August 2-8, 1862.—Operations about Wyoming Court-House, W. Va.
Reports of Col. Edward Siber, Thirty-seventh Ohio Infantry.
Raleigh, August 6, 1862.
I just received the report from Wyoming Court-House that the detachment
at that place had been attacked by some
hundred rebel cavalry yesterday
morning. Captain Messner has fallen back to Coal River, but he reports
that 1 lieutenant and 18
men had been cut off and either been taken prisoners or cut to pieces.
I march with two companies to join him,
taking with me cavalry. Could there be done anything from Flat Top
to intercept the retreat of the enemy?
G. M. Bascom,
August 9, 1862.
The rebel cavalry which made the sudden raid from Jeffersonville
over Wyoming consisted of 140 horse, Captains Straton’s and Witcher’s,
and retreated, after having been repulsed before they reached Logan
(Horse-pen Creek), by the Federal forces there stationed, August 7, by
Gilbert Creek and Big River to Jeffersonville. We were consequently not
more able to reach them. I am still with five companies of the
Thirty-seventh Regiment in Wyoming, sending the horses back to Raleigh.
Union men of this place are about to form a home guard, under command of
Mr. Walker, which formation I shall protect, but shall leave as soon as
this is done, if I receive not counter order.
Floyd is said to be at Jeffersonville with 1,500 men, awaiting more. It
seems that he intends to invade this country. Have repaired the roads. A
Union Home Guard just arrived here telling that the major who commanded
the detachment of Fourth Virginia was killed in the Horse-pen fight,
and that two rebel bushwhacker companies are still there.
The loss of my regiment consists in 2 killed and 1
officer and 5 privates taken. The others I have rallied again.
Capt. G. M. Bascom.
Hrqrs. Thirty-seventh Regt. Ohio Vol. Infantry,
Raleigh, August 12, 1862.
According to the received orders, I sent, August 2, early in the
morning, a scouting party, consisting of two
companies (H and I), about 100 men, under command of
Captain Messner, to Wyoming, and one company (G), under
Schoening, to Coal River marshes, for the purpose of serving to this
scouting party as a reserve and of clearing the
mountain passes of Guyandotte Mountains from
bushwhackers. Captain Schoening arrived the same day at his post
(Trump’s farm), 14 miles from Raleigh. Captain
Messner reached Wyoming (35 miles) the next day, without any
impediment. A party of four orderlies of the Second
Virginia Cavalry, who had been sent after Captain Messner, were fired
upon near the
mountain passes, and one of their horses was
wounded. They fell back upon Captain Schoening, who thereupon cleared
that country which had so long time been infested by
a few bushwhackers.
Captain Messner was apparently well received by the citizens of
Wyoming Court-House, and being informed that about 15 miles from
Wyoming, on the Tazewell road, Floyd’s scouts were driving away cattle
and gathering wheat from Union men, he sent also a scouting party,
consisting of 16 men, under Lieut. G. Wintzer, accompanied by Mr. W.
Walker (a member of the Wheeling convention) and two other armed Union
men to McDowell’s farm, 4 miles distant from Wyoming Court- House, to
burn also the wheat stacked there, and belonging to an inveterate and
Lieutenant Wintzer left the Court-House August 5, at 8 o’clock in the
morning, and reached the above-named farm, where he suddenly was
surprised by the advanced guard of Captains Straton’s and Witcher’s
mounted rebel companies (140 men strong). After a short combat, Private
Benton, of Company I, was killed, Lieutenant Wintzer and 7 privates
taken prisoners; the remainder scattered in the mountains.
The news of this disaster was brought to Wyoming by a young Union man by
name of Cook; whereupon Captain Messner marched immediately with both
companies to the relief, reaching Isaac Cook’s farm (1 1/2 miles from
town), when he saw at a distance of about three-quarters of a mile the
cavalry advancing, and concluded to fall slowly back upon the
Court-House. In this movement he was not molested by the cavalry, and
succeeded in reaching the barricade on The Narrows, which had [been]
occupied in the meanwhile by Lieutenant Krumm with one platoon. Ten
minutes later he saw the enemy advancing, dismounted, along the brow of
the mountains to intercept his retreat to Clear Fork whereupon he fell
back to the mouth of Laurel Fork.
In this combat Private Loewer, Company I, was killed, but no other harm
done by the fire of the enemy, which was
our own and soon ceased.
Captain Messner continued his retreat over Guyandotte Mountain to
Trump’s farm, where he joined Captain Schoening early
in the morning of August 6, sending [by] a mounted
orderly these events to me. I received the news at noon and immediately
started to Trump’s farm, ordering Companies D and E
and Captain Wallar with 25 men of his cavalry company to join me at
this place, from which I started at 3 o’clock next
morning, August 7, with about 250 men, and reached Wyoming late in the
evening by the Clear Fork. On
this march I rallied some of those men who had been scattered in the
woods. During the night I occupied the Court-House
and closed the communication on the Tazewell road. Early in the
morning, August 8, I started
again and occupied all those communications (by pass) which lead from
the above-named road to Logan, having been
the enemy had marched to Logan from Isaac Cook’s farm. The cavalry
detachment under Captain Wallar went forward on the
Tazewell road as far as Guyandotte (big river) River, where he was
informed that the enemy had already,
between 9 and 10 o’clock on the previous evening,
passed in utter confusion the Guyandotte River, and the remainder
during the night, carrying along their wounded,
Captain Witcher on a sled. Captain Wallar pursued the teeing enemy
Guyandotte up Indian Creek, but was not able to reach any of them.
During this time numbers of armed Union men came
over the mountain from Huff’s Creek and informed me
that on the 6th of August the enemy’s cavalry companies under
Witcher had joined the bushwhacker companies of Chambers and Beckley at
Horse-pen Creek, driving before
them some armed Union men, who brought the news of the enemy’s arrival
to a company of the Fourth Virginia scouting in
At Dick Cannady’s farm, near Beech Creek, another short combat was
fought, in which on our side the major of the Fourth Virginia was killed
by four balls, and on the enemy’s side, Straton mortally and Witcher
dangerously wounded, besides a few men were killed.
Witcher received the news of our arrival and immediately backed the
cavalry to Tazewell road. The company of the Fourth
Virginia was reported to be still surrounded by the bushwhackers, and I
was entreated by the Union men of Huff’s Creek to
join in an attempt to relieve them. When about moving in this direction
more Union men arrived and told me that the Fourth
Virginia men were all safe on the other side of the Big Sandy (in
Kentucky) in Peter’s Creek. As I had during all this not
information about Colonel Hines detachment I gave my men the rest, of
which they were much in need, and
quartered the next day the whole force in Wyoming, from which place the
male inhabitants had mostly fled before my arrival,
notwithstanding that there some had taken the oath of allegiance before
Captain Messner. The place, however, was soon filled
by Union men coming from Union Fork and Rockcastle Creek, meeting at
the Court-House in order to form a Union militia
company, under the leadership of Mr. Walker, from Laurel, and H. M.
Cook, from Rockcastle, both members of the
convention. All the Union men of those creeks are well armed and
disposed to fight when sustained by any regular
force. They apprehend an invasion (Floyd’s) on the Tazewell road, which
I believe very probable as soon as the harvest
allows to sustain in Wyoming
County without any assistance from other parts. He might march on the
Tazewell road either along
Guyandotte to Big Sandy or over Wyoming and Pond Fork to Brownstown, on
the Kanawha; on both roads teams
might be driven along.
There is no danger that the enemy would march from Wyoming to Raleigh.
Guyandotte Mountain and Clear Fork cannot be passed by wagons in the
present state of the road. This circumstance caused me to march back to
Raleigh, being already two days without rations, notwithstanding the
pressing demands of inhabitants to stay. The loss of the regiment on
this expedition consists in 2 privates killed and 1 lieutenant and 7
privates missing (prisoners). One private has been left behind in Clear
Fork for sickness, in the house of a Union man George Canterbury.
I am, with all respect, yours,
Colonel Thirty-seventh Regiment Ohio Volunteers.
WEST VIRGINIA DIVISION OF CULTURE AND HISTORY
OFFICIAL RECORDS OF THE WAR OF THE REBELLION
SERIES 1, VOL. 12, PART II, PG 115-18