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to his position, at Bougen’s Ferry, Matthews' Ferry, Mont gomery's Ferry at the falls, and Loop Creek. For three weeks, he continued to challenge the enemy to battle, firing at him across the river, annoying him considerably, cutting off his coinmunication with the Valley of the Kanawha, and holding in check his steamboats, which ran up to Loop Creek shoals at high tides. For several days, the communication of the Federals, between their corps on the opposite sides of the Gauley, was entirely suspended. Gen. Floyd coutinued to challenge, insult, and defy the enemy with his little six-pounders at Cotton Hill, while Rosecrans, before he would accept the challenge made to his already superior numbers, waited for heavy reinforcements from the Ohio.
At last, being largely reinforced by the way of Charleston, Rosecrans planned an attack upon Cotton Hill, and moved by several distinctly indicated routes, namely, Miller's, Montgomery's, and Loop Creek Ferries, all concentrating at Fayetteville, nine miles from Cotton Hill. He expected the most brilliant results from his overpowering numbers and well-conceived do signs, and was confident of cutting off the retreat of Floyd and capturing his command. His force was fifteen thousand men; that of Floyd did not exceed four thousand effective men, his ranks having been reduced by sickness, and the old story of promised reinforcements never having been realized to him In these circumstances, Gen. Floyd made a retreat, the success of which was one of the most admirable incidents of a campaign, which he, at least, had already distinguished by equal measures of vigor, generalship, and gallantry. He effected his retreat in perfect order, fighting the enemy for twenty miles, and bringing off his force, including sick, with a loss of not more than five or six men. In this loss, however, was Col. Croghan, of Kentucky, a gallant young officer, and a son of the late Col. Croghan, who had obtained historical distinction in the Northwestern campaign of the War of 1812. The enemy, after pursuing Gen. Floyd for twenty miles, turned back in the direction of Fayette Court House, leaving him to retire at his leisure to southwestern Virginia. It was from here that Gen. Floyd was transferred by the government to the now imposing theatre of war in Tennessee and Kentucky.
A minuter history of the campaign in western Virginia than the plan of our work admits, would enable us to cite many in stances of individual gallantry and self-sacrifice. They would show the good conduct of small parties of Confederates on many occasions. In concluding the narrative of the general events of the war in western Virginia, we may add a very brief mention of some of these occurrences, which were only. incidents of the campaign, which did not affect its general results, but which showed instances of gallantry that, on a larger scale of execution, might have accomplished very important results.
While the enemy had possession of the Kanawha Valley, Col. J. Lucius Davis' cavalry, of the Wise Legion, was sent to Big Coal River, thirty-five miles from Fayette Court House. On reaching Big Coal, they gave rapid chase to a marauding party of Federals, and overtook them at Tony's Creek, where a fight took place on the 11th September, which resulted in the total rout of the enemy, with a loss of about fifty killed and wounded, about the same number of prisoners, and the capture of all his provisions, munitions, &c. The Confederates sustained no loss whatever. The action lasted three liours, the remnant of the enemy having been pursued to a point within twelve miles of Charleston. The cavalry returned with their trophies, after having traversed, in twenty-four hours, a dis. tance of seventy-five or eighty miles over steep mountain trails, bridle-paths, and rocky fords. Col. J. Lucius Davis, in his report of the affair, speaks of Lieut.-col. Clarkson as the hero of the expedition.
On the 25th September, Col. J. W. Davis, of Greenbrier, at the head of two hundred and twenty-five militia of Wyoming, Logan, and Boone counties, were attacked at Chapmansville, by an Ohio regiment commanded by Col. Pratt. The militia fought well, and were forcing the enemy from the field, when their gallant leader, Col. Davis, received a desperate, and as was thought at the time, a mortal wound. This unfortunate circumstance reversed the fortune of the field. The militia retreated and the enemy returned to the field. Col. Davis was taken by the Ohio troops, and remained in their hands till his partial recovery from his wounds, when he was paroled. The troops under Col. Davis lost but two killed and two wounded, while the loss of the Ohio troops in killed and wounded ex
ceeded fifty, from the best information Col. D. was able to obtain.
Col. Jenkins' cavalry rendered efficient service in the Ka nawha Valley, and kept the enemy all the time uneasy. On the 9th November, they made a gallant dash into the town or Guyandotte, on the Ohio river, and routed the forces of the enemy stationed there, killing and wounding a number of them, and taking nearly one hundred prisoners. Federal reinforcements afterwards came up to the town, and on the pretence that the Confederates had been invited to attack it by resident Secessionists, gratified a monstrous and cowardly revenge by firing the larger portion of the town, although many of the inhabitants had come out to meet them on the banks of the river, waving white flags and signifying the most unqualified submission. Women and children were turned into the street, many of them being forced to jump from the windows of their houses to escape the flames.
We have already adverted to the causes which contributed to make the campaign in western Virginia a failure. The cause which furnished the most popular excuse for its ineffectiveness—the disloyalty of the resident population-was, perhaps, the least adequate of them all. That disloyalty has been hugely magnified by those interested, in finding excuses in it for their own inefficiency and disappointment of public expectation. While Maryland, Kentucky, and other regions of the South, which not only submitted to Lincoln, but furnished him with troops, were not merely excused, but were the recipients of overflowing sympathy, and accounted by a charitable stretch of imagination “sister States” of the Southern Confederacy, an odium, crnelly unjust, was inflicted upon western Virginia, despite of the fact that this region was enthralled by Federal troops, and, indeed, had never given such evidences of sympathy with the Lincoln government as had been manifested both by Maryland and Kentucky in their State elections, their contributions of troops, and other acts of deference to the authorities at Washington. It is a fact, that even now, “Governor" Pierpont, the creature of Lincoln, cannot get one-third of the votes in a sin gle county in western Virginia. It is a fact, that the Northern journals admit that in a large portion of this country, it is unsafe for Federal troops to show themselves unless in large bodies
The unfortunate results of the campaign in western Virginia abandoned to the enemy a country of more capacity and grandeur than, perhaps, any other of equal limits on this continent; remarkable for the immensity of its forests, the extent of its mineral resources, and the vastness of its water-power, and possessing untold wealth yet awaiting the coal-digger, the salt dealer, and the manufacturer.
While the events referred to in the foregoing pages were transpiring in western Virginia, an inauspicious quiet, for months after the battle of Manassas, was maintained on the lines of the Potomac. A long, lingering Indian summer, with roads more hard and skies more beautiful than Virginia had been for many a year, invited the enemy to advance. He steadily refused the invitation to a general action; the advance of our lines was tolerated to Munson's Hill, within a few miles of Alexandria, and opportunities were sought in vain by the Confederates, in heavy skirmishing, to engage the lines of the two armies. The gorgeous pageant on the Potomac, which, by the close of the year, had cost the Northern people three hundred millions of dollars, did not move. The “ Young Napoleon” was twitted as a dastard in the Southern newspapers. They professed to discover in his unwillingness to fight the near achievement of their independence, when, however the fact was, the inactivity of the Federal forces on the northern frontier of Virginia only implied that immense preparations were going on in other directions, while the Southern people were complacently entertained with the parades, reviews, and pompous idleness of an army, the common soldiery of which wore white gloves on particular occasions of holiday display.
THE BATTLE OF LEESBURG.
The quiet, however, on the lines of the Potomac was broken by an episode in the month of October, which, without being important in its military results, added lustre to our arms. The incident referred to was the memorable action of Leesburg, in which a small portion of the Potomac army drove an enemy four times their number from the soil of Virginia, killing and taking prisoners a greater number than the whole Confederate force engaged.
Gen. Stone having been persuaded that no important force of the Confederates remained along the Upper Potomac, and in obedience to orders from head-quarters, commenced his passage of the river on Sunday, the 20th of October, at Ilarrison's Island, a point of transit about six miles above Edwards' Ferry, and nearly an equal distance from Leesburg. A force of five companies of Massachusetts troops, commanded by Col. Devins, effected a crossing at the ferry named above, and, a few hours thereafter, Col. Baker, who took command of all the Federal forces on the Virginia side, having been ordered by Stone to push the Confederates from Leesburg and hold the place, crossed the river at Conrad's Ferry, a little south of Harrison's Island.
The brigade of Gen. Evans (one of the heroic and conspicuous actors in the bloody drama of Manassas), which had occupied Leesburg, consisted of four regiments, viz. : the 8th Virginia, the 13th, the 17th, and the 18th Mississippi. Having a position on Goose Creek, they awaited the approach of the overwhelining numbers of the enemy, the force which he had thrown across the river being between seven and eight thousand strong. The enemy had effected a crossing both at Edwards' Ferry, and Ball's Bluff
, and preparations were made to meet him in both positions. Lieut.-col. Jenifer, with four of the Mississippi companies, confronted the immediate approach of the enemy in the direction of Leesburg; Col. Hunton, with his regiment, the Sth Virginia, was afterwards ordered to his support, and, about noon, both commands were united, and became hotly engaged with the enemy in their strong position in the woods.
Watching carefully the action, Gen. Evans saw the enemy were constantly being reinforced, and at half-past two o'clock P. M., ordered Col. Burt to march his regiment, the 18th Mississippi, and attack the left flank of the enemy, while Colonels Hunton and Jenifer attacked him in front. On arriving at his position, Col. Burt was received with a tremendous fire from the enemy, concealed in a ravine, and was compelled to divide his regiment to stop the flank movement of the enemy.
At this time, about three o'clock, finding the enemy were in large force, Gen. Evans ordered Col. Featherston, with his regiment, the 17th Mississippi, to repair, at double quick, to the snpport of Col. Burt, where he arrived in twenty minutes,