They were commanded by Major Bowyer, my chief of ordnance, who was selected for the command because of his known ability and good judgment. His management of the affair justified the selection. He mentions (as do all who were engaged in the affair at Wytheville) the conspicuous gallantry of Lieutenant Bozang. The movement of Colonel McCausland`s command on the morning of the 19th was in obedience to my orders, dispatched to him as soon as I was informed of the approach of the enemy. By his promptness and good judgment, he effectually barred one of the two routes by which Brigadier-General Scammon, U. S. Army, had directed the commander of the expedition to return. Brigadier-General Williams barred the other, and the enemy was forced to cross the mountains by difficult bridle-paths, harassed by our men, and forced to abandon their stolen property and many of the horses. The information I have is that the expedition started from Kanawha 1, 200 or 1, 300 strong, and that when it reached Fayetteville, on the return, it numbered but 500, only 300 of whom were mounted. The commander (Colonel Toland) and several other officers were killed; the second in command, Colonel Powell, and other officers wounded and captured. They admit a loss of more than 60 killed and wounded; it was probably much greater. Their dead bodies were scattered along the roads and mountain paths. Our loss, as reported to me, was 1 captain and 5 men killed, and about double that number wounded. This raid, which General Scammon has been preparing for the last two or three months, was a most signal failure. Very little Government property was destroyed, and that little not valuable. The damage done the railroad was repaired by three or four hands in less than an hour. It was characterized throughout by even more than their ordinary vandalism. They avowed their purpose to burn the town, but were driven and frightened off before they accomplished the purpose; not, however, until they had burned several of the best private houses in the place. One of their wounded men, who had crawled into one of those houses, is believed to have been burned; his screams were heard and his charred bones found in the ruins. Captain Oliver is known to have been captured, and was found killed by a shot. Two or three citizens are reported killed. A Roman Catholic priest, while endeavoring to rescue an old and decrepit woman from a burning house, was shot and so severely wounded that his leg had to be amputated. Great credit is due to the citizens for their conduct on the occasion. Between 250 and 300 citizens of Lynchburg, previously organized into companies for home defense, Asst. Surg. H. Grey Latham commanding, volunteered and came here promptly, bringing with them a field battery. A large number of citizens of Montgomery County, Colonel Robert L. Preston commanding, volunteered and remained on duty until I informed them that their services were no longer needed. A large company was promptly formed in Roanoke, and I was telegraphed that it was ready for service when I needed it. Many citizens of this county volunteered for any service I might require of them, and a number of them went with Major Bowyer to Wytheville, and behaved admirably.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
General S. COOPER,
Adjt. and Insp. General