Page images

den coming from Mill Spring, and the fugitives from Donelson and Bowling Green, were formed on the main body brought from Nashville, and the whole ultimately united with Bragg's corps at Corinth, in North-eastern Mississippi, by a very hazardous march, to co-operate with Beauregard for the defence of the Mississippi.

Meantime, the Union forces poured on. Commodore Foote, with two gunboats, reached Clarksville, the last defensible place before Nashville. He found it evacuated, the enemy having burned the railroad bridge. General Buell with his army advanced on Nashville from Bowling Green, and General Nelson proceeded by the way of the Cumberland River. On the 16th, the troops that had evacuated Bowling Green passed through the city, and on the same day Floyd arrived from Donelson, when, for the first time, the inhabitants learned the fall of that place. The Governor and Legislature at once departed for Memphis, carrying off the public archives; gunboats in process of construction were burned, railroad bridges destroyed, and the public stores were distributed to those who wished them. On the 19th, Governor Harris issued a proclamation announcing the fall of Donelson, and calling upon every able-bodied man to enlist in the army. On the morning of the 23d, Buell's advance guard appeared at Edgehill, opposite Nashville. General Nelson also arrived up the river, and on the 25th the city was surrendered by the mayor, on assurances that persons and property would be respected. On the 26th the mayor issued a proclamation assuring citizens of protection from the National forces, and urging them to resume their usual occupations. Afer the occupation of the capital of Tennessee, and the fight of its Government, a new one was organized, and Senator Andrew Johnson was appointed military governor, with the rank of brigadier-general. These events in the interior of the State made the longer occupation of Columbus by the Confederate troops useless, and it was evacuated on the 27th of February. On the 2d of March, a reconnoitring party, sent by Flag-officer Foote from Cairo, discovered the evacuation, and, on their report, a force was sent to take possession, but a party of Illinois cavalry sent from Paducah by General Sherman had already occupied it. The enemy fell back to İsland No. 10, forty miles below Columbus. Thus, during the two months ending with February, the enemy had been driven from their positions in Kentucky and TennesThe army of Marshall took refuge in Virginia; and the shattered remains of all the others were combining to make a new stand at Corinth.

After General Hunter, in November, assumed command in Missouri, and repudiated the treaty of General Fremont with Price, the Union army began slowly to retire from Springfield, and was followed step by step by the Confederates under Price, in three divisions, with the apparent intention of moving upon Kansas. On the 30th of November, his right wing, five thousand troops, held Stockton; his left, four thousand, under General Rains, was at Nevada; and the centre, five thousand, under Price, at Monticello. Early in November, the Confederates held Belmont, Missouri, opposite Columbus, with a small force, and it was determined to make a demonstration in that direction,

[ocr errors]



for the purpose of preventing them from sending troops to Price on the one hand, or to Bowling Green on the other. Accordingly, on November 6th, Generals Grant and McClernand left Cairo for Belmont, with the Twenty-second, Twenty-seventh, Thirtieth, and Thirty-first Illinois, and the Seventh Iowa, together with a battery and some cavalry-in all, two thousand eight hundred and fifty men, who were embarked on several steamboats, and convoyed by the gunboats Lexington and Tyler.

The Federal forces landed a short distance above Belmont, at 8 A. M. on the 7th, were formed in line of battle, and immediately attacked the rebel works. They were met by the rebels under General Cheatham, whom they drove through their camp, capturing a battery of twelve guns, burning their camp, and taking the rebel baggage, horses, and many prisoners. Large bodies of rebels, meanwhile, crossed from Columbus and re-enforced those at Belmont, when another severe fight took place, and the National forces withdrew to their boats. Their retreat was well covered by the gunboats. The whole action lasted several hours. The loss on the Confederate side was between six hundred and one thousand; on that of the Union, eighty-four killed, and about three hundred wounded and missing. The Unionists also carried away two guns, and destroyed two. This operation had the desired effect of preventing the movement of troops to aid Price.

On the 18th of November, General H. W. Halleck arrived at St. Louis, and took command of the Western Department. The division of General Hunter and that of General Pope were on the line of the Pacific Railroad, awaiting orders. Generals Sigel and Asboth, with their divisions, arrived at St. Louis. General Hunter was transferred to the Department of Kansas. The plan of General Price, whose chief difficulty was want of arms, was to procure them from the borders of Kansas; but being unsuccessful in this, he was obliged to retreat south of the Osage. General Halleck soon after issued a series of military orders, which declared that active rebels and spies had forfeited their rights as citizens, and were liable to capital punishment; all persons in arms against the Government, or aiding the enemy, should be arrested, and their property seized; all persons giving information to the enemy be shot as spies, and unenlisted marauders treated as criminals; officers were required to enforce the law confiscating slave property used for insurrectionary purposes; citizens who had been robbed by insurrectionists were to be quartered at the expense of insurrectionists; prisoners of war or slaves to be employed on military defences; and all municipal officers were required to take the oath of allegiance. These orders had an important influence in suppressing the disorders that had existed, and in reducing the number of guerrillas, very many of whom were arrested at different points in the State. General Pope was assigned to the command of all the National forces between the Missouri and Osage Rivers, which constituted the largest part of the army which General Fremont took to Springfield. He immediately took active measures to clear that part of the State. Price was on the Osage, and with him about five thousand men, waiting recruits and supplies from the North. General Pope, December 15th, left Sedalia

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

with two brigades, one under Colonel J. C. Davis, of Indiana, and the second under Colonel F. Steele. On the 16th his advance-guard fell in with a part of General Rains's force, between Warrensburg and Rose Hill, and captured sixteen wagons and one hundred and fifty prisoners; and the pursuit continued under Lieutenant-Colonel Brown, the main body moving towards Warrensburg. The scouts having reported on the 18th a large force of the enemy coming from Waverley and Arrow Rock, Colonel Davis went forward with eight companies of cavalry and a section of artillery towards Milford, to turn his left and rear, while Major Marshall was sent with ten companies of horse to turn his right and rear. The movement was successful. The enemy, finding himself in presence of a large force, surrendered, to the number of thirteen hundred men, including three colonels and fifty-one officers, with seventy-three wagons loaded with powder and stores, five hundred horses, and one thousand stand of arms. This was a heavy blow to Price, who had been anxiously expecting these supplies. Meantime General Prentiss, with some companies of the Third Missouri cavalry and of Bridge's sharpshooters, attacked and defeated a Confederate force at Mount Zion, Boone County, December 27th and 28th. The Union loss was three killed and ten wounded. The Confederate power in Missouri was soon after much weakened by the withdrawal of McCulloch's force; and a few stringent measures of General Halleck settled affairs there.


Affairs in Western Virginia.-General Rosecrans.-Oppression by General Wise.Population of Western Virginia.-The Confederate Troops.-Gauley Bridge.-Kanawha Expedition.- Rosecrans's Command.-Proclamation. -General Lee.-Elk River-Cheat Mountain.-General Reynolds.-His Command.-Carnifex Ferry.— The Battle.-General Benham.-Retreat of the Enemy.-Dogwood Gap.-Big Sewall.-General Floyd.-General Reynolds.-Green River.-Enemy's Loss.-Chapmanville.—Gauley Bridge.—Guyandotte.-Romney.-Camp Alleghany.

THE state of affairs in Western Virginia when General McClellan was ordered to the command of the Potomac Department was favorable for the National cause. Brigadier-General Rosecrans had succeeded to the command of the Department of the Ohio. General Wise was in command of the Confederates, occupying the line of the Kanawha, and had conducted his operations in such a manner as greatly to aid the development of the Union sentiment of that section, the population of which, as per census of 1860, was as follows:

[blocks in formation]

For weeks General Wise kept his guerrillas scouring the counties

of Kanawha and Jackson, seizing all the cattle and horses of Union men, and pretending to buy them of disunion men. These cattle and horses he sent to the east, until there were very few good animals left. Other counties fared but little better. He burned nearly every bridge in the valley except the fine suspension bridge across Elk River, which he ordered to be cut down and fired. These and similar proceedings had produced great dissatisfaction even among those who regarded secession favorably. In this state of affairs, General Cox advanced against Wise, at Gauley Bridge, July 26th. As soon as the Union scouts were soen, intelligence was conveyed to Wise, who beat a precipitate retreat, leaving behind one thousand five hundred muskets, a large lot of ammunition, tents, and other camp equipage. In his retreat he burned all the bridges on the road, and fell back on a position at White Sulphur Springs, eighteen miles above Gauley River. His force was about three thousand five hundred badly-equipped men. Colonel Tyler, of the Seventh Ohio, joined Cox on the same day. and the two corps were united.

Meantime General Rosecrans was at Grafton, on his way to take command of the Kanawha expedition. Cheat Mountain Pass, beyond Huttonville, and the route at "Red House," by which the remnant of Garnett's division escaped, were strongly fortified and occupied; a detachment was left at Cheat River Pass, on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad; the two railroads were guarded, and the remainder of the available force in Western Virginia was concentrated and precipitated on the rebels in the Kanawha region.

On the 12th of September, the enemy, nine thousand strong, with eight to twelve pieces of artillery, under command of General R. E. Lee, advanced by the Huntersville pike, on Elk Water, held by a brigade of Indiana troops, under General Joseph J. Reynolds. Our advanced pickets gradually fell back to our main picket station, two companies of the Seventeenth Indiana, under Colonel Hascall, checking the enemy's advance at the Point Mountain turnpike, and then falling back on the regiment, which occupied a very advanced position on our right front, and which was now ordered in. The enemy threw into the woods on our left front three regiments, which made their way to the right and rear of Cheat Mountain, took a position on the road leading to Huttonville, broke the telegraph wire, and cut off Reynolds's communication with a regiment of Indiana cavalry on Cheat Summit. Simultaneously another force of the enemy, of about equal strength, advanced by the Staunton pike in front of Cheat Mountain, and threw two regiments to the right and rear of Cheat Mountain, which united with the three regiments from the other column of the enemy. (The two posts, Cheat Summit and Elk Water, are seven miles apart by a bridle-path over the mountains, and eighteen by the wagon-road vid Hattonville; Cheat Mountain pass, the former head-quarters of the brigade, being at the foot of the mountain, ten miles from the summit.) The enemy, advancing towards the pass, by which he might possibly have obtained the rear or left of Elk Water, was met there by three companies of the Thirteenth Indiana, ordered up for that purpose, and by one company of the Fourteenth Indiana, from the summit. These

four companies engaged and gallantly held in check greatly superior numbers of the enemy, foiled him in his attempt to obtain the rear or left of Elk Water, and threw him into the rear and right of Cheat Mountain-the companies retiring to the pass at the foot of the moun


The enemy, about five thousand strong, were closed in on Cheat Summit. So matters rested at dark on the 12th, with heavy forces in front, and in plain sight of both posts, communication cut off, and the supply train for the mountain, loaded with provisions, which were needed, waiting for an opportunity to pass up the road. Under such circumstances, General Reynolds, resolving to force a communication with Cheat Mountain, ordered the Thirteenth Indiana to cut their way, if necessary, by the mail-road, and the greater part of the Third Ohio and Second Virginia to do the same by the path, the two commands starting at three o'clock. This was effected, and communication opened.

Meantime General Lee advanced on Elk Water, when one rifled ten-pound Parrott gun, from Loomis's battery, was run to the front three-fourths of a mile, and delivered a few shots at the enemy, which caused him to retire. He renewed the attack early on the 14th, and was met by the Fifteenth Indiana with such vigor that he withdrew ten miles. The result of these affairs was a loss of one hundred of the enemy killed, including Colonel John A. Washington, aide-de-camp to General Lee (the same who was arrested by John Brown at the capture of Harper's Ferry, in 1859), and about twenty prisoners. The Unionists lost nine killed.

Early in September General Wise was encamped at Dogwood Gap, a few miles from Carnifex Ferry, on the Gauley River, which was held by General Floyd, with five thousand men and sixteen guns, intrenched in a very strong position on the top of the mountain, around the southern base of which winds the Gauley River, forming a semicircle, in the centre of which is Gauley Bridge. His rear and both flanks were thus perfectly protected. The front was masked by a thick wood and jungle. General Rosecrans, on the 10th of September, after a march of seventeen and a half miles with Benham's brigade, reached the front of this position. The Ohio Tenth Regiment, of General Benham's brigade, was in advance, and drove a strong detachment of the enemy out of camp east of the position, the site of which was unknown. Shortly afterwards his scouts, consisting of four companies, suddenly discovered themselves in the face of a parapet battery, and a long line of palisades for riflemen, when the battle opened fiercely. The remainder of the Tenth and Thirteenth Ohio were brought into action successively by General Benham, and the Twelfth afterwards by Captain Hartsuff, whose object was an armed reconnoissance. The enemy played upon the National forces with musketry, rifles, canister, and shell, causing some casualties. Colonel Lytle led several companies against the battery, when he was brought down by a shot in the leg. Colonel Smith's Thirteenth Ohio engaged the rebels on the left, and Colonel Lowe's Twelfth Ohio directly in the front. Lowe fell dead at the head of his regiment in the hottest fire, by a ball in the forehead.

« PreviousContinue »