about 2 a.m. of the 13th, we moved down to Charleston, where the whole column, except the Forty-seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry and the cavalry, took position on the north side of Elk River. I had given Colonel Elliott, Forty-seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry, orders to take position in the upper part of the town, and hold it as long as possible, and left with him Lieutenant Fischer, with three mountain howitzers. About 9.30 a.m. the enemy's drove in the cavalry picket, which had been left a mile above town, and, the hearing of it, I went immediately to the upper end of the town, and found Colonel Elliott and the cavalry retiring. I halted them immediately, and, after a careful examination of the ground, posted them above the thickly settled portion of the town and then returned immediately to the main body and ordered Major Mitchell to take position on the wooded slope, to the left of the Ripley road, with one company deployed along the bank of Elk River, from the brigade up, and Lieutenant-Colonel Russell to form the Fourth Virginia on the left of the Forty-fourth Ohio, with two companies deployed along the bank of the Elk, covering his front and extending some distance beyond his left flank. I had ordered my field pieces to report to Colonel Siber for orders, as the slope on the left were wooded and inaccessible to artillery. They were posted under his direction. About this time, 11.30 a.m., the firing at Colonel Elliott's position had become quite brisk, and I went back there and changed the position of the cavalry support, under Lieutenant-Colonel Curtis, and directed him to throw out vedettes to watch any attempt of the enemy to turn Colonel Elliott's left and cut him off from the main body. I found Lieutenant-Colonel Parry had been placed in charge of the extreme rear (now become the front), and was keeping up a spirited skirmish with the enemy's advance, on west side of river, his rifles being re-enforced by a howitzer, which was doing good execution. Finding things going on well in this locality, I returned to the main body, and about 2 o'clock, was informed that the enemy were coming in, along the hills, in strong force, back of the town. I therefore ordered Colonel Elliott to withdraw, and destroy the Government stores, &c., as he came through the town. This was done by Lieutenant-Colonel Parry, who brought up the rear, and they finished their work by destroying Elk Bridge, after all had crossed. About this time, 3 p.m., the skirmishers along Elk became actively engaged, and the infantry firing became general all along the line, and, soon after, the enemy opened batteries, which had been planted on the west side of the Kanawha, opposite the mouth of Elk, and on the hills east of the town, thus making a cross-fire upon our position. They also threw a large body of infantry up Elk, on our left, but this move was promptly met and foiled. All who crossed were either disabled, or recrossed precipitately, and we held our own until dark, when, in accordance with orders, I withdrew my skirmishers and retired from the field, and batteries on the west side of the Kanawha playing vigorously upon us, without effect, as we moved off.
Three companies of the Fourth Virginia Regiment had become detached in the woods on the left, and failed to come in with the rest, but they joined the main body on the next day at noon, having come through the woods to near Sissonville.
Some 3 or 4 after leaving the battle-field, we found the road blockaded with our trains. The quartermasters seemed to have abandoned them, and word reached me that the enemy had appeared in our front. In accordance with your order, I ordered Colonel Elliott, with the Forty-seventh Ohio, to push forward and get the train in motion,