Friday, September 9, 2011

September 10, 1861 (Wednesday): Battle at Carnifex Ferry

Patteson House, Carnifex Ferry Battlefield

Reports of Brig. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, U. S. Army, commanding Army of Occuption, West Virginia.

CAMP SCOTT, September 11, 1861—p.m.
     We yesterday marched 17 ½ miles, reached the enemy’s intrenched position in front  of Carnifix Ferry, driving his advanced outposts and pickets before us.  We found him occupying a strongly intrenched position, covered by a forest too dense to admit its being seen at a distance of 300 yards.  His force was five regiments, besides the one driven in.  He had probably sixteen pieces of artillery.
   At 3 o’clock we began a strong reconnaissance, which proceeded to such length we were about to assault the position on the flank and front, when, night coming on and our troops being completely exhausted, I drew them out of the woods and posted them in the order of battle behind ridges immediately in front of the enemy’s position, where they rested on their arms till morning.
   Shortly after daylight a runaway contraband came in and reported that the enemy had crossed the Gauley during the night by means of the ferry and a bridge which they had completed.
   Colonel Ewing was ordered to take possession of the camp, which he did about 7 o’clock, capturing a few prisoners, two stands of colors, a considerable quantity of arms and quartermaster’s stores, messing and camp equipage.
   The enemy having destroyed the bridge across the Gauley, which here rushes through a deep gorge, and our troops being still much fatigued, and having no material for immediately repairs the bridge, it was thought prudent to encamp the troops, occupy the ferry and the captured camp, sending a few rifle-cannon shots after the enemy to produce a moral effect.
   Our loss would probably amount to 20 killed and 100 wounded.  The enemy’s lost has not been ascertained, but from report it must have been considerable.

                                                                                    W. S. ROSECRANS,
                                                                        Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 5, Page 119.

Rosecrans had only used five regiments out of his 7,000 troop force, the territory making it very difficult to deploy his forces.  Union casualties were about 150 and Floyd’s Confederates lost just 20 wounded out of 5,800 engaged.  Although successful in repulsing the attacks, Floyd was forced to move further east toward Lewisburg and further loosened the Confederate grip on western Virginia.  Floyd blamed his having to retire eastward on Wise and Wise predictably blamed the situation on Floyd. Soon they would be parted, with Wise's Legion folded into Floyd's command.

No comments:

Post a Comment