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Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
March 26, 1865


Wheeling Intelligencer
April 8, 1865

An Incident of Guerilla Warfare.

A letter to the Baltimore American, dated at Martinsburg, West Virginia, March 27, says:

“Last night about 12 o’clock a party consisting of twelve guerrillas, under the command of a Captain Rice, attacked the house of Jacob Files, on Back Creek, about ten miles west of this place. Mr. Files and his family were disturbed by the sound of an ace cutting and splitting down the door, when he immediately pounced upon the floor, with revolver in hand, followed by his wife, both in their night clothes, which made them conspicuous marks for the murdeous [sic] gang to fire at, which they did very rapidly through the door and windows. Mr. files returned the fire as rapidly as he could, and with as much precision as the darkness would admit of until he had emptied his revolver of the last load, and then began to grapple for another, but being confused could not find any but fortunately his faithful wife, who had kept her presence of mind, handed him the weapon, about which time the marauders were entering the room and firing as they advanced.

“Mr. Files having been wounded in the face and neck, and smarting with pain and bleeding profusely, fire at them as they were entering the door, when down came one of his feet, which had a tendency to check their advance. Files kept up the fire as they retreated with such rapidity that they soon disappeared in the darkness, and did not resume the attack again. Mr. Files having vanquished his enemies and driven them from his house, had his wound dressed and spent the remaining part of the night in picketing around his premises. After Mr. Files had made a light, he found beside the dead rebel lying inside his door a revolver cocked, charged to its utmost capacity, and also a pair of handcuffs.

“When daylight made its appearance his house presented a shocking spectacle, bespattered with blood, and the walls speckled with bullet-holes. He mounted his horse and came to the headquarters at this place, and reported the facts, with additional news to the effect that on his way to this place he saw a man who had been taken and forced to accompany the rebels to his house, and was carried along with them about four miles from the scene of action, and learned the object of their mission, which was to kill or capture him, take the horses, and then lay waste the property of the Union citizens on their return up Back creek; that they had twelve men when they visited Files’s house, that only ten returned, and three of that number were wounded, and that Files must have killed two. After the commandant of the post heard the facts in the case, he sent to that locality a body of troops.”


Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: March 1865

West Virginia Archives and History