August 8, 1864
The Fight at New Creek – A Rebel Attach Gallantly Repulsed – McCausland and Bradley Johnson Defeated – The Dead and Wounded. New Creek, August 5, 1864.
We had a very pretty little fight yesterday – of little account in comparison with the Army of the Potomac, and the “big things” of the southwest, -- but we are satisfied with the result, although we mourn the loss of our gallant dead. The force under McCausland and Bradley Johnson, who were so gloriously defeated at Cumberland by Gen. Kelley, made a rapid march to Romney to escape his blows. Yesterday morning they started from the Wire Bridge for this place, numbering over three thousand men, and about two o’clock drove in our pickets with a wild rush. Johnson made the direct march up the New Creek road, while McCausland sent a portion of his force upon Fort Piano, commanding the town. The balance of his men were sent around the bill to the east of the place, and about four hundred dismounted and deployed to the West, intending to surround Fort Fuller. The alarm was sudden, but not as complete as the rebels anticipated. Col. Stevenson, of the 154th Regiment O.N.G., assisted by Lieut. Col. J. F. Hoy, 6th Virginia, immediately put everything in position for defence. Gen. Kelley was telegraphed, and he ordered Col. Stevenson to fight to the last, and reinforcements would be sent up.
The rebels had the brow of the hill, and fired and cheered with great vigor and determination. The guns of the fort, under command of Capt. Holmes, of Battery H. and Lieut. Bagley, commanding a section of Battery L, 1st Illinois Artillery, were turned upon the advancing column of Johnson, and they hesitated, and finally halted. McCausland rode up on Fort Piano and a force of three or four hundred were sent part of the way down the side of the mountain towards our little fort. They did not appear to understand why the force sent to the west did not operate effectually; but they were held in check by two companies of the 6th Virginia, Cos. A and G, who skirmished with them for two hours or more, and kept them in a piece of woods from which they did not seem disposed to make their appearance.
Outside skirmishing and fighting from the fort continued for three hours, with no decided advantage, except that the rebels were replaced in every attempt to advance within reach of our guns. But the reinforcements sent by the gallant defender of West Virginia came up just in time. Four companies of the Eleventh Virginia, and one company of the 6th, Co. A, the whole under command of Maj. Simpson, of the 11th, disembarked from the cards and reported for duty to Col. Stevenson. Three companies of the 11th and company I of the 6th, were ordered to charge the enemy on Fort Piano, and they did it with a yell and a rush that drove the rebels from the entrenched position, driving them into the rifle pits on the opposite side, in the face of a heavy fire. Reinforcements compelled our gallant men to retire part of the way down the mountain side, when the Fort opened upon the rebels, firing over the heads of our men, and the accuracy of the shells drove them down the hill in confusion. It was a complete rout and victory for the little garrison of a thousand men against thirty-five hundred.
At eight o’clock the enemy retreated, picking up a part of their dead and wounded to the extent of four ambulance and three wagon loads. Eight of their dead left in our hands have been picked up today. The wounded probably amounted to fifty or sixty. Their wounded prisoners say they were apprised that the conquest of New Creek, would be but, the work of fifteen minutes, and then they would march to Cumberland and take Gen. Kelley from the other flank, and accomplish what they intended when he drove them out of that section of Maryland. As the house where he made his head quarters, McCausland expressed his disappointment at finding so determined a resistance. He had been apprised that Gen. Kelley was quietly watching Cumberland, and New Creek, with its stores and treasurers, presented an inviting morsel.
The dead of the battle field we mourn, even though they number but a fraction of the sacrifice to a wicked rebellion. But their vacant places in the social circle will be none the less painful, because a greater number have been slaughtered elsewhere, on the battle field of our country. All honor to the dead!
The friends of the dead and wounded, as well as the force actively engaged, will be better satisfied with a record of the names, and I give you the list very nearly complete as follows:
Killed. – Eleventh Virginia – Lieut. Curtiss, Co. F; Private Sylvester Berry, Co. E, James Henated Co. E, David Page, Co. E, Maline S. Keams, Co. E; Noah Whitlock Co. H.
Wounded. – Eleventh Virginia. – Samuel Drake, Co. A, Jefferson Stewart, Co. A, Joseph S. Smith, Co. A; Wm. H. Berry, Cy. E, Albert Hickman, Co. E, F. M. Page, Co. M, Fuller Stanton, Co. E. George Turner, Co. E, Jefferson Uhl, Co. E; Thos. B. Hopkins, Co. F, Elias Davis, Co. F, Benjamin T. Hight, Co., F, Alfred M. Dearman, Co. F; Orderly Kirkpatrick, Co. H, Wm. Piles, Co. H, James Bloyd, Co. H, Jesse Whitlock, Co. H.
Sixth Virginia. – David Shelling and Jas. McCluskey, Co. L, killed; Robert Dickey, wounded in left side and arm; Frederick Bedsoll, wounded in left arm; Jacob Darrah slightly wounded in both hands.
This comprises our entire list of casualties, with the exception of four men of the 154th regiment, slightly wounded in the Fort, from the rebel shots from the hillside. The train with reinforcements was fired into just in the edge of the town, and the Conductor was wounded in the leg. The enemy outnumbered us, by their own confessions, three to one, and anticipated an easy victory. They came floating their banners and brave hearts, and went back with their sacrificed dead and wounded.
Col. Stevenson and Maj. Neil, 154th Regiment, Ohio National Guard, Lieut. Col. Hoy, 6th West Virginia Infantry, commanding the Post, Lieut. Bagley, Battery L., 1st Illinois Light Artillery, (who did some splendid firing,) Capt. Holmes, Battery H, West Virginia Light Artillery, and Maj. Simpson, 11th Va. infantry, were particularly conspicuous in the fight and were active at every point. Lieut. McKenzie, of Battery L., came up with the reinforcements from Cumberland, to aid in making the fight hotter, if necessary. Another Regiment, 165th Ohio National Guard, reached here at an early hour this morning and Gen. Kelley shortly after, accompanied by Capt. Harrison, our Quartermaster, Capt. Mathews, Capt. Frank Kelley and others. But the enemy had gone – disheartened and defeated. It was the prettiest little fight yet had in Western Virginia, and resulted in a complete rout. – But we have a strong arm and a stout heart to nerve our gallant men in our commanding General. When he fails the rebels may take Cumberland and New Creek.
Credit to Whom Credit is Due.
August 13, 1864
Credit to Whom Credit is Due.
New Creek, W. Va., August 11.
We wish you to correct some mistakes that your New Creek correspondent has made in his letter to you, concerning the late fight at that place. He says that Companies A and G, 6th Virginia Infantry skirmished two hours or more with the rebels; that is correct; then he tells you that it was Company A of the 6th that arrived as part of the reinforcements under Major Simpson of the 11th Virginia; in that he was mistaken, it was Company L of the 6th Virginia Infantry. Again he states that three companies of the 11th Virginia, and Company I of the 6th were ordered to charge the enemy on Fort Piano; in that he was also mistaken as Company I was at Cumberland at that time. It was Company L that made the charge on Fort Piano, with the three companies of the 11th Va.
By inserting this you will confer a favor on the members of Company L, 6th Regiment West Virginia Infantry.
Company L, 6th W. Va. Infantry.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: August 1864