War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 1059 OPERATIONS IN N.VA., W.VA., AND PA. Chapter XXXI.

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of the Second Virginia Cavalry, under command of Major Curtis, were stationed at Summerville; the remainder of the Ninth and Fourth Virginia Infantry, and Second Virginia Cavalry, were stationed at different points from Gauley Bridge to Charleston, including an outpost at Coal River, in Boone County, with my headquarters at Gauley.

Soon after assuming command, I became satisfied that the enemy was massing troops at the Narrows of New River, Union, and other points, for a demonstration upon the Kanawha Valley. Finding it impossible to obtain re-enforcements, and my flanks and rear being unprotected, I ordered Colonel Siber, at Raleigh, to fall back to Fayette Court-House and Colonel Gilbert also to fall to Gauley Mountain or Tompkins' farm. A day or two before I gave the order to Colonel Gilbert, I learned that Jenkins, with a heavy force of cavalry, had left Union, Monroe County, and, fearing he would attack Summerville, I ordered Colonel Gilbert to send six companies of the Forty-seventh Ohio Volunteers Infantry, under command of Colonel Elliott, to re-enforce that point. Finding these positions untenable against the reported force of the enemy, and Jenkins already in my rear I ordered Colonel Paxton, with six companies of the Second Virginia Cavalry, to look after him, and, if possible, keep open communications with the Ohio River, by way of the Kanawha River. I, at the same time, ordered the quartermaster and commissary stores, of which there was a large quantity, to be shipped to Charleston, directing that the most valuable be shipped first, which had to be transported by land to Camp Piatt and Charleston; but, before much could be done in moving the stores the clothing, which was mostly got away, my outpost at Fayette Court-House, under command of Colonel Siber, was attacked by an overwhelming force of the enemy. Learning that his communication with me was cut off, I immediately ordered three companies of the Fourth Virginia Volunteer Infantry to re-enforce him with orders to fall back to Gauley, if the thought he could not hold his position. I also ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Parry, with five companies of the Forty-seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry, to Cotton Hill, to meet the retreating force of Colonel Siber, who fell back, skirmishing, the entire road from Cotton Hill to the Kanawha River. I also, upon learning that Fayette was attacked, ordered Colonel Siber, with his command, to Gauley; also Colonel Elliott's command from Summerville, which command did not reach there until the enemy got possession of the opposite side of the river, and, consequently, was compelled to destroy their wagons and cross the mountains, joining the command near Cannelton.

Colonel Gilbert's command, with his artillery, was stationed in a position commanding the road leading from Fayette, and did good execution in covering the retreat of Colonel Siber's column. I also ordered all the wagons at Gauley to be loaded with the most valuable commissary stores, and to push forward, without stopping, until they crossed Elk River, below Charleston. This order was not obeyed, from some cause, the wagons and teams being in and above Charleston, which no doubt, caused the confusion among the quartermasters, referred to in Colonel Gilbert's report. After Colonel Siber's command had passed and the enemy somewhat dispersed, Colonel Gilbert retired, skirmishing, which was kept up along almost the entire road, until we reached Charleston, September 12, where I thought to make a stand. I accordingly ordered the wagons that had been stopped in town across Elk River, which had hardly been done when the enemy made the attack upon the Forty-seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry, which had been ordered by Colonel Gilbert to take a position above town, feel the enemy, and