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seemed to discover them about the same time. | threatening the enemy's extreme right flank, For a few moments there was a resumption of but in some way he crossed the road and came the sharp but scattered firing, then suddenly up a little to the enemy's left, in the very hotthere came a terrific crash of musketry, and a test fire. He was leading his regiment up fineperfect storm of lead. The enemy had opened ly, conspicuous at their head, alike for his fine along his whole front. The remainder of the soldierly appearance and the consummate galTenth was hurried up to support the four ad- lantry he displayed, when, while waving his vance companies, and Gen. Benham, who was sword to cheer them on, he was struck fair in well up with the advance, sent back orders for the centre of the forehead by a musket ball, and the Thirteenth, Colonel Smith, and the Twelfth, fell headlong from his horse. He died a solColonel Lowe, to come rapidly forward. Mean-dier's death, bravely, gloriously leading his men time, our men stood their ground manfully, and returned the fire with spirit. The angry peals of musketry, sharp as peals of heavy thunder, grew fiercer, till the sound became one tremendous, incessant roar; while speedily, at least one full battery of heavy field-pieces sent in their swelling, deep-toned notes to mingle with the crashing rattle of the small arms. Fortunately, neither the artillery nor infantry of the enemy fired with much accuracy at this period of the engagement, and though the poor Tenth boys suffered severely, yet, under the partial cover of the trees, their loss was far less than would have been expected from the tremendous fire that was directed upon them.
Col. Smith's Thirteenth now came in on the left of the road, but a very short distance behind the rear of the Tenth, and falling over toward Floyd's right flank, opened out in fine style, the rebels continuing a heavy fire of musketry, rifles, shells and canister. In the very thickest of this firing, Cǝl. Lytle dashed forward toward the natural glacis in front of the enemy's works, leading up several of his companies, apparently with the intention of attempting to storm the intrenchments. As they emerged from the cover of the woods the enemy's fire was of course concentrated upon them, and as they began to reach the glacis, Colonel Lytle received a severe wound in the leg, while the same shot fatally wounded his horse. The poor animal plunged frantically forward, reared up, and threw the wounded Colonel upon the field, then, in his death agony, gave one final plunge clear over the parapet, and fell inside the enemy's works. The gallant Colonel could find no refuge on the field except a deserted house, right between the two fires. There he lay, during the whole progress of the battle, with cannon balls crashing through and around the frail building which constituted his only shelter.
The Tenth, who had borne themselves nobly thus far, discouraged at the loss of their gallant Colonel, now became somewhat scattered in the woods, though they held their position with tenacity, and kept up an incessant firing.
Meantime, Col. Lowe, who had been some distance behind, came up with his Twelfth, and was led by Adjutant-General Hartsuff into a position in the woods, on the left of the road, near the spot where the Tenth had first received the fire. It was the intention that from this point Col. Lowe should work his way up under cover, and form on Col. Smith's right, now |
VOL. III.-Doc. 12
forward; and he would himself have desired no other end for a life that of late had been too much embittered by the carpings of the ignorant and the sneers of the malevolent.
Adjutant-General Hartsuff now got McMullen's howitzer battery into position, and it began playing on the redoubt with considerable vigor.
The armed reconnoissance was rapidly developing into a severe and general engagement. Gen. Rosecrans' orders had been positive that nothing more than a reconnoissance should be attempted, but Gen. Benham had been unable, on account of difficulty in the transmission of orders, to arrange his brigade in the way which he believed would have at once carried the works, and support for the regiments, already engaged, became necessary. Capt. Snyder's battery was hurried up, and took a position to the right of the road, commanding the entire front of the enemy's works. The batteries, combined with the effective support of the infantry, soon silenced at least two of the rebels' guns, while they began to serve the others much more slowly.
Meantime, Gen. Rosecrans, who had been off on the hill under the hottest fire, on the right of the road, (the enemy's left,) directing the movements, and attempting to gain some idea of the fortifications, despatched Adjutant-General Hartsuff to bring up the German brigade. This, together with Scammon's, which was held as reserve, had been standing, drawn up in line of battle, in the old camp from which the rebel regiment had been driven when the fight began. The battle had now been raging over an hour, (beginning at half-past three o'clock in the afternoon;) large numbers of the wounded had been carried back to the hospital; it was known that Col. Lowe was killed, and it was also reported that Col. Lytle was shot dead, and that his regiment was utterly cut to pieces; straggling soldiers had become separated from their regiments, and, as always occurs with a few in any army, in a fight under cover, had worked their way out of danger, and were sneakingly attempting to evade the disgrace of their retreat by enormous stories of the fearful slaughter, from the very midst of which they had so gallantly escaped; the terrific firing, which some experienced military men pronounce the heaviest they ever heard; the mystery of the position which nobody could understand; the news of Lowe's death, and the uncertainty about Lytle's fate, had all combined to create & gen
eral feeling of depression, and a conviction that the battle was going against us.
he had resolved to countermand the permission to attempt it. Prudently, perhaps, he was unwilling to risk so many lives in the dreadful uncertainty of storming a well-defended work without a more thorough reconnoissance; and the brigade was therefore divided. Four comwere sent far up on the enemy's left, where they charged up almost to the parapet that there constituted the rebel defence, and had to be recalled by the bugle signal. They poured a deadly volley, and brought back the most accurate information concerning the main rebel redoubt.
Moor joined Smith, on the enemy's extreme right, while Porschner, greatly to his disappointment, could not get into action at all.
Such was the prevailing feeling, when Adjutant-Gen. Hartsuff came galloping up, apparently as calm as when ordering a detail from a regiment for guard duty, and announced that Col. McCook's brigade was to be moved for-panies of McCook's own regiment, the Ninth, ward to storm the intrenchments, and that he claimed the privilege of leading them over the works. Could you but have seen that German brigade as this announcement was made! Col. McCook, wild with delight, dashed up and down the lines, told the men what they had to do, and demanded if they were ready to do it. And then such a volley of cheers as rose in deafening response to the inquiry, swelling over and for a moment fairly drowning the roar of battle, while the delighted soldiers waved their hats and tossed them in the air, threw their arms wildly about, and seemed fairly frantic with joy. I have seen many intensely excited assemblages, have watched the inspiring influence of the most distinguished orators on the most excitable audiences, but never have I witnessed any scene that would compare with that. McCook dashing furiously along the lines, shouting as he went, in a tone that rang like a trumpet over the field, that he had tried them before, and he knew what they would do; that he and the Adjutant-General would lead them up, and that they would carry those works if the ditch had to be filled full of dead Dutchmen before they could get over; that the traitors would soon see what his Dutchmen could do, and thus working the enthusiastic fellows up, till, in the patriotic frenzy of the moment, they would have stormed any thing; the "Dutchmen" yelling, and waving their swords, and clashing their muskets, and flinging up their hats; Hartsuff, calm as ever, but with a look that spoke his delight far better than words, already galloping to the head of the column, the brigade dashing off at an impetuous double quick; Colonel Porschner clamoring because he was compelled to make his regiment wait for its proper place, and his men starting off as if they intended to dispute the van with the Ninth; Porschner shouting in excuse, that they wanted to fight some too, and McCook shouting back that he knew they would, and that that was just what he wanted them for; Col. Mcor riding proudly at the head of his regiment, his grim face wreathed in unwonted smiles, and Hartsuff galloping far ahead as the brigade came hurrying down, the whole scene, which occupied but a moment, yet cannot be described in an hour, was, to many of us, at least, the most exciting and inspiring sight of a lifetime.
We waited impatiently for the assault; but, alas! as the brigade came down, they were met by peremptory orders from Gen. Rosecrans. He had been examining the plan of storming in front, right over the principal redoubt of the enemy, which Hartsuff had originated and begged authority to carry out, and
And now, while the Germans were pushing hard on the enemy's left, and the other regiments continued to hold their former positions, Colonel Smith, with the Thirteenth Ohio, had worked clear around on the right, till he was ready, with a short rush, inside, indeed, of short musket range, to storm the irregular parapet that was found to defend the right flank. He had his men lying close under the brow of the hill, and saw to it personally that they lay there and did not expose themselves unnecessarily while firing. A single rush over a short exposed hill, and ten minutes' hand-to-hand fighting would, in Col.. Smith's opinion, have ended the matter. The fight had now raged between three and four hours. It was already so dark that it was almost impossible to distinguish the forms of men in the intrenchments; the men had been up since four o'clock in the morning, and had made a rapid march of eighteen miles, besides doing severe duty in scouting and skirmishing up and down steep hills before going into the engagement. To continue it further would have been folly, and General Rosecrans therefore ordered the troops to fall back on our lines. So ended the Battle of Connifex Ferry." Our regiments were posted in advantageous positions, either for resuming the attack in the morning, or for resisting a rebel sortie during the night. The troops lay on their arms all night, some of them within but a hundred or two hundred yards of the enemy's works. What would be done in the morning was uncertain. It was known that General Rosecrans had not desired a general engagement without careful reconnoissance; and it was therefore presumed that the morning would be spent in acquiring a thorough knowledge of the rebel position, and that the works would be carried by storm in the afternoon. But the rebels relieved us of all doubts. When the morning dawned, it was discovered that Gen. Floyd, terrified by the furious attack at once on his centre and both flanks, and fearing that he would either be surrounded or cut off from retreat toward Lewisburg, had evacuated his camp during the night, leaving large quantities of ammunition, arms, camp stores, and equipage behind him, had crossed the Gauley, breaking down the
bridge, and completely destroying the ferry-boat | roughest road which had yet obstructed the behind him, and was probably making the best of his opportunities for getting back to Lewisburg. By six o'clock in the morning the old Stars and Stripes were floating over Floyd's head-tains. After many tribulations, we finally waded quarters, in the camp which was to have been proof against "the world, the flesh, and the devil," but which couldn't resist the onset of the Yankees; while the rebel "stars and bars" were borne in triumph, beneath the National flag, to the Federal camp beyond our lines of attack. Guards were at once placed over the rebel camp, scouts were sent out to mark the course of the enemy, and the exhausted troops were permitted to rest.
I have given above, too tediously, I know, but only, like the Scotch preacher, because “I hadn't time to make it shorter," a simple narrative of the events connected with the battle, and the rout of the ex-Secretary of War. Explanations, comments, personal details must all be deferred, and I may simply add that our loss was far less than would have been expected from the length of the engagement, and the incessant roll of artillery and musketry. We have fourteen killed, eighty wounded, (mostly but flesh wounds,) and seven missing. The enemy's loss is not known, but one of our own men captured at Cross Lanes and recaptured here, states that it took the train with killed and wounded an hour and twenty minutes to pass the hospital where he was confined, on their retreat.
Floyd himself is known to have been wounded in the arm-some of the prisoners say severely -during the action. AGATE.
NEW YORK "TIMES" NARRATIVE.
CAMP SCOTT, NEAR CARNIFEX FERRY, Gauley River, Nicholas Co., Va., September 12th, 1861.
march. It was pitchy dark, and the route lay through narrow defiles, and across the turbulent and rugged channel of the Big Birch, which followed the eccentric deviations of the mounBig Birch for the last time, and the harassed and wearied troops plunged headlong into friendly meadows in Big Birch flats. I suppose we crossed the river a dozen times in two hours, often at places which were uncomfortably deep for the infantry. It had been intended to bivouac at the foot of the mountain; but we found no camping-ground, not even the side of a hill upon which a soldier could recline with the hope of remaining stationary till he could go to sleep.
Luckily, we were permitted to rest our weary bones on Sunday, while our scouting parties scoured the mountains and glens, in pursuit of rebels who had fled from the valley where we encamped, as our vanguard debouched from the ravines on the east side of the river. These were the first indications we had of the presence of a watchful enemy, but during the day our scouts saw many evidences of them. Toward evening one of their wild-cat cavalry captains was killed while endeavoring, with his party, to pick off some of our men. We had now reached a country seamed with by-roads, blind paths, and mountain passes. It was also infested with bushwhackers; and in order to stop up all avenues by which it would be possible for the enemy to strike our lines in the rear or centre, the general and his engineering corps found it necessary to make minute reconnoissances.
Monday morning we scaled Powell Mountain, the loftiest summit in Western Virginia, evidences of a receding enemy not far in advance constantly increasing. At the topmost ridge we found a camp, which had been occupied by a considerable detachment the previous night. By hard pumping of women at a farm-house on the road, we learned that the party were part of Floyd's army, and that the rebel leader himself was waiting for us with a powerful force, intrenched near Cross Lanes, a point eight miles below Summersville, on Gauley River.
A succinct account of the battle of Carnifex Ferry, on the 10th inst.; the retreat of Floyd and his army; the capture of his camp equipage and large quantities of army stores, ammunition, muskets, swords, and the personal bag gage of Floyd and his officers, on the morning of the 11th inst., was forwarded by telegraph from this camp to the Associated Press of the country. Presuming that the tidings reached you, it will be consistent to bring up the history of the expedition from the point from whence I wrote my last communication to you. The incidents of the march were much more interest-swer a plain question, was interrogated. Most ing to us than a sketch of them could be to your readers, and I will, therefore, hurry over the ground currente calamo, until we reach the battle-ground.
The column moved deliberately over Kreitz's Mountain, a massive spur of the divide range, which is subdivided by the beautiful channel of Little Birch River. The road was very good, with a few exceptions; but in consequence of many delays, without apparent necessity, we were detained on the mountain until nightfall, and were thus obliged to stagger down the
The General was evidently perplexed by confused accounts respecting the topography of the country, and the position of the enemy. Every woman or child, of sufficient intelligence to an
of the men of the mountains seemed to have fled at the approach of the hostile armies, either to escape impressment or to join the rebel armies, and it was extremely difficult to find a guide who knew any thing about the country a mile from the highway. The few ignorami, who were ocasionally picked up by our scouts, appeared utterly impotent to satisfy the General's inquiries, and were usually dismissed with benevolent injunctions to refrain from imparting notice of our movements to the enemy. A chatty old woman, at a cabin on the mountain,
assured us that Floyd had boasted of his ability | erroneous supposition that the enemy was forto repulse any force we were prepared to bring tified below Cross Lanes, and it was confirmed against him; and the old dame seasoned her by ignorant or treacherous inhabitants; but gossip by impressing us with the fact that the the lad relieved us of our anxious embarrassrebels were in a mighty strong, ugly place." ment. From him we learned that Floyd was The old crone spoke upon hearsay testimony, on the cliffs overlooking Carnifex Ferry, and but she was right. Our inferences, from reports that a mile further up the road approaching that Floyd had five or six thousand men and him, there was another fork, leading among strongly-intrenched batteries, were justified. the hills to Cross Lanes. He innocently sugOur vanguard debouched into Muddlet hy bot-gested its importance in a military point of toms at twilight, and frightened a detachment of rebels, several hundred strong, from a bivouac not far ahead. Our lads gave chase, but the rascals scampered into the woods so rapidly that our long-range rifles could not be brought to bear upon them successfully. Our column bivouacked in the fine meadows of Muddlethy, and the troops fell asleep, expecting to go into battle before another sunset. They were not disappointed.
view, and it was deemed important to make a thorough reconnoissance of the premises. Heavy columns were immediately deployed in line of battle on the hills in the rear, and strong bodies of skirmishers enveloped the ridges in front, when General Benham was ordered to move on down the road. Nearly two hours were thus occupied, when Benham sent back word that the reconnoissance was effected to the point then desired, and the track was clear. General Rosecrans immediately went to the
tion of the ferry. It turned out that our skirmishers had driven in the rebel pickets, and in their eager chase had disturbed a considerable body of the enemy under Colonel Reynolds, who were encamped on the hill, not a mile and a half from the forks of the road where we had been halting so long. The news was commu
Our vanguard was in motion again next morning at four o'clock, and at six we were sweep-front, to inquire into sharp firing in the direcing rapidly onward to Summersville, eight miles distant. As our scouters ascended from a little valley to the crest of a mound, which looks down into the village, a party of mounted rebels were discovered flying down the road. A few wild shots were sent after them, without effect, excepting to increase their speed. We were now informed that McCoslin's Thirty-nicated to the troops, who received it with insixth Virginia regiment had retreated toward the rebel camp on Gauley River scarcely six hours before. Shortly after our column halted, a party of Stewart's Hoosier Cavalry captured a brace of rebel dragoons, after an exciting chase down the Charleston road.
We now advanced with extreme caution. We had no definite information concerning the rebel position, and were liable to fall into an ambuscade or masked battery. Benham's skirmishers flanked the road on either side, sweeping every foot of ground, and scouts were sent forward to scour the jungle. Five or six miles below Summersville, Schaumberg's Chicago Dragoons and a sinall detachment of infantry were sent through the woods to the left, to destroy a ferry-boat in Gauley River, and were executing the order, when they were greeted with a shower of balls from the cliffs on the opposite shore. Colonel McCook brought up a small detachment from the Ninth Ohio, and poured a volley into the rocks, which scattered the bushwhackers. Our dragoons had one man wounded in the leg, and one rebel was knocked over.
spiring shouts. It was now perfectly obvious to all that we were about to engage the enemy. The men braced themselves manfully for it, and displayed splendid spirit. The Irish regiment, under Colonel Lytle, who had the right of the column, having already snuffed the enemy, pressed on with fiery zeal, with the gallant Smith and his Thirteenth Ohio on their heels. The remainder of Benham's brigade, the Twelfth Ohio, under Colonel Lowe, was halted at the foot of the hill, to guard the cross-road, while McCook and Scammon were moving their columus toward the front by another route, over the ridges.
General Benham now asked permission to press upon the enemy with his brigade, and General Rosecrans gave his consent to a demonstration for reconnoissance. Benham clapped spurs to his horse, wagging his head with obvious satisfaction, and promising a satisfactory inquiry into Mr. Floyd's arrangements, which have been so diligently concealed. Intense excitement prevailed. Every moment seemed an hour. Those in advance were earnest and eager. Those halted in the rear were impatient at their detention, and now and then a shot or two, heard in advance, increased their vexation.
From thence, not a bridle-path, ravine, or neighboring cliff was passed, without a thorough examination in advance. At about one o'clock the column halted at forks of the road-one branch leading to Cross Lanes and Gauley It was precisely at a quarter to four o'clock. Bridge, the other to Lewisburgh via Carnifex in the afternoon when the commander-in-chief Ferry. An hour before halting here, the com- rode to the top of an adjacent hill to make an 'mander-in-chief had no knowledge of the geo- observation. His staff were clustered about graphical position of Floyd; but an intelligent him waiting orders, and our artillery was lamountaineer lad, who had been in the rebel boring up the hill, when our attention was atcamp, opportunely made his appearance to en-tracted by quick, sharp firing in the forests, lighten him. Most of us had labored under an just ahead of us. Almost simultaneously, and
before we could interchange remarks, our very souls were thrilled by a terrific and prolonged roar of musketry. Suspicion flashed through our minds that the gallant First brigade had fallen into an ambuscade or masked battery. Language is inadequate to depict our intense anxiety. The General's deportment, though firm, demonstrated the terrible emotions of his own brave soul. We were all in agony of suspense. But scarce an instant lapsed when, with a long sigh of grateful relief, we heard the swift volleys of our own gallant lads. We knew by the crack of their rifles that they were not overwhelmed or dismayed by the terrific fire that had thundered in the dismal ravine where they struggled. And now the deep detonation was swelled into proportions of awful grandeur by the cannon's opening roar. Their thunderous voice rolled in magnificent volume among the crags of Gauley until their confused reverberations died away in contending echoes among the mountains. We could see nothing of the battle, not even smoke, but we knew by the infernal din that our battalions were swarming about the enemy. Only the tenth and eighth companies of the Thirteenth regiment had yet gone forward. Lowe's Twelfth Ohio had been ordered up by General Roseerans, and it now came charging up the road at double quick, its brave colonel at the head, and as the lads raised the crest of the hill they saluted the General, who was waiting to direct their commander, with a splendid volley of cheers. The Twelfth plunged into the jungle on the left, Adjutant-General Hartsuff leading Lowe toward his position. As the bold fellows rushed into the woods they flung knapsacks and blankets desperately into the field, and pitched forward to regain their places. Hartsuff now came back, and, by order of the General, sent forward McMullen's howitzers and Snyder's two field-pieces, which plunged up the road with thundering racket. Ammunition wagons lumbered along heavily, teamsters furiously lashing the horses into their utmost speed. Staff officers dashed hither and thither with desperate speed, leading on columns, according to emergency, or carrying orders to the commanders of regiments or brigades. The tout ensemble was a splendid spectacle of excitement and eager haste to dash into battle. Not a man looked upon it whose heart was not assured of victory. I doubt if there was a suspicion among the men that they could be repulsed, and they were not.
But every thing yet remained enveloped in mystery. No tidings came up from the field. General Rosecrans, having made all necessary disposition to protect his rear, advanced to the front. Pushing down the ferry road, which was densely shaded by masses of undergrowth and heavy forests, we still saw no battle; but the terrific uproar, which seemed almost within the cast of a pebble, and the hurtling bullets cutting the twigs overhead, was proof that the enemy was close at hand. Directly a gleam of
light from a clearing in front, with a long stream of fire blazing along the works of the enemy, showed where they were. The General took position near the battery, but from that time until the last column groped out of the woods in thick darkness, he was in the midst of the combat, directing the general movements of the division. Benhain was also in the front of battle, watching his brigade with reckless exposure of his person, encouraging and emboldening the men by his fearlessness. Meantime McCook's brigade of Germans had formed in line of battle on the crest of Rebel Hill, and Scammon's little brigade was marching in to form behind him to protect our left. I had returned from the front with an order to Scammon to send a detachment to try the enemy's right, and Major R. B. Hayes, of the Twenty-Third Ohio, dashed off through the forests with four companies.
The wounded were now being brought in rapidly, telling of carnage. It was, perhaps, six o'clock when Colonel Lowe was announced among the killed. The firing continued with intensified violence on our side, but it appeared to slacken on the part of the enemy. But the din was still terrific, showing that the rebels intended to make us pay for victory. The sun was rapidly sinking when orders arrived to forward the Dutch brigade. It was my grand satisfaction to be present and witness the magnificent reception of the order. Colonel R. Ľ. McCook, acting brigadier, in his citizen's dress, stood in his stirrups, and snatching his slouched hat from his head, roared out, "Forward, my bully Dutch! We'll go over their d-d intrenchments, if every man dies the other side." The usually phlegmatic Teutons, inflamed with passionate excitement, exploded with terrific cheers. Old, gray-bearded fellows threw up their hats with frenzied violence, and the gallant brigade shot forward at double-quick, shaking the road with their ponderous step. The scene was magnificently exciting. Not a man witnessed it whose very soul was not inflamed, and as the gallant McCook dashed furiously up and down his lines, shouting to his solid Dutchmen, no man doubted that, if they ever got orders to storm the battery, they would go over the parapet with resistless power.
As the column deployed into the road, Capt. Hartsuff volunteered to lead the column into position, when three thousand Dutchmen again yelled themselves hoarse, and McCook spurred onward to the front to reconnoitre his post. The brigade was not permitted to storm, but the Ninth Ohio, McCook's own regiment, and Colonel Moore's Twenty-eighth, had opportunity to show their steadiness under a galling fire. The Third German regiment was detained in the rear, and did not get into action at all, but its colonel, Porschner, went into the storm of bullets to see how the battle raged.
As darkness approached the fire slackened. The rebels seemed to be getting weary or out of ammunition, and our generals were endeav