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67 Series I Volume II- Serial 2 - First Manassas

Page 67 Chapter IX. ACTION AT PHILIPPI, W. VA.

march during the day and early part of the night to a point from which, after a sufficient rest, Philippi could be certainly reached at 4 o'clock next morning.

My information induced me to believe that two attaching, columns, one on the left, the other on the right side of Philippi, would secure every exit which the enemy could use in retreat. I therefore organized the right column, under Colonel Dumont, in conformity with the following order:

Grafton, W. Va., June 2, 1861.

Colonel DUMONT,

Commanding Seventh Regiment Indiana Volunteers, near Grafton, Va.:

COLONEL: You will proceed by railroad this evening at 8.30 o'clock to Webster, with eight companies of your regiment. At webster you will be joined by Colonel Steedman, with five companies of his regiment and two field pieces, also by Colonel Crittenden, with six companies of his regiment. From Webster yo will, with this command, march, on Philippi, using your own discretion in the conduct of the march keeping in view that you should in front of the town at 4 o'clock precisely to-morrow morning.

Information is received that the rebels are in some force at Philippi.

The object of your column will be to divert attention until the attack in made by Colonel Kelley, and should resistance be offered you are to aid him to the extent of your ability. In the conduct of your columns of your column you must use your discretion, being governed by such circumstances as may occur. When joined by Colonel Kelley, the whole force will be under his command.

The companies of your regiment will take two full days' rations. Should you receive instructions from Colonel Kelley that the rebels have retreated, you will join him at once, and act his command.

By command of Brigadier General T. A. Morris:


Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

This force, in leaving Grafton after dark, had reasonable assurance of reaching the enemy in advance of any information from their friends, and, as event, proved, did so. The enemy was entirely off his guard, and was completely surprised, as the reports of those engaged in the attack attest.

The failure to capture the entire rebel force can only be attributed to the storm during the night. this unforseen misfortune served to call forth and endurance seldom, exhibited, and I feel that the heroism of officers, and men was as truly displayed in a march of fifteen miles in pitchy darkness, drenching, rain and one a mountainous country as in the irresistible attack and hot pursuit of the discomfited enemy. The last five miles of Colonel Dumont's column was made in one hour and a quarter. many men fainted, and were left on the road. Others threw away their haversacks and provisions to keep up, rushing forward with a determination that showed what spirit animated the command. I regard it as remarkable that under such circumstances the two columns were but fifteen apart at the time assigned for their meeting. An able reconnaissance in advance of Colonel Dumont's column was made by Colonel F. W. Lander, whose voluntary aid I gladly accepted and to whose advice and assistance I am greatly indebted. The immediate direction of the artillery was confided to him. After the bridge was taken he pressed forward and joined Colonel Kelley, rode into the enemy's ranks, and captured the prisoner reported to have shot Colonel Kelley. He had great difficulty in restraining the Virginia Volunteers from summarily dispatching the man, who is a noted secessionist and a quartermaster of the rebel forces.

From the reports of Colonel dumont (who by the fall of Colonel Kelley, had command) you will perceive there is much difficulty in an accurate of the enemy's losses. His killed is estimated from

Page 67 Chapter IX. ACTION AT PHILIPPI, W. VA.