seven companies of Colonel Heck's regiment I started at 1 o'clock a. m., and without a guide, to make my way, if possible, over the mountains, where there was not the sign of a part, towards General Garnett's camp.
As I remained in camp to see the last company in column, by the time I reached the head of the column, which was nearly on mile long, Captain Silly's [Lilley's] company, of Colonel Heck's regiment, had disappeared and has not been since heard from. The difficulties attending my march with the remaining eight companies it would be impossible for my to exaggerate. We arrived at Tygart's Vallery River at 7 o'clock p. m., having made the distance of about twelve miles in eighteen hours. Here we were met be several country people, who appeared to be our friends, and who informed us that at Leadsville Church, distant three miles, and situated on the Beverly and Laurel Hill turnpike, there was a small camp, composed of a portion of General Garnett's command. Leaving Colonel heck with instructions to bring the command forward rapidly, I hired a horse and proceeded forward until within sight of Leadsville Church, when I stopped at a a farm house, where were assembled a dozen men and women. They informed me that General Garnett had retreated that afternoon up the Leading Creek road, in Tucker County, and that he was being pursued by three thousand of the enemy, who had come from the direction of Laurel Hill as far as Leadsville Church, when they turned up the Leading Creek road in pursuit.
This of course rendered all chance of joining General Garnett, or of escape in that direction, utterly impossible. Hurrying back to my command I found them in much confusion, firing random shots in the dark, under the impression that the enemy was surrounding them. Reforming them, I hurried back to the point where we first struck the river, and persuaded a few of the country people to cook all the provisions they had, hoping it might go a little way toward satisfying the hunger of my almost famishing men.
I now found, on examining the men of the house, there was, if any, only one possible means of escape, and that was by a road which, passing within three miles of the enemy's camp at Beverly, led over precipitous mountains into Pendleton County. Along this road there were represented tome to be but a few miserable habitations,m where it would be utterly impossible for even one company of my men to get food, and as it was now 11 o'clock p. m. it would be necessary to leave at once, without allowing them to get a mouthful where they were. I now called a council of war, composed like the one of the preceding night, when it was agreed, almost unanimously (only two members voting in the negative), there was left to us nothing but the sad determination of surrendering ourselves prisoners of war to the enemy at Beverly. The two members who voted in the negative, whilst they did so, stated that they considered our chances of escape very slim, to which I replied that if I thought them as good as slim I should certainly not entertain the idea of surrendering for one moment, and that I was perfectly convinced that an attempt on our part to escape would sacrifice by starvation a large number of the lives of the command. I now dispatched a messenger to Beverly, which was distant some six miles, with a note of which the following is the substance:
HEADQUARTERS AT MR. KETTLE'S FARM HOUSE, July 12, 1861.
To the COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE NORTHERN FORCES, Beverly, Va.:
SIR: Owing to the reduced and almost famished condition of the force now here under my command, I am compelled to offer to surrender them to you as prisoners of