War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 0254 OPERATIONS IN MD., N. VA., AND W. VA. Chapter XIV.

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was therefore determined to draw them in and capture them. This would not interfere in the least having our troops clothed and paid..

Camps and smoke began to appear opposite Miller's Ferry and signs of considerable force. The New River gorge and the crests of the adient hills protected their encampment and movements from observation, but we learned that Floyd had about 4,000 men; at the same time that orders had been given at Meadow Bluff to Loring and Tompkins to make a secret move, and Lee had said to a person who told him I had intended to occupy Kanawha valley, very significantly, "if he can." A flag of true also came from Meadow Bluff, the headquarters of Lee, signed by Colonel J. Lucius Davis, showing that lee was absent.

These and other circumstances rendered it probable that the enemy was about to attempt to dislodge us from this position, and as a combined movement on both sides of the river above appeared most likely to succeed, it became necessary to provide for that contingency.

On the 29th of October the rebels chased our troops on the Fayette road down near the month of Great Falls Creek, and on the 1st of November appeared on the heights of Cotton Hill, opposite Gauley Bridge, with a 6-pounder rifled piece and with another opposite Montgomery's Ferry (see map), and opened fire with shot and shell. We discontinued running the ferry during the day, for fear it might be struck. General Cox was directed to put pieces in position which replied to the fire. The trains were passed during the night, to avoid exposure.

The plan of operations was now decided as follows: McCook opposite Milles' Ferry, to remain for the purpose of threatening a passage there while his force would serve to hold in check anything that Lee would bring on the Lewisburg road, Schenck to operate for and effect a crossing above at Bowyer's Ferry or some point this side; Benham encamped below McCook, whose camp could be moved without exciting suspicion to pass down by night to Gauley, and thence to a point nearly opposite the mouth of Loop Creek, where he was to cross over, be re-enforced, and reconnoiter the roads which by way of Loop Creek lead to the flanks and rear of the enemy's position. A contingency was that if a scout then out and to return on the night he moved down should report the enemy's force and access thereto favorable, Benham's brigade, with General Cox's force, might cross at the falls. Result of scout was unfavorable to this. General Benham's force passed below, crossed the river, and occupied, as directed, the mouth of Loop Creek and the road 6 or 7 miles up beyond Taylor's.


Reconnaissances showed but three accessible points of crossing above Miller's Ferry, viz: Bowyer's Ferry, 17 miles up, 15 miles Sewell, guarded by a force of infantry, and provided with but one boat an old canoe; crossing called Townsend's Ferry, 5 1/2 miles up, apparently unknown and unthought of; Claypoole's Hole, between that and Miller's Ferry, coming out near the enemy's camp.

November 6, I detached Major Crawford, as acting aide, to report to General Schenck and examine Townsend's Ferry. he found the accesses exceedingly difficult, but evidently unwatched. Determined the possibility of constructing, by means of wagon beds and canvas, and by bull-boats and some skiffs, the apparatus for crossing the troops. This apparatus was completed on the 9th instant. (See Crawford's report) [Numbers 3]. Meanwhile the river rose so as to be impassable, and its condition