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occupied a hill, beyond the on his horse, rode between The Assault on Big
The Assault on Big creek, which almost com- the fires, and compelled his
pletely secured their front. troops to retire. LieutenAt their rear was a dense wood. This gave ant-Colonel Washburne had, also, arranged them the advantage of ground, greatly. A for a flank movement which, with a combined reconnoissance would have demonstrated the attack from the front, must have ended the futility of a front attack except by artillery. struggle ; but the order for retreat was given The only hope for the Federals was in a flank before the movement could be executed. movement, higher up the creek, by which, One who was present as an observer, wrote: the stream being passed, the enemy could be “ The raw troops, recruits not yet two months enassaulted in their works, at the point of the listed, and many of them not having received two bayonet, if necessary. This movement was weeks drill, stood fire well. They were almost only attempted partially at a late hour in utterly unable to defend themselves, from the nature
of things, but never flinched. Some were less dis. The rebels were well prepared, and only ciplined than others, and their efforts less available, awaited the appearance of the head of the but no lack of the most difficult sort of courage, that
which consists in enduring without the excitement Federal advance to open a sharp fire. Dur
of performing, was manifested. The cannonading yea, covered by two howitzers and a brass
of the enemy was incessant. Shrapnel, canister, six-pounder, took the centre; Townsend the and rifled balls came at the rate of three a minute ; left, near the plain, with two guns; Bendix the only intervals being those necessary to allow the right, in the woods, with Lieutenant their guns to cool. Our own guns, although of com. Greble serving his single piece of artillery, in paratively little use, were not idle, until the artillery front, openly. The fight was, from the first, ammunition was entirely exhausted. Almost all of extremely unequal. A front attack was sheer the cartridge rounds of the Zouaves were also folly. But, the flank movement was not or
fired. dered. 'A second messenger was dispatched
“At about one o'clock, Colonel Allen's regiment, for reenforcements-as if five to one in favor the First New York, came up as a reenforcement, of the Federals were not enough! Colonel and, at about the same time, Colonel Carr's, of the
Troy Volunteers; these also received several disCarr's regiment then advanced as far as New
charges of artillery; but did not move upon the open market bridge, moved to the scene of con
field, with the exception of two hundred of the flict-only reaching it, however, to partici- Troy Rifles. Their approach, however, seemed to pate in the retreat.
the commanding General to give no hope that he The fortunes of the day needed but a mas- would be able, without more artillery, to take or siter-band to direct them, to have turned in lence the batteries, and, at about twenty minutes favor of the Union troops. General Pierce past one, he gave the order to withdraw.” refrained from active command*--each regi- The Federal loss was fourteen killed, fortyment seeming to act entirely on its own re- nine wounded and five missing. Among the sponsibility. Several most gallant advances killed were two of the most gallant and noble were made by the Zouaves, up to the enemy's men in the service—Major Theodore Winvery face, to pick off the men lurking behind throp, Secretary and Aid to General Butler, their guns. Colonel Bendix prepared for a and first-Lieutenant John T. Greble, of the final assault, but found no orders given for a United States regular artillery, Second regisupport.
Townsend's men behaved with ment. The rebels pronounced their loss to great gallantry, and were only brought away have been but one killed and four wounded. from the murderous fire of the artillery by The retreat was accomplished in good order the personal leadership of the Colonel, who, -the enemy pot pursuing. A troop of cav* There is much variation in the several versions alry sallied over the bridge, and fell upon
the of this affair made public. Pierce's friends regard
wagons collecting the wounded-disrethe battle as having been lost by the refusal of the garding the flag of truce borne by the Chapseveral regimental commanders to act in concert. / lain in command; but no attack was made on If they disobeyed orders why did he not have them the lines. Colonel Phelps had dispatched two court-martialed ?
hundred and fifty men, under Colonel Haw
kins, to the scene of combat; | Parrot field-piece. The battery was worked The Assault on Big
but these troops only met by one hundred chosen men, under Major the retreat.
Randolph. This contest excited the public mind greatly. Colonel Hill, in his announcement to GovUpon General Pierce the censure of defeat fell, ernor Ellis, of North Carolina, of the engagewith merciless severity. He was charged with ment, stated his force to have been eight inefficiency, ignorance of field maneuvres, hundred men of the First North Carolina want of pluck, etc., etc. It is questionable if regiment and three hundred and sixty Virsuch charges were just. The first error was ginians. in dispatching so large a force without After this affair nothing equivalent artillery. Had there been a doz- of further nioment transen good field-pieces, the enemy would have pired during the command of Butler, which been driven from his position in half an hour. extended up to August 16th, when he was As it was, Greble's single gun did memorable relieved by Major General Wool. The heavy service. Or, had Bendix and Duryea been Federal force which found itself gathered at supported in a charge at a moment when it the Fortress and its vicinity during the was evident that Greble and the sharp- months of June and July, served only as a shooters had silenced over half of the enemy's menace to Norfolk and Yorktown, but did guns, the day must have been won. General not, as such, give the enemy any alarm. Pierce apparently lacked confidence in him- Magruder's forces swarmed over the Peninself. It was his first experience on the battle sula, to the constant harassment of the Union field; he seemed confused by its responsi- camps, and the terror of the “contrabands," bilities. Conceded to be a brave officer and whose numbers had so rapidly increased tha, a good disciplinarian, he still lacked the ex- by August 1st, three thousand men, women perience of a general field command. Had he and children were provided with daily rawisely transferred that command to Duryea tions. To catch these “black rascals” was a or Townsend, that army never would have re- labor into which the rebels entered with treated, especially after the arrival of Colonel zeal. Wo betide the poor wretch who, havCarr's fine troops, with their two effective ing once fled to the Federal lines, afterwards pieces of artillery.
fell into Confederate hands! August 9th In the enemy's account of the fight, as the village of Hampton was burned by the given by the Richmond Dispatch, the fact rebels, acting under orders of Magruder. As was made known that Magruder commanded this village was almost under the very gung in person. The infantry present consisted of the Fortress, it will be inferred that the of the First North Carolina regiment, Colonel Federals had made but little advance since Hill. Their guns consisted of a superb loowit-, their first movements adverted to in the first zer battery (seven guns), embracing one fine portion of this chapter.
THE campaign in West-, stained from sending troops Purposes of the Cam
ern Virginia had two ob- across the Ohio, or even from paign.
jects in view ; 1st, to assist posting them along its banks, in the development of the Union movement, although frequently urged by many of your prom.
inent citizens to do so. by keeping out the emissaries and bayonets
" It determined to await the result of the State of the Confederates; 2d, to force the rebels backward from the Potornac and thus relieve election, desirous that no one might be able to say,
that the slightest effort had been made from this the Baltimore and Ohio railway, which was
side to influence the free expression of your opin. fast becoming a necessary highway for the ions, although the many agencies brought to bear transport of troops and to supply Washington upon you by the rebels were well known. You with army subsistence. The Governors of have now shown, under the most adverse circumthe several Western States convened at Cleve- stances, that the great mass of the people of Western land, Ohio, early in May, to arrange for con- Virginia are true and loyal to that beneficent Gov. cert of action in the peril which at that time ernment under which we and our fathers have lived seemed particularly to threaten the West and so long. As soon as the result of the election its great avenues of commerce—the Ohio and was known, the traitors commenced their work of
destruction. Mississippi rivers. As a result of their de
The General Government can not liberations they requested Government to or
close its ears to the demand you have made for as. ganize the Department of the Ohio. This sistance. I have troops to cross the river. They
come as your friends and brothers; as enemies only wish was acceded to immediately, and Gene
to armed rebels who are preying upon you. Your ral McClellan placed in command by orders homes, your families, and your property are safe of May 10th. [See page 143.]
under our protection. All your rights shall be reThe campaign opened ligiously respected. May 26th, when McClellan
“Notwithstanding all that has been said by the issued his first proclama- traitors to induce you to believe our advent among tion. It read:
you will be signalized by an interference with
your slaves, understand one thing clearly : Not only CINCINNATI, May 26th, 1861.
will we abstain from all such interference, but we “ To the Union Men of Western Virginia :
will, on the contrary, with an iron hand, crush any “ VIRGINIANS: The General Government has long attempt at insurrection on their part. enough endured the machinations of a few factious
“Now that we are in your midst, I call upon you rebels in your midst. Armed traitors have in vain endeavored to deter you from expressing your loy
to fly to arms and support the General Government;
sever the connection that binds you to traitors; pro alty at the polls. Having failed in this infamous
claim to the world that the faith and loyalty so long attempt to deprive you of the exercise of your dear
boasted by the Old Dominion are still preserved in est rights, they now seek to inaugurate a reign of terror, and thus force you to yield to their schemes, Western Virginia, and that you remain true to the
Stars and Stripes. G. B. MCCLELLAN, and submit to the yoke of the traitorous conspiracy, dignified by the name of the Southern Confederacy.
“Major-General Commanding." They are destroying the property of citizens of your This was followed by an Address to the State, and ruining your magnificent railways. The army, calculated still further to reassure the General Government has heretofore carefully ab- I loyal Virginians that their persons, property
* . OHIO, }
The Rebel Rout at
and rights would be re- and necessary repairs, did not reach the place Address to his Troops.
spected. It was worded : until Thursday morning, when six companies SOLDIERS :-You are ordered to cross the fron. under Colonel Kelley, occupied the enemy's tier, and to enter on the soil of Virgina. Your inis late quarters. On Friday the rest of the two sion is to restore peace and confidence; to protect regiments came in. This advance the majesty of the law, and to secure our brethren rapidly followed by the Fifteenth Ohio, from the grasp of armed traitors. I place under the Colonel Dickey; Sixth Indiana, Colonel Critsafeguard of your honor the persons and property of
tenden, and Seventh Indiana, Colonel Dumont, the Virginians. I know you will respect their feel. ings and all their rights , and will preserve the strict while the forces hurried up from Parkersburg
to the junction. est discipline.
McClellan ordered the “ Remember, that each one of you holds in his keeping the honor of Ohio and the Union. If you surprise of Philippi by a
Philippi. are called to overcome armed opposition, I know forced march. Brigadieryour courage is equal to the task. Remember that General Morris arranged the plan of the exyour only foes are armed traitors. Show mercy even pedition. On the night of June 2d, two dito them, when in your power, for many of them are visions of two regiments each, started for the misguided.
point of attack--one by way of Webster, un“When, under your protection, the loyal men of der command of Colonel Dumont, consisting Western Virginia have been enabled to organize and of eight companies of the Seventh Indiana, four form until they can protect themselves, you can re
companies of the Fourteenth Ohio, Colonel turn to your homes, with the proud satisfaction of Steedman, with his artillery under command having preserved a gallant people from destruction."
of Lieutenant-Colonel Sturgis, assisted by Prior to the issue of these Colonel Lander, who volunteered for the enOccupation of documents, everything had
terprise. The second division, under combeen arranged for the ad- | mand of Colonel Kellogg, comprised the First vance. Colonel Kelley, in command at Camp Virginia, and companies from the Sixteenth Carlisle, in Ohio, opposite Wheeling, gave Ohio and Seventh Indiana. This body moved the word of command for the onward move east by way of Thornton, thence south to Phiment, Sunday evening, (May 26th,) by read- lippi (twenty-two miles) by a rapid march. ing the Proclamation and Address.
It was a most wretched night for such an The announcement was received with wild enterprise. The darkness was intense; the huzzas by the troops. Monday morning the mud was deep; the wind and rain drove advance, composed of the First Virginia vol against the ranks like invisible hands to reunteers, passed into Virginia eleven hundred strain their march. Kelley's men, having the strong, and, at seven o'clock, were en route longer route to pursue, did not reach the rear for Grafton, a place of some strategic impor- of Philippi at the time named-four o'clock tance, lying at the junction of the Baltimore A. M. Dumont and Lander arrived in season and Ohio and the Northwestern Virginia and awaited Kelley's appearance on the railways. The First Virginia was followed southern side of the town to cut off the eneimmediately by the Sixteenth Ohio volunteers, my's retreat when routed by the front attack. Colonel Irvine. The Fourteenth Ohio, Colo- The enemy soon became aware of the Fednel Steedman, at the same time crossed the eral presence, when great commotion followriver at Marietta, and occupied Parkersburg, ed in his camps. A hasty retreat was, evi. the western terminus of the Northwestern dently, proposed. Lander, impatient at this railroad.
threatened loss of his game, ordered the arThe rebels, then in possession of Grafton, tillery to open, from its commanding posihad arranged for a descent ou Wheeling; but tion, while Dumont with his fine infantry hastily evacuated on the night of Monday, rushed up the road, across the bridge, and having previously destroyed railway bridges into the town to sweep the rebels before him. and culverts, and placed obstructions on the Lander, like a Saladin, could endure no distrack at several points to the west of Grafton. tant view of the fight. Leaving the artillery The Federals, detained by broken bridges to be served by Sturgis, he dashed down the
of Both parties.
almost precipice front of the As a consequence, the Unionists were subThe Rebel Rout at
hill, and, in a moment, was jected to many perils and persecutions. Philippi.
flying like a spirit of de- Great numbers of them fled to Grafton, Phistruction before all into the town, followed by lippi and Wheeling-forsaking their homes the shouting men. A brief struggle only fol- to escape conscription or arrest. lowed. The dismayed enemy, under Colonel The Federal forces rap
Subsequent Activity Porterfield, for a moment staggered under | idly augmented at Grafton the artillery fire, then tled with precipitancy and vicinity during June, to the south. Colonel Kelley's force came with a view to compass the enemy and up at the opportune moment, and fell upon press him from the strongholds he was the retreat with all the zeal which the almost disposed to retain. Colonel Steedman's spent strength of the wearied men would al- regiment moved forward on the 14th to low. Kelley himself led in the pursuit, and Buckhannon, to protect the Union men of was struck down by a pistol-shot from the that place, but again fell back, finding the Confederate Assistant-Quartermaster. Lan- danger of being cut off too imminent. The der, seeing the act, alone rushed in upon a rebels were exceedingly active. Great nuinsurrounding company of the enemy and drove bers of reenforcements came in from the Capthe assassin into a fence corner. His friends ital. Ex-Governor Wise was placed in chief rallied for a rescue, but Lander, with his two command in Western Virginia. Colonel Peunspent revolvers, confronted them so like a gram was detailed to fortify the position on Nemesis that none dared to come within his Rich Mountain. General Garnett was at range. A squad of Kelley's men soon came Laurel Hill. Rumors were frequent of adup, and would have bayoneted the rebel on vances and surprises. Scouts and spies lurkthe spot had not Lander declared that he ed everywhere, in all guises, and both friend would protect a prisoner of war with his and foe were fully informed of each other's life. He was as merciful and just in victory doings. The rebels designed a bold push as brave and terrible in battle. [Kelley, shot for the occupancy of Cumberland, thus to through the lungs, was pronounced, by the outflank McClellan's advance and to “carry surgeons, mortally wounded; but, after weeks the war into Yankee Doodledom”-as the of suffering, the brave man and excellent com- Richmond papers facetiously said was their mander was again in the field at the head of true policy. Notwithstanding Colonel Lew. a brigade.] The Union loss was two killed Wallace's bold dash into Romney, June 11tli, and Colonel Kelley wounded. The rebel loss the rebel forces infested the region round was sixteen killed and ten prisoners.
about in strong force; and the evacuation The enemy's camp contained much store (by them) of Harper's Ferry (June 14th) was of provisions, clothing and munitions, and followed by rapid dashes to the west, as if seven hundred and forty-nine stand of arms— putting out “feelers" in anticipation of their all of which were secured. Porterfield re-arranged movement in force to the North. treated to Beverly, thence to Huttonsville, Piedmont, near the Maryland line, on the whither the Confederate leaders soon center- Baltimore and Ohio Railway, was visited by ed a large force, while they also proceeded the enemy in considerable force, on the 19th, to fortify several strong strategic and perma- when they proceeded to a general destrucnent positions at those points which com- tion of bridges, telegraph wires, &c. They manded the avenues of access to Southern then pushed for Cumberland, where they Virginia, through the Alleghany Mountains. hoped to capture Colonel Wallace and his Thus disposed the rebels felt not only secure, bold Zouaves, who held a number of rebel but conceived the idea of eventually forcing officers prisoners, taken at Romney. But, McClellan back from Grafton. To secure the the rapid reenforcement of Wallace by the requisite force, the Governor of Virginia mouutaineers, compelled the bold Confedecommanded the militia of Western Virginia rates to give up their hopes of entering Cumto repair to the Huttonsville camp, and forced berland, or of destroying its superb bridge. series were made to a considerable extent. McClellan arrived at Grafton June 23d.