1 1/2 MILES EAST OF NEW INTEREST - 6.10 a. m.
GENERAL: I have just started, after having halted the column for half an hour. There is no doubt they have passed up on Pleasant Run, opposite me, and I follow them, though with much doubt. It is said they are now about six miles ahead, having traveled on last night.
H. W. BENHAM, Captain.
Carrick's Ford, Va., July 14, 1861.
SIR: I reported yesterday, at about 6 a. m., the progress of the forces of my command in pursuit of the enemy retreating from Laurel Hill. The pursuit was continued through the day in the same order as stated in my report of yesterday morning, viz: Steedman's Fourteenth Ohio in advance, with two sections of Barnett's artillery, next Dumont's Seventeenth Indiana and Milroy's Ninth Indiana. These regiments, as I reported, started in pursuit from our resting place near Leadsville at about 4 o'clock in the morning, under the immediate command of Captain Benham. The remainder of the column were on the march by 5 o'clock a. m. A drizzling rain commenced about 6 o'clock, which by 9 became quite heavy. The enemy left the main turnpike and turned towards Cheat River, crossing two branches of the Laurel Mountain over a narrow and difficult road. Owing to the heavy rain, the roads were rendered very difficult for the men and the few wagons of ammunition and provisions. By 11 o'clock the rain became a drenching storm, and continued for several hours, the roads in the mountains becoming nearly impassable. At 2 o'clock the whole command were up to the position which we now occupy.
For details of the operations of the advance column I refer you to the report of Captain Benham.
The attention of the commanding general is particularly called to the gallant bearing of the regiments which led the advance. I would also call attention to the fact that the entire command commenced the pursuit on a few minutes' notice, without time to prepare even a day's rations for the haversacks. I ordered four wagons to be loaded with hard bread and pork to follow the command. These four wagons, with the little additional rations put in with the ammunition, are all the provisions the command has had since leaving Belington, except some beeves procured in this vicinity.
The march of yesterday was from eighteen to twenty miles. When it is considered that we have put to flight a force equal to our own, and have pursued him might and day for thirty hours, almost without provisions, over a mountainous and difficult road, and part of the time through a drenching storm, we may feel sure that our cause must be successfully maintained by men who show such gallant bearing and soldierly endurance.
Justice to a gallant soldier compels me to say that, from the commencement of our march from Philippi to the routing of the enemy at this place, too much praise cannot be bestowed on Captain Benham, and I take this occasion to thank him for the invaluable service he has rendered me. I must also call attention to the services of Major J. W. Gordon, now of the Eleventh Regiment of Infantry, U. S. Army. Major Gordon volunteered a private in the Ninth Indiana Regiment, was promoted sergeant-major in the same regiment, and two weeks since