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123 Series I Volume II- Serial 2 - First Manassas

Page 123 Chapter IX. ROMNEY, W. VA.

Numbers 3. Report of Lieutenant Becker, Eighth Battalion D. C. Militia, of skirmish at Great Falls, Md.

(Received July 7, 1861, from Chain Bridge.)

Have been fighting all day; fighting when I left at 7 o'clock this p.m. One man killed on our side. We want re-enforcements. Are not strong enough to hold our position. We want a surgeon. Please answer.

BECKER, Adjutant Eighth Battalion.


JUNE 13, 1861.- Descent of Union Troops on Romney, W. Va.

Report of Colonel Lew. Wallace, Eleventh Indiana Infantry.

Camp McGinnis, June 14, 1861.

DEAR SIR: Having been notified that several hundred rebel troops were quartered at Romney, Hampshire County, Virginia, drilling there, impressing Union men, and in other ways oppressing loyal citizens, I determined to disperse them, if possible. For that purpose I left Cumberland at 10 o'clock on the night of the 12th instant, with eight companies, in all about five hundred men, and by railway went to New Creek Station, twenty-one miles distant.

A little after 4 o'clock I started my men across the mountains, twenty-three miles off, intending to reach the town by 6 o'clock in the morning. The road was very fatiguing and rough, leading along high bluffs, and narrow passes, which required great caution in passing, so much so, indeed, that with the utmost industry I did not get near Romney until about 8 o'clock. In a pass a mile and a half this side the town my dashed ahead and alarmed the rebels. In fact, I afterwards learned that they had notice of my coming full an hour before my arrival.

In approaching the place it was necessary for me to cross a bridge over the South Branch of the Potomac. A reconnaissance satisfied me that the passage of the bridge would be the chief obstacle in my way, although I could distinctly see the enemy drawn up on the bluff, which is the town site, supporting a battery of two guns, planted so as to sweep the road completely. I directed my advance guard to cross the bridge on the run, leap down an embankment at the farther entrance, and observe the windows of a large brick house not farther off than seventy-five yards. Their appearance was the signal for an assault. A warm fire opened from the house, which the guard returned, with no other loss than the wounding of a sergeant. The firing continued several minutes. I led a second company across the bridge, and by following up a ravine got them into a position that soon drove the enemy from the house and into a mountain to its rear.

My attention was then turned to the battery on the hill. Instead of following the road, as the rebels expected, I pushed five companies in skirmishing order, and at double-quick time, up a hill to the right, intending to get around the left flank of the enemy, and cut off their retreat. Hardly had my companies deployed and started forward, and got within rifle range, before the rebels limbered up and put off over

Page 123 Chapter IX. ROMNEY, W. VA.