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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 5, Part 1 (West Virginia)
Page 163 Chapter XIV. ENGAGEMENT AT CARNIFIX FERRY, W. VA.

me again. That day I advised him that the enemy were advancing upon me from Big Sewell, and at 7.30 o'clock a. m. I again addressed him in writing. On the same day he arrived at my position with a reenforcement of four regiemnts. My advance guard had met that of the enemy on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. By this time the enemy had received re-enforcements swelling their numbers probably to more than 6,000, and their scouts pushed close to our lines, occasioning frequent sharp skirmishes, in all of which our men and officers acquitted themselves to my entire satisfaction. indeed, format he time that I first marched under General Floyd's orders, until the moment of my recall my command was engaged, almost without intermission,in constant skirmishes, severely testing their courage, coolness, and endurance, and tending in a great degree to restrain the advance, embarrass the movements, and prevent the concentration of the enemy's forces. I am proud to say that every prevent the concentration of the enemy's forces. I am proud to say that every instance of attack and defense has only tended to increase my confidence in their efficiency.

At about 4.30 o'clock p. m. September 25 I received, while under fire on the field, the President's order to leave my command, transfer it to General Floyd, and to report at Richmond with the least delay. After a moment's reflection, at 5 o'clock I addressed to General Lee my last letter to him received his counsel, indorsed upon my note,advising me to obey the order with the least delay,a nd I left he camp immediately-took time only to pack my baggage-started the next morning, and did not stop until I arrived at Richmond.

I have now made as full and detailed a report as it is possible for me to make in my present prostrated state of health. To recapitulate, then: In reply to General Floyd's report of September 12, of which he gave me no notice when he sent it to the Department, I aver that I did not fail to render him the best assistance in my power; that I defended his rear on this side of Carnifix Ferry; that had I obeyed his order and crossed the ferry, neither man nor beast of his command or mine would have escaped capture, wounds, imprisonment, or death. I aver the fact that he did not succeed so well in the construction of his temporary breastworks as he did in my defense of his rear. I aver that his entrenchment was not worthy of any command, either in site or construction, and that his facilities for retreat were wholly neglected and inadequate; that wantonly and unnecessarily he lost a large amount of public property, and would have lost all his artillery but for the good conduct and courage of Colonel Tompkins. I aver that if he ought to have crossed that ferry and remained in those entrenchments one hour to await the approach of a superior force of the enemy, and to fight the enemy for three hours without the loss of a single man killed, he ought ot have awaited another attack the next day and the re-enforcements that were marching to his relief. He estimates the enemy's force at between eight and nine thousand, when they were not more than 6,000. Upon the close of the contest at night it was not, as he days it was, a mere question of time-it was impossible for him to discover whether it was a question of time merely-when he should be compelled to yield to the superiority of numbers. He had had plenty of time to have constructed his ferry and amply sufficient breastworks. He says, therefore, that he determined at once to recross the Gauley River and take position on the left bank, which he says he accomplished without the loss of a gun or any accident whatever. I aver that if he took position on the left bank of the Gauley he did not hold it, and ultimately-almost immediately-he left the left bank of the Gauley totally unprotected. Whether he lost a gun or not is yet to be


Page 163 Chapter XIV. ENGAGEMENT AT CARNIFIX FERRY, W. VA.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 5, Part 1 (West Virginia)
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