War of the Rebellion: Serial 002 Page 0269 Chapter IX. CAMPAIGN IN WEST VIRGINIA.

Search Civil War Official Records

Battery, at Camp Garnett, near Rich Mountain, Va., on the 11th of July last, are herewith inclosed.

The report of Lieutenant Raine shows that the movements of the enemy to attack us on the flank or in the rear were observed on the night of the 10th. Early on the morning of the 11th the observations of the night previous were confirmed by information from a wounded trooper of the enemy, who was captured. Communicating with Colonel Pegram early on the morning of the 11th, I received from him an order to take a gun that was stationed on an eminence on our left flank and locate it suitably on the turnpike road at Rich Mountain, about one mile and a half in the rear of Camp Garnett. Captain J. A. De Lagnel, by orders of Colonel Pegram, took charge of this gun. I returned to the position of a gun one mile down the road toward the camp. Between 1 and 2 o'clock the first gun was fired by the gun on the hill. When I had planted that gun I asked Colonel Pegram if he would not have another gun there, to which he replied, "No; Captain De Lagnel will send to you for a gun when he needs one." Between 4 and 5 o'clock I received a message from Captain De Lagnel that he needed a gun. Immediately I moved rapidly with the gun to his assistance, ordering Lieutenant Raine to bring on the caisson. Within a short distance of the scene of action one of the wheel-horses was killed and the other wounded. After this, meeting our retreating forces, I formed them in line and took position on the upper side of the road, in order to check the advance of the enemy. After being thus formed Colonel Pegram came up and proposed a night attack upon the enemy on the hill. In attempting to execute this movement Colonel Pegram advanced some distance beyond the position of the enemy on the hill. As we proceeded, finding that we had lost our way, I stopped with Lieutenant Raine and some others.

It was now raining freely; the night was dark; the trail was zigzag through thick clustering bushes, over large logs, and often steep and slippery. After resting a few hours I pursued the trail, and shortly overtook two companies of the column, from whose captains (Bruce and Jones) I learned that Colonel Pegram had returned to camp after directing Major Tyler to take the men on to Beverly. Being now about eight miles through the hills from General Garnett's camp at Laurel Hill, I determined to attempt to communicate with him, for the purposed of obtaining such assistance as he could afford us, while we might attempt to unite our forces with his.

Taking Lieutenant Raine and three of my men I moved rapidly towards his camp. Striking the turnpike road near his camp, I perceived by the desertion of the picket-houses and the felling of trees across the road that his camp was evacuated. Surrounded by foraging parties of the enemy, who were moving about in deferent directions, I was compelled to remain in the mountains of cheat for several days and nights before I could come out safely. At length I succeeded undoing so. During this time Lieutenant Raine and my three men, each armed with a musket, suffered much from fatigue, hunger, and thirst, but they were prompt and fearless in the discharge of duty.

I cannot close this report without referring to the conduct of the officers and soldiers of the Lee Battery, who were engaged either in the conflict at Rich Mountain or on duty during the several days preceding the action of the 11th and on that day. They were surrounded by an overwhelming force. The guns of the battery were widely separated, from one-half to two miles apart. The conduct of Lieutenant J. R. Massey and the men under him, in defense of their position against a large