From Northwestern Virginia.
July 10, 1861
From Northwestern Virginia.
The Enquirer publishes letters from Beverly, Randolph county, Va., the first of which bears date July 2d, giving some interesting information of military movements in that section. We regret to learn that Lieut. Robt. McChesney, of the Rockbridge Cavalry, was killed in a recent skirmish with a large party of the enemy, the latter being in ambush.--Two of his men were wounded--one, named Paxton, severely, and the other, named Long, not dangerously. Lieut. McC. had but ten men in his party. The writer proceeds:
I think we are upon the eve of a fight in this quarter. Orders were brought here late last night for all the troops here, (five companies of infantry,) to march immediately to join the command of Col. Heck. They were off by times this morning. It has just been ascertained here that the above-mentioned order resulted from the fact that the enemy, twenty- three hundred strong, have, within the last two days, taken a position at Buckhannon, about twenty miles from Camp Garnett, and I presume it is the object of Col. Heck to advance upon them at once. It is highly important that the movement of the enemy in this quarter should now be promptly checked.--Our own people, beyond our lines of defence, are in a most distressing condition.--The enemy and the tories are committing daily and hourly depredations upon their persons and property, and refugees are daily arriving here who are driven from their homes by the most cruel persecutions — men, women and children are arrested and shockingly treated by the infernal devils who were once their neighbors and friends. Two of the children of Jonathan Haymond, who had to flee from his home some weeks since, and who is now here, were taken from their homes a few days since. No man's life is safe in the disaffected counties who does not take the oath to support the Federal Government. Mr. Cressup, the father-in-law of Major Cowan, of Preston, was forced to take the oath last week. --You have no idea of the state of things in North western Virginia, and they will not improve until we march into the country and drive the enemy out. They must be severely whipped. There are many tories even in this county. The late postmaster at this place, who was concealed in this neighborhood, was caught and brought in a few nights since.--He was this morning required to enter into bond with good security for his good behavior and to take the oath to support the Government of the Confederate States. He at first declined to do so, but when he was placed in charge of a file of soldiers to take him to headquarters, he came into measures by giving the bond and taking the prescribed oath. We have several suspected fellows in jail here, besides five prisoners of war taken by the Greenbrier Cavalry, one of the finest companies in the service. Captain Moorman and his men have done the most efficient service. They have had many skirmishes with the enemy, thirty of whom they have killed, without receiving the slightest injury themselves. Col. Bell, whose command they have so much annoyed, says they "fight like the devil and run like the wind." I have heard of many amusing incidents connected with their scouting expeditions which would entertain you, but the space I have left will not admit of my detailing any of them in this letter.
Since writing the above, the companies that left here this morning were intercepted by orders from Gen. Garnett, to march immediately to St. George, the county seat of Tucker county. They immediately retraced their steps, and passed through this place about 11 o'clock this morning, en route for St. George. About 2 o'clock, Col. Heck, who it seems was ignorant of the movements of the said companies, sent orders to Col. Hansrough, who was in command here, to have them ready to march to his assistance at a moment's warning. Two messengers arrived here late this evening from Heck's camp, who stated that the enemy are marching upon his position.
A letter dated July 3d, says:
Five hundred men, under command of Major Taylor, passed through this place this morning from Laurel Hill, to join Col. Heck's command at Camp Garnett. They left Laurel Hill at two o'clock this morning upon a requisition from Col. Heck, who is menaced with an attack from the enemy from the direction of Buckhannon.
The following is added in a postscript:
The only news that has come to town since the writing of the above is, that a small scouting party from Laurel Hill were driven in this morning by the enemy. They were immediately reinforced and sent back, and nothing has been heard from them here since.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: Undated: July 1861