War of the Rebellion: Serial 107 Page 0013 Chapter LXIII. ENGAGEMENT AT RICH MOUNTAIN, W. VA.

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prisoners of the picket guard, which as afterward stated to me by Colonel Heck) numbered in all 120 men. These prisoners were disaffected toward the rebel service and gave us valuable information. From the reconnaissance I saw that we could probably carry the work by strong, but it would be with heavy loss, as the enemy's position was naturally a strong one. There appeared to be no other road leading to it but the turnpike, which it completely commanded. I, however, noticed a low ridge bordering a small brook which crossed the rad a short distance (within canister range) of the works, and which appeared to run parallel with the direction of the enemy's lines and to increase in altitude as it extended rom the road. Its front toward the enemy was a bold escarpment, and I was of the opinion that it preserved this character fore some distance. The next morning, some hours after the departure of General Rosecrans with his brigade, intended to turn the enemy's flank an attack the redoubt of which information had been given by the prisoners alluded to, I was directed to move forward, under escort of with companies of the Third and all of the Fourth Regiment Ohio Volunteers, Colonels Marrow and Lorin Andrews, unto the ridge spoken of above was reached, and then to move up this ridge, to ascertain whether a position could be found from which the works could be either enfiladed or taken in reverse by a battery- pounders to be place there; this reconnaissance to be made provided it could be done without alarming the enemy. I found, upon reaching the head of the escort, that through same misunderstanding upon the part of brigade commanders, our pickets had been withdrawn from the advanced positions we had reached the day before, and that we had all the ground to go over agin. However, our flanking disposition were made an we moved forward. We had gone but a short distance when a patrol of the enemy was seen in the road some 250 yards beyond us. They perceived us, and, of course, rendered it impossible to advance without giving the alarm. Under these circumstances I ordered a halt and sent to General McClellan, by the hands of Colonel Key (again a volunteer), the following dispatch: "The enemy's patrol in sight. Probably cannot occupy the position indicated without driving in his pickets. Shall we do so!" After an absence of an hour, during which we stood exposed to a pelting rain, Colonel Key returned with an affirmative answer, when we at once advanced, expecting momentarily to encounter their pickets, but for some reason not known they never fired upon us, but fell back to their works and we quietly occupied the desired position. I then placed the Fourth Regiment in reserve, put four companies of the Third in ambush by the side of the brook, and moved up the crest of the ridge with two companies deployed as skirmishers along the crest, one company deployed at right angles to the crest, and connecting with head of the other line, and one company inside of the angle thus formed which was intended to act as a support to either line, if attacked. We advanced with the greatest care, knowing that we might be attacked at any moment, but the enemy made no demonstration whatever, and after some there hours of severe labor in crawling through laurel and over rocks we reached what seemed to me to be the propensity for a battery to accomplish the desired purpose.

I sent a man to the top of a tree, and his repoed me in my opinion. I then returned to the main road az rapidly as possible. Meanwhile General Rosecrans had gained the enemy's rear, and after a sharp fight carried the redoubt already described, and when I reached the road I found General McClellan with his available force drawn up