War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 1084 OPERATIONS IN N.VA.,W.VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXI.

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which I kept next to the skirmishers, from destroying more than one. A large number of trees were felled across the road, and the bridges broken, but these impediments were rapidly removed by the energetic pioneers of Edgar's battalion, under Lieutenant Hart, of the engineer corps, Wharton's brigade. At night we came up with the enemy, captured his picket guard, drove him from his camp, and slept again upon the ground which he had selected for himself.

At day-break we resumed the pursuit, and found that his force had crossed the river before day at Camp Piatt. I brought all the artillery to the front, and kept up a galling fire upon his rear as he moved down the narrow plain on the opposite bank. As we approached Charleston I discovered masses of infantry crossing the river to the south side for the purpose of checking our advance. I immediately sent Lieutenant-Colonel Clarke with his battalion of sharpshooters, supported by the Forty-fifth Virginia Regiment, who gallantly drove the enemy back, some fleeing down the river, others recrossing it. The enemy by this time had nearly completed the evacuation of Charleston, and were preparing to give us battle on the opposite bank of Elk River, behind their wagons and hastily thrown-up breastworks. A height on the south bank of the Kanawha, just below the bank of Elk River, overlooked and commanded the enemy's entire position, but his artillery commanded the road to this height, and his sharpshooters lined the opposite bank of the Kanawha. I sent Clarke's battalion, with some companies of the Forty-fifth, to engage these sharpshooters, while the artillery, under Major King, dashed by at full gallop, and, with but small loss, obtained the desired height, and from six pieces opened upon the enemy's right flank a most destructive fire. A few effective rounds drove the enemy from his position, and his regiments and wagons began a disorderly retreat, and nothing was left but his artillery to contest the ground. At this moment the suspension bridge across Elk River fell. I now sent Captain Marye with the information which my position enabled me to gain, suggesting that the bridge had been destroyed, but that Elk River could be crossed on flat-boats and the enemy's cannon taken. You at once put me in command of four regiments on the nought bank of the Kanawha, with instructions to cross Elk River and take the enemy's batteries. This was rendered unnecessary by the enemy withdrawing his pieces and following his retreating column with the whole of his artillery.

Colonel Wharton, while associated with me, behaved with his accustomed coolness and courage. Major King managed his artillery with great ability, and displayed that calm courage so necessary to an artillery officer. Captain Stanton, my adjutant-general, rendered important service, and accomplished a feat of gallantry which should be remembered. While the enemy still occupied one-half of Charleston, accompanied by Lieutenant Hackler, of the Forty-fifth, and 3 men of the same regiment, [he] crossed the river in a skiff, under a heavy fire, hauled down the garrison flat of the enemy, and returned, unhurt, with the trophy. At Fayette Court-House he took command of a piece of artillery, the gunner of which had been killed and 3 drivers wounded, and managed the piece, under a terrible fire, with great effectiveness. Private Harper and the remaining members, of this piece behaved nobly. Captain [William M.] Peyton, my aide-de-camp, deserves mention for his conspicuous gallantry and fearless horsemanship through all the heat of battle. Colonel John Morris, volunteer aide, rendered important service. Captains Myers and Buckner were prompt in carrying orders. Dr. Duke displayed the qualities of both surgeon and soldier. Major Peter Otey,