent to intercept a train on its way from New Creek to Petersburg and get between the garrison at the latter place and the railroad. After cutting through a heavy blockade on the mountain between the South Branch and Patterson?s Creek, which was defended by a regiment, Rosser succeeded in reaching and capturing the train after a short fight with its guard, which consisted of over 800 infantry and a small body of cavalry, all under Colonel Snider. The guard for the train broke and run to the mountains, and only a few prisoners were captured. Rosser?s loss in killed and wounded was about 25 and the enemy?s much heavier. Ninety-three loaded wagons were captured, but the teams from forty-two of them were run off by the drivers during the fight, and being considerably smashed, these wagons were burnt. Fifty wagons with their teams were brought off, one having been overturned in the night and broken to pieces, so as to be useless. The wagons were loaded with commissary stores and forage, but as the wagons crossed the mountain from Patterson?s Creek to Moorefield in the night a great deal of the loading was thrown out by the drivers, and much of it was plundered before steps could be taken to secure it. After the train was captured Rosser moved toward Petersburg and got possession of the roads from Petersburg down Patterson?s Creek and through Greenland Gap, and the same evening Thomas brigade arrived at Moorefield and was crossed over the South Branch to within 10 miles of Petersburg.

Early next morning both forces moved upon Petersburg, but on arriving there it was found that the enemy had evacuated during the night, taking a mountain road to the head of New Creek through a pass where it was impracticable to follow him, especially as there was a dense fog, rendering it difficult to discern objects at a short distance. The works at Petersburg were found to be very strong, with a ditch around them and very strong abates [sic]. There were large bomb-proof shelters, and appearances indicated that a good deal of work had been done lately. The, works were destroyed as far as practicable, and some commissary stores and forage and about 13,000 cartridges were secured. Thomas brigade was then marched back to Moorefield, and Rosser was sent down Patterson?s Creek to collect cattle and cut the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. He reached the road on the 2d at the mouth of Patterson?s Creek and destroyed the bridge over that creek, and partially destroyed the bridge over the North Branch of the Potomac. He also destroyed another bridge over the canal, and a lock of the canal itself.

In the mean time a considerable cavalry force had made its appearance at Romney, and Rosser returned to Moorefield, which place he reached on the 3d with a number of cattle and sheep. McNeill crossed over to the eastern ridge of the Alleghany and brought off over 300 cattle.

After Rosser?s return I gave orders for the troops, trains, &c., to start back early next morning, as we had accomplished all we then could, and accordingly everything but the cavalry was in motion very soon, and after Thomas brigade had gone about 4 miles from Moorefield a considerable force of the enemy?s cavalry with some artillery made its appearance below Moorefield, on the road from Romney. I ordered Thomas brigade to be brought back toward Moorefield and Rosser to retire through Moorefield, and taking a position on the South Fork of the North Branch I awaited the approach of the enemy until after 12 o?clock, when, he showing no disposition to attack, but contenting himself with maneuvering very cautiously, and Rosser?s cavalry being too much reduced in numbers to attack the enemy?s cavalry, which was in view and largely exceeded his own in numbers, I resumed my march back without molestation from the enemy, crossing over to Lost River that night, and the next day (the 5th) to this valley. A large portion of the cavalry force which appeared at Moorefield went from Martinsburg and Charlestown, a brigade under Colonel Fish having lately been sent to the lower valley. I have been informed that a force of infantry was following the cavalry, but I am not certain of this. I did not think it prudent to leave the trains and cattle to the risk of capture while I was being amused by cavalry at Moorefield, and I therefore moved back, according to my original purpose.

We brought off the 50 captured wagons with their teams, 1,200 cattle, 500 sheep, 78 prisoners (1 major, 3 captains, and 74 enlisted men), and some commissary stores. We got all the cattle we could. Many persons ran off their cattle to Maryland, and a number of those brought off will not answer for beef at present. We could have got as many sheep as we wanted, but they could not be driven.

We found the people of Moorefield and the adjoining valley very true to our cause, and exceedingly kind and hospitable to our men. I think the enemy will hardly occupy Petersburg again; and if he does not, as soon as things get quiet some more cattle can be gotten.

Very respectfully,

J. A. EARLY,
Major- General. General R. E. LEE.

I understand that the operator here made a mistake and telegraphed that we had brought off 278 prisoners, which is just 200 more than we did get. It should have been 78.

J.A.E.

HEADQUARTERS, February 11, 1864.

Respectfully forwarded to the honorable Secretary of War, to whom the conduct of General Early and General Rosser and their troops is commended.

R. E. LEE,
General.

No. 10.
Report of Brig. Gen. Thomas L. Rosser, C. S. Army, commanding
expedition.

HDQRS. ROSSERS BRIGADE, February 9, 1864.

MAJOR: On the morning of the 28th ultimo, in obedience to an order from Mad. Gen. J. A. Early, I moved my brigade and a battery of four pieces of General Imboden?s in direction of Moorefield, Hardy County, where I arrived early on the evening of the 30th [29th]. The infantry having failed to get up. I spent the remainder of the day in constructing bridges across the South and North Forks of the South Branch, and early on the morning of the 31st [30th] moved my command across the mountain in the direction of Patterson?s Creek, upon which I had been informed by reliable scouts was a large supply train encamped, destined for Petersburg. In crossing the mountain I encountered, when in about 2 miles of the creek, a regiment of infantry blockading the road by felling trees across it, and by digging it away when constructed upon the side of a hill, &c. By dismounting a few men I soon dislodged them and drove them entirely through the gap. The obstructions were soon removed by the pioneers of the brigade, and the road reconstructed where it had been dug away. The brigade then fairly through, I pressed vigorously upon the enemy, who was then retiring in the direction of Williamsport to meet the train, which was then moving up. Upon my approach his wagons were parked and all dispositions made to meet my attack. The enemy?s force (I have since learned numbered 1,100 men), I saw at a glance, was much larger than my own. I dismounted 300 or 400 men, and with the remainder in the saddle I charged him front, flank, and rear. The first onset was repulsed, but one piece of my artillery coming up (the enemy having none), my troops were much elated by this seeming advantage, and I charged him again, which was very successful, driving him into the mountains and giving me possession of the entire train of 95 wagons and teams, excepting a few of the latter that were cut away during the fight and run off, and the regiment I sent to occupy the road in rear of the train failing to get up in time, these mules and a few ambulances were allowed to escape.

The conduct of my men on this occasion entitles them to their country?s gratitude. Indeed, I believe it is the first instance during this war where cavalry attacked successfully a superior force of infantry. I lost in the action 24 men killed and wounded. The enemy?s acknowledged loss in killed and wounded was 80. I captured 40 prisoners, 2 captains and 1 major. The train, which was heavily loaded with commissary stores (bacon, rice, coffee, sugar, &c.), was turned over to General Early. Many of the wagons, however, had to be destroyed in consequence of the want of mules to bring them off, a number having been killed in the action and others ridden off by the fleeing enemy.

On the morning of the 1st I moved into Petersburg, the enemy having escaped upon one of the back roads, which it was impossible f or me to guard with my small force. The enemy in evacuating this place left almost all his baggage and a large supply of provisions, which fell into the hands of my men.

From this place I proceeded, in obedience to instructions from General Early, down Patterson?s Creek, with the view of driving out the cattle, and for this purpose I sent Major Gilmor?s and Captain McNeill?s commands, under the command of the latter, into the Alleghany Mountains, and placed one regiment in Mechanicsville Gap to prevent Averell, whom I expected from Martinsburg, from getting between me and General Early. I then pressed down the creek to its mouth, at which place there was a guard of one company, which I captured, and I destroyed here the railroad bridges across Patterson?s Creek, the Potomac, and canal. I also destroyed one engine, all the property belonging to the road, the bridge for the pike across the canal, and one canal-lock. Learning that the enemy was in Romney in considerable force, and that he was struggling for the gap at which my regiment was posted, I abandoned the idea of going to Cumberland and turned back in direction of Moorefield, evading the enemy, who had forced the gap and got in my rear, and brought out safely all my prisoners and cattle.

Upon the expedition I captured 1,200 or 1,300 head of cattle, 500 or 600 sheep, 95 wagons, and 80 prisoners. Only fifty of the wagons were saved and brought to the valley. Everything else is now safe in the valley.

I am, major, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

THOS. L. ROSSER,
Brigadier-General.

Maj. H. B. MCCLELLAN, Asst. Adjt. Gen., Stuart?s Cavalry Corps.

[First indorsement.]

HDQRS. CAV. CORPS, ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,

April 7, 1864.

Respectfully forwarded.

The bold and successful enterprise herein reported furnishes additional proofs of General Rosser?s merit as a commander, and adds fresh laurels to that veteran brigade so signalized for valor already.

J. E. B. STUART,
Major- General.

[Second indorsement.]

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,

April 19, 1864.

Respectfully forwarded for the information of the War Department.

General Rosser acquitted himself with great credit in this expedition.

R. E. LEE,
General.

[Third indorsement.]

MAY 4, 1864.

ADJUTANT-GENERAL:

Noted. General Rosser exhibited both judgment and valor, and accomplished valuable results in this expedition.

J. A. S.,
Secretary.


The Wheeling Daily Register
February 4, 1864

THE RAID

For several days past there has been much anxiety to know the whereabouts as well as the numbers of the enemy who were reported to be in the neighborhood of New Creek. The force was variously estimated at from one to twenty thousand men, and its whereabouts at any point where there were supplies or a weak Federal force. The latest advices warrant the assertion that the number of the enemy is much smaller than reported by the first ?refugees? from the scene of danger. The whole Confederate force did not exceed five hundred men, yet a train of ninety two wagons was captured, two railroad bridges burned, and a company of home guards gobbled up. The North Branch bridge and Patterson?s, ten miles cast of Cumberland, were destroyed, and a home guard company captured at the latter point.

Dispatches received here last night stated that the Confederates were retreating, and that the Federals were in pursuit.


The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
February 6, 1864

A LETTER from Cumberland says that in the attack of the rebel Rouser on the company of infantry stationed at Patterson?s Creek bridge, on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, last Tuesday, two of our men were killed and ten wounded. The greater part of the company was captured. This accomplished, the Rebels set fire to the bridge, and leaving it to destruction, started off with their prisoners in the direction of Romney. The employees of the railroad succeeded in staying the fire and saved the bridge. With only slight damage.

General Averill, with his command of nearly two thousand cavalry, and who had been sent from the Martinsburgh [sic] by General Kelley overtook the Rebels near Springfield, and a severe engagement ensued. The Rebels were driven through Springfield and thence to and south of Burlington.

Many of the Rebels were killed and wounded and our captured are large including the recovery of our own men taken at Patterson?s Creek, and many horses. The enemy are making rapid tracks for the back country, hotly pursued by our cavalry.


The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
February 6, 1864

THE LATE AFFAIR BETWEEN NEW CREEK AND PETERSBURG.

We learn from Mr. Jacob Hornbrook, who arrived in this city yesterday bringing with his as far as Grafton, a number of wounded and sick soldiers, that Lieutenant Rider of 14th West Virginia Infantry and Major Goff of the 4th Cavalry were captured by the rebels at the time of the capture of the wagon train. The conduct of Major Goff is highly spoken of. He did everything in his power to rally his men and prevented panic among the teamsters, and was surrounded by the rebels while gallantly doing his duty. Capt. William Robb, at this city and captain of Co. A. 1st West Virginia Infantry and Capt. Rourk of Rourk?s battery, were left at Petersburg, and were captured. Adam Radier and F. W. Richardson of the 1st Infantry, were out on a scout when. Col. Thoburn withdrew his command and are supposed to have been taken prisoners. Mr. Hornbrook thinks that our loss in the fight for the wagon train with not exceed eighty men, killed wounded and missing.


The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
February 6, 1864

LETTERS FROM MARTINSBURG.

CAMP NEAR MARTINSBURG, VA
February 1st, 1864}

Editors Intelligencer:

The brave, gallant, and battle-worn hero, General Milroy, paid the Second Regiment West Va. Mounted Infantry a visit yesterday (Sunday) evening. As he approached our parade ground where we were in line to receive him escorted by the officers and others of the command here, the enthusiasm of ?the boys? became almost uncontrollable. Loud cheering seemed too feeble an expression of the deep good feeling for this brave General is the bosom of the old ?Second Virginia.? The characteristic familiarity and true fatherly kindness and sympathy (which can be said of the other General ever commanding our brigade) at once manifested itself on the part of the General, and was re-manifested on the part of the soldiers. In the course of a few appropriate remarks to the regiment, he spoke of the separation of the Second Virginia from his command as very painful to him; (I am sure it was much so to the regiment;) at the unbounded confidence he always felt in his dutiful and true soldierly bearing both in camp and on the battle-field whilst with him; he briefly referred to several of the dreaded contests through which she accompanied him; he felt attached to her by true soldierly sympathy and interest and mutual zeal and energy in crushing the rebellion; he recognized many members in his ranks and expressed his regrets that he had not time to shake their hands with each individual member; he advised the whole regiment to re-enlist as veterans, assuring them that he did not think this war would continue throughout the three years of their re-enlistment that in addition to the liberal bounty, in which they did not share in their first enlistment, they would have it to say, when they were once more in peace and happiness at their homes, that they had fought through the entire war against the rebellion; he hoped he might again have them in his command, and participate with them in the ultimate extraction of the last truce of Southern traitors in arms; he briefly referred to the acquisition of the new State?West Virginia?to the Union as one of the benefits of the war, and as something we could not have so easily gained in time of peace.

After thanking the soldiers very kindly for their good attention and good order and again expressing his regrets that he could not remain longer with them, the General withdrew amid enthusiastic cheers. Little doubt is entertained that the General?s remarks will have a beneficial tendency no wards acquiring veterans in this regiment. One main barrier to the progress of re-enlistment in this regiment perhaps it would be as well to mention here for it is fraught with must interest and important to enlisted men, is simply the incapacity and inefficiency of officers. There was much complaint is this regard from the very earliest of our military experience and it has gradually grown worse with some companies ever since, and nothing seems ever to have been attempted to modify this curse in the Union army. Without this matter be seen to among the veterans? Soldiers are loud in their protestation against re-enlisting under officers who cannot property go through the manuel [sic] of arms, of given military command.

YOURS, &c., COMPANY BEE


The Wheeling Daily Register
February 6, 1864

?FROM THE FRONT.?

Despatches [sic] from Gen. Kelly, received in this city yesterday state that the Confederates came to a halt at Moorefield, where the Federals engaged them for six hours. The Federals succeeded in routing them, and at last accounts the Federal cavalry were in pursuit. It is thought the object of the confederates making a stand at Moorefield was to allow the captured train, prisoners and cattle to be taken into Dixie, and it is said the Confederates have succeeded in carrying off almost the whole of their booty.


The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
February 18, 1864

MAJOR N. GOFF JR.

A letter has been received from Major N. Goff, Jr., of the 4th cavalry, who was captured between New Creek and Petersburg some time ago. He writes from Moorefield that his horse was shot from under him and in falling was somewhat injured, and he was therefore comparatively an easy prey. At the time of writing the letter the Major expected to escape and so expressed himself. He is a gallant young officer and we hope he succeeded is getting away from his captors.


The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
March 9, 1864

AN officer connected with the First West Virginia Regiment of Infantry mentions to us an act on the part of three worthy soldiers belonging to that regiment, which he thinks deserves public credit, and we concur with him.

On the evening of the 2d of February, when the regiment was ordered out to go after and engage Early at Moorefield, and recapture the train if possible, Columbus B. Armstrong, James Robbinett, and Edward Nichols, had received their furloughs, but instead of doing so took their place in the ranks with their comrades, and with them undertook the very march and the hazards of an expected engagement. And this, too, notwithstanding they had just came off a long march. Such conduct as that marks always and everywhere the highest type of a soldier, as well as the noblest specimen of manhood. There is more enviable honor in possessing such a spirit than in weaving the stateliest epaulette that ever plumed the shoulders of any Major General. It affords us pleasure to record such exhibitions of moral pluck on the part of our West Virginia boys.


Richmond Daily Dispatch
February 3, 1864

Capture of Yankees in Hardy.

Orange C. H., Feb.2

--Reports received here this evening from several sources state that Gen. Early has captured a force of about 800 Yankees at Petersburg, Hardy county.


Richmond Daily Dispatch
February 4, 1864

Capture of a Yankee army train severe fight in Hardy county, Va.

The following dispatch is telegraphed to the New York papers.

Headq'rs Dep't Western Virginia,
January 31, 1864,

Again we are in the midst of excitement and activity, caused by a severe conflict that took place yesterday afternoon in the neighborhood of Williamsport, Hardy county, and which lasted, with considerable persistence and severity, for four hours.

On Thursday night a train of about eighty wagons was sent out from New Creek, heavily laden with commissary stores for the garrison at Petersburg, and accompanying the train was an escort of 800 men, being detachments from the 23d Illinois, (Irish Brigade,) 4th Virginia cavalry, 2d Maryland, 1st and 14th Virginia infantry, and 100 of the Ringgold cavalry battalion, the whole under command of Col. J. W. Snyder.

Nothing unusual occurred until the train got about three miles south of Williamsport, when it was suddenly set upon at different points by open and concocted forces of the enemy.

Although somewhat surprised by the suddenness of the attack, the guard at once formed and deployed for action. Then it was that a hard fight ensued, commencing at 3 o'clock in the afternoon and lasting for over four hours, at the expiration of which time it was found that we had about eighty in killed and wounded, rank and file. The enemy's loss is said to be about one hundred.

In the early part of the fight the rebels opened fire from four pieces of artillery. The superiority of the enemy's strength there being in all about 2,000 men also gave them an advantage in out flanking movements, and the enemy exercised his ingenuity simultaneously to operate on the front, rear, and flanks of Col. Snyder's command.

The enemy, however, completely failed of his object, which seemed to be to try to surround, and if possible to capture, the whole party. Several times the rebel lines were broken, and several times the rebel charges were repulsed.

At last, as night closed, the superior numbers of the rebels, and not their good fighting qualities, gained them a success.

At one time the train was in a fair way of being entirely saved; but owing to the excitable skedaddling propensities of some few of the teamsters, and the effect of their conduct on others, a kind of panic was the result. A portion of the train was saved notwithstanding the above mentioned misfortunes. On hearing of the engagement, Colonel Mulligan at once sent reinforcements to Colonel Snyder.

A later dispatch than the above says that the command of Col. Thoburn, which comprised the garrison at Petersburg, had succeeded in making their escape by a mountain road, passing between two of our columns, with all their trains, guns, &c. The dispatch says that the next morning Gen. Early shelled the evacuated fortifications.

A dispatch from Washington states that dispatches had been received at the Yankee War Department, from Gen. Kelly, confirming the capture of the trains above alluded to.


Richmond Daily Dispatch
February 8, 1864

The late affair in Hardy county--Fuller particulars of the capture of the Yankee wagon train.

We have already noticed the capture of a Yankee wagon train by Gen. Rosser's command. This capture was effected on Saturday week at Williamsport, Hardy county, which is on the turnpike between Petersburg and Burlington. A soldier who participated in the affair states that our forces captured one hundred and ten wagons, between 300 and 100 miles, about twenty prisoners, (one of whom is a Yankee Major,) and some 60 head of cattle. The wagons were loaded with coffee, sugar, molasses, pickled pork, and corn, and oats. Sixty-five of the wagons, heavily loaded with the articles above mentioned, were safely brought off.

At the time he attacked the train it was guarded by about 800 infantry, who made a slight show of resistance, but were soon driven off to the mountains. In the fight, we lost three killed and eight wounded. Of the killed, one belonged to the 11th Va. cavalry, and two to the 12th Lieut. Howell, of the 7th Va. cavalry, lost an arm.

The following official dispatch with reference to the affair was received at the War Department on Saturday.

Orange C. H., Feb. 6, 1864.
To Gen. S. Cooper.

On the 30th ult, Gen. Rosser captured a train of ninety three wagons, loaded with commissary, stores and forage, on the way from New Creek to Petersburg; also, three hundred mules and twenty prisoners.

The guard of 800 infantry escaped to the mountains.

Our loss was twenty-five killed and wounded.

Information of the advance upon Petersburg having been received, the garrison evacuated it during the night.

On the 2d instantGen. Rosser destroyed the bridges over Patterson's Creek and north branch of the Potomac and canal, and captured forty prisoners. Two hundred and seventy prisoners, fifty wagons and teams, twelve hundred cattle, and five hundred sheep, have been brought off.

Gen. Rosser has shown great energy and skill, and his command deserves great credit.

(Signed)
R. E. Lee.


Richmond Daily Dispatch
February 8, 1864

Confederate raid on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad destruction of bridges cavalry fighting capture of Brigadier General Scammon.

The following telegrams tell the Yankee side of the history of Gen. Early's operations against the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. There were great apprehensions at one time of an attack on Martinsburg:

Cumberland, Md, Feb. 3. --Noon The guard of one company of infantry, posted at Patterson Creek bridge, eight miles east of Cumberland, was attacked at half past 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon by five hundred rebel cavalry, under Col. Rosser, and, after a spirited resistance, in which two of our men were killed and ten wounded, the greater part of the company were captured.

This accomplished, the rebels set fire to the bridge, and leaving it to destruction, started off with their prisoners in the direction of Romney.--The employees of the railroad succeeded in staying the fire, and saved the bridge with only slight damage to it.

Gen. Averill, with his command, who had been sent out from Martinsburg by Gen. Kelley this morning, overtook the rebels near Springfield, and a severe engagement ensued. The rebels were driver through Springfield, and thence to and south of Burlington. Many of the rebels were killed and wounded, and our captures are large, including the recovery of our own men, taken yesterday at Patterson Creek, and many horses.

The enemy are making rapid tracks for the back country, pursued by our cavalry.

The intended raid on New Creek has been thwarted by Gen. Averill's quick movements and the other ample arrangements made by Gen. Kelley, and their anticipated success turned to a complete rout and discomfiture.

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad is now entirely clear of the enemy, and the full operation of the line will be at once resumed. The weather is clear and cold.

Headquarters, Western Virginia,Feb. 3. --After we drove the enemy from the bridges yesterday, the rebels commenced a rapid retreat, our cavalry closely following them up, and skirmishing ensuing.

Last night a portion of Gen. Sullivan's forces, in attempting to cut the enemy off, encountered a large force of rebels in Mechanicsburg Gap. near Romney, and in the neighborhood of this Gap. a fight took place. We eventually succeeded in compelling the enemy to take another road to the right, and they skedaddled with considerable precipitancy.

In this engagement we took a number of prisoners. In retreating the enemy hastened to make a junction with the main rebel forces near Moore field.

It is believed that General Sullivan's and Col. Mulligan's columns have formed a junction, and are now pursuing the rebels vigorously. If the enemy escapes our forces he certainly will not be able to take any large portion of plunder.

Wheeling,Va., Feb. 3.--General Kelley telegraphs this afternoon to Governor Boreman that the rebels have been driven back from the line of the railroad at all points, and are now in full retreat, vigorously pursued by our troops.

The damage to the North Branch and Patterson Creek bridges is but trifling, and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad will be in working order in two days. Governor Boreman has also received a dispatch from Gallipolis, stating that the shipsteamer Levi, which left that place for Charleston, West Virginia, last night, was captured and burned at Red House, on the Kanawha river. Brigadier General Scammon and one of his staff were taken prisoners. The rest of the passengers and the crew were released.

The rebels also burned the telegraph office at Red House.

The telegraph is now working over the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.


Richmond Daily Dispatch
February 13, 1864

Gen Rosser's expedition into Hardy county.

A participant in the expedition of Gen. Rosser into Hardy county, Va., on the 30th ult., furnishes the Rockingham Register with the particulars of the engagement by which the heavy captures were made. He says:

On reaching the top of the mountain we came in contact with the enemy's pickets, about two hundred infantry. They, however, retired from this position with but little resistance. The mail here for miles was blockaded most securely, but the timber and obstructions soon gave way before our energetic and persevering pioneers; but while these obstructions were being removed. Gen. Rosser dismounted Capt. Sipels squadron, of the 12th Virginia cavalry, and continued the pursuit, followed by the mounted portion of the command. The Yankees, on reaching the second mountain, made another stand, where they were charged by the 12th, but as the enemy occupied the woods and heights, the charge was not successful. In this charge we had one man killed and several wounded. Among the wounded was Major Buck, Brigade Postmaster. Capt. Sipe was then ordered to the front with his sharpshooters, the enemy giving back. Thus we continued the pursuit around and over the obstructions until we reached the Patterson's creek and Petersburg grade. Just at this point Lieut. Baylor, who had been sent around on the flank, charged the enemy, but was repulsed with the loss of one man killed. Here we were halted by the General who had come through with the sharpshooters on foot until the blockade could be removed so that the cavalry and artillery could come up, which they were not long in doing When the whole command came up all the sharp shooters in the brigade were then dismounted and moved forward down the grade towards Williams port, and after marching two or three miles we came upon the enemy, numbering 1,000 infantry, who were drawn up in line of battle in rear of an immense wagon train, numbering one hundred and seven. The dismounted sharpshooters were drawn up in battle order in front of the enemy's line, and the artillery put in position, and opened upon them at short range, the shots of which were received with cheers and laughter, it not being effective.

The column of about three hundred sharpshooters, under the command of Major Knott, was moved forward amid a tremendous volley of musketry; but, fearless and undaunted, they moved on, dealing death and destruction to their toes, and soon they had the satisfaction of seeing the enemy's lines give way, and a moment later they were fleeing promiscuously, in every direction. The battle was fought, the victory won, and the train was captured. It was a rich prize nearly one hundred wagons, well loaded with corn, oats, bacon, rice, flour, beans, sugar, coffee, molasses, pickled pork, clothing, blankets; and others were loaded with luxuries, such as candy, raisins, cigars, tobacco, oysters, sardines, cakes, crackers, brandy peaches, cherries, and, in short, everything nice and good. After the fight was over Gen. Rosser complimented the sharpshooters, and said all the honor of the victory belonged to them; and also stated that he had participated in all the battles in which the Army of Northern Virginia was engaged, save one or two, when he was absent wounded, and that he had never seen anything to equal this engagement--three hundred cavalry sharpshooters contending with and completely routing 1,000 well drilled infantry. Fifty-three of these wagons, with their contents, were soon turned around and on their way to Dixie. Forty more were committed to the flames.


Richmond Daily Dispatch
February 18, 1864

The late raid on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad--loss over a million dollars.

A letter from Cumberland, Md., dated the 8th inst., says:

On the 29th ult, a large wagon train was captured between New Creek and Petersburg; but this disaster caused very little excitement in town; but on the 2d inst, this raid culminated. About 2 P. M couriers arrived announcing that the North Branch and Patterson Creek bridges, situated respectively six and eight miles east of this place, had been burned by the rebels. The long roll summoned the soldiers to arms, who soon look position about two miles southeast of our town. Soon the supports arrived, but the "rebs" didn't come. They having accomplished their work, retired without molestation.

The forces at the bridges which made the capture have been variously estimated at from sixty to two thousand five hundred men. They captured one company of the 54th Pennsylvania troops that was guarding the bridges. Casualties--one killed, one mortally, and several slightly wounded, of the Federals. Confederates none. Our forces bivouacked on the chosen field, awaiting the approach of the rebels; but Rosser, having accomplished his work, was fast skedaddling to a place of safety. Pursuit then commenced, but our forces managed to keep just far enough in the rear of the rebels not to provoke a collision. We lost all about one hundred and seven wagons, heavily laden with rations, clothing, and munitions of war; also, the motive power of this immense train, consisting of five hundred or six hundred horses and mules; also, several cannon and quite a number of prisoners, "gobbled" up on the route, and especially on the field where the train was captured.

For the last three months the Confederates have drawn large supplies from this department. On the 16th November, 1863, they captured a valuable train and stores. On the 3d of January, 1864, another train was shoved off on the Lane road; the last that was taken was the most valuable of all.--One million of dollars would not replace the loss by the last raid. The excitement has subsided, but the disgrace remains. We have again relapsed into fancied security, but we know not what minute the raiders may be upon us.


Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: February 1864

West Virginia Archives and History