War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 0273 Chapter XIV. KANAWHA AND NEW RIVER, W. VA.

Search Civil War Official Records

arrived. The enemy was then driven back up the hills, and our men took a line of defense leading diagonally up the hills from Blake's house to the crest above the battery opposite this point.

Shortly after dark six companies of the Second Kentucky Regiment had crossed the river by my order to re-enforce Colonel De Villiers. The enemy seemed to be collecting forces on the ridge, and about 9 o'clock the left wing of the Eleventh, under Major Coleman, was driven back from Blake's farm about a quarter of a mile, but, upon being re-enforced ny two companies of the Second Kentucky, he drove back the enemy and reoccupied his former position. Meanwhile the enemy made a succession of attacks upon the remainder of our force, which was pushing its way up to the mountain crest along the whole line from Blake's to the Kanawha, and a brisk skirmishing fight was kept up until after midnight, when we had secured the bridge as far as Balke's..

During the day the party from the First Kentucky Regiment had occupied the other side of the Kanawha from the mouth of the Fayette road up to the positions of the Eleventh Ohio, and pushed a scouting party a mile up the road towards Fayette, reconnoitering the mountain sides without finding the enemy.

At daybreak of the next day (the 11th instant) Colonel De Villiers, being ordered by me to push the enemy still farther back towards Cotton Hill, collected the larger part of his force and drove in the enemy's pickets on the mountain ridge in his front, and pushed steadily along the crest up the New River. The enemy, several hundred in number, kept up a scattering, skirmishing fight as they retired, but made no persistent stand. As the advance party, under Colonel De Villiers (consisting at this time chiefly of the Second Kentucky Regiment), approached Cotton Hill the enemy was seen moving their baggage train over the hill along the Fayette turnpike from their camping ground above Huddleston, 1 1/2 miles from the kanawha, where the scouts had reported a camp of two regiments the evening before. The advance of our men was stopped before reaching Cotton Hill, as I was satisfied the enemy was greatly superior in number to Colonel De Villiers' party, and they seemed to be retiring with the supposition that his force was only the advance guard of a larger body following him. I therefore through it unwise to have him descend from the wooded ridges and reveal the smallness of his command.

During the afternoon of Monday, the 11th instant, a second party from the First Kentucky Regiment, of 150 men, under Major Leiper, followed the enemy up the Fayette turnpike, crossed Cotton Hill, and took up their position at Laurel Creek, where they remained till evening, then retired half a mile, and remained until General Benham's brigade reached that point, at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon of Tuesday, the 12th, the enemy being in force at Dickerson's, some 2 miles beyond.

In the fighting upon the New River Mountains our men distinctly saw from 20 to 30 of the enemy dragged away dead or badly wounded. Only 1 dead body of the rebels was found by our men on the ground next day. Our own loss was 2 killed, 1 wounded, and 6 missing, all of the Eleventh Ohio Regiment, besides several contusions received by men who fell accidentally in climbing the rocks. The missing are supposed to have been taken prisoners, being a small post stationed on the ridge near where the enemy made a brisk attack about midnight of the 10th.

The whole ground is exceedingly difficult to climb, the mountain sides being very rocky, and in many places almost perpendicular, and the most determined bravery and perseverance were evinced by the troops.

18 R R -VOL V