|OCTOBER 26, 1864.-Skirmish at Winfield, W. Va.
Captain KENNEDY, Assistant Adjutant-General, Dept. of W. Va., Cumberland, Md.:
The enemy have appeared in Raleigh and on Cotton Hill; Witcher and Thurmond, with 600 men, are known to be there; whether any more I cannot now say. My pickets were driven in at Gauley last night. River very low.
JOHN H. OLEY, Colonel, Commanding First Separate Brigade
HEADQUARTERS, Charleston, W. Va., October 26, 1864.
Witcher attacked Reynolds an hour ago; has been repulsed three times. Reynolds says he has captured the two Thurmonds; thinks the enemy is retreating.
J. M. RIFE, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
|Brevet Major-General CROOK,
Commanding Department of West Virginia:
The following telegram just received: CHARLESTON, October 26, 1864.
Witcher, with 400 men, attacked Winfield at 3 this a. m., where one company of the Seventh Virginia Cavalry was stationed. He was repulsed and is retreating. Captain Philip J. Thurmond fell into our hands, mortally wounded, and has since died. Detachment of the Seventh Virginia are in pursuit. The enemy have retreated from Loup Creek, with loss of three or four killed and several wounded. Bowyer has received 110 orders in his case. His friends have petitioned commutation of his sentence. Battery expected here to-day.
JNO. H. OLEY, Colonel.
|HDQRS. DEPT. OF WESTERN VIRGINIA AND E. TENNESSEE,
Wytheville, Va., October 27, 1864.
Major General L. L. LOMAX, Army of the Valley:
GENERAL: Your letter* of the 17th instant is received this morning. I will try to make my answer embrace all its points, without enumerating them in detail. I know you have suffered form stragglers returning to this department, and I have given strict orders to have all arrested who have not proper passes. I am also using the very small disposable force I have in scouring the country for them, and have assured all concerned that I will at once have any officer arrested and tried who receives one of them into his command. I cannot promise great success, as deserters and stragglers avoid the main roads, and go by unfrequented paths to remote and inaccessible places. In regard to Payne's company and Witcher's battalion, I have to remark that they, with nearly all the cavalry you have and a good deal of the infantry in the Valey, belong to this Department, and were sent out temporarily last spring, leaving it nearly stripped. A very small portion of the command was retained, chiefly Witcher and Payne.
My action in retaining Payne received the express sanction of the War Department. I cannot spare them unless they are ordered off by the War Department. Those two little commands, numbering together about 350 men, form the entire force I have to guard the country from Beverly around to the mouth of Sandy, except a very small body of irregular and half-organized partisans. Vaughn's scattered command is far in East Tennessee, and I have only a few hundred mounted men here (Duke), to protect the country and attend to bands of deserters, disloyal organizations, &c. I have just sent to the Valley Cosby's and Giltner's small brigades. If I had known your wishes, I would have much preferred to retain them and sent Witcher and Payne. In regard to the wagons and mules you mentioned and the shop, I will have the matter investigated at once, and try to send you the transportation, tools, &c. Yet, general, I can hardly express to you the destitution of this department, caused in part by my own, liberality, for last summer I ordered from it many things for General Early's army, and, among the rest, a good deal of transportation and about 25,000 horseshoes.
With good wishes, I am, yours, truly,
JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE, Major-General.