War of the Rebellion: Serial 016 Page 0758 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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ments, and other evidence also reached me which placed the matter beyond doubt.

In the mean time I had been communicating with Colonel Imboden, who was at Cheat Mountain with a small force, and with whom I had contemplated a co-operation; but the enemy's force being nearly twice as large as both our own combined, and occupying a strongly fortified position, made even a combined attack impracticable. I now determined, if possible, to throw my command in General Kelley's rear, and learning that an immense amount of supplies and several thousand stand of arms had been collected at Buckhannon, the county seat of Upshur, I concluded to strike at that point. To effect this we had to cross the Rich Mountain by a mere bridle-path, or rather trail, which was often undiscoverable, and which for 30 miles passes through the most perfect wilderness I ever bethels. It was indeed an arduous task for men and horses. Some of the latter were completely broken down and left behind and a few of the men were also physically unable to make the march, and returned to the main road to make their way back to General Loring's camp. At length, however, after twenty-four hours' continuous marching, with the exception of short intervals for rest, the last of the command was extricated from the wilderness, and we suddenly entered upon the fertile country watered by the tributaries of Buckhannon River. Here we halted, and after a few hours for rest and food we proceeded down French Creek toward the town of Buckhannon. The population along this creek is among the most disloyal in all Western Virginia. We had emerged so suddenly from the mountains and by a route hardly known to exist at all, and if known deemed utterly impassable for any considerable number of men, that the inhabitants could scarcely comprehend that we were Southern troops; but when once known the alarm spread rapidly, and the Lincolnite bushwhackers, or Home Guards, as they style themselves, kept up a scattering fire upon us all day. It was often necessary to dismount a portion of my command to clear the enemy from the woods or houses. I am pained to say that in one of these skirmishes Captain [J. M.] Ferguson was wounded in the knee by a musket-ball. The missile passed entirely through the knee joint and the wound is a serious one. Under the advice of the surgeon we left him, after taking him with us a few hours. We killed and wounded several and captured a great many of the so-called Home Guards. The latter I released upon their taking an oath not to bear arms against the State or the Confederate Government.

At 3 o'clock [August 30] we approached Buckhannon. So rapidly had we traveled that the news of our coming hardly preceded us an hour. I could observe no signs of the enemy, but knowing he had troops at that point I suspected they were placed in ambuscade, an opinion which was soon confirmed. My own disposition of troops was soon made. Dismounting all but two companies, I placed four companies of the dismounted men under Captain [G. W.] Spotts, with orders to proceed through a skirt of woods on our left, where I suspected an ambuscade, and after driving him from that position to flank the town on the left. I ordered two other companies of dismounted men to deploy through a corn field on our right, while I moved on with the other dismounted men, under Colonel Corns, along the main turnpike leading to the town, leaving Captain Preston in command of the two mounted companies to await further orders. The forces on my left soon felt the enemy and drove him in confusion before them Our main body received a fire from the enemy, who was partially screened by some haystacks and fences. This fire was returned so briskly that the enemy