AUGUST 6, 1863.
The want of concert or of boldness in attacking prevented the capture of the whole raiding force. That result, with the means at command, ought to have been accomplished. The fight at Wytheville was gallant, but, perhaps from the circumstances, inevitably, not well conducted.
J. A. SEDDON,
Numbers 5. Report of Major T. M. Bowyer, C. S. Artillery, Chief of Ordnance, &c.
DUBLIN, July 26, 1863.
GENERAL: In obedience to your orders of July 18, directing me to take command of the two organized companies at this post and such of the employees and citizens as could be hastily collected together, and to proceed to Wytheville, for the purpose of meeting a raiding party of the enemy reported approaching that place, I have the honor to report: The mail train was stopped, the passengers notified to leave the cars, and my command (numbering about 130 men, with two pieces of artillery) placed upon them. Notwithstanding the delay consequent upon getting citizens hastily together, organizing, arming, and equipping them, we were enabled to leave this point for Wytheville at 3 p. m., one hour and a half from the time when your order was first placed in my hands. The train was subject to further delay, owing to the fact that we were running out of time, and a freight was upon the track meeting us. The train arrived at Wytheville depot (three-fourths of a mile from the town) at 5. 10 p. m. My artillery was disembarked at once; but as there were neither horses nor harness ready at hand, it became necessary to procure them, which, in the great state of alarm and confusion in which everything at the place was found, rendered a considerable delay unavoidable. As no reliable information could be obtained either of the force or whereabouts of the enemy, Lieutenant C. L. C. Minor was ordered to procure horses enough to mount himself and half a dozen men, move as rapidly as possible in the direction in which they were reported to be approaching, and furnish me with reliable information, if possible. After about half an hour`s delay in making arrangements for organizing the citizens of Wytheville, and distributing the small-arms to them, which I had carried with me for that purpose (in which I was promptly and efficiently aided by Lieutenant-Colonel [Abraham] Umbarger, of the militia, and Major Joseph F. Kent, a resident of the place), and before horses or harness were yet procured for the artillery, I received information from Lieutenant Minor that the advance guard of the enemy, numbering about 40 men, were within a mile of the town. I could then wait no longer for my artillery, but put my small command in motion in the direction of the town, and ordered Captain Oliver to follow me as rapidly as possible when he should have procured the means for moving his guns.