War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 0275 Chapter XIV. KANAWHA AND NEW RIVER, W. VA.

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at Townsend's Ferry and my subsequent connection with the expedition sent against the forces under Brigadier-General Floyd:

Having been appointed a special aide-de-camp of the commanding general for this expedition, I reported on Wednesday, the 6th instant, to Brigadier-General Schenck, commanding the Third Brigade. It had been determined, if possible, to throw a body of troops under General Schenck across New River, at some point above the enemy's position, in order to strike his rear. Fir this purpose a neglected ferry, known as Townsend's Ferry, was selected, and a bold and successful reconnaissance of the opposite side was made by Sergeant Haven, of the Twenty-third Regiment Ohio Volunteers, who succeeded in making his way at night within a short distance of the town of Fayette, 1 1/4 miles from the ferry. It was determined to attempt a crossing of the troops under General Schenck at this point, a distance of 5 1/2 miles from their encampment. To effect this, it was necessary to construct the means of crossing the river, which was at the ferry about 80 or 90 yards across. Four skiff were sent up from Gauley, and the duty of constructing floats and transferring them and the skiffs to the water's edge was assigned to me. The floats were thus constructed: Two wagon beds, 9 1/2 by 4 feet, were placed upon frames a distance of 3 1/2 feet apart, and secured by wedges and pins. Thus constructed, they were placed upon a duck paulin, which was drawn up tightly around the beds and secured. Light planks were then laid over the wagon beds, and the whole secured by ropes, which, while holding it firmly together, served to control and guide it. A bull-boat, substituting canvas for hides, was constructed by Captain W. F. Raynolds, Topographical Engineers. These floats and boats were in readiness on Thursday, the 7th instant, and sent on Thursday night to the mountain.

On Wednesday a reconnaissance of the path leading down the mountain on this side of the river was made by me. It was found to be utterly impracticable for the passage of boats or material of any sort, and it became necessary to seek at once for an avenue by which the material prepared might be sent down the mountain. I repaired to the mountain of Thursday, and after a laborious search I marked out a road by which I hoped to send down upon sledges our boats and floats. A steep perpendicular cliff ran along the mountain for half a mile. A point was found where the cliff opened, leaving a smooth rock 12 feet high, over which the boats were sent. In some places the entire material had to be carried over rocks to the heads of steep ravines, down which the skiffs and wagon beds were sent by means of ropes. A detail of pioneers was furnished by the Third Brigade, and subsequently fatigue parties, until the evening of Saturday, when three of the skiffs and two of the wagon-beds were drawn up at a short distance from the water's edge and collected. The men worked in the rain during the whole period..

On Saturday night a guard, consisting of an officer, a non-commissioned officer, and 10 men, were stationed over the boats, with directions to show no light, to kindle no fires, and to preserve the utmost quiet. Shortly after daylight three men made their appearance on the opposite bank, and launched a small boat made of rough planks. Being too small to hold the three, two of the men came across. When within a few rods of the shore they discovered the guard, and signaling them not o fire, they came ashore and delivered themselves up. The man who remained upon the opposite shore, seeing his comrades taken prisoners, attempted to escape, and was fired upon.

The work, however, was carried on, and by Monday evening the.