Tuesday, May 14, 2013

May 15, 1863 (Friday): The Jones-Imboden Raiders Return

General Samuel Jones

Dublin, May 15, 1863.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
    SIR: Brigadier-General Imboden and his command were at Bulltown, Braxton County, on Saturday night, the 9th instant. Brigadier General W. E. Jones had started from Weston to destroy the railroad between Clarksburg and Parkersburg. He and Imboden were then to unite at Summerville, and would then, as Imboden informs me, be ready strike at Charleston or any other point I might direct. This information was sent to me in a letter from Major Claiborne, and officer of the command, dated at Lewisburg on the 13th instant. Major Claiborne was sent by Imdoben to convey the information to me.
    Hearing that the enemy was sending re-enforcements to Summerville, I directed Brigadier-General Echols to move forward two battalions of infantry, a section of artillery, and company of cavalry to Imboden's support at Summerville. I think Imboden's force alone is strong enough to drive the enemy from Summerville, but if Echols reaches there in time, they may capture any force the enemy has there.
    I have ordered Colonel McCausland to move from Princeton with about 1,200 infantry, a battery, and company of cavalry, and threaten Fayetteville, to prevent the enemy from detaching any force from that place to interfere with Imboden.
     I have also directed Imboden that if, after he reaches Summerville, his men are in condition to continue the expedition, to move and strike the Kanawha at or near Montgomery's Ferry; clear out that valley between Gauley and Charleston; then cross over and take Fayetteville in rear, while McCausland threatens it in front.
    I communicate this information to you chiefly that you may communicate such instructions for W. E. Jones and Imboden to move eastward as rapidly as possible, and, not knowing where they were, could send them the order. Any instructions you may desire to send had better be sent through me, and I will forward them without delay.
     Most respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 25, Part 2, Page 803.

 Jones and Imboden's raid began on April 20th with a mission to attack the B&O Railroad between the Maryland line and Rowlesburg, W. Va.  Jones accomplished his part of the raid, destroying railroad bridges between Rowlesburg and the Alleghany Mountains, going on to threaten Wheeling and Pittsburgh.  But Imboden had failed to destroy the bridge at Rowlesburg, which was the key part of the mission.  W. E. Jones, who led the raid, was in command of the Valley District and Samuel Jones (the writer of the letter) was in command of the Department of Western Virginia, which included most of the Confederacy's salt works.

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