Thursday, December 26, 2013

December 23, 1863 (Tuesday): "Marched, climbed, slid, and swum 355 miles..."

Arthur Boreman, First Governor of West Virginia

Governor BOREMAN,
    General Averell has succeeded in cutting the Virginia and Tennessee railroad at Salem, in Roanoke County. He reached there on the 16th. Destroyed three depots containing an immense amount of public property, unquestionably collected there for the use of Longstreet's army,which is supposed to be falling back into Virginia.
    The following comprises a portion of the property destroyed: 2,000 barrels flour, 10,000 bushels of what, 100,000 bushels of shelled corn, 50,000 bushels of oats, 2,000 barrels of meat, 1,000 sacks of salt, several cords of leather, 31 boxes of clothing, 20 bales of cotton, large amount of harness, shoes, saddles, equipments, tools, oil, tar, and various other stores, and 100 wagons; water stations, bridges, several culverts, and much of track torn up and rails destroyed; large quantity of bridge timber and repairing materials were also destroyed.
    General Averell captured about 200 prisoners, and lost about 60 men in killed, wounded, and missing. He says:
My command has marched, climbed, slid, and swum 355 miles since the 8th instant.
This is undoubtedly one of the most hazardous, important, and successful raids since the commencement of the war. General Averell will reach Beverly to-night.

     [B. F. KELLEY,]

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 29, Part 2, Page 580.

Averell's raid receives little note in history books.  But this letter makes the valuable point that his operations in the rear of Longstreet were of great value to the war effort and, at the least, a discomfiture to the rebels.  Much like Stuart's ride around the Union Army during the Peninsula Campaign, it was attended with great danger and rising rivers nearly resulted in portions of his raiders being cut off in their retreat while in the face of the enemy.

No comments:

Post a Comment