War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 0279 Chapter XIV. KANAWHA AND NEW RIVER, W. VA. .

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other scouts, to ascertain if the movement was a retreat; but most unfortunately (as Colonel Smith informed me in the morning), he did not understand it as a command, but merely as a suggestion, and they were not send. On learning this at early light, I immediately sent forward a scout of 10 men, supported by two companies of the Thirteenth Regiment, but the report from these men of the retreat of the rebels did not come in till after 4 p. m., on receiving which I immediately gave the orders for marching to overtake them. For this I left the more prepared as I had ordered and excepted down to join me the force that were at Cassidy's Mill, having authorized the aide who was sent there to order them direct to Fayette road of the enemy were proven to be retreating, and it would be surely safe to do so. But this late order was also misunderstood, and although a portion of this command of mine had occupied Fayetteville from 11 a. m. without finding they had the means to communicate with me, they were recalled, and unfortunately made the circuit around to this place again. At length, by 5 p. m., we moved forward from the Union school-house to the Dickerson farm, which we reached before 7, finding the evidences of a most hasty retreat in the remains of large quantities of tents and camp equipage destroyed by fire. At s short distance beyond this farm the command was closed up, halted, and rested for about four hours, and the detachment of the Forty-fourth and Seventh joined me, making my moving strength about 2,700 men. With this force at 11 p. m. I pushed forward, arriving about 4 a. m. of the 14th at Hawkins' farm, about 5 miles beyond Fayetteville, being delayed much by scouting the roads in advance. On the route further evidences of the hasty retreat were shown in the tents, wagons, and large quantities of ammunition left behind.

At 7 we again moved forward, with the belief, which proved to be the fact, that part at least of their train was encamped 5 miles from Hawkins'. The advance was led by Colonel Smith, of the Thirteenth, to whose presence and caution during that day we owe it that not a single man of ours was killed or wounded, and scouting most cautiously though of course slowly forward, we met the advanced posts of the enemy after 4 miles' march at 9.30 a. m., where a sharp contest with our advance continued for nearly half an hour, when, besides several other losses, the rebels had mortally wounded the colonel of Floyd's cavalry, Colonel St. George Croghan (son of the late Inspector-General Croghan). These outposts being driven in, we advanced carefully about one mile farther, where the enemy were found posted in considerable force behind a ridge covering McCoy's Mill. A regiment of cavalry and different regiments of infantry are reported as distinctly seen. After an entrenching of fire between these and our advance for twenty minutes Captain Schneider's rifled artillery was brought up with good effect, the officers reporting that they saw many fall at their fire. As however I soon discovered a ridge that made out from our rear to our right, that commanded at close the left of the enemy, I sent my aide to direct Lieutenant-Colonel Creighton, with the Seventh and half of the Thirty-seventh Regiments, under Major Ankele, to pass down this ridge to attack their left. This movement, I regret to say, was delayed fully half an hour by the resistance of Colonel Siber to this order, he at first neglecting or refusing to send the number of men required and demanding the right to command it, as reported by my aides. When at length this attack was made it was entirely successful, and with the first concentrated volleys of this command of about 750 men, uniting with the fire of the Thirteenth Regiment, the whole of