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HISTORY OF THE WEST VIRGINIA PENITENTIARY.
WRITTEN BY A PRISONER.
In 1863 the state was admitted as one of the constellation of states of the union. Virginia had seceded from the union by a majority vote. The strong and indomitable minority citizens of the Old Dominion residing in the western part of it, many of whom were Scotch and Irish descendants and natives of the adjoining states, who had taken up their homes in the valleys and on the hillsides, were loyal to the Union, loved well the flag, and reverenced with an undying affection the builders of the union of states for the greater blessing of the people, and stood firm and unyielding for an indivisible united country. By their hands and brave hearts they built a state stretching from the Potomac to the Ohio river, carved out of the Old Dominion. The war-born daughter of the historical commonwealth proved, in subsequent years, to be rich in the production of materials in active demand in the marts of commerce, and she now outstrips her mother state in the race for greatness, prosperity, and happiness.
Many regions of the state are mountainous, and the principal industries are lumbering, mining, and oil production. Many of the white people are typical mountaineers and somewhat rough and uncouth in manner, while the negroes, many of them, have drifted from North and South Carolina, Alabama, and other southern states to be employed in the development of these industries.
There are very many respectable farmers, professional and business men, and cultured ladies residing in these almost inaccessible parts; but the rough element in many places predominates, and the order of the day and night is drinking and brawling, ending as a rule in desperate encounters and murder. Most of the white and black inmates of the penitentiary have been and are now composed of the lawless men from these regions, from the time it was only a stockade of ten acres in 1866, when Hon. J.W. McWhorter of the Tenth Judicial District was appointed warden by Governor Boreman. He resigned this position after viewing it. In a letter to Warden Hawk he states it was for the reason that there was not so much as a building erected for the shelter of the inmates, and he thought he could not work the convicts to advantage under the circumstances. The penitentiary has been improved from time to time to the present, by additions, until it is a massive structure of stone and iron, with a high stone surrounding wall. It has 695 inmates at the present writing.
The center, or main building, is built after the old baronial castellated style of architecture, and with its several stories height, it makes an imposing appearance. It is flanked on the north and south by the stone and strongly-barred buildings, wherein the old and first built stone cells and the modern steel ones–900 in all–are placed. Entrance is to be had into the prison proper by means of a round turning iron-barred cage in the main hallway of the central building.
Source: E.E. Byrum, Behind the Prison Bars: A Reminder of Our Duties Toward Those Who Have Been So Unfortunate as to Be Cast Into Prison (Moundsville, WV: Gospel Trumpet Publishing Co., 1901), pp. 73-75.
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From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about Boone County in a story dated December 9, 1927:
Boone county was created in 1847 of parts of Kanawha, Cabell and Logan counties. Its area is 06 miles, 65 miles larger than Logan, and in 1920 its population was 18,145. It is divided into five magisterial districts, as follows: Crook, Peytona, Scott, Sherman and Washington.
Boone county commemorates in West Virginia the name of Daniel Boone, the pathfinder to the west. It is an honor worthily bestowed, for who has not heard of Daniel Boone and the story of his efforts as an explorer, hunter, land-pilot and surveyor. His was a romantic life, picturesque and even pathetic. For more than a century he has he has been held as the ideal of the frontiersman, perhaps for the reason that his course in life was not marked by selfishness and self-seeking. He fought with the Indians, but was not tainted with the blood-lust that so often marred the border warrior and made him even more savage than the red man whom he sought to expel; he built and passed on to newer fields, leaving to others the fruits of his industry and his suffering. As a man needing plenty of “elbow room,” his places of residence mark the border between civilization and savagery for a period of fifty years. And there was a time, a period of nearly ten years, when his cabin home was on the banks of the Kanawha, a short distance above the present City of Charleston.
Daniel Boone was born in the Schulykill Valley, Pennsylvania, on November 2, 1734, but in 1750 removed with his parents to the Yadkin Valley, in North Carolina. Here he grew to manhood, married and reared a family, but was active as an Indian trader, frontiersman and defender of the feeble settlement. He was with Braddock’s army at its defeat on the Monongahela in 1755, and a few years later became the founder and defender of Kentucky. He strove with the red man with force and stratagem, and many are the fire-side tales recounted and retold in West Virginia homes of his prowess with the rifle; his ready plans and nimble wit that helped him out of situations that seemed almost impossible. Many, perhaps, are without foundation of fact; others contain enough of truth to leaven the story. Of his service to the western settlers, records preserved in the archives of state and nation show that he was indefatigable. At the Indian uprising in 1774, Boone was sent out to warn the settlers and surveyors, ranging from the settlement on the Holston river throughout all of what is now southern West Virginia to Lewisburg. In 1788, after he had lost his property in Kentucky through defective titles and failure to properly enter land grants, Boone and his family removed to Point Pleasant, at the mouth of the Great Kanawha, where they remained about one year. Contrary to his habit, his next move was toward the east to a site near the City of Charleston. When Kanawha county was formed in 1789 Boone was a resident and was named the first Lieutenant Colonel of the militia, and the following year, 1790, was elected a member of the lower house of the Virginia assembly. Colonel Boone left the Kanawha valley in 1799, removing to Missouri where he had been granted a thousand arpents of land by the Spanish government and had been appointed a Syndic for the Femme-Osage district–a local office combining the duties of sheriff, jury and military commandant. Colonel Boone died at the home of his youngest son, Colonel Nathan Boone, on the Femme Osage river, Missouri, September 26, 1820. His remains, with those of his wife, were some years later taken to Frankfort, Kentucky, and re-interred with pomp and ceremony. A monument erected by the state marks his last resting place.
Madison, the present county seat, is located at the junction of Pond Fork and Spruce Fork, which form Coal River, is 603 feet above sea level and in 1920 had a population of 604. It was incorporated as a town by the circuit court of that county in 1906. At the organization of the county in 1847, the seat of justice was located on the lands of Albert Allen, at the mouth of Spruce Fork, opposite the present town of Madison. The original court house was burned by Federal troops during the Civil War, and for a time thereafter the seat of justice was located at the Ballardsville Methodist Church. In 1866 the court house was re-located on the lands of Johnson Copley, opposite the old site, and the public buildings erected, which were used until 1921 when the present fine court house was erected.
The West Virginia Synodical School maintained and operated by the Presbyterian church, occupies the site of the original court house, opposite the present county seat.
Danville, another incorporated town in that county, had a population of 327 in 1920.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 9 December 1927.
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Rev. J. Green McNeely (1871-1943) located the following letter written by Hugh Toney to Edward Chapman when he razed a log cabin situated on the property that later became the Logan Country Club, near Chapmanville.
Camp Narrows, Va.
March 26, 1861
I saw the officers of the 11th Virginia Cavalry about your horses. Col. French and Maj. Smith both say that your horse shall be give up if the horse can be found.
I have not been able to find out anything about who got your horse yet. The horses were sent off to North Carolina. If I have any chance to get your horse, I will attend to the matter for you. If you know the man’s names or any of the men’s names that was present when your horse was taken, write to me their names.
I have made careful inquiries about Ira Woodram’s horse. I have not been able to find out anything about his horse, also John’s. I can’t bear that horses were taken.
I can’t find out who took them, it being uncertain about getting your horse or pay for him the way matters stand at this time.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 25 June 1941.
From W.C. Jameson’s Buried Treasures of the Appalachians (1991, pp. 204-205) comes this story of buried treasure near Chapmanville, WV:
In Fayette County during the War Between the States, a contingent of Union soldiers was escorting a large payroll–a wagon full of gold coins–to a Yankee encampment in the area. As the party traveled along the winding trails through the dense woods, scouts told the commanding officer that a Confederate patrol was rapidly approaching from the east.
The Union officer ordered the escort into a full gallop in the hope of outdistancing the rebels, but after trying to elude the enemy for about five miles, it became clear that they would soon be overtaken. Anticipating a skirmish, the officer halted the wagon and ordered the canvas bags that held the Union payroll taken from the wagon and buried it a short distance from the trail. While troopers hastily dug a pit in which to hide the gold, the officer noted the surroundings in his journal. He wrote that the payroll was hidden on the west side of the Guyandotte River, near a small settlement named Chapmanville.
Once the hole was filled, the soldiers remounted and rode on. About an hour later, the Confederates overtook the Union soldiers and opened fire. The Yankees sought cover and returned fire, but they were disorganized and greatly outnumbered. The fighting lasted about two hours, and when it was over, all of the Yankee soldiers lay dead.
The rebel soldiers searched the wagon for the money and found it empty. Suspecting the gold had been buried shortly before the engagement, they retraced the Yankees’ trail for several miles, without finding the payroll.
Returning to the site of the skirmish, the Confederates stripped the Union soldiers of anything of value and left the corpses to rot in the sun. An unknown soldier took the commanding officer’s journal and he tossed it into the trunk and forgot it. In the early 1930s, someone discovered an old journal and searched unsuccessfully for the buried coins.
The directions in the journal claimed the gold was buried at a point where the old road and the Guyandotte River came within twenty yards of one another. Since the war, however, the road has been all but obliterated by the more modern thoroughfare, and the river has shifted its course.
If the Union payroll of gold coins was not uncovered by the shifting river and washed downstream, the Civil War cache is probably still lying just a few inches beneath the soil near Chapmanville.
For more information about buried treasure in Appalachia, read Mr. Jameson’s book, which can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Buried-Treasures-Appalachians-W-C-Jameson/dp/0874831261
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A story titled “Old Times in Boone County Told About By Historian” and printed in the Logan Banner in Logan, WV, on April 20, 1928 provides some history for Boone County:
Old-timers and students of local history should be interested in the following excerpt from the history of Boone county by Prof. W.W. Hall. The family names mentioned are familiar ones.
What is here reproduced was taken from the Coal Valley News:
About the year of 1798 Isaac Barker reared a pole cabin on the brow of the hill on the lower side of White Oak Creek, near old lock seven. This was the first white man’s home established in Boone county. The second settler in the county was Johnson Kinder, a brother-in-law of Barker. He settled on Kinder Hill a few months after Barker came. The first settler on Little Coal River was John Halstead, who settled at the mouth of Camp creek about 1800. A few months later Jackie Dolin was married to Isaac Barker’s daughter and led his blushing bride, attired in her homespun, through the trackless forest up Brush creek and over the hill to a scantily furnished home on Camp creek. Not long after this Thomas Price, a daring hunter from North Carolina, wandered over the Wilderness Road through Cumberland Gap to Maysville, Kentucky, where he embarked in a canoe, ascended the Ohio, the Kanawha, the Coal and the Little Coal rivers to the present site of the town of Danville, and became the first settler there.
For some years after the coming of the white men there were no churches, but when an Old Baptist or Methodist preacher would arrive in the settlement, word was passed around to the neighbors and that night earnest prayers, exhortations and hallelujahs would ascend from those rude homes. The first church erected in the county was the Olive Branch Baptist church at the mouth of Turtle creek. The first term of the circuit court held in the county after its organization in 1847 was held in this church. The grand jury made its investigations while seated on the framing in Ballard’s old water mill near by, and the petit jury retired to the paw paw bushes below to consider their verdicts.
The daring hunters, adventurous pioneers and brave soldiers who came from the best families in the east to establish home in the wilderness, were not contented to let their children grow up without the rudiments of an education, so they established Old Field schools in the slave cabins, tanneries, country churches and abandoned dwellings, when an itinerant teacher who could read, write and cipher a little came along. The first free school in the county was taught by John Morris, just after the Civil War, in an old house abandoned by Dr. Church. The old house stood across the hollow from W.H. Turley’s present residence in Madison. Within the next year or two a log school house was erected near the upper end of Danville and another on the point across the river from Hadalton. The children of Madison had to go to Danville or Hadalton to school until 1885, when the people of Madison, by mandamus, compelled the board of education to give them a school. The first school house erected in Madison is now used by Dr. Smoot for a barn. While the course of study in these early schools was meager and the work crude, yet they did succeed in inspiring a few boys to strive for higher education. Former United States Senator John E. Kenna was born in Boone county and attended his first schools in a log house on Big Coal river. Dr. Marshall A. Estep, an eminent physician of Texas, and his brother, Judge Charles L. Estep, of Huntington and Logan, were reared in the “Promised Land,” the name of their father’s mountain home on the summit of Spruce Ridge, and attended their first schools in a log house on the Spruce Fork. One of these early log school houses still stands on the head of Mud river, remote from the highways frequented by trade and travelers. Two of the most recent prosecuting attorneys of the county, two clerks of the circuit court, two of the clerks of the county court, four county superintendents of schools, chief U.S. Marshal for the southern district of West Virginia, and two prosperous dental surgeons attended school when boys in that little log school house on the head of Mud. The attendance in it was never large.
Bulwark, located in the head of Harts Creek in Logan County, WV, is reportedly named in connection to a Civil War skirmish that occurred at the mouth of the fork. Bulwark means “fortification, stockade, or wall.” The name does not appear in deeds until after the Civil War. Whirlwind Post Office served this area from 1910 until the 1950s.
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The following newspaper accounts describe the Battle of Kanawha Gap near present-day Chapmanville, Logan County, WV, which occurred on September 25, 1861:
Cleveland (OH) Morning Leader, 3 October 1861
GALLIPOLIS, Oct. 2.
The expedition planned by Col. J.V. Guthrie of the First Kentucky Regiment, and sent out under Lieut. Col. Enyart and Col. Piatt, has returned. They encountered the enemy at Chapmansville under Col. J. Lucien Davis, of Greenbrier, and utterly routed them. The enemy lost between fifty and sixty killed. Our loss was four killed. The expedition returned to Charleston on the 30th ult.
Evening Star (Washington, DC), 4 October 1861
A Confederate Camp in Western Virginia Broken Up and Routed
CINCINNATI, Oct. 3 — A body of Federal troops, under Lieut. Col. Enyart, attacked a camp of rebels at Chapmansville, in Logan county, Va., near the Kentucky line, routing them, killing sixty and taking seventy prisoners. The same body of rebels were afterward intercepted in their retreat by Col. Piatt, who killed forty and made a large number prisoners.
New York (NY) Herald, 4 October 1861
FIGHT WITH THE REBELS AT CHAPMANSVILLE
Cincinnati, Oct. 3, 1861.
The Kanawha correspondent of the Commercial of this city says that five companies of the First Kentucky regiment, four companies of the Thirty-fourth Ohio regiment and one company of the Fifty Virginia regiment, under Lieutenant Colonel Enyart, surrounded and attacked the rebels at Chapmansville, and after a short engagement completely routed them, killing sixty and taking seventy prisoners. The rebels in escaping were intercepted by Colonial Piatt, who killed forty and took a large number of prisoners. The country between Charleston and Wyandot river is now freed from secession power. This is the most effective blow given the rebels in this part of the valley.
Daily Green Mountain Freeman (Montpelier, VT), 7 October 1861
Chapmansville, Va., the scene of the most recent engagement, is a small post village in Logan county, Va. Logan county is in the extreme Western portion of Virginia, the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy being the boundary line between it and the State of Kentucky. It is one of the largest, wildest and most sparsely inhabited counties in the State.
National Republican (Washington, DC), 7 October 1861
The two affairs at Chapmansville, reported three or four days since, in which the enemy lost one hundred killed and a proportionate number of wounded, will, it is supposed, restore permanent peace to the Virginia counties western of the Kanawha. Chapmansville is on the turnpike from Charleston to Logan county Court-house, and is about twenty-five miles to the south of Barboursville, the shire town of Cabell county. The secessionists in that part of Western Virginia have been numerous and pertinacious. They have once had possession of Guyandotte on the Ohio river and for a long time they threatened Ceredo (Mr. Thayer’s colony,) which lies on the river between Guyandotte and the Kentucky line. There have been two engagements with them in the rear of Ceredo, one at Barboursville, one at Logan county Court-house, one at Boone county Court-house (which town was burnt by the national troops,) and finally two at Chapmansville. The truth is, that in large portions of numerous, and, but for the early occupation of that region by the National troops, would have controlled it, not because they were the majority, but because one secessionist is, everywhere, a match for three Union men.
The secessionists are reckless, violent, and desperate, while their opponents, if not timid are at any rate remarkably pacific. We doubt, indeed, from all the information we can get, whether throwing out of the account Wheeling and Parkersburg, the terminal on the Ohio river of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, Western Virginia had more elements of Union strength than the Valley of Virginia. From Harper’s Ferry south for fifty miles, the Union men have been numerous from the first, and it is a matter of deep regret that it did not consist with the plans of military strategy adopted at the headquarters of the army here, to occupy (at least) the northern part of the Valley of Virginia. It is consoling, that a different policy was adopted in retrospect to Western Virginia. That region was promptly taken possession of, cleared of the rebel armies by Gen. McClellan, and has since been victoriously held by Gen. Rosecrans. All attempts of the enemy to affect a re-entrance into Western Virginia are promptly repulsed.
Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, 9 October 1861
A Splendid Achievement of the Ohio Zouaves–“Wood Up” the Battle Cry.
[The following letter is exclusively devoted to the fight which the Piatt Zouaves had with the rebels near Chapmansville, Va. It is distinct from the victorious fight which the command of Lieut. Col. Enyart had with another body of rebels, in the same vicinity. EDS. CINCINNATI COM]
CAMP ENYART, KANAWHA, Oct. 2, 1861. EDS. COM.: The Zouave Thirty-fourth Regimens, Ohio, have had a chance to show their metal. This was on Wednesday, on Kanawha Gap, near Chapmansville, Va. After marching 42 miles, they came upon the enemy, who were behind breastworks, but could not stand our boys’ steady fire, for they retreated in utter consternation, their Col. J.W. Davis, of Greenbrier, Va, (but the traitor is a native of Portsmouth, Ohio,) being mortally wounded. We killed 20, took 3 prisoners, a secesh flag, 20 feet long with FIFTEEN STARS, 4 horses, 1 wagon, 10 rifles (one of which I claim), 12 muskets, and commissary stores (very low.) We lost 3 killed, 9 wounded, one since died. The route of the enemy was complete, although they had a brave, skillful commander, and strong position, with two days’ information of our intentions. They fled the moment their commander fell. The fight lasted about 10 minutes opposite the breastworks, but a running fire was kept up previous to that, by the Bushwhackers and rebel cavalry for two hours. At every turn of the road over the mountains, they would fire upon our advance men, wheel round, and gallop away. This kind of fight was kept up till we came suddenly upon their breastworks, immediately in line of our entire column. It was made on the side of a knoll, between two mountain sides, the road running between the mountain on our left. The wily rebel commander had adroitly cut down the brush on the right, placing a force of 100 men on the mountain top on our right, who raked our column from the front to the center. This was to draw our attention from their breastworks. Our men naturally fired upon the rebels on their right, steadily advancing up the road, until within 20 feet of the enemy’s works, when the rebels suddenly opened fire, from their right, left and center. The order from Col. Piatt and Lieut. Col. Toland, to flank right and left was immediately responded to by the Zouaves with a hurrah, a Zouave yell, and a cry of “wood up” from Little Red; a dash by our boys upon the enemy’s breastworks, above which about 300 rebel heads suddenly appeared, unknown by our men till that moment. They sent a perfect storm of bullets around, over, under, and into our men. A few minutes more and our boys were inside the breastworks, chasing them over the mountains, the enemy running away like cowards as they proved to be. They left 29 dead behind. Their force was 450 infantry and 50 cavalry. Our force was 560.
We buried our three brave dead comrades that night, carried our wounded to the house wherein the rebel Colonel lay, mortally wounded, deserted by all his men but one. Our whole column finally marched into the little town of Chapmansville, formerly headquarters of the enemy, and camped for the night.
Pomeroy (OH) Weekly Telegraph, 11 October 1861
Brilliant Action in the Kanawha Valley.
CHARLESTON, Va., Sept. 30, ’61. Eds. Cin. Com.–Information having been brought to Col. J.V. Guthrie, commanding this post, that a large force of Rebels were gathered at Logan Co., Lt. Col. Enyart, of the 1st Kentucky, was at once sent to engage them. His force was composed of five companies of the 1st Kentucky, four companies of the 34th Ohio–German Regiment–under command of Col. A.S. Piatt, and one company of the 5th Virginia Regiment, under command of Maj. M.H. Wood.
Col. Enyart, with the Kentucky force, surrounded and attacked the Rebels at Chapmanville, and after a short but decisive engagement, completely routed them, killing 60 and taking 70 prisoners. The Rebels, in escaping, were intercepted by Col. Piatt, who surprised them and killed 40 men, and took a large number of prisoners.
The force of the Rebels is now completely broken up, and the country between this point and Guyandotte River is now freed from Secession power. This is the most effective blow given the Rebels in this part of the Valley.
In great haste. Further particulars by next boat.
Lieut. Col. 5th Va. Reg’t.
Evening Star (Washington, DC), 11 October 1861
THE BATTLE OF KANAWHA GAP.
The Western Virginia correspondent of the Cincinnati Gazette gives the following account of the late engagement at Kanawha Gap:
There were about 1,050 troops under the command of Colonels Enyart and Piatt, who left their camp Monday morning, 30th ulto., and took up their line of march for the enemy.
The forces moved together until they reached Peytona, on Cole river, where they separated; Col. Enyart going up Cole river. Col. Enyart did not meet the enemy in force at any place but his men did meet and ford swollen rivers, and marched on short rations, and were anxious to meet with the running enemy of Old Virginia. Col. Enyart did not meet Col. Piatt until they met on the Kanawha, on their return.
Col. Piatt’s command immediately proceeded thence to Boone Court House, and camped that night one mile beyond. The next day, after proceeding some sixteen miles,t hey came up with the advance guard of the enemy, consisting of cavalry, when a brisk fire was exchanged, the cavalry retreating. After the retreat of cavalry the battalion was immediately put in order of battle. The advance guard of fifteen men was led forward by Adj’t Clarke, proceeding along the road. Scouts were sent out on either side of the road to meet and repulse the sharp-shooters of the enemy.
The force proceeded in this order for about two miles, meeting the pickets of the enemy, exchanging shots with them incessantly, and driving them back with increased confusion at each charge.
Being unable to ascertain the position of the rebels, the entire force halted for a few moments, and Col. Piatt rode in advance and took observations with his glass, but could not ascertain their force and position, as it was covered with a thick growth of underbrush. After these observations a command was issued to forward the column. The scouts moved on the rapidity and enthusiasm, the main body moving up the narrow road cautiously and firmly. The fire continued to increase, and shots were rapidly exchanged from the right and left with the enemy, until our advanced guard reached within sixty yards of their main force. The column was some eighty yards from the enemy when they received a perfect volley of fire upon their right, indicating that the rebels were in force in that direction. Company “A,” commanded by Capt. Rathbone, was ordered to deploy as skirmishers to the right, up the side of the mountain, and if possible to flank the enemy on the left. Company “C,” commanded by Capt. Miller, was ordered to the right, up a similar mountain, to flank the enemy on their left. Company “I,” commanded by Capt. Anderson, was ordered directly up the ravine, on the left. In this position he drew the concentrated fire of the rebels upon his company, who made use of the knowledge thus obtained by rapidly charging upon and destroying the enemy’s breastworks. The center moved directly up the road. With this disposition of the forces, Col. Piatt routed them from their confusion. Capt. Anderson was the first to mount their breastworks, his men following him in the face of a terrible fire without flinching or confusion.
As Capt. Anderson sealed the breastwork, Capt. Miller closed upon the left and Capt. Rathbone came in upon the right, his men crying “Zouave!” The main column moving up the road in double quick–until they were brought to a temporary halt by obstructions placed in the road by the enemy.
The rebels, terrified by the strange bravery and almost wild enthusiasm that was exhibited by each advancing column, ran in confusion, leaving their dead, wounded, clothing, guns, horses, &c., making their escape by Capt. Rathbone’s right; his company being too far up the mountain to cut off their retreat. Capt. West, commanding company F, was detailed to scour the mountain on the west, on the left of the road. Capt. O.P. Evans on the west side of the mountain, on the right side of the road. Capt. Herman Evans, commanding Company H, on the east side of the mountain, on the left of the road.
Each of these companies moved with dispatch, yet such was the knowledge of the rebels of teh by-paths in the mountains, and belonging to the “F.F.V.’s,” and having been drilled at running all summer, that but two were captured.
Among interesting objects captured was a genuine secession flag, captured by Lieut. Brown.
The enemy’s loss was thirty killed and fifty wounded.
We regret to know that four of our men were killed and eight wounded.Burlington (IA) Weekly Hawk-Eye, 12 October 1861
The fight at Chapmansville was a sharp and bloody affair. Five of Piatt’s Zouaves were killed. The rebels lost thirty-five killed.
National Republican (Washington, DC), 17 October 1861
The thirty-fourth regiment (first Zouaves) have been actively engaged since they came to the Kanawha Valley. Since the glorious victory they won near Chapmansville where the rebel commander, Colonel Davis, was mortally wounded, the Union sentiment has advanced on the Cole River. Two companies have been organized, and are ready to go to work to defend their own homes and give the organized regiments an opportunity to advance into the heart of the enemy’s country.
Cincinnati (OH) Daily Press, 22 October 1861
Captain H.C. Evans, of Piatt’s Zouave Regiment, yesterday called in our office and exhibited a Secesh flag, captured at the Chapmansville fight, on the 24th ult.
Clarksville (TN) Chronicle, 25 October 1861
The Fight in Logan County, Va.
[From the Richmond Whig of the 15th.]
We yesterday published the Yankee account of a battle in Logan county, which as usual, was manufactured out of whole cloth. The following are the facts as given by the South-western Times, (Tazewell county) of the 10th inst.:
From Samuel Smoot, Esq., of Boone county, who was in the fight, we learn the following particulars of the battle near Chapmanville, Logan county, on the 25th ult: The Yankees numbered 700, and commenced the attack upon our troops–the Logan militia–in a low gap between Guyandotte river and Big Creek, where they were engaged in raising a temporary breastwork. Our troops numbered 220, but there were only about 80 of them engaged in the fight. They were commanded by Col. J.W. Davis, of Greenbrier, a brave and gallant officer, who was severely, but not dangerously wounded, in the arm and breast. As soon as it became known that Col. Davis was wounded, the militia commenced a retreat. The commanding officer of the Lincoln troops afterwards confessed to Col. Davis, who was taken prisoner, that at the same moment a portion of the Yankees were running, and that one more round would have completely dispersed them.
The loss of the Yankees, by their own confession to Col. Davis, was 40 killed and a number wounded; among the former were four Union men, all of whom are represented by the Yankees to be most arrant thieves and cowards. Our loss was two killed and three or four wounded, besides Col. Davis, whose valuable services are at present lost to the Confederacy, being paroled by the enemy.
On the following day our scouts killed one of their pickets, and wounded another, at a point about half way between Logan Court House and Chapmanville, promising to give them particular thunder before daylight next morning. This with some news from a lady on the road, and some account of the militia of the surrounding counties, found on the person of Col. Davis, caused a hasty stampede for their headquarters, in the valley of the Kanawha. It seems that high water, bad roads, nor anything else could impede their rapid flight. They tore down a meeting house in Boone county to make rafts whereon to cross the river. They drowned two of their wounded, lost a wagon containing their entire stock of ammunition, and were fully persuaded that they were followed by two thousand cavalry, of which the Yankees in the West are about as fearful as their Eastern brothers are of masked batteries.
Upon the whole, we are much gratified at the result of this fight. It has, for the present, driven the cowardly thieves from the country, given renewed energy to the true patriots of Logan and the adjoining counties, fully convincing them that with the assistance of two or three hundred of their gallant friends in Tazewell county, they will be fully able to thrash any number that Gen. Cox or his friends shall dare to send against them.”
Note: An almost identical version of this story appeared in the Staunton (VA) Spectator on 22 October 1861.
The following letter was composed by George Workman of Logan County, WV, and sent to Lewis Lawson:
April the 3rd 1867
Mr. Lewis Lawson. Sir. I take the present oppotunity of informing you that I have been in formed that you claim to have a deed of trust on my land. now this seems a strange truth to me for you know that I never gave you any such a thing and I think you are a man of better sense than to forge such a thing you don’t like to work that well I give you and smoot a deed of trust on five head of cattle which the rebs took from me and when you want your pay you must make them pay me now sir if you have a trust deed on my land you had better keep it to your self for I can prove the deed was on cattle and I will prossecute you as you are a man. You must think that I am a perfect idiot that I will let you forge a trust deed sell me out say nothing to you. but I am not quite that dull now sir I dare you to do any thing with your deed and Just show you that I am not a sleep and I am not worth what the law a lows me until you rebs pays me for my property then I will pay you & c.
Note: Mr. Lawson, born about 1810 in England, lived at Whites Mills in 1860 where the census listed him as a farmer and merchant with $4000 worth of real estate and $15,720 worth of personal property.
From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this poem titled “West Virginia” by Granville D. Hall, dated October 4, 1927:
“Child of the Tempest”–O, puny Ship of State!
Christened with the Crimson vintage of the War,
Fate gives thee launch upon a dark unquiet tide;
But the future signals welcome from afar,
Anchored to the Union, thou shalt ride
In haven safe while smiling fortunes wait!
“We know what master laid thy keel;
What workmen wrought thy ribs of steel;
Who made each mast, and sail, and rope;
What anvils rang, what hammers beat–
In what a forge and what a heat
Thy anchors grew–our Hope.” (*)
We laid deep with all our love,
With all our hopes, and bid thee go–
Despite the frowning skies above;
Breasting the heaving tides below–
Forth to the future, strong in right.
Time evens all, and God is just.
In thine own strength and to His might,
Our best beloved–our all–we trust.
Fare forth, O, rich imperial State!
Virginia’s last reluctant gift,
Award of War, the fruit of Fate.
The Sea subsides, the storm-clouds lift.
Take courage, Heir to halcyon years!
Beware the reef; the treacherous lee;
Beware the perils yet to be.
The Prosperous Isles, their lures and guiles;
Their apples of gold, their sirens’ smiles–
Are waiting to win thee from the Sea.
Once more the skies shall bend serene,
And placid seas He broad between;
The tempest past, the radiant bow
Shall arch the heavens above thy prow;
And golden shores beyond the Sea
Shall lift their fronds to welcome thee.
(Granville D. Hall was formerly the editor of the Wheeling Intelligencer. He is now living in retirement [in] Glencie, Ill.)