Burning of Sutton

Wheeling Intelligencer
January 8, 1862

The Town Of Sutton

The town of Sutton, in Braxton county, has recently obtained some notoriety in consequence of the recent skirmish there, and its destruction by the rebels. Our readers would doubtless be pleased to know what sort of a place it was. Hear "W. D. R." of the Cincinnati Commercial, who wrote a letter home from Sutton whilst following the army of Gen. Rosecrans.

We are at the most forbidding village in Western Virginia. We arrived at 9 o'clock yesterday morning, and as we rambled through the wretched town, which is strung out under the bluffs along both sides of the road, a general expression of disgust was irrepressible. It resembled the delectable village of Stop-town, and the odors of the place were not much more refreshing. How in the name of desecrated nature could a people making some professions of civilization, manage to degrade a site of such striking natural beauty by such abominable artificial deformities? If we could see nothing but the mountains, the crags, the sweet little valley, where the town "squats like a toad, ugly and venemous," the beautiful river, and the long slender, graceful wire suspension bridge spanning it, the landscape would be enchanting. When you stand in the road and look up through town, you feel nasty.

On this side, where Sutton squats, the mountains plunge sheerly down in mural masses some 200 feet of almost perpendicular distance, frowning upon the little valley below like the solemn walls of a gloomy fortress. The spurs on the opposite side are bold and more lofty, but less abrupt, and are cut into conical sections by the beds of rivulets, which race down the declivities in raging torrents when Jupiter Pluvious asserts his dominion. Just now, the charming aspect of Nature is greatly enhanced by picturesque envelopments of white tents spreading out their ample folds upon the grassy surface, and the war features impart to it dignity and spirit. Sutton, you know, is the shire town of Braxton. Its homely Court House is now a military hospital, and its contemptible jail a fitting receptacle for mischievous rebels. There is a tavern or two in town, and four or five comfortable frame houses, but the ensemble is that of desolation and distress.

There is, therefore, no occasion for regret at the burning of such a detestable place.

In connection with the Sutton business we have the following letter from Mr. Rollyson the member of the Legislature from Braxton county:

WHEELING, Jan. 7, 1862.

Editors Intelligencer:
I have just received news from Sutton, Braxton county, in regard to the desperadoes who visited that place a few days ago. From the best information that I can get the town is destroyed with the exception of two houses.

The Union people will not suffer much by this outrage as there was but one Union house in the place.

The wire bridge across Elk river was not interrupted, nor the Union citizens disturbed. So says the telegraph operator at Sutton.

W. D. Rollyson.

Civil War

West Virginia Archives and History