Cavalry, and [J. H.] McClanahan's battery, six guns, numbering in the aggregate about 1,825 effective men. On the evening of the 21st, I was joined at Hightown by the Twenty-second Virginia Infantry, [Lieutenant Colonel A. C.] Dunn's battalion [Thirty-seventh Virginia] dismounted cavalry, and the Nineteenth Virginia Cavalry mostly dismounted, from Major General Samuel Jones' command, numbering in the aggregate about 1,540 men, giving me an entire force of about 3,365 men, of which about 700 were mounted. I was supplied with thirteen days' rations of flour and thirty days' of salt, relying upon the country to furnish meat.
On the evening of April 23, I reached Tygart's Valley, at Huttonsville, having marched 70 miles in four days, most of the time under a drenching rain that raised the water-courses and made the roads very difficult. On Cheat Mountain we found the snow in many places 18 or 20 inches deep, and had to face a pelting storm of sleet. At Camp Bartown, on Greenbrier, I learned that the notorious Yankee scout, John Slayton, and 7 Federal soldiers had passed about sunrise on the morning of the 22d, hurrying on to Beverly with intelligence of our approach. Anticipating some attempt to precede me with information, I had ordered a mounted picket from Pocahontas to Greenbrier River, at the foot of Cheat [Mountain], on the 20th. This compelled Slayton to attempt to reach Beverly through the mountains north of the turnpike. On the night of the 22d, I sent a party of 20 men in pursuit of him, but they failed to find or hear anything further of him, and I took it for granted he had succeeded in getting through to Beverly, and would prevent a surprise of the forces there by giving the alarm. This opinion was confirmed by the fact I learned at Huttonsville that the mounted picket of 30 men usually kept at that place had been withdrawn on the morning of the 23d, about 11 o'clock. My men and horses being greatly fatigued, I resolved to camp for the night. A little after midnight my advance picket reported a party of the enemy as having passed up on the east side of the river to a mountain overlooking our camp, and an hour later reported the rapid return of this party toward Beverly. I had sent a company of infantry on the first alarm to try and cut them off. Subsequent events showed that the enemy turned back before reaching a point high enough up to discern our camp, and therefore obtained no information. I had ascertained the enemy's force at Beverly to be two regiments of infantry, a battery, and two companies of cavalry-in all, about 1,500 men.
It continued to rain all night, and the morning of the 24th was one of the most gloomy and inclement I ever saw. At an early hour I started all my infantry down through the plantations on the east side of the river, where they were joined by four guns of my battery 7 miles above Beverly. The cavalry and a section of artillery pursued the main road on the west side of the river, under Colonel George W. Imboden, with orders as soon as they discovered the enemy to be in Beverly to press forward and gain possession of the road leading to Buckhannon, and cut off retreat by that route. About 5 miles above Beverly the cavalry advance met a man, who, as soon as he saw them, fled. They fired upon him, but he escaped. It turned out to be the bogus State sheriff of Randolph [County], named [J. F.] Phares, who, though shot through the lungs, succeeded in reaching Beverly and gave the alarm. About the same time, on the east side of the river we captured a forage train and its escort. I learned from the prisoners that the enemy was in ignorance of our approach; but as soon as Phares reached town and gave the alarm, the whole force was drawn up to fight us. About a mile above the town they opened upon the head of my column with artillery. On recon-