Admiral S. Fry, Appalachia, Big Branch, Big Ugly Creek, genealogy, history, John Fry, justice of the peace, Laurel Fork, Lincoln County, Logan County, Lorenzo D. Hill, Virginia, W.I. Campbell, West Virginia, William Straton
African-Americans, Alabama, Appalachia, Arthur I. Boreman, civil war, history, J.W. McWhorter, Moundsville, North Carolina, Ohio River, Potomac River, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, West Virginia State Penitentiary
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.
11th Virginia Cavalry, Appalachia, Camp Narrows, Chapmanville, civil war, Confederate Army, Edward Chapman, Giles County, history, Hugh Toney, J. Green McNeely, Logan Banner, Logan Country Club, Logan County, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia
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.
Albermarle, Appalachia, Bluefield, Buchanan, Collier's Weekly, Dry Fork, genealogy, George A. Dean, Henry Clay Ragland, Herald-Dispatch, history, Huntington, Iaeger, Imperial Order of Redmen, J.B. ellison, Jefferson Hotel, Kentucky, Keyes Sisters, LaRoy Stock Company, Lena Boyd Nelson, Lena Gross, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Logan Democrat, Logan Nest 1442, Matewan, Modern Maccabees, Norfolk and Western Railroad, North Carolina, Order of Owls, Sayersville, Silver Cloud Tribe 138, Tazewell County, Virginia, W.L. Richardson, West Virginia, Williamson
In 1912, Logan Banner editor George A. Dean married the former Lena Gross, who soon thereafter disappeared. Here are a few stories about the event:
Editor Dean Married
On Monday, Nov. 11 in the minister’s study, Geo. A. Dean and Miss Lena Gross of Virginia, were united in marriage by Rev. W.L. Richardson.
Mr. Dean is the hustling editor of the Logan Banner and is well-known in this city and surrounding country as a man of push and energy, while the bride was one of the charming dining room girls at the Hotel Jefferson.
Mr. and Mrs. Dean will be at home to their friends after Nov. 18.
Source: Logan (WV) Democrat, 14 November 1912.
Editor of “Most Fearless Weekly” on the Trail
West Virginia editors who have failed to receive the Logan Banner on their exchange tables during the past three weeks, no doubt, marveled at its absence. But there is a reason–a tragic, gnawing reason which has caused the editor, Geo. A. Dean to suspend temporarily editorial duties and to embark upon a quest which means more to him than journalistic honors or the mere touch of hollow gold.
Readers of the Banner will remember that there appeared graven upon its front page four months ago Mr. Dean’s and his wife’s own announcement of their marriage. The paragraph attracted more than usual attention, partly because of its unique construction and partly because of the unusual manner of its presentation, but more than all because Mr. Dean was very prominently in the editorial limelight because of recent rather prominent mention in Collier’s Weekly. But that is history, and in mere prelude to the situation which now confronts him: to-wit: that of a married man, wifeless, disconsolate, yearning for the things that were.
Mr. Dean, who has been in Huntington and vicinity for two days seeking a trace of his evanished spouse, speaks frankly of his bereavement, and is importunate that the home-loving public shall, if possible, assist him in finding and restoring his lost treasure. In brief, Lena Boyd Nelson Dean has gone away and, some fear, forever departed. She went without the tender formality of a farewell husband’s kiss. She went away surreptitiously, mysteriously. She went, and Mr. Dean, who has sounded the very depths of heaven and earth, is no whit the wiser whither. Descriptive circulars, telling her height, weight, complexion, color of eyes and hair, manner of dress, and all that pertains to accurate and dependable description have been scattered broadcast all over the territory in which it might be surmised that she would be obscuring herself from the eyes of love and yearning. Mr. Dean stated last night, in conversation with the Herald-Dispatch, that he had absolutely no heart for business, that he had known no rest, no surcease from the terrible heart-longing that had seized upon him and held with tenacious grip from the morning of his wife’s departure. He has searched high and low. He has communicated with every known relative of his wife, without being able to get even the shadow of a clue tending to lead to the discovery of her whereabouts. He gives the following verbal photograph, which is almost as good as the ordinary studio product, and much better than a tintype:
Lena Boyd Nelson Dean, formerly of Williamson and Matewan and Bluefield. Four months ago she served as waitress, cook, and house girl at Logan, W.Va. Last seen at Kenova on Sunday morning, March 2. Physical description: Age 26. Height 5 ft. 2. Coal-black eyes given to starry twinkle. Raven black hair. Rather full lips. Gold filling in front teeth. Deep, well modulated musical voice, with a tendency to coarseness in time of cold. Can not read or write much as her early education was neglected. Her costume is described as being strict in the style of today. Raincoat, drab-colored; blue-serge, two piece coat suit. Beaver hat, embellished with four black ostrich plumes. Leather suitcase, canvass trunk and gold-headed umbrella.
Mr. Dean feels that his wife may have returned to one of the three occupations ascribed to her in the opening paragraphs.
He has important mail for her, both registered and ordinary, and is awaiting anxiously any news of her, and his arms are open to her return. The Logan editor’s plight is positively pitiful. He has grown emaciated, hollow-eyed, faded, wan. The tireless vigil, the ceaseless search, the anxious waiting hours, have all played their part in preying upon his splendid vitality. He is discouraged but not defeated, and will continue the search as long as human endurance will permit, or else sooner find the partner of his joys and immediate cause of his great and overpowering grief. His plight has elicited much sympathy. For what is life without a partner?
Source: Huntington (WV) Herald-Dispatch via Logan (WV) Democrat, 13 March 1913.
Andrew Howlett, Appalachia, Augustus Fowler, Ben Bartram, Bill Driver, Boone County, C.S. Wilson, Carroll County, constable, crime, Delbarton, Floyd Allen, Frank Adams, Frank Allen, genealogy, Harts Creek, Hillsville, history, Kirk, Leonard Conley, Lew Webb, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, McDowell County, Mingo County, moonshining, Moundsville, Nancy E. Ayres, Shanklin Creek, Sidna Allen, T.L. Massie, Virginia, W.M. Foster, W.M. Ray, Wallace Dillon, Welch, West Virginia, West Virginia State Penitentiary, Williamson, Wythe County
In 1912, Floyd Allen and other members of his family participated in a sensational gunfight during a trial at the Carroll County Courthouse in Hillsville, Carroll County, Virginia. The incident resulted in the death of Judge T.L. Massie, Prosecutor W.M. Foster, Sheriff L.F. Webb, juror Augustus Fowler, and witness Nancy E. Ayres, while seven others were wounded. In 1927, Frank Allen–a reputed relative of Carroll County Allens–was captured on Harts Creek in Logan County, WV.
Frank Allen Caught On Murder Charge
“Bad Frank” Allen was captured on Harts Creek last night and was lodged in jail here at 6 o’clock this morning. An hour or so later he was taken to Williamson to answer to a murder charge.
State police from Williamson, accompanied by Trooper Wilson and Constable Frank Adams, made the capture. They went to a house where he was known to be and called him to the door. As he appeared in view he was “covered” by high powered rifle and was commanded to drop a pistol he held in his hand. He refused to let go but one of the officers walked up to him and took possession.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 11 November 1927.
“Bad” Frank Allen Moved to Welch Jail for Safe-Keeping
Charged With Murder, He Eluded Officers from October 1 Until Captured on Harts Creek Week Ago–Kinsmen of Allens of Carroll Court House Fame.
“Bad Frank” Allen, who was captured on Harts Creek a week ago last night, to answer to a murder charge in Mingo county, was subsequently moved from the Williamson jail to the Welch jail for safe-keeping. Boys with hard heads or big feet are in the habit of kicking holes in the Williamson bastile, but a ball bearing nutmeg grater will be presented to the first one who bumps his way to freedom through the thick walls of the McDowell prison.
Allen is accused of killing Wallace Dillon at a horsetrading carnival held near the Baptist Association meeting on Shanklin Creek October 1. Stories of the affray are conflicting. It is said Dillon and others had a whale of a fight, after there had been much imbibing of strong liquor. In the free-for-all Dillon was a star performer, upsetting friends and foes with little regard for consequences. Allen missed the “party,” but when he heard that Dillon had beat up the other participants in the affray, he is said to have construed it as a challenge. Saddling his horse he rode to the scene of the fight and presumably without any provocation fired at Dillon with fatal effect. He escaped after the shooting and officials of both Mingo and Logan county waged a strenuous man hunt in an effort to capture him.
The arrest was made at the home of Leonard Conley in a wild and isolated corner of Harts Creek. His captors were Deputy Sheriffs Bill Driver and Ben Bartram, of Williamson; State Police Wamsley and McClure, of Delbarton, and State Trooper C.S. Wilson, of the Logan detachment.
Conley, wanted on a liquor charge, was not at home, but the officers had a tip that “Bad Frank” was there. One yelled for him to come out and he appeared in the doorway, pistol in hand, and ready to “shoot it out,” until he saw several high-powered rifles leveled at him. Even then he ignored the command to drop his gun, but stood motionless as an officer approached him and took possession of the weapon, which proved to be of 45-calibre.
Allen told his captors that during the six weeks he was a fugitive he had slept in caves and barns and had nearly starved at times. It is thought he fared much better in the hospitable hills of Harts, altho he said that was the first night he had sought shelter in a human habitation.
Big Shoot Recalled
Allen hails from Wythe county, Virginia, and is said to be a kinsmen of the Allens who shot up the Hillsville court house on March 14, 1912. Two of the clan were executed for the crime and Sidney Allen was released from prison on a conditional pardon a year or more ago, the first fusillade in the court upon Judge T.L. Massie and Sheriff Lew F. Webb fell dead. Augustus Fowler, a juror was shot through the head and died two days later. Commonwealth’s Attorney Forst was also shot. Andrew Howlett, another juror, was shot through the _____st. Another juror and Clerk of the court Dextor Goad were wounded but recovered. Miss Elizabeth Ayres received a death wound. Sidna and Allen Floyd were wounded also.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 18 November 1927.
Penitentiary Awaits “Bad” Frank Allen
“Bad” Frank Allen, whose recent capture under dramatic circumstances on Harts Creek, will be recalled by Banner readers, was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the circuit court at Williamson this week. Sentence has not been pronounced but that offense is punishable by from one to five years in the penitentiary.
This desperado of a picturesque type killed Wallace Dillon at a horse-trading gathering near Kirk, on October 1. State’s evidence indicated he rode on the scene when the crowd was watching a fight between Dillon’s brother and another man and shot Dillon without any provocation. Allen testified he shot in self-defense, claiming there was no ill feeling between them and that they were unacquainted.
Allen is 28 and said to be related to the Allens of Hillsville court house fame.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 16 December 1927.
“Bad” Frank Allen Escapes from Pen
“Bad” Frank Allen, said to be one of the Hillsville Allens and known in these parts, has escaped from the penitentiary and is at large. W.M. Ray, a Boone county man serving a two-year sentence for moonshining, escaped with him. They were missed at the prison mine Monday.
The usual reward of $50 has been offered for Allen’s recapture, but those familiar with his record are likely to believe the reward is too small to be tempting.
Allen entered the pen last December 26 to serve a term for shooting and killing Wallace Dillon at a horse-trading carnival near the Baptist Association meeting on Shanklin Creek, Mingo county, October 1. After that affray he escaped but late in November was captured at the isolated home of Leonard Conley on Harts Creek. State policemen armed with rifles and pistols surrounded the house and several were pointed at the front door when Conley, .45 pistol in hand, opened the door in response to a knock. He ignored commands to drop his gun but allowed an officer to seize it.
During the six weeks preceding his capture, Allen stayed in the wilds, subsisting on nuts and fruits largely, he told his captors, though he fared better after getting into the hospitable Harts Creek country.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 24 April 1928.
abolitionists, Appalachia, Aracoma, Ben Bolt, Bergen County, Columbian Fountain, Daily Dispatch, Democrat, Democratic Party, history, Logan, Logan County, Lucretia Mott, New Jersey, New York, New York Daily Tribune, poet, politics, Thomas Dunn English, U.S. Congress, Virginia, West Virginia, William and Mary College, writers
From various newspapers come these items relating to Thomas Dunn English, the famous poet who once lived in Logan County, (West) Virginia:
The Columbian Fountain (Washington, DC), 19 September 1846
Thomas Dunn English is to be the Democratic candidate for Congress in the fifth district, New York.
New York (NY) Daily Tribune, 27 December 1850
Doctor Thomas Dunn English will lecture concerning Hungarian matters on Sunday the 22d inst. and Lucretia Mott concerning Woman’s Rights upon the 29th of December, Sabbath evening.
Daily Dispatch (Richmond, VA), 29 July 1853
Dr. Thomas Dunn English is engaged in making geological exploration for some New York capitalists in Western Virginia.
Richmond (VA) Enquirer, 6 March 1855
We have seen the proof-sheets of a selection of the poems of Thomas Dunn English, the author of “Ben Bolt.” The same author is collating and arranging materials for an illustrated history of South-western Virginia.
Nashville (TN) Union and American via Richmond (VA) Enquirer, 6 September 1861
THOMAS DUNN ENGLISH MOBBED.–This gentleman was mobbed in Bergen county, New Jersey, on Friday, while on his way to speak at a peace meeting. He was severely maltreated by the Abolitionists, and, though he fought his way boldly, was with difficulty saved from assassination by the sheriff of the county. Dr. English resided in Logan county, Va., for several years. He represented Logan county in the legislature several years ago, and last year he delivered the poem at the commencement of William and Mary College. He is a genial poet and eloquent speaker. Since 1855 he has resided in New Jersey.
129th Regiment Virginia Militia, 1st Kentucky Infantry, 34th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment, 5th Virginia Regiment, Abram S. Piatt, Appalachia, Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, Barboursville, Battle of Kanawha Gap, Big Creek, Big Sandy River, Boone County, Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Camp Enyart, Ceredo, Chapmanville, Charleston, Chicago Daily Tribune, Cincinnati Daily Press, Cincinnati Gazette, civil war, Cleveland Morning Leader, Coal River, Confederate Army, Daily Green Mountain Freeman, David S. Enyart, Eli Thayer, Evening Star, George McClellan, Greenbrier County, Guyandotte River, H.C. Evans, Harpers Ferry, Herman Evans, history, J.V. Guthrie, J.W. Davis, Jacob D. Cox, John Dejernatt, Kanawha River, Kanawha Valley, Logan County, Logan Court House, M.H. Wood, National Republican, O.P. Evans, Ohio, Ohio River, Parkersburg, Pomeroy Weekly Telegraph, Portsmouth, Richmond Whig, Samuel Smoot, Southwestern Times, Staunton Spectator, T.W. Rathbone, Tazewell County, Tug Fork, Union Army, Virginia, West Virginia, Wheeling, William Baisden, William Rosecrans, Zouaves
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.
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