Appalachia, Big Sandy River, Bragg Creek, Fort Gay, history, Horse Creek, Kenova, logging, Mingo County, Naugatuck, Ohio River, pushboats, rafting, steamboats, timber, timbering, Tom Brown, Tug Fork, Twelve Pole Creek, Wayne County, West Virginia
The following interview excerpt of Tom Brown (born c.1909) was conducted at Fort Gay in Wayne County, WV, on December 15, 1979.
It was probably hard to get around back then, to go to church.
Well the only way you could get around through this country was up and down creeks or on horseback or wagon. And roads were in the creek most of the way. And where they cut timber and logs they had tram roads built back in the heads of the hollows and they had tracks–they built their track out of 2″ X 4″s–and they hauled these logs or ties from the mills back to the heads of the hollows back to the railroads. And they logged out of the mountains and they ran lots of rafts down Tug River. I’ve see high as four to five. They started the rafts running in the spring. They run them out of Mingo County and generally a lot of them was set out in Naugatuck.
That’s how they got them, they used rafts and boats?
Yes, they used rafts. Logs. They’d put these logs together… Sometimes a raft would be maybe 200 or 300 feet long.
200 or 300 feet long?
Almost as wide as the river. The man would stay on that and they’d pull the men to, I guess, Kenova and the Ohio River down here. And they would log them through the winter. The spring waters came and they started down the rivers with the rafts. The river banks were all cut clean.
That’s what I was going to ask you about. They had to be cut clean, didn’t they?
Yes, they was all cut clean. But the rafts… Well they ran logs down Twelve Pole Creek to… Back then people used to put their logs in the creek when it would raise and run them plumb out down Twelve Pole to Kenova. Heads of these creeks… And sometimes I can remember Bragg Creek and Horse Creek… They was a sawmill. There was locks in at Saltpeter and they pushed just like water to Bragg Creek. I’d say along 1916-1917. And almost the travel was boats. It went down on a little showboat. It used to come up an old paddle wheel boat.
That was in about 1917?
About 1917, ’18, ’19, along that.
Could you get a ride on that showboat if you wanted to?
No, they just pulled in and parked and had a show every night, like the picture show, the movie picture show had.
How long did that showboat go up and down the river? How many years did that last?
Well, I don’t know. It would just come up every once in a while maybe, and just stopped at certain places maybe. Places you know at that time… That was about as far as it could get up. And then things was brought up on pushboat. They loaded ties and stuff like that. I remember them loading them on the boat at the river at the mouth of Horse Creek. It was about as far as boats could come up the river.
Abner Vance, Alexander Varney, Ali Hatfield, Andrew Hatfield, Appalachia, B.H. Justice, Bettie Vance, Big Sandy River, Cabell County, Celia Hatfield, Ephraim Hatfield, Ferrell Evans, Frank Evans, genealogy, Guyandotte Valley, Hatfield-McCoy Feud, Henry Clay Ragland, history, Humphrey Trent, Jacob Hatfield, James Hatfield, James Justice, John Justice, John Toler, Joseph Hatfield, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Logan County Banner, Logan Court House, M.A. Hatfield, Matewan, North Spring, Peter Cline, Phoebe Hatfield, sheriff, Thomas Hatfield, Thomas Smith, Valentine Hatfield, West Virginia, William E. Justice, Wyoming County
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history for the Hatfield family, printed on May 11, 1937:
History Of Hatfield Clan Recorded In Banner Files
Ephraim Hatfield Was One of The Quietest Men In The County—Yet He Was Father Of Those Engaged In Famous Feud
Henry Clay Ragland, editor of The Logan Banner in 1896, was, among other things, a genealogist for Logan county.
He lived at a time when most of the children and grandchildren of Logan county’s first settlers were still alive and he had access to a wealth of first-hand information that has served as the basis for family histories in Logan county up to the present.
An account of the entrance of the Hatfield family into this section of the country is clipped verbatim from a Logan County Banner dated Wednesday, April 29, 1896.
“At what is still known as the Hatfield place on Horsepen, Valentine Hatfield, of Washington county, Va., settled at quite an early day. He was the father of nine sons and three daughters, and from them have sprung many of the Hatfields of the Guyandotte and Sandy Valleys.
“Valentine Hatfield married a Miss Weddington, and he was a half brother of Thomas Smith. His sons were Ali, who married a daughter of Ferrell Evans; Joe, who also married a daughter of Ferrell Evans; Ephraim, who married Bettie Vance; (This Ephraim was one of the quietest men in the county, and was for a long time a justice of the peace, yet he was the father and grandfather of the Hatfields who were engaged in the Hatfield-McCoy feud) Andrew, who married a daughter of Humphrey Trent, and whose descendants live in Wyoming county; Thomas, who married a daughter of Frank Evans; John, who married a daughter of Abner Vance; James, who married a daughter of John Toler; (Squire M.A. Hatfield and James Hatfield are the sons of this marriage) Jacob, who married a daughter of Peter Cline; and Valentine, who was never married.
“Of his three daughters, Phoebe married Alexander Varney; Celia married James Justice, who was at one time sheriff of Logan county, and who was the father of John Justice, a prominent merchant in Logan Court House (the name of the city at that time), B.H. Justice, a merchant and timber dealer of Cabell county, and William E. Justice, a merchant at North Spring and at one time a member of the West Virginia legislature.
“Joseph Hatfield, a brother of Valentine Hatfield, settled about the same time at Matewan.”
Appalachia, Big Sandy River, C&O Railroad, coal, Consolidation Coal Company, Cumberland Mountains, Devil John Wright, Devil Judd Tolliver, Hazard Herald, history, James A Garfield, Jenkins, John Fox Jr., John W. Wright, Kentucky, Kentucky River, Letcher County, Little Elkhorn Creek, Little Shepherd Amphitheatre, Logan Banner, Nick Dann, photos, Pound Gap, Rocky Branch, Shelby, The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, Virginia, West Virginia
Here is a bit of history for Jenkins, Kentucky, based on a newspaper account provided in 1928:
Nestling in the valley of the Little Elkhorn, within “a stone’s throw” of the famous Pound Gap, is Jenkins, one of the few great mining towns of the world. The term “mining camp” cannot rightly be used when speaking of Jenkins, because it is not a “camp” in any sense of the word, but rather a city built by the great Consolidation Coal Company for the accommodation of its thousands of employees.
Never was a city planned more carefully, says the Hazard (Ky.) Herald. The men in charge of the construction work were chosen from the top of their respective professions, and the building of the plant was carried out to a plan with the health, safety, education, sanitation, convenience and enjoyment of life by the miners, as its chief object cost was a very secondary consideration.
Twenty years ago this spot was a wild mountain farm, owned by that famous mountaineer, John W. Wright. His home, a hewn log affair, stood near where the Methodist church has since been erected. For miles in every direction the unbroken forest swept away over hill and down valley, some of which had slept undisturbed since the beginning of time.
The mountaineers, on their seldom made visits to this wild region, would look up at the rugged mountains, like giant sentinels guarding the gates of another world, and wonder, what good could ever come of such a land. At night, the few settlers were lulled to sleep by the hoot owl’s call and awakened in the morning by the yelp of the fox.
Then one day news spread over the hills that Wright had disposed of his lands and that a great town was about to be built by some men from “away off yonder.” Surveying parties were camped on the Kentucky river, and along Elkhorn. Railroads were pushing into the hills from the east and west. Farmers, on their way to mill or meeting, would stop and ask questions of the engineers, learn all they could of the town that “they had heard was going to be” and then hurry home to toll the news to their neighbors, adding to the story until it becomes a fanciful fairy tale.
The roars of explosives soon were heard for many miles, children at first would run screaming to their mother [illegible line] skirts asking to be told what it was they had heard “away over yonder,” while old women smoked their pipes and wondered if “Garfield was coming up the Sandy again.”
Coming into wild, rugged country like the head of Elkhorn, and laying off and building a city was a feat worthy of the greatest engineering skill, and that was the sort employed by the Consolidation Company.
The nearest railroad was still miles away. Everything needed in construction must be freighted across the Cumberlands, over roads almost impassable by wagon. For 12 months preparation for this gigantic plant went on before the actual construction work began. Roads were graded across the mountain by Pound Gap and a lumbering concern was induced to build their narrow gauge railroad from Glomorgan to Rocky Branch, leaving only about five miles that supplies must be transported by wagon freight. The Pound Gap country was a beehive of activity. Freighters were so numerous on the road that it took the best part of a day to make the trip from Jenkins to Rocky Branch and return. Every few yards the driver would be forced to turn out so that another could pass.
Hundreds of carpenters, masons and helpers were at work building houses. The houses they constructed were of a type foreign to the coal fields across the mountains in Virginia. A giant power plant was built, the water of Elkhorn were harnesses to create the power to run the greatest mining plant in the south. The dam built across the stream has formed one of the most beautiful lakes in America, it has been stocked with fish and lined with row boats for the recreation of the coal miners and their families.
Every home was built for convenience and comfort. Sanitation was provided and each house was wired for electricity. Word went out into the mining camps close by in Virginia that the “Jenkins company” would not tolerate kerosene lamps in their houses and required that their employees use electricity for illumination. These “other camps” were forced to remodel their plants in keeping with the pattern on which the great Consolidation plant was built, until today, the old order has been replaced with the new throughout Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky: thanks to the lead of the Consolidation Coal Company.
Jenkins is well lighted; has an excellent water system; fire department and paved streets in the business section. Many beautiful homes line the handsome drive, skirting the lake. These, unlike the ordinary mining town houses, are set well back from the driveway in park like lawns, well shaded with grand old oaks and other native trees.
Some of the most substantial business buildings to be found in the Cumberland region are here in Jenkins. Among these are the recreation building, housing a drug store, hotel, post office, Western Union office, barber shop, pool room, printing office, and drink stand. The First national Bank building is the most beautiful building in Letcher county; vine-clad with clinging ivy gives it the appearance of having grown there.
The most widely known business institutions in Jenkins are the Consolidation Coal Company store, the First National bank, the Jenkins Steam Laundry, the Modern Pressing Shop, Nick Dann’s Auto Sales and Repair Shop, and the numerous businesses housed under the roof of the mammoth recreation building. The town is on the Kentucky state highway and is served by the C. & O. railroad system from Shelby junction.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 2 October 1928.
Appalachia, Big Sandy River, Cabell County, Guyan Valley Bank, Guyandotte River, H.M. Booth, Hamlin, history, Huntington, James Barbour, Logan, Logan County, Mary Morris, Pennsylvania, Peter Dingess, Philadelphia, Richmond, Robert Brooke, Robert Morris, Robert Morris Grant, Russell County, Tug Fork, Virginia, West Virginia, William Crammond, Wythe County
320,000 Acres of Land Hereabouts Sold for Five Shillings According to Old Records Found in Old Vault
H.M. Booth, in cleaning out the vault of the old Guyan Valley Bank preparatory to moving his offices from Logan to Hamlin, uncovered a number of old documents that dated back to the time when “horse and buggy days” were a fact and not merely a political equation.
Many of these old papers, including deeds, receipts, account books and other papers of a semi-personal nature, are originals, while others are notarized copies of originals. They make interesting reading in these days of speed, radios, high prices and typewriters.
The old documents were all hand written, in clear, flowing script, the capital letters often decorated with fancy scrolls and shaded lines. Many of them were written with a quill pen.
Of particular interest is one deed, 12 ½ by 15 ½ inches, written on sheepskin. The ink has not faded, and although the skin is old and discolored, the deed is easily read. It was made in the days when Logan county was unheard of, and all this vicinity was part of Cabell county, Virginia. It seems strange, now, to think of a governor in Richmond, Virginia, parceling out land in Logan county.
The deed reads, in part: “James Barbour, Esq., Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia: To all whom these presents shall come, Greeting: Know ye, that by virtue of a Land office Treasury warrant, No. 6126, upon the 9th day of Sept. 1780, there is granted by the said Commonwealth unto Peter Dingess, a certain Tract or Parcel of Land, containing one hundred and twelve acres, by survey, bearing date the 31st day of March, 1813, situate in the County of Cabell, joining to his own deeded land, and bounded as followeth, to-wit:”
Then follows a detailed description of the boundaries of the land, in which prominent trees and landmarks play a common part. After the description of the land, which was written in pen and ink, came the regular printed form as follows:
“In witness whereof, the said James Barbour, Esq., Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, hath hereunto set his Hand, and caused the Seal of the said Commonwealth to be affixed at Richmond, on the twenty-fifth day of October, in the Year of our Lord, One thousand eight hundred and fourteen, and of the Commonwealth the thirty-ninth.”
Down in the lower right hand corner of the paper can be plainly seen the signature of James Barbour, governor of Virginia at that time.
A notarized copy of another land deed was signed by Robert Brooke, Governor of Virginia in 1795, and was dated March 23 of that year. It deeded through the Land Office treasury warrants numbered from 472 to 530, inclusive, a parcel of land containing 480,000 acres, “by a survey made the 10th of September, 1794.” The land was described as being in the county of Wythe, on the Tug and Guyandotte rivers. This grant of land was known as the “Robert Morris Grant.”
Evidently, from the records, Robert Morris became involved in difficulties, for after a considerable amount of legal red tape, all duly recorded, there is a document showing where “Robert Morris and Mary, his wife, of Philadelphia, sell to William Crammond of Philadelphia as well for and in consideration of the sum of five shillings lawful money of Pennsylvania to them well and truly paid do grant bargain and sell, alien and enteoff release and confirm to the purchased 320,000 acres of land in the counties of Wythe and Russell, lying on both sides of Sandy Creek.”
Among the records of accounts paid found by Mr. Booth were numerous fees paid out for “boating freight from Huntington.” Six dollars and fifty cents is entered “for a suit of clothes,” and another entry shows where four dollars and a half were paid for two pair of shoes.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 19 August 1936
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Abington Virginian, Appalachia, Big Sandy River, Cabell County, Chapmanville, civil war, Confederate Army, genealogy, Guyandotte River, history, John B. Floyd, John Clarkson, John Dils, John Letcher, Kanawha River, Kentucky, Levisa Fork, Lincoln County, Logan County, Ohio River, Pigeon Creek, Pike County, Pikeville, Prestonsburg, Smyth County, Tazewell County, Union Army, Virginia, Virginia State Line, Washington County, Wayne County, West Virginia
Confederate General John B. Floyd composed this letter detailing military activity in the Guyandotte and Big Sandy valleys in late 1862, which was published by the Abington Virginian on January 2, 1863.
OFFICIAL REPORT OF GEN. FLOYD
Headquarters Virginia State Line,
Camp Clarkson, Tazewell Co.,
December 17, 1862
His Excellencey, John Letcher,
Governor of Virginia—
SIR: After my last communication to you I prepared an expedition consisting of a strong force of Cavalry under Colonel John Clarkson, to operate against the enemy in the counties of Wayne, Cabell, &c. He set out from Chapmansville on the 14th November, in the direction of Cabell down the Guyandotte river, over a rough and difficult road. The following day he fell in with a detachment of the enemy which he quickly routed and dispersed. He continued the march until a few miles of the Ohio river, breaking up the “Home Guard” organization of the enemy, which are very numerous in all that country, and taking prisoners every day.
A strong guard of Yankee troops, acting as a guard for the Pierpont Assessor for the county of Wayne, was attacked and dispersed after a short skirmish, in which was killed and wounded some of the enemy and took a few prisoners. Col. Clarkson proceeded then, according to the previous directions given him, to the Sandy river, to attack a large and formidable organization of the enemy composed mainly of the native population, and very strong posted amidst the cliffs and forests upon the precipitous banks of that river. He succeeded in taking them by surprise completely, and after killing and wounding a number of them, took a large number of prisoners, and surprised entirely the rest of the force. This force and organization were formidable and extremely dangerous to the peace and quiet of all the country round about for many miles, the loyal people were nearly all driven from their country and all were robbed. After that, Col. Clarkson, according to previous understanding, made a junction with me at the mouth of Pigeon Creek, in Logan county, on the Kentucky border, whither I had gone with the infantry and a section of the mounted howitzer battery.
I learned from Col. Clarkson that the enemy had started a number of boats with valuable supplies, from the mouth of Sandy to a post recently established at Pikeville, a point at the head of navigation on the Louisa Fork of Sandy. These boats were in charge of a strong guard, and were intended to furnish a complete outfit for a force deemed sufficient for them, by their commander, to march upon and destroy the salt works in Smyth and Washington counties.
I determined at once to attack this train, and from its distance, being more than forty miles off, it became necessary to send mounted men. Besides this reason, I found it inconvenient to move the infantry in that direction, on account of the number of prisoners with which we were encumbered. The cavalry and mounted men were put in motion within an hour and proceeded upon the march, which was uninterrupted, day or night, until the enemy were overtaken, attacked and routed.
Our people captured ten of the enemy’s transport boats, laden with valuable supplies. A great deal of these supplies was distributed amongst the men, and much of them was brought off; but a very large amount of most valuable supplies was necessarily destroyed for want of transportation to bring them away. A train of one hundred pack mules would have brought away a very large amount of extremely valuable stores, which were committed to the fire and the river.
The night following the capture of these boats (indeed, just twelve hours after the attack upon the boats,) our forces engaged that of Col. Dils, posted in an extremely strong position on the summit of a mountain on the road leading from Prestonsburg to Pikeville. This position was taken and held without any knowledge on our part, and as the attack was made after the night, and entirely unexpected, we were taken at a great disadvantage. But our men behaved with great steadiness and resolution, received the attack and charged the enemy, driving him from his position, and dispersing them entirely. The rout was complete, and the post at Pikeville, consisting of a thousand men, was entirely broken up. The prisoners and the Union people in that neighborhood reported Colonel Dils as killed in the fight that night.
For more detailed statements of this expedition I refer you to the report of Col. Clarkson. In our operation through the country, we made a number of recruits in the counties of Cabell, Wayne, Logan, &c.
My object in this campaign was, as far as possible, to prevent the occupation by the Yankee forces, of the country between the Kanawha Valley and Kentucky border, as well as to destroy the military organization of the country under the traitor government in Wheeling. Both objects were fully attained, as long as I was able to remain in the country. The military organizations, very numerous and well appointed in every particular, were almost entirely destroyed, and the attempts to set up the spurious government were entirely failed.
I was compelled to leave the country, held by me for more than three months alone, for the want of Quartermaster’s supplies. We were without tents, or clothing, or cooking utensils, or axes; and after the inclement weather of winter set in, we could no longer remain in the field. With these stores supplied, I would have remained in that country throughout the winter months. We were able to procure food (meat and bread) in the country, nearly all of it taken from the enemy.
The campaign, from first to last, was one of hardship and privations; but they were borne without complaint by the men, who are unsurpassed in hardship, activity and capability to endure privations. They deserve great praise for their constancy and general good conduct.
The officers generally deserve commendation, but to Col. Clarkson too much credit cannot be given for his energy, activity and courage. The obstacle she encountered, of every sort, throughout these expeditions, were of the most formidable character, but they were also most gallantly surmounted.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
JOHN B. FLOYD,
Maj. Gen. Commanding Va. State Line
NOTE: I bolded Gen. Floyd’s description of activity in the Guyandotte Valley that occurred between Chapmanville and the lower section of the river near present-day Huntington.
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The following newspaper accounts describe the Battle of Kanawha Gap near present-day Chapmanville, Logan County, WV, which occurred on September 25, 1861:
Cleveland (OH) Morning Leader, 3 October 1861
GALLIPOLIS, Oct. 2.
The expedition planned by Col. J.V. Guthrie of the First Kentucky Regiment, and sent out under Lieut. Col. Enyart and Col. Piatt, has returned. They encountered the enemy at Chapmansville under Col. J. Lucien Davis, of Greenbrier, and utterly routed them. The enemy lost between fifty and sixty killed. Our loss was four killed. The expedition returned to Charleston on the 30th ult.
Evening Star (Washington, DC), 4 October 1861
A Confederate Camp in Western Virginia Broken Up and Routed
CINCINNATI, Oct. 3 — A body of Federal troops, under Lieut. Col. Enyart, attacked a camp of rebels at Chapmansville, in Logan county, Va., near the Kentucky line, routing them, killing sixty and taking seventy prisoners. The same body of rebels were afterward intercepted in their retreat by Col. Piatt, who killed forty and made a large number prisoners.
New York (NY) Herald, 4 October 1861
FIGHT WITH THE REBELS AT CHAPMANSVILLE
Cincinnati, Oct. 3, 1861.
The Kanawha correspondent of the Commercial of this city says that five companies of the First Kentucky regiment, four companies of the Thirty-fourth Ohio regiment and one company of the Fifty Virginia regiment, under Lieutenant Colonel Enyart, surrounded and attacked the rebels at Chapmansville, and after a short engagement completely routed them, killing sixty and taking seventy prisoners. The rebels in escaping were intercepted by Colonial Piatt, who killed forty and took a large number of prisoners. The country between Charleston and Wyandot river is now freed from secession power. This is the most effective blow given the rebels in this part of the valley.
Daily Green Mountain Freeman (Montpelier, VT), 7 October 1861
Chapmansville, Va., the scene of the most recent engagement, is a small post village in Logan county, Va. Logan county is in the extreme Western portion of Virginia, the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy being the boundary line between it and the State of Kentucky. It is one of the largest, wildest and most sparsely inhabited counties in the State.
National Republican (Washington, DC), 7 October 1861
The two affairs at Chapmansville, reported three or four days since, in which the enemy lost one hundred killed and a proportionate number of wounded, will, it is supposed, restore permanent peace to the Virginia counties western of the Kanawha. Chapmansville is on the turnpike from Charleston to Logan county Court-house, and is about twenty-five miles to the south of Barboursville, the shire town of Cabell county. The secessionists in that part of Western Virginia have been numerous and pertinacious. They have once had possession of Guyandotte on the Ohio river and for a long time they threatened Ceredo (Mr. Thayer’s colony,) which lies on the river between Guyandotte and the Kentucky line. There have been two engagements with them in the rear of Ceredo, one at Barboursville, one at Logan county Court-house, one at Boone county Court-house (which town was burnt by the national troops,) and finally two at Chapmansville. The truth is, that in large portions of numerous, and, but for the early occupation of that region by the National troops, would have controlled it, not because they were the majority, but because one secessionist is, everywhere, a match for three Union men.
The secessionists are reckless, violent, and desperate, while their opponents, if not timid are at any rate remarkably pacific. We doubt, indeed, from all the information we can get, whether throwing out of the account Wheeling and Parkersburg, the terminal on the Ohio river of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, Western Virginia had more elements of Union strength than the Valley of Virginia. From Harper’s Ferry south for fifty miles, the Union men have been numerous from the first, and it is a matter of deep regret that it did not consist with the plans of military strategy adopted at the headquarters of the army here, to occupy (at least) the northern part of the Valley of Virginia. It is consoling, that a different policy was adopted in retrospect to Western Virginia. That region was promptly taken possession of, cleared of the rebel armies by Gen. McClellan, and has since been victoriously held by Gen. Rosecrans. All attempts of the enemy to affect a re-entrance into Western Virginia are promptly repulsed.
Staunton (VA) Spectator, 8 October 1861
Status at Sewell’s Mountain.
The enemy, under Gen. Rozencrantz, and our forces under Gen. Lee, are both upon Sewell Mountain very near each other. A fight has been daily expected there for some time, but the enemy have been fortifying ever since they have been there, and there will not be a fight unless we attack them in their entrenchments. They are afraid to attack us, and it is probable that our force is too weak to risk an attack on them within their fortification. It may, therefore, be some time before an engagement will take place. We understand that we had sent a force of four regiments to their rear for the purpose of cutting off their supplies—that we succeeded in getting around them, but were compelled to return because we did not have sufficient supplies ourselves. We also learn that Col. Jas. W. Davis of Greenbrier, whilst commanding a force of militia in Logan county, attacked a part of the enemy, and was shot down at the first fire. The militia, after several rounds caught the Yankee fever which made their cowardly legs run off with their brave hearts, and they left their commander in the hands of the enemy, who, we fear, has died from his wound.
Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, 9 October 1861
A Splendid Achievement of the Ohio Zouaves–“Wood Up” the Battle Cry.
[The following letter is exclusively devoted to the fight which the Piatt Zouaves had with the rebels near Chapmansville, Va. It is distinct from the victorious fight which the command of Lieut. Col. Enyart had with another body of rebels, in the same vicinity. EDS. CINCINNATI COM]
CAMP ENYART, KANAWHA, Oct. 2, 1861. EDS. COM.: The Zouave Thirty-fourth Regimens, Ohio, have had a chance to show their metal. This was on Wednesday, on Kanawha Gap, near Chapmansville, Va. After marching 42 miles, they came upon the enemy, who were behind breastworks, but could not stand our boys’ steady fire, for they retreated in utter consternation, their Col. J.W. Davis, of Greenbrier, Va, (but the traitor is a native of Portsmouth, Ohio,) being mortally wounded. We killed 20, took 3 prisoners, a secesh flag, 20 feet long with FIFTEEN STARS, 4 horses, 1 wagon, 10 rifles (one of which I claim), 12 muskets, and commissary stores (very low.) We lost 3 killed, 9 wounded, one since died. The route of the enemy was complete, although they had a brave, skillful commander, and strong position, with two days’ information of our intentions. They fled the moment their commander fell. The fight lasted about 10 minutes opposite the breastworks, but a running fire was kept up previous to that, by the Bushwhackers and rebel cavalry for two hours. At every turn of the road over the mountains, they would fire upon our advance men, wheel round, and gallop away. This kind of fight was kept up till we came suddenly upon their breastworks, immediately in line of our entire column. It was made on the side of a knoll, between two mountain sides, the road running between the mountain on our left. The wily rebel commander had adroitly cut down the brush on the right, placing a force of 100 men on the mountain top on our right, who raked our column from the front to the center. This was to draw our attention from their breastworks. Our men naturally fired upon the rebels on their right, steadily advancing up the road, until within 20 feet of the enemy’s works, when the rebels suddenly opened fire, from their right, left and center. The order from Col. Piatt and Lieut. Col. Toland, to flank right and left was immediately responded to by the Zouaves with a hurrah, a Zouave yell, and a cry of “wood up” from Little Red; a dash by our boys upon the enemy’s breastworks, above which about 300 rebel heads suddenly appeared, unknown by our men till that moment. They sent a perfect storm of bullets around, over, under, and into our men. A few minutes more and our boys were inside the breastworks, chasing them over the mountains, the enemy running away like cowards as they proved to be. They left 29 dead behind. Their force was 450 infantry and 50 cavalry. Our force was 560.
We buried our three brave dead comrades that night, carried our wounded to the house wherein the rebel Colonel lay, mortally wounded, deserted by all his men but one. Our whole column finally marched into the little town of Chapmansville, formerly headquarters of the enemy, and camped for the night.
Pomeroy (OH) Weekly Telegraph, 11 October 1861
Brilliant Action in the Kanawha Valley.
CHARLESTON, Va., Sept. 30, ’61. Eds. Cin. Com.–Information having been brought to Col. J.V. Guthrie, commanding this post, that a large force of Rebels were gathered at Logan Co., Lt. Col. Enyart, of the 1st Kentucky, was at once sent to engage them. His force was composed of five companies of the 1st Kentucky, four companies of the 34th Ohio–German Regiment–under command of Col. A.S. Piatt, and one company of the 5th Virginia Regiment, under command of Maj. M.H. Wood.
Col. Enyart, with the Kentucky force, surrounded and attacked the Rebels at Chapmanville, and after a short but decisive engagement, completely routed them, killing 60 and taking 70 prisoners. The Rebels, in escaping, were intercepted by Col. Piatt, who surprised them and killed 40 men, and took a large number of prisoners.
The force of the Rebels is now completely broken up, and the country between this point and Guyandotte River is now freed from Secession power. This is the most effective blow given the Rebels in this part of the Valley.
In great haste. Further particulars by next boat.
Lieut. Col. 5th Va. Reg’t.
Evening Star (Washington, DC), 11 October 1861
THE BATTLE OF KANAWHA GAP.
The Western Virginia correspondent of the Cincinnati Gazette gives the following account of the late engagement at Kanawha Gap:
There were about 1,050 troops under the command of Colonels Enyart and Piatt, who left their camp Monday morning, 30th ulto., and took up their line of march for the enemy.
The forces moved together until they reached Peytona, on Cole river, where they separated; Col. Enyart going up Cole river. Col. Enyart did not meet the enemy in force at any place but his men did meet and ford swollen rivers, and marched on short rations, and were anxious to meet with the running enemy of Old Virginia. Col. Enyart did not meet Col. Piatt until they met on the Kanawha, on their return.
Col. Piatt’s command immediately proceeded thence to Boone Court House, and camped that night one mile beyond. The next day, after proceeding some sixteen miles,t hey came up with the advance guard of the enemy, consisting of cavalry, when a brisk fire was exchanged, the cavalry retreating. After the retreat of cavalry the battalion was immediately put in order of battle. The advance guard of fifteen men was led forward by Adj’t Clarke, proceeding along the road. Scouts were sent out on either side of the road to meet and repulse the sharp-shooters of the enemy.
The force proceeded in this order for about two miles, meeting the pickets of the enemy, exchanging shots with them incessantly, and driving them back with increased confusion at each charge.
Being unable to ascertain the position of the rebels, the entire force halted for a few moments, and Col. Piatt rode in advance and took observations with his glass, but could not ascertain their force and position, as it was covered with a thick growth of underbrush. After these observations a command was issued to forward the column. The scouts moved on the rapidity and enthusiasm, the main body moving up the narrow road cautiously and firmly. The fire continued to increase, and shots were rapidly exchanged from the right and left with the enemy, until our advanced guard reached within sixty yards of their main force. The column was some eighty yards from the enemy when they received a perfect volley of fire upon their right, indicating that the rebels were in force in that direction. Company “A,” commanded by Capt. Rathbone, was ordered to deploy as skirmishers to the right, up the side of the mountain, and if possible to flank the enemy on the left. Company “C,” commanded by Capt. Miller, was ordered to the right, up a similar mountain, to flank the enemy on their left. Company “I,” commanded by Capt. Anderson, was ordered directly up the ravine, on the left. In this position he drew the concentrated fire of the rebels upon his company, who made use of the knowledge thus obtained by rapidly charging upon and destroying the enemy’s breastworks. The center moved directly up the road. With this disposition of the forces, Col. Piatt routed them from their confusion. Capt. Anderson was the first to mount their breastworks, his men following him in the face of a terrible fire without flinching or confusion.
As Capt. Anderson sealed the breastwork, Capt. Miller closed upon the left and Capt. Rathbone came in upon the right, his men crying “Zouave!” The main column moving up the road in double quick–until they were brought to a temporary halt by obstructions placed in the road by the enemy.
The rebels, terrified by the strange bravery and almost wild enthusiasm that was exhibited by each advancing column, ran in confusion, leaving their dead, wounded, clothing, guns, horses, &c., making their escape by Capt. Rathbone’s right; his company being too far up the mountain to cut off their retreat. Capt. West, commanding company F, was detailed to scour the mountain on the west, on the left of the road. Capt. O.P. Evans on the west side of the mountain, on the right side of the road. Capt. Herman Evans, commanding Company H, on the east side of the mountain, on the left of the road.
Each of these companies moved with dispatch, yet such was the knowledge of the rebels of teh by-paths in the mountains, and belonging to the “F.F.V.’s,” and having been drilled at running all summer, that but two were captured.
Among interesting objects captured was a genuine secession flag, captured by Lieut. Brown.
The enemy’s loss was thirty killed and fifty wounded.
We regret to know that four of our men were killed and eight wounded.Burlington (IA) Weekly Hawk-Eye, 12 October 1861
The fight at Chapmansville was a sharp and bloody affair. Five of Piatt’s Zouaves were killed. The rebels lost thirty-five killed.
National Republican (Washington, DC), 17 October 1861
The thirty-fourth regiment (first Zouaves) have been actively engaged since they came to the Kanawha Valley. Since the glorious victory they won near Chapmansville where the rebel commander, Colonel Davis, was mortally wounded, the Union sentiment has advanced on the Cole River. Two companies have been organized, and are ready to go to work to defend their own homes and give the organized regiments an opportunity to advance into the heart of the enemy’s country.
Cincinnati (OH) Daily Press, 22 October 1861
Captain H.C. Evans, of Piatt’s Zouave Regiment, yesterday called in our office and exhibited a Secesh flag, captured at the Chapmansville fight, on the 24th ult.
Clarksville (TN) Chronicle, 25 October 1861
The Fight in Logan County, Va.
[From the Richmond Whig of the 15th.]
We yesterday published the Yankee account of a battle in Logan county, which as usual, was manufactured out of whole cloth. The following are the facts as given by the South-western Times, (Tazewell county) of the 10th inst.:
From Samuel Smoot, Esq., of Boone county, who was in the fight, we learn the following particulars of the battle near Chapmanville, Logan county, on the 25th ult: The Yankees numbered 700, and commenced the attack upon our troops–the Logan militia–in a low gap between Guyandotte river and Big Creek, where they were engaged in raising a temporary breastwork. Our troops numbered 220, but there were only about 80 of them engaged in the fight. They were commanded by Col. J.W. Davis, of Greenbrier, a brave and gallant officer, who was severely, but not dangerously wounded, in the arm and breast. As soon as it became known that Col. Davis was wounded, the militia commenced a retreat. The commanding officer of the Lincoln troops afterwards confessed to Col. Davis, who was taken prisoner, that at the same moment a portion of the Yankees were running, and that one more round would have completely dispersed them.
The loss of the Yankees, by their own confession to Col. Davis, was 40 killed and a number wounded; among the former were four Union men, all of whom are represented by the Yankees to be most arrant thieves and cowards. Our loss was two killed and three or four wounded, besides Col. Davis, whose valuable services are at present lost to the Confederacy, being paroled by the enemy.
On the following day our scouts killed one of their pickets, and wounded another, at a point about half way between Logan Court House and Chapmanville, promising to give them particular thunder before daylight next morning. This with some news from a lady on the road, and some account of the militia of the surrounding counties, found on the person of Col. Davis, caused a hasty stampede for their headquarters, in the valley of the Kanawha. It seems that high water, bad roads, nor anything else could impede their rapid flight. They tore down a meeting house in Boone county to make rafts whereon to cross the river. They drowned two of their wounded, lost a wagon containing their entire stock of ammunition, and were fully persuaded that they were followed by two thousand cavalry, of which the Yankees in the West are about as fearful as their Eastern brothers are of masked batteries.
Upon the whole, we are much gratified at the result of this fight. It has, for the present, driven the cowardly thieves from the country, given renewed energy to the true patriots of Logan and the adjoining counties, fully convincing them that with the assistance of two or three hundred of their gallant friends in Tazewell county, they will be fully able to thrash any number that Gen. Cox or his friends shall dare to send against them.”
Note: An almost identical version of this story appeared in the Staunton (VA) Spectator on 22 October 1861.