[Correspondence of the Cleveland Herald.]
GAULEY BRIDGE, Aug. 31
* * * A squad of cavalry took us in charge, blind-folding us, and leading our horses. In this fashion we road two miles. At the ford, we were received by Col. Finney in a closed room, and the bandages taken from our eyes. We found the Colonel a courteous gentleman of Eastern Virginia, and were informed by him that our dead had already been decently buried with the exception of Capt. Dyer, who had been recognized on the battle field before he was quite dead by Major Themburg, of their army, who had served with him in Mexico, whose body they were intending to send down to us under a flag of truce, to be forwarded to his friends, (it has not been done, however,) and that our wounded were receiving the care of their most skillful surgeons. I then asked for Dr. Cushing and myself the privilege of visiting our wounded and prisoners, to see them, and to receive messages from them to their friends. He replied that Gen. Floyd’s orders were that no one should pass from us beyond that point, but added that if we were willing to remain where we were till an answer could be received, he would send a messenger to the General with our request. We told him we were. I then addressed to Gen. Floyd the following note, viz:
PETER CREEK, August 27, 1861
Brigadier General John B. Floyd:
GENERAL: I am here under a flag of truce, with Dr. Cushing of the 7th regiment O. V. M., to look after our dead and wounded in the late battle at Cross Lanes. We are informed by Col. Finney, as we knew we would be, that our dead have been decently buried, and that our wounded are receiving the skillful attention of the gentlemen of your medical staff.—Here, then, our mission might end. But, general, the 7th regiment is mainly composed of men from and in the vicinity of Cleveland, and as we both expect to return there shortly on furloughs, for the sake of the relatives and friends of the wounded and prisoners, we very much wish to see them, and be bearers of any message they may wish to send. If, therefore, under our flag of truce, you will permit us to do so, we will accept it as a very high favor, and we promise you on our honors as gentlemen, to take no advantage of it prejudicial to your service.
Respectfully, your ob’t serv’t,
FREDERICK T. BROWN
Chaplain of the Seventh.
Minister in the Presbyterian Church, O.S.
To this note, some five hours after, I received the following reply:
HEADQR’S ARMY OF KANAWHA,
August 27, 1861
Rev. Frederick T. Brown, Chaplain of Seventh Regiment, Ohio Volunteers:
Dear Sir:--Your note requesting to be permitted to visit the prisoners and wounded at present in my charge, of the 7th regiment, Ohio volunteers, and conveying information of them, has been received. In reply, I have to say that in this, as in all other cases, the dead shall not be neglected by me. Your dead have all been decently interred. Your prisoners are and shall be humanely and kindly treated—shall not be the recipients of any indignity by language or otherwise. Your wounded are beyond Gauley river, and under the treatment of my best surgeons. Your request to visit them I cannot concede, persuaded to do so would be attended with some risk of detriment to the service in which I am engaged. I regret then that my sense of duty prompts me to adopt a course which under other circumstances would afford me a pleasure, and which may, I fear, seem ungracious. Permit me to add that one of the captains of your regiment is here and on parole. He will be able, as he has already done, to visit the prisoners and wounded and give then his personal attention.
Your obedient serv’t,
JOHN B. FLOYD,
Brig. Gen. Commanding Army of Kanawha
Of course nothing further could be done. I will only add that, while awaiting for this note, I—I say “I” for Dr. Cushing was in one of his silent moods—had long conversations with Col. Finney and Maj. Hounsel, on a variety of topics, not ignoring the one great topic at issue, and found them both most accomplished, cultivated and courteous gentlemen. Before the note came in it grew dark, when col. Finney took us up to his headquarters, two miles further up toward Cross Lanes, without having us blind folded. They he gave us a sumptuous supper, and lodged us till 3 o’clock A.M., when we were sent out of the lines back, not blind folded. I must also say, that in all our intercourse with the rebel officers and men, I did not hear one abusive or taunting word.—We could not have been treated with more kindness or consideration.
The messenger is just leaving,
FREDERICK T. BROWN.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: Undated: August 1861