War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 0276 OPERATIONS IN MD., N. V., AND W. VA. Chapter XIV.

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entire material was at the water's edge. Soon after dark the bull-boat and wagon floats were put together and floated, the skiffs were launched, and everything was in readiness. It was now deemed proper by me to make an attempt to throw a rope across the river. Owing to the very heavy and almost incessant rains the river had commenced to rise early in the day and was now much swollen. I directed three experienced oarsmen to enter one of the skiff and attempt to cross, towing a small rope. When about the middle of the river they were seized by the current and carried swiftly down the river to the rapids, and only returned to this by great exertions. At the same moment a courier reached me with the intelligence from Captain Piatt, assistant adjutant-general Third Brigade, that no attempt would be mad to cross the command that night. The skiffs and floats were then hauled up behind rocks and concealed. Up to the moment of quieting the bank of the river at midnight of the 11th I could defect no sound from the opposite bank or the slightest indication that we were observed. Leaving a small guard at the boats, I returned to headquarters. The river continued to rise during the night. It fell slowly during the day, but at 6 p. m. of Tuesday, the 12th instant, it was visited by Captain Piatt, who reported it impassable.

On the 13th, the Third Brigade, in accordance with previous orders, left their encampment and crossed the Kanawha in the vicinity of Gauley. At 6.30 p. m. I joined the command at its camp at Huddleston's, near the forks of Falls Creek. A communication had been sent by General Schenck to General Benham, commanding the Second Brigade, and who was supposed to be with his force at or near Laurel Creek, a distance of - miles from Fayette. In order, however, to obtain more precise intelligence of the movements and condition of General Benham's force, I was requested by General Schenck to go forward to General Benham, inform him that General Schenck had crossed the river and assumed command, and to learn from General Benham the immediate condition of his command, his position, and the result of his scouts, and to direct him not to go forward unless there was an immediate prospect of coming up with the enemy, in event of which General Schenck would move forward with his whole force; otherwise he would remain at laurel Creek until General Schenck's arrival in the morning. I left at 7.30 p. m. The road was miry, and in many places almost impassable for wagons. Knots of soldiers were straggling along after their regiments, and in some instances, tired of the pursuit, they had turned aside to bivouac for the night. At a point known as the Widow Stauridge's, where the road from Cassidy's Mill joins the turnpike from Fayette to Gauley, I encountered a large body of men at a halt. At 9 o'clock p. m. I overtook General Benham at Dickerson's farm house, where he had halted with a portion of his command, and was resting until the regiments and stragglers in rear should come up. I found General Benham, and informed him of the object of my visit. He did not understand that General Schenck was to take command, but that their forces were to act conjointly. He stated to me that the enemy's train was just ahead of him, and that he was to start in an hour in pursuit. I informed him that General Schenck had crossed the river and had assumed command, and that he had sent to him (General B.) to learn the position he was occupying, the disposition he had made of his troops, what information of the enemy's movements and position he had obtained from his scouts, and also to inform him that General Schenck would join at or near Laurel Creek in the morning. I informed him also that General Schenck desired that he (General.