These night sentinels were respectively about 400 yards from camp, and Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4 were about 300 yards from each other, and all were relieved from camp every two hours. The enemy, about 700 mounted men, wearing U. S. greatcoats, under General Rosser, came in from Crab Bottom, by the Staunton and Beverly pike. At the foot of Cheat Mountain they left the pike and took a road leading on the east side of the Valley River to a point marked A on the diagram, and made a detour around the camp and town on an old dirt road, and formed their line of battle in a hollow, marked B on the diagram, and within 450 yards of the camp. The sentinel at the point marked Numbers 3 on the diagram saw the rebels approaching and challenged them, who comes there? The reply was, "Friends." He moved toward them and was captured. The first intimation our forces had of the presence of the enemy was the rebels forcing the doors of the quarters, demanding a surrender. This was first at the quarters of the Thirty-fourth Ohio Infantry. The surprise was complete; our forces did not have time to rally even one company together. Quite a number of officers of both regiments were examined, and all testified that they had repeatedly called the attention of the commanding officers to the insufficiency of the guard for picket duty. Lieutenant-Colonel Youth himself states that owing to the severity of the weather, the high water in the rivers, and the statements of the citizens "that it was impossible for the enemy to attack at that time of the year," he felt perfectly secure.
After the attack of Major Hall on Beverly, October 29, 1864, a camp guard of 100 men was placed on duty, but was relieved by Major Souders, Eighth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, on account of the cold weather, and his thinking there was no necessity for the guard at this season of the year. Lieutenant-Colonel Yourt states that this guard was relieved without his orders.
Major Butters, Thirty-fourth Ohio Volunteers Infantry, testified that he notified Lieutenant-Colonel Ferney, of the same regiment, that the guard was insufficient, and if they (the forces) were attacked they would be captured. At that time Lieutenant-Colonel Furney was in command at Beverly during the absence of Lieutenant-Colonel Youart at Cumberland, Md. Lieutenant-Colonel Youart returned from Cumberland and resumed command two days before the attack by General Rosser. The testimony was that all the officers of the Thirty-fourth Ohio Volunteers Infantry were quartered in town-not one with the regiment-and it has been unofficially reported to me that on the evening previous to the attack there was a ball in the town, which was largely attended by officers, who remained there until a late hour of the night. From the evidence produced it appears that the whole command was latterly in a loose state of discipline.
In connection with this report, I would respectfully call attention to the fact that the Thirty-fourth Ohio Volunteer Infantry were at Beverly without any official knowledge on my part of their having been sent to that post. My first intimation of their presence at Beverly was from Lieutenant-Colonel Furney made no reports to these headquarters, although requested by me to do so. The Thirty-fourth Ohio Volunteer Infantry claims to belong to the command of Brigadier-General Duval, and, I am unofficially informed, reported to him.
The losses of the command were as follows: Eighth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry-killed, 5; wounded, 17; prisoners, 6 officers and 332 men. Thirty-fourth Ohio Volunteer Infantry-killed, 1; wounded, 6; prisoners, 2 officers and 240 men. Total killed, wounded, and missing, 609.