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oring to get their men into position for a general assault. But profound darkness set in before arrangements were completed, and it became absolutely necessary to withdraw our troops. It was nine o'clock at night, however, before we retired to bivouac, under the very batteries of the rebels, intending to carry them by storm before sunrise next morning. But the enemy did not wait for us, and our triumph was only half a victory.
intending to charge the battery, and succeeded in getting within little more than a hundred yards of the rebel parapet before he was discovered. A terrific fire opened upon him, and his four gallant companies, who followed him with frantic cheers, suffered severely. A ball went through his left leg, and wounded his horse, which became unmanageable, and threw him. The horse dashed over the rebel intrenchments, and was killed, and the gallant We will now return to detail the engagement Lytle himself was assisted into a house not a more minutely. When Gen. Benham went to hundred feet off, and heard the crash of cannon the front, an armed reconnoissance of the rebel balls through it and over it until the battle position, not a general action, was intended. ended. Color-Sergeant Fitzgibbons, who was We knew nothing of the position-not even behind the colonel when he fell, had his right where it was located, nor any thing of the top- hand shattered, but gathering the Stars and ographical features of the massively broken Stripes in his left, he waved them again enmountains about it. Besides, the men had thusiastically, and was torn to pieces by a round marched seventeen miles and a half, and many shot. Sergeant O'Connor snatched the falling of them were harassed and wearied with scout-colors, and again held them aloft, when he was ing and skirmishing all day over the hills. The also struck by a ball in his left hand, but he whole column, in fact, had been astir since dropped behind a log, and kept the colors flying three o'clock in the morning, and were obvi- until exhaustion compelled him to drop them. ously unfit for battle. Capt. Hartsuff strenu- His captain, Stephen McGroarty, as gallant a ously objected to a general engagement, and fellow as ever wore sword, snatched them up earnestly recommended that the army should again, and while rolling them up, ordered his go into camp and refresh themselves with food men to retire to cover, and in bringing up the and sleep-with the understanding that an im- rear a ball struck him in the right breast, and mediate reconnoissance was imperatively neces- went through him without disabling him, until after he got out of the field with his flag. Every man of his company stuck to him with unswerving fidelity.
The Irish lads continued to stick to the front with splendid determination, but they were sadly cut up. Father O'Higgins, their chaplain, was with them constantly, and Lieut.-Col. Korff, Major Burke, Capt. R. M. Moore, and Capt. Annis displayed conspicuous gallantry. Meantime, Col. Smith worked off to the extreme right of the rebels under a furious fusilade of rifles and musketry, and was laboriously engaged in scaling a precipice which protected the rebel position in that direction. It was twilight before he got into position for an assault, but his men lay on their bellies in the thicket playing away at the enemy not a hundred yards from them. The order for an assault did not come, and the brave Thirteenth had wasted its energies and showed their pluck for nothing. The conduct of Col. Smith and his regiment was a theme of admiration. The colonel himself was brave to a fault, but cool and skilful as a veteran.
General Benham pushed onward with this understanding, when the enemy's inside pickets were driven in by the Irish skirmishers. A few moments afterward, the rebels hearing his men in the ravine under their guns, let drive at them their first infernal volley along their whole line on the right. It is believed the rebels did not see our men at all, but fired at a venture into the jungle, at a range at which they had manifestly practised. But not a man of ours was hurt, and Floyd's precipitation had exposed his lines. Gen. Benham, Col. Lytle, and Col. Smith, however, were keeping a sharp lookout for surprises, the old General saying he would never be caught by a masked battery. The way was now described by rebel bullets, and the Tenth was deployed up the hill to the right, and the Thirteenth down the hill into the ravine to the left-Lytle and Smith each at the head of their regiments. Our batteries were still behind, and Lowe's Twelfth Ohio was some distance in the rear coming up slowly, so that the Tenth and Thirteenth had to support the enemy's fire a long time without The Twelfth Ohio had found their route imassistance. But they did it gallantly, and con- practicable, and their brave colonel carried tinued to advance until they got to the edge of them over a rugged route squarely into the the abatis in front of the enemy, where they front of the battle, and gave them an opporstood near the verge of the forest. In conse-tunity to do their share of duty. Colonel Lowe quence of the rugged and impracticable nature was encouraging and directing them in front, of the ground, the line of the Tenth was broken, when he was struck by a shot fairly in the cenand the right wing was separated from the centre of his forehead, and he fell dead without a tre. Col. Lytle could not see this on account groan. A moment afterward a charge of grape of the jungle, and Gen. Benham was directing mangled both his legs. a movement on the extreme left, when Lytle ordered the colors forward, and shouting "Follow, Tenth," he made a dash up the road,
I was not surprised that poor Lowe was killed. I anticipated his misfortune. He was unjustly and malignantly accused of cowardice
at Scarey, and he had said the sacrifice of his life was necessary to redeem his reputation. On his way to the field of Carnifex Ferry, he requested the chaplain of his regiment to take care of his property if his presentiments should be realized. He died where a soldier loves to die-in the thickest of the fight. Col. Lowe was an old citizen of Xenia, Ohio, where he was universally respected. He was not an educated military man, but he had the courage of a soldier. His remains have been forwarded to his family.
Snyder's two rified six-pounders and McMullen's batteries were planted in the road about two hundred yards in front of the main rebel battery, and were served rapidly and with considerable effect. Subsequently part of each was removed to the right. Capt. McMullen was finally struck down, but not seriously hurt. The rebel artillery was not regarded very formidable. The majority of their balls and shells went whistling and tearing through the tree-tops, making an infernal racket, and now and then a round shell would stop, in mid career, in the trunk of a tree and bury itself with a wicked crash. The cannon practice generally was not distinguished for scientific accuracy. The rebels finally got short of legitimate ammunition and played spelter canister upon us. Many of our shells did not explode at all, but occasionally one would scatter the rebels in every direction. But our lads rarely caught a glimpse of the Virginians. They kept close under cover, and made no unnecessary exposures. Even their gunners were exceedingly careful to keep out of the way, and not once did they attempt to display daring or to move from their position toward us.
At dusk McCook's brigade was ordered into position. The Ninth was carried around to the left of the rebel battery by Captain Hartsuff, to make a rush upon it under a flanking battery which had been discovered in the woods, on their extreme left, but which had not been served during the engagement. The bold fellows, under their colonel, pushed forward under a galling storm of musketry, and were about to dash headlong at the enemy under cover of darkness, when they were ordered back, after suffering a loss of one killed and ten wounded. The four companies, under Major Hayes, after infinite difficulty, scaling precipices and forcing their way through dense thickets of laurel and blackberry bushes,, had been halted in a ravine in front of the centre of the rebels' right wing, and they were afterward supported by the Twenty-eighth, under Colonel Moor. The former met with no casualties, though under fire. The latter pushed across the ravine, and extended the line up a precipitous hill, until the whole of the main front of the enemy was enveloped by our lines. He lost two killed and thirty-one wounded.
It was now pitchy dark. It was impossible to distinguish an object a yard from your eyes,
and it was so obviously unwise to storm the works in such dense obscurity that the General was compelled to withdraw the troops. They retired slowly and mad at their disappointment, and bivouacked, wearied and supperless, within musket range of the rebel front. It was nine o'clock at night when they got out of the forest where they had labored and fought unflinchingly five hours.
Our loss could not then be ascertained, and from the terrific nature of the firing, we supposed it very heavy. We were not a little astonished, and I need not say gratefully so, to learn from surgeons' and company reports that only fourteen were killed and one hundred and four wounded. Two of the latter have since died. Most of the wounds of those in hospital are merely flesh wounds, and with the exception of about a dozen they will all be able to join their companies within a month. You will remember that an armed reconnoissance was intended at first. How it became a battle will be explained by official reports from head-quarters. I do not understand it, and I must express my conviction that it was not wise to take the men into such a battle without a perfect reconnoissance, and especially when they were wearied with a march of seventeen and a half miles, and exhausted by scouting and skirmishing and loss of sleep. I cannot undertake to say who is responsible. I presume, however, that our men, manifesting so much ardor and steadiness, worked the action into a general battle and got in so deeply that to retire would have caused serious consequences. Many of our officers justify the battle on the theory that Floyd intended to run away from us from the first, and that had we delayed until morning we would have been chagrined to find that he had evacuated.
But to proceed with the narrative. After our troops were withdrawn, they were posted to prevent any attempt of the enemy to surprise us, and to prevent the retreat of Floyd if possible. But our total ignorance of the country, and the intense darkness of the night, made it impossible to secure all the avenues of retreat. General Rosecrans himself was up all night long, taking care of his position with jealous and anxious solicitude; but notwithstanding his watchfulness, his wily and cowardly foe slipped from his grasp.
Our troops expected to storm the position and take it by sunrise, but before that time it was discovered vacant. Floyd had slipped off after our troops were withdrawn. He began the evacuation as soon as he discovered that we did not intend to storm him, and by three o'clock the next morning he put the deep and turbulent Gauley, and some miles of rugged road, between himself and our disgusted army. The wily General sunk the flats and destroyed the trestle bridge by which he had secured his retreat, and we were left on this side, profanely cursing our luck.
Another victory, but not a triumph, had
been won by our arms; for surely it was a victory for our army to drive six regiments of rebels, with more powerful batteries than we had in the fight, from a most formidable natural position, strengthened by palisades and intrenchments. We know Floyd had six regiments, besides two companies of artillery and considerable cavalry. But only six of his guns were served the remainder being reserved in position on his left, to protect him against a flank movement. I don't presume that the rebels believe it, but I know that we had not exceeding 4,000 men, all told, in action.
Our troops immediately took possession of Floyd's camp, in which he had left his own personal baggage, that of his officers, and their parade stores, the baggage and blankets of private soldiers, large numbers of muskets, squirrel guns, powder, lead, cartridges, forage, large quantities of commissary stores, and some | horses and wagons.
He took nothing with him, in fact, excepting his guns, part of his tents, and rations sufficient to carry him out of our way. It is ascertained that he threw at least a portion of his cannon into the Gauley, and a detachment of troops are now fishing for it. It was apparent that he met with infinite difficulty in crossing the river, and he lost some of his men by drowning. We have ascertained that the trestle bridge which he crossed was only completed the morning before battle. It seems fair to infer, therefore, that he expected a drubbing.
The plunder of his camp, which is various, will be divided among the troops. Almost every officer in camp has been supplied with a rebel trunk. Colonel Smith has Floyd's trunk, his hat, and a pretty little haversack inscribed with the name of the famous J. B., &c.
We do not know how much the enemy suffered. It is presumed that they lost considerably. One of their runaway negroes says they had fifty killed and many wounded. One of our recaptured friends of Tyler's regiment says they carried wagon loads of dead and wounded across the Gauley. A regard for truth prompts me to say that we found no dead within their lines, which goes to display their cowardice more conspicuously.
The conduct of our gallant Buckeye troopsfor they were exclusively from Ohio-is a theme of admiration. With the exception of a few who straggled from their commands after filing a few rounds, the lads displayed not only the most eager courage, but "staying" qualities which would have delighted veterans. The generals were delighted with them. The Irish, the Germans, and the native-born emulated each other in the combat. The gallant Irish of the Tenth, and their daring leader, the chivalrous Lytle, were probably the most conspicuous in the field because they had the front by right of seniority. But they nobly established their claim to the post of honor. Many instances of personal pluck are related of them, but I have not time to relate them now. The regiment
lost eight killed and about forty wounded-but few of them severely. I cannot understand why they lost no more under the furious fire which they met from the commencement to the close of the fight.
The Thirteenth was equally distinguished for pluck, dashing spirit, and sturdy endurance. Their colonel, W. S. Smith, displayed qualities which stamp him an able soldier. No man was braver. Lieut.-Col. Mason had his forefinger shot off, but enveloped it in a handkerchief and remained on the field. Major Hawkins also proved himself a brave and efficient soldier. I have already described the operations of the noble Dutch brigade, and of the artillery. The officers of each regiment exhibited coolness and steadfastness under the most trying circumstances. Col. McCook and Lieut.-Col. Sandershoff, of the Ninth; Col. Moor and Lieut.-Col. Becker, of the Twenty-eighth; Col. Porschner, of the Forty-seventh; Major R. B. Hayes, of the Twenty-third; Lieut.-Col. Korff and Major" Burke, of the Tenth, and many company officers, distinguished themselves by their bravery and conduct. Nearly all the troops actually engaged are residents of Cincinnati. The blood of the Queen City may be relied upon. The 66 Bloody Tenth," known as the Irish regiment, is composed of six companies of Irishmen, two of Germans, and two of Americans. The personal courage of Gen. Rosecrans and Gen. Benham was conspicuous throughout. Indeed, I think they unwisely exposed themselves. The troops knew they were game as eagles, and there was no necessity for risking their lives in the very front of battle, two hundred yards from a battery which constantly vomited iron upon them.
That you may more thoroughly comprehend the formidable character of the rebel position, I transmit a rough outline, kindly sketched for me by Gen. Benham. Lest you cannot publish a diagram, I will describe it as briefly as possible.
The defences consist of a parapet battery, three hundred and fifty feet in the front and centre, flanked by breastworks of logs laid in direct line with the front, and curving back until they terminated on the cliffs of Gauley. The exterior slopes are screened by slanting rails. The defences are on the westward crest of a horse-shoe mountain, which mounts up precipitously on the west side of Gauley River, in front of Carnifex Ferry. They embrace almost a square mile of territory. The rear is protected by gigantic cliffs, shooting up in perpendicular line three hundred and fifty feet above the river, and where there are no cliffs the surface of the mountain, except on two narrow lines which lead to the ferry, are so steep and rugged that an armed man could not scale them if opposed with a broom-stick. mountain curves off on either flank to similar cliffs, and the defences were carried to them. On the left, the position is comparatively accessible, and double lines of breastworks were constructed-Col. Wharton occupying the ex
treme left, with a regiment of infantry and a | River to-day to pursue Floyd. The road on battery. The lines on the right flank were the mountain was destroyed by the rebels, to carried down until they pitch off the rocks prevent pursuit, to such an extent that it will several hundred feet down. A trench, of be difficult to restore it in less than two days. course, protected the battery epaulement. Gauley River, a wild, roaring, beautiful torrent, also covers the rear perfectly. The rapids are dangerous above and below, but at the ferry the stream is wide and very deep. The interior of the works where the rebels are encamped is concave, excepting on the wings-the depression in the centre of the mountain forming a perfect cover against missiles, excepting shells. In front the mountain pitched off into a deep jungled ravine. On the right and left, however, there were ridges outside of the lines which were cleared and protected by abatis. The dense thickets and heavy forests in front so completely masked the position that it could not be seen at all until we ran directly into its embrace.
We approached from the west. The ferry road ran down into the ravine through the jungle, and traversed the side of a hill, debouching into a small cross ravine, in line with the parapet, two hundred yards off; a blind by-road, describing an irregular parabola, flew off eccentrically from it, on the ridge from which we arrived down the road to the ferry, and joined it again in front, in full range of the rebel guns. About that point we first drew the rebel fire, where it was impossible for one to see the other. There is a corn-field just beyond, in the vicinity of which most of our casualties happened. Our entire approach was covered by the enemy's artillery, and accessible to their musket balls, though no aim could be taken, of course, through the dense foliage. But the rascals had practised at the bushes at the proper range, and by much firing in this manner they cut down many of our men before we could see any thing of them or even their works. It was an infernal position to assail without a perfect reconnoissance. Had we understood it beforehand, Mr. Floyd's army would have been non est.
I forgot to mention that we recaptured twentyfive wounded members of Col. Tyler's Seventh Ohio regiment at Cross Lanes, and took twelve prisoners, who were straggling about the mountain trying to cross the river.
The General desired to follow Floyd, but it was impossible to cross the river in time to do any good; besides, our men were too much exhausted. Since then the plunder has been collected and divided among the troops. Communication was opened immediately with Gauley Bridge, and we now have two lines of transportation open to the Ohio.
I do not know what will be done next, but it is reported that Lee attacked Gen. Reynolds at Cheat Mountain to-day.
We are encamped at the Cross Roads, two miles from the battle-field.
N. B.-McCook's brigade crossed Gauley
LYNCHBURG (VA.) “REPUBLICAN" ACCOUNT,
The enemy's columns now opened upon us along the whole of our centre and right, and for an hour the rattle of musketry and the thunder of our artillery were incessant and terrible.
The enemy was driven back and silenced for a moment, but came again to the fight, supported with five or six pieces of artillery, two For another of which were rifled cannon. hour and a half the battle raged with terrific fury, and again the enemy's guns were silenced and he driven from our view.
The sun was now fast sinking beyond the distant mountains, and we were strongly in hopes that the enemy had met his final repulse for the evening; but a few moments dispelled our illusion. For the third time the enemy came back to the conflict, with more violence and determination than before. He assailed us this time from one end of our lines to the other, and tried his best to flank us. For another hour and a half, and until the dark cur
tains of night closed in upon us, the fight raged | of Gauley, and not hazard an attack the next with intense fury. morning.
At first the range both of their small-arms and artillery was very bad, shooting entirely over our heads. The range of the cannon was especially bad; for, while their balls cut off the tops and split open the giant oaks in our encampment, their shells, with few exceptions, burst high in the air, and full fifty yards in our rear. But when they came to the last charge they had gotten the range far better, and their balls began to plough up our embankments, while their shells broke directly over us in every direction and with terrible fury. The enemy seemed to be perfectly enraged at our obstinate resistance, and was determined to pour out the full vials of his wrath upon us.
The battle ceased at fifteen minutes past seven o'clock, having continued almost incessantly four long hours. Our men stood to their posts with astonishing coolness and courage. The only fault they committed during the battle was that of firing upon the enemy at too long a range and while too securely posted behind the dense forest trees which skirted our entire lines.
We did not lose a single man killed nor more than ten wounded. The enemy's loss could not be ascertained, but at one single spot, where Colonel Lytle fell, we counted thirtyseven dead bodies. The prisoners inform us that their loss was heavy, and from the fact that we silenced their guns three times, we are confident that this report is entirely true. The prisoners informed us that another colonel, whose name I do not remember, was badly, if not fatally, wounded, and his horse killed under him.
Our officers acted with great coolness and bravery. The battle had raged but twenty minutes when our gallant General was very painfully wounded in the right arm, the ball entering near the elbow and passing out near the wrist, without breaking any bone. We retired him a short distance under the hill, and had the wound dressed by Surgeon Gleaves, and in ten minutes he was again moving along our lines, encouraging his men by his presence and his voice. At a latter stage of the fight a Minié ball tore through the lapel of his coat and another through the cantel of his saddle. Indeed, it is the wonder of all of us how he escaped death. None but his staff and surgeon knew he was wounded until the close of the fight. He is now suffering much pain.
I do not know the names of all our wounded, but Jno. Stone and Thomas W. Martin, of Captain Henley's company, Amherst, were the most severely hurt. None other of this company was hurt, and only one in Captain Snead's company-Bryant.
At the close of the fight a council of war was held, and, upon our knowledge of the enemy's strength, together with the information we received from our prisoners, it was determined to retire all our forces to the south side
We learn from the prisoners that the enemy was nine regiments strong, with six pieces of artillery, and that they would be reinforced by General Cox in the morning, with two more regiments and two pieces of artillery. They also informed us that General Rosecrans commanded in person.
Our force was only one thousand seven hundred men, and, while we had strong reason to believe that we could maintain our position even against such terrible odds, we did not think it prudent to hazard so much.
We had despatched General Wise in the morning for reinforcements, and he had declined to send them for fear of an attack upon him by General Cox. We had also sent couriers for the North Carolina and Georgia regiments to come up, but it was impossible for them to reach us in time to support us.
At ten o'clock last night, therefore, our forces proceeded to retire from the position they had so heroically defended during the day, and by light this morning they were all safely and in order across the river, with all their baggage, &c., except some few things which were lost from neglect and want of transportation.
I had the misfortune to lose my horse and all my baggage, except my bed, saddle, bridle, pistols, and sword. At eight o'clock last night I was despatched to General Wise for reinforcements, and my friend, Captain Peters, very kindly mounted me on a fresh horse of his own, while I left mine in the camp. When I returned this morning I found my horse and trunk had been left by the servants, who were frightened across the river in advance of everybody else. I am, consequently, without a horse and without clothes, except what I have on. Had I been present I should have lost nothing.
My young friends, Adjutant Peter Otey, Captain Wm. H. Cook, and Captain Samuel Henry, also had the misfortune to lose their baggage, tents, and beds-all from neglect of the servants. We are now pitching our tents at this place, on the main Charleston road, about fifteen miles from Gauley Bridge, and fifty-five miles west of Lewisburg. General Wise is encamped at Dogwood Gap, a few miles above us, while a portion of his force holds the Hawk's Nest, below us. It may not be prudent to say what our next move will be. Our men and officers, however, are in fine spirits, and feel that they, at least, have done their whole duty to themselves and their country. I think that the public and all military men will agree that both our fight and our fall back to the side of the river are among the most remarkable incidents in the history of war. Seventeen hundred men, with six inferior pieces of artillery, fought back four times their num ber, with much superior artillery, for more than four long hours, repulsed them three times, and remained masters of the ground.