War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 0091 Chapter XXXVII. IMBODEN'S EXPEDITION INTO W. VA., ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

the Confederate forces of Generals Imboden and Jackson attacked the post at Beverly with about 4,000 troops, constituted mainly of infantry, perhaps 500 cavalry, and about 500 mounted infantry, and a battery of seven pieces.

The parts of my brigade garrisoned at Beverly made an effective force of less than 900 men, 150 of cavalry, one section of artillery (two 10-pounder Parrott guns), and parts of the Second and Eighth [West] Virginia Volunteer Infantry, about 700 strong.

My first intimation of the attack was by telegram from Colonel Latham, received at 2 p.m., that the enemy in large force had driven in his pickets and was advancing on the post in two directions. He asked for orders, and I replied by telegram to hold his position, if possible; if not, to keep his communication with me open,and to fall back, if overpowered. He soon replied that the enemy had already got on to the Buckhannon road with artillery, cavalry, and infantry and cut off that connection but that he could fall back on Philippi. I replied:

If overpowered, destroy your stores, and fall back on Philippi.

The superior forces of the enemy soon compelled Colonel Latham to fall back on the Philippi road. He destroyed such stores as he could not bring off in the regimental train at the post, and very handsomely repulsed repeated attempts of large forces of the enemy's cavalry in his rear.

Colonel Latham's report, herewith inclosed, gives casualties.

This command reached Buckhannon on the 26th. On learning Imboden's and Jackson's real strength, I ordered the forces at Birch, Sutton, and Bulltown to send all wagons and supplies that could be removed, by the direction of Weston, to Clarksburg, and the troops by forced marches, with three days' cooked rations, to join me.

On Monday morning [April 27] all these detached forces had reached Buckhannon making in all arms an effective strength of 2,800 men, constituted as follows: Captain Ewing's infantry company, acting as artillery, four pieces; Captains Smith's, Bowen's, and Hagan's, and Lieutenant Jaehne's skeleton companies of cavalry, 200 stong; the Second, Third, and Eighth [West] Virginia Volunteer Infantry, and the Twenty-eighth Ohio Volunteers, making 2,500 bayonets.

On Saturday, I telegraphed Colonel Mulligan, at Grafton, Va, to push his forces to Philippi and hold that place, where I knew Colonel Latham was falling back.

On Sunday, Colonel Mulligan held the enemy in check there all day, but learning that General [W. E.] Jones' cavalry was threatening Grafton, he fell back to Grafton in the night, and reached that point in time to repulse the enemy, whose advance was, in fact, already at the place. On Sunday night, I sent instructions to Colonel Mulligan, by 3 mounted couriers, that I should move on Beverly, by the Buckhannon road, to attack the enemy in that direction, while he would make a diversion by the Philippi road; but two of the couriers were captured by the enemy, and the one bearing my dispatches barely escaped by the speed of his horse. I then knew that Colonel Mulligan had been driven from Philippi, or had withdrawn, and that Grafton, Webster, and Clarksburg were exposed, and my communications and supplies would be cut off unless by rapid marching I could reach Clarksburg by the Janelew road before the enemy could attack the place from the direction of Philippi and Bridgeport.

While hastening to effect this march, on Monday, I received from Colonel Wilkinson, commanding at Clarksburg, a telegram that Grafton