War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 0094 N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

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numbering 98 men; Captain Hagan's Company A, First [West] Virginia Cavalry, numbering 59, men, and one section (consisting of one 10-pounder Parrott gun and a 6-pounder brass smooth-bore) of Ewing's battery, numbering 32 men; making a total of 878 men, rank, and file.

I took a strong position on the south side of the town, commanding the entire valley and the Staunton turnpike above, but flanked by back roads on each side. In this position I placed the Parrott gun and the detachment of the Second [West] Virginia Volunteer Infantry, holding the detachment of the Eighth [West] Virginia Volunteer Infantry and the brass gun in reserve to watch the flanks.

About 2 p.m. the action was opened with artillery and infantry, skirmishing at long range. A large force of the enemy's cavalry and part of his artillery was now seen advancing on the back road west of the valley, toward the rod leading from Beverly to Buckhannon, and effectually turning our right. This movement it was impossible for us to counteract, though with the river intervening we were not in much danger of an actual attack from this force. The object of this movement was to prevent our retreat toward Buckhannon. Three regiments of his infantry were at the same time advancing cautiously through the woods, pressing back our skirmishers toward our front and left, his artillery playing directly in front, with two regiments of infantry in reserve.

At 4 p.m. the action had become quite brisk along our whole line; our skirmishers were driven in on our front, and the enemy had advanced to within canister range. The commands of his officers could be distinctly heard, and he was pressing well beyond our left. Shortly after this I received your order to fall back. I immediately set my train in motion; destroyed the public stores of all kinds, and about 5 p.m. drew off my forces. The movement was executed in perfect order, and though the enemy pressed our rear for 6 miles, and twice charged us with his cavalry, there was no confusion, no hurry, no indecent haste. His cavalry charges were handsomely repulsed, and he learned to follow at a respectful distance. We marched this evening 9 miles and having gained a safe position, rested for the night, our pickets and those of the enemy being 1 mile apart.

On the morning of the 25th, we marched leisurely 8 miles to Belington, where we arrived about 10 a.m., and halted for orders; no enemy in sight. About 12 m. I received your order to proceed as rapidly as possible to Buckhannon. I immediately started, and marched 13 miles to Philippi that night; rested until morning; started at daylight April 26, and reached Buckhannon (17 miles) about the middle of the afternoon.

In this affair we lost but 1 man, believed to be killed; 2 wounded, and 14 prisoners, 10 from the Second [West] Virginia Volunteer Infantry 2 from the Eighth [West] Virginia Volunteer Infantry, and 2 from Captain Smith's Independent Company of Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, who were captured with their horses and equipments as part of guard to a forage train of five wagons before the engagement. The quartermaster's and commissary stores, and camp and garrison equipage destroyed were very considerable, and nothing of value fell into the hands of the enemy.

I have no reliable data from which to estimate the enemy's loss, but it is known to exceed ours in killed and wounded, and we took 3 prisoners. The enemy was commanded by Generals J. D. Imboden and William L. Jackson. Our light loss and successful retreat are to be attributed, under a kind Providence, to the coolness and efficiency of