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Appalachia, assistant postmaster, Big Creek, Cabell County, Charles Spurlock, Cheat River, Cincinnati, civil engineer, civil war, doctor, genealogy, gunsmith, Hamlin, history, Jane Spurlock, John Spurlock, Lifas Spurlock, Lincoln County, Logan Banner, Logan County, Logan Post Office, Marshall Spurlock, Midkiff, Montgomery County, Omar, Pete Spurlock, preacher, Ranger, Robertson Spurlock, Seth Spurlock, Sheridan, sheriff, Spurlockville, Stephen Hart, surveyor, Union Army, Virginia, West Virginia
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about Stephen Hart and Harts Creek in Lincoln and Logan counties, West Virginia. The story is dated April 14, 1937.
Stephen Hart Settled at Cheat River, Pete Spurlock, A Great Grandson, Reveals
P.A. (Pete) Spurlock, assistant postmaster at the Logan post office, this morning revealed the destination of Stephen Hart, who went went after he had lived for a short time at the forks of the creek in the lower end of Logan county which now bears his name.
Spurlock said that Hart went to the Cheat River and settled permanently there to hunt deer and rear a family. He said the family name of Hart is as familiar there as the name Dingess is familiar in Logan county.
A daughter of Stephen, Jane, was Spurlock’s grandmother. She lived until 1913 and told her grandson much of the early history of the family which made its home in and around Spurlocksville, Sheridan, Ranger, and Midkiff.
Charles Spurlock, the progenitor of the Spurlock family, came to what used to be the Toney farm below the mouth of Big Creek in 1805 from Montgomery county, Virginia.
“Uncle Charley was a funny old cuss,” his great grandson Pete said this morning. “The story is told that a sheriff of Cabell county was given a capias to serve on the old codger for some minor offense when he was growing old and rather stout.
“Meeting him in the road one day, the sheriff informed Uncle Charley he had a capias to serve on him.
“None abashed, the old man informed the sheriff he was a law-abiding citizen and laid down in the middle of the road and told the sheriff to take him to jail.
“The ruse worked, for the sheriff chose to look for less obstinate prisoners,” Uncle Charley’s grandson said, chuckling.
Another story about the eccentric “Uncle Charley Spurlock” which has gone down in history, whether true or not, was that he lived for a short time below Big Creek under a rock cliff (known as a rockhouse) during the early summer while he was getting his cabin in shape for winter.
The tale is out that “Uncle Charley” explained his strange dwelling place in this way to his neighbors:
“Well I took Sarah (his wife) in a good substantial frame house in Virginia and she wasn’t quite satisfied. I took her to a log house and she wasn’t satisfied. I took her to a rail pen and still she grumbled. Then I took her to a rock house built by God Almight and still she wasn’t satisfied.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do with Sarah.”
Sarah evidently became accustomed to “Uncle Charley” for the couple reared four sons. They were John, Seth, Lifas and Robertson. There were no daughters.
Seth was P.A. Spurlock’s grandfather. His father, Marshall, is 78 and lives on his farm near Cincinnati.
Spurlock says “Uncle Charley” is buried on a point at Spurlocksville overlooking the haunts of his early manhood.
Robertson was a gunsmith and lived near Hamlin. Seth was a civil engineer and helped survey much of Logan county. He was a Union soldier. John was a country doctor who practiced at Ranger.
Lifas was a preacher for sixty years and lived at Sheridan.
Charles Spurlock, of Omar, is a distant cousin, the assistant postmaster said. He is the only relative that lives in this section of Logan county, Spurlock said.
Spurlock, at Omar, was born at Spurlocksville and is a grandson of one of the original “Charley’s” boys.
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In 1929, the State of West Virginia nearly opted to allocate a monthly pension to its Confederate veterans, as well as blacks who had served the Confederate Army in service roles. In covering the story, the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, compiled a list of its remaining Confederate veterans.
HOW MANY VETERANS?
A pension of $20 a month is provided for Confederate veterans of the state by a bill passed by the Senate last week and sent in the House for concurrence. Senator M.T. Miller, of Boone county, who said he could not vote to pension men who had carried arms against their government, cast the only vote against the proposal.
A Charleston paper says there are only about 60 Confederate veterans living. This paper cannot believe that, although it has no information on the subject. How many are there in Logan county? Does anyone know? Has anyone an approximately correct list? If so, will he or she make the fact known? Uncle Dyke Garrett probably knows most of them.
The Banner would like to obtain a list of both Confederate and Union veterans still living in the county, together with their post office address.
Source: Logan Banner, 26 February 1929.
AS TO OLD SOLDIERS
The Banner’s request for information about old soldiers living in Logan county has not been in vain, nor has the response been satisfactory. The names of four confederate veterans have been turned in, as follows:
Rev. Dyke Garrett, Curry, beloved and venerable minister; William Workman, Shegon, who fought at Gettysburg and is now 88; Steve Markham, Holden No. 20, who has been blind for 20 years; and William Chafin, who lives with his son Harvey, at Holden 5 and 6.
Who are the others? Send in their names and addresses and any information you deem of interest concerning their careers as soldiers and citizens. The same information about Union soldiers, residents of the county, is likewise desired.
Logan Banner, 5 March 1929.
PREPARING THE ROLL
Another name has been added to the list of old soldiers that The Banner has undertaken to compile. Reference is to J. Matt Pauley, residing in Band Mill Hollow, post office Stollings. He was in the Confederate army, fought throughout the war and was wounded, writes Mrs. A.V. Pauley of Ethel. He is of the same age as Uncle Dyke Garrett.
The names of four survivors of the War Between the States, all living in Logan county, were published in Tuesday’s paper. There must be others. Who are they?
Today, W.C. Turley brought in a list of eight Confederate veterans, including the following new names: Wm. C. Lucas, Big Creek; Henry Mitchell, Henlawson; Hugh Avis, Green Thompson and John Neece, Logan; Harrison White, Pecks Mill.
Logan Banner, 8 March 1929.
On Confederate Roll
Two more names have been added to the roll of Confederate veterans that The Banner is preparing. These are James Zirkles of Man, whose name was sent in by Leslie Mangus, of Kistler, and Zan Bryant of Whirlwind, whose name was recalled by County Clerk McNeely. Are there not others besides nine or ten previously published?
Logan Banner, 12 March 1929.
Confederate Veterans Living Here Number at Least 17
There Are Probably Others–Will You Help to Enroll Them–All Merit the Tender Interest of Younger Folk
Seventeen names of Confederate soldiers, residents of the county, have been collected by The Banner. Wonder if any have been overlooked, or if the appended list is in error in including any Union veterans? If any reader knows of a Confederate soldier not listed here, please send in the name and address AT ONCE. There will be no further request or reminder.
This paper undertook to make up a list of these old soldiers for two reasons. Chief of these was a desire to prevent any of them being overlooked in case a bill to pension them was passed by the legislature–but the writer does not know yet whether or not that bill was enacted into law. Another reason for assuming the task was to test in a limited way a statement in a Charleston paper that there were only 60 Confederate veterans left in the state. That statement was doubted, and with good reason judging from the number polled in this county. Anyhow, the ranks have become terribly thinned. Every few days we all read of taps being sounded for another one here and there.
Middle-aged men and young folk should esteem it a privilege to do something to brighten the lives of these old soldiers. As the years roll by our pride will increase as we recall our acquaintance with and our kindness toward the “boys of ’61 and ’65.”
Here is the list. Look it over, and if there is a name that should be added or a name that should be stricken out, or any error or omission that should be corrected or supplied, speak up:
James Zirkles, Man; Zan Bryant, Whirlwind; J. Matt Pauley, Ft. Branch; Uncle Dyke Garrett, Curry; William C. Lucas, Big Creek; Henry Mitchell, Henlawson; Hugh Avis, Green Thompson and John Neece, all of Logan; Harrison White, Pecks Mill; Melvin Plumley, Crawleys Creek (post office not known); William Workman, Shegon; Steve Markham, Holden No. 20; William Chafin, No. 5 and 6.
Logan Banner, 15 March 1929.
Two Names Added Confederate Roll
Bill to Pension Them is Defeated By Parliamentary Tactics in House
Names of two more Confederate soldiers living in the county have been sent to The Banner. They are: C.H. Gilkinson, minister, resident of Holden, who was born and reared in Wayne county, and is the father of Dr. L.W. Gilkinson. Jackson McCloud, a resident of Whirlwind on Harts Creek. His name was supplied by A.L. Browning of Monaville, who says he feels sure that Mr. McCloud was in the Confederate service and fought at Gettysburg.
Assuming both names should be added to the roll, it means that there are at least 19 Confederate veterans still living in Logan county, seventeen names having been listed and published a week ago.
For many of them there will be disappointment in the information that the bill to pension them did not pass. Sponsored in the Senate by ex-governor A.B. White, the son of a Union soldier, the bill passed, that body, Senator M.T. Miller of Madison casting the only vote against it. In the House of Delegates it was amended, by a majority of one, to include Negroes, whether slave or free, who had served in the Confederate army of cooks, personal servants, or otherwise, and later tabled.
Source: Logan Banner, 22 March 1929.
Slagle Man 17th in Confederate List
Zan Bryant Probably Oldest Veteran In County–Born in Jackson’s Time
Joseph Lowe of Slagle is the latest name to be added to the list of Confederate veterans that has been compiled by The Banner. However, that leaves the count at 17, as the name of Melvin Plumley of Crawleys Creek was erroneously included in the published list. He was a Union soldier, it seems.
Of all those listed Zan Bryant of Whirlwind must be the oldest. He is said to be 98 years old and his wife, Judie Hensley Bryant, 91. They have been married for 75 years and have a son, Dave Bryant, who is 73. There are five other children, Dave, John, Wade and Dyke all live on Harts Creek, most of them near their parents; Mrs. Martha Jane Smith at Gay, and Mrs. Lucinda Spry of Mingo county.
This venerable couple have spent all their years in the isolated Harts country, their home being on White Oak fork, and can be reached only by a long horseback ride.
When Zan was born Andrew Jackson was president and Logan county as a political subdivision was but five years old. He was 23 years old when married and 30 when the War Between the States began.
Logan Banner, 26 March 1929.
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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.
From W.C. Jameson’s Buried Treasures of the Appalachians (1991, pp. 204-205) comes this story of buried treasure near Chapmanville, WV:
In Fayette County during the War Between the States, a contingent of Union soldiers was escorting a large payroll–a wagon full of gold coins–to a Yankee encampment in the area. As the party traveled along the winding trails through the dense woods, scouts told the commanding officer that a Confederate patrol was rapidly approaching from the east.
The Union officer ordered the escort into a full gallop in the hope of outdistancing the rebels, but after trying to elude the enemy for about five miles, it became clear that they would soon be overtaken. Anticipating a skirmish, the officer halted the wagon and ordered the canvas bags that held the Union payroll taken from the wagon and buried it a short distance from the trail. While troopers hastily dug a pit in which to hide the gold, the officer noted the surroundings in his journal. He wrote that the payroll was hidden on the west side of the Guyandotte River, near a small settlement named Chapmanville.
Once the hole was filled, the soldiers remounted and rode on. About an hour later, the Confederates overtook the Union soldiers and opened fire. The Yankees sought cover and returned fire, but they were disorganized and greatly outnumbered. The fighting lasted about two hours, and when it was over, all of the Yankee soldiers lay dead.
The rebel soldiers searched the wagon for the money and found it empty. Suspecting the gold had been buried shortly before the engagement, they retraced the Yankees’ trail for several miles, without finding the payroll.
Returning to the site of the skirmish, the Confederates stripped the Union soldiers of anything of value and left the corpses to rot in the sun. An unknown soldier took the commanding officer’s journal and he tossed it into the trunk and forgot it. In the early 1930s, someone discovered an old journal and searched unsuccessfully for the buried coins.
The directions in the journal claimed the gold was buried at a point where the old road and the Guyandotte River came within twenty yards of one another. Since the war, however, the road has been all but obliterated by the more modern thoroughfare, and the river has shifted its course.
If the Union payroll of gold coins was not uncovered by the shifting river and washed downstream, the Civil War cache is probably still lying just a few inches beneath the soil near Chapmanville.
For more information about buried treasure in Appalachia, read Mr. Jameson’s book, which can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Buried-Treasures-Appalachians-W-C-Jameson/dp/0874831261
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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.
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