Sunday, June 3, 2012

Tuesday, June 3, 1862

William has gone to Chillicothe to look after Railroad matters.  
Today's Gazette gives a detailed account of the fight at Lewisburg where a part of Col. Crook's brigade, the 36th and 44th Ohio regiments met and defeated 4000 rebels under Gen. Heath, the Ohio troops acting with a great deal of coolness and gallantry.  Our loss was 13 killed and 47 wounded.  Among the latter were Dyer B. McClure and Ezekiel Roberts of this neighborhood.  The rebel loss was 50 killed, 100 wounded or prisoners, 4 cannon and 300 stand of small arms.

Peggy's comments:

An article by  Rick Steelhammer appeared in the Charleston Gazette on May 16, 2012, describing the battle of Lewisburg which took place on May 23, 1862.  Here is an excerpt:

The . . . Battle of Lewisburg began shortly after dawn on May 23, 1862, as about 1,400 federal soldiers led by Col. George Crook were beginning to eat breakfast at their encampment along both sides of the Midland Trail, the route of present-day U.S. 60.
Crook (who would gain fame after the war for capturing the Apache chief Geronimo) was returning from a raid on railroad facilities at Covington, Va., when he learned that a Confederate force led by Brig. Gen. Henry Heth was headed toward Lewisburg.
Crook's force, which included two Ohio infantry regiments and part of a West Virginia cavalry regiment, arrived in Lewisburg -- then a town of 800 with strong Confederate sympathies -- on May 22 and set up camp, planning to engage Heth's troops. They didn't have long to wait.
Heth and his force of 2,300 men arrived at the outskirts of Lewisburg under the cover of darkness, and established a battle line bolstered by six artillery pieces on the eastern end of town. At about 5 a.m. on May 23, Heth ordered his artillerymen to fire on the unsuspecting federals.
The Union troops were taken by surprise, but were quick to respond. Crook ordered his infantrymen to attack both ends of the Confederate line, while sending his mounted cavalrymen on a galloping charge through downtown Lewisburg to the center of Heth's position.
Though outnumbered, Crook's soldiers -- who had drilled steadily throughout the winter at a camp near Summersville -- quickly overpowered the less-disciplined Confederate troops. Heth organized a retreat to the east, burning the bridge spanning the Greenbrier River at Caldwell behind him.
In all, 80 Confederates were killed in the battle, while another 100 were wounded and 157 taken prisoner. They left behind four cannons, 300 rifles and 25 horses for Crook's men to seize. The Union force had 13 men killed, 60 wounded and 6 prisoners of war taken.

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