THE FIRST CAMPAIGN
On the morning of the 12th of
July, we learned that GARNETT and PEGRAM
were in rapid retreat, having been badly cut up by Gen. ROSECRANS
who was in hot pursuit, we were ordered forward at once, and made Oakland
by rail road about noon.
Here the quarter-master pressed a number of teams into service and about
four o'clock, p. m., we set out for Uniontown. About dark, we arrived at
Chisholms mills, where a road came in, on which it was possible the enemy
might attempt to pass. The writer was ordered to remain here with two
companies, and capture any army that might chance to straggle that way,
and was allowed in addition to the two companies, the surgeon and
chaplain, as a contingent force against any extraordinary emergency.
Nothing, however, of any belligerent character occurred except a furious
battle of words between some old maids of the mill and the chaplain, who
with some of the men that were sick, desired to lodge in the house by the
fire. The chaplain carried the point.
Next morning, we made West Union about ten o'clock.
Here we joined a force under Col. ANDREWS Sixteenth
Ohio Vol., who appeared to be anxiously waiting for GARNETT.
We remained here all day, and at night, officers and men were quietly
sleeping about the village under whatever shelter they could find. It
naturally occurred to a " fresh soldier" that we were in no very good
state to capture an army in whatever condition it might be retreating.
Early next morning, and without breakfast, the troops
were ordered under arms and marched rapidly toward the "Red House," nine
miles distant. The rebel army had passed us in the night on a by-road on
our left. When we arrived at the "Red House," the writer was ordered to
take two companies and move back on the road on which the rebels had come
in, and ascertain if there were any straggling parties not yet come up.
Company "D" of the Eighth, and "A" company of the Sixteenth Ohio, under
Capt. WILEY, were detailed for that purpose. We
threw out skirmishers and moved out at a good step for near two miles.
Some skirmishing ensued; we picked up nine stragglers who had given out,
and several horses and about a wagon load of arms of every kind and
description, which had been thrown away by the rebels.
The rebel retreat had evidently been of the-most
hurried and straggling character. Wagons had been overturned and their
contents burned or abandoned. The prisoners taken, assured us that the
rear guard of a few hundred cavalry had escaped over the mountain, and
becoming satisfied of this and that there were no troops yet back, we
wheeled about and started to join the main force, not doubting that the
rebels would soon be overtaken and captured. We came back to the Red
House, then took the pike road to the Eastward, and had gone but a short
distance, when we met the whole army of Gen. HILL in
full retreat at almost double quick.
This movement was always a mystery to everyone. The
absolutely demoralized condition of the enemy, was every where apparent.
Gen. HILL called a "Council of War" at a
point known by our troops as the "Two Chimneys," which Council was a farce
of the first water. The ancient doctrine that prudence is the better part
of valor was announced by the General, and retreat ordered. Our troops
were fresh, and anxious for a fight, and in sufficient numbers, at least
to harass the enemies rear, if not to have withstood an attack from him,
had he offered battle, which was unlikely under the circumstances, if not
This, however, has been a subject of discussion between
McCLELLAN and HILL.
Newspaper articles, pamphlets and reports having been published on this
subject, we will leave the matter with them.
This was Sunday morning, the army remained at the Red
House until after dark Monday night, when if commenced a rapid march in
pursuit of the retreating rebels. The writer remained on picket with
companies "F & D" until the line of march was formed, and the rear some
two miles from us, when we moved up in rear of baggage train, leaving
Capt. Gregg with company "E" as a camp guard at the Red House. We joined
the troops in bivouac at the Potomac bridge, at midnight. The next day,
the pursuit was continued for about twenty-four miles. The route lay
among and over the Alleghany mountains. The scenery to us, accustomed only
to the level plains of Ohio, was very grand. The next morning, we started
at five o'clock and marched seven miles, when the troops were massed
around Gen. HILL, who made a long speech, closing
with the assurance that he would soon capture the rebel army. But a
courier from Gen. MCCLELLAN,
just at this point put in an appearance and handed Gen. HILL
a dispatch, which dispelled this dream of glory, and caused our retreat to
the Red House. It was understood among the troops, that HILL
was severely censured for his operations of Sunday morning.
believed that the straggling and demoralized rebels should have been
attacked and captured, and that their farther pursuit was now useless and
ridiculous, the golden moment having parsed.
BRIGADIER GENERAL HILL LEAVES US.
The troops reached Potomac bridge
on the evening of the 18th and encamped. On the 19th, Gen. HILL
with the whole force except the Eighth Regiment left for Oakland. The
Eighth was ordered back to the Red House, where it went into camp.. Here
we remained until the 26th, when we were ordered to the Potomac bridge.
During these few days, our Col. DEPUY
was in mortal fear of a cavalry attack and kept a good number of scouts
out, and built some curiously contrived fortifications. There were,
however, no rebel troops within a hundred miles of us.
We marched over the mountain to the bridge, where we
were joined by the Seventeenth Indiana, and a battery commanded by Col. HASKELL.
Here these forces went into camp, and commenced building fortifications. A
fort called Fort Pendleton, from the proprietor of the plantation, Major PENDLETON,
was regularly laid out and completed, on a bluff overlooking the Potomac.
The force at this place was in- command of Col. HASKILL.
This was on the principal road over the mountains, leading from Western
Virginia to Romney, Winchester, etc., and was regarded as an important
thoroughfare at this time. We were joined in a few days by the Fourth Ohio
under Col. LOREN ANDREWS, who
assumed command of the camp. Our camp had been selected in a most
unhealthy location, being down in a deep, damp gorge in the mountain; the
men soon began to get sick, and in a few days, about three hundred were in
The disease was a low type of fever. The men called it
the disease of "Camp Maggotty Hollow," the name they had given the camp.
On the 18th of August, we were ordered to Grafton, from which point we
expected to go to Huttonville. When we arrived at Grafton, we were in such
sorry plight, that the Twenty-fifth Ohio, under Col. J. A. JONES,
then at Grafton, was ordered forward, and the Eighth took its place along
the railroad, being broken up in small detachments.
had received an injury which paralyzed his limb, in consequence of which
he was absent on sick leave. The writer was prostrate with typhoid fever,
and several other officers, including Surgeon TAPPAN,
were absent sick.
The regiment was now in command of Lieut. Col. CHARLES
A. PARK, and for the only time during its term of
service broken up and divided into separate detachments. Co. A was sent
down the road to Farmington, Company B to West Union, Co. C to Cumberland,
Co. D to Rowlesburgh and Oakland, Co. E to Phillippi, Co. H to Webster,
and the balance of the regiment, soon after to New Creek, under the
immediate command of Capt. W. E. HAYNES, of Co. G.
The various detachments performed their duties
faithfully during this period, Co. E losing one man— GUSTAV
F. SMITH—shot by bushwackers. Dr. SEXTON
was unwearied in his exertions to stay the ravages of camp fever which was
daily carrying off our men, sixteen of whom died a few days after our
arrival, at Grafton.
Gen. KELLY was in command at
Grafton, though still suffering seriously from a wound received at
On the 23d of September an expedition set out to
capture Romney, under the command of Lieut. Col. CANTWELL,
of the Fourth Ohio. The detachment of the Eighth Regiment in this movement
was under the command of Lieut. Col. PARK, and encountered the enemy at
"Hanging Rock," where the rebels were lodged among the woods and craigs at
the summit, and poured down their fire and hurled missiles of every
description upon the heads of the assailants. Several of the men were
wounded, and William BARRETT, Co. I, killed in the
The troops were countermarched across the river, which
was deep and rapid at this point, and had to be forded to the opposite
bank, when a halt was made. There was a dense fog hanging over the river,
which prevented further operations for the present. Towards noon the fog
cleared away, and another attempt was made to enter Romney in this
direction. The troops crossed the river and proceeded in line of battle to
within a mile of town, driving before us the rebel cavalry and pickets.
Some skirmishing took place at this time, but nothing was accomplished
worthy of mention. Orders were given to countermarch, which was
accordingly done. Recrossing the river, we returned to the road leading
from New Creek to Romney, at a point known as Mechanicsburg Gap, where we
arrived about two o'clock the following morning, and went into camp weary
and fagged. The following morning the march was resumed toward Romney. On
nearing the place, after passing through Mechanicsburg Gap, the head of
the column struck the rebel outposts and drove them in upon the main body.
Our batteries opened upon the rebel batteries planted upon the heights
across the Potomac river, and soon silenced them. The cavalry was ordered
to charge, the enemy, which was done in a most gallant manner, followed by
the regiment and the rest of the troops at double quick. Crossing the
river, and passing up the hill, the command entered the place in fine
shape, driving the enemy before us in disorder.
We held the place for a couple of hours and, fearing
the enemy was receiving reinforcements and would attempt to flank us and
get in our rear, thereby preventing our return to New Creek, orders were
given to return to New Creek, which was accordingly done.
The return was made in good order by our troops, but we
were closely followed by the rebels in force. A running fight was kept up
for a number of miles, without serious results. There was a good deal of
artillery firing on both sides, and the booming of rebel cannon in our
rear and the explosion of their shells in our midst reminded us that it
was unsafe to loiter behind.
We made rather quicker time towards our camp than we
did towards Romney, and we did not feel half as buoyant. We arrived in
camp late in the evening, weary and footsore and not very much elated at
the result of our expedition to Romney.
This was the first action in which the regiment was
engaged, and both officers and men behaved splendidly. Daily rumors
of attacks now prevailed and a detachment of cavalry, under Capt. KEYS,
scouted the country in all directions with constant evidence of the
proximity of rebel troops, but no collision occurred—the boys claiming
that the time table of the rebels and cavalry was of the most perfect
On the 24th day of October the troops again advanced on
Romney, the Eighth Regiment being in command of Col. DEPUY,
who had returned. On the arrival of the troops at Mechanicsburgh Gap, the
rebels, who had their artillery posted in the Romney cemetery, opened upon
them with round shot and shell, but without damage, and it soon becoming
evident to Gen. KELLY that this cannonade was for
the purpose of covering a retreat, he ordered his column forward. The
artillery soon disappeared, and by the time the cavalry reached the
village not a rebel soldier was to be seen. The town was now occupied by
The writer was confined to his sick bed at Grafton for
over five weeks with typhoid fever, and when able to do so, visited his
home at Norwalk, Ohio, but did not. sufficiently recover his health to
enable him to return to duty until the 29th of October, when he joined his
regiment at Romney.
In a few days quite a body of troops had assembled at
Romney. The Fourth, Fifth, Seventh and Eighth Ohio, Thirteenth and
Fourteenth Indiana, Seventh Virginia, Howe's Regular. Battery and DAUM's
Volunteer Battery, Key's Cavalry, &c. Comfortable camps were established,
and regular drills and parade required.
Lieut. Col. PARK and Col, DEPUY
had resigned, and on the 10th of November the writer assumed command of
the regiment and was commissioned Lieutenant Colonel on the 25th of
November. Capt. A. H. .WINSLOW, of Co. A, was
commissioned Major of same date.
The country about Romney is hilly and mountainous, and
the rebels being in considerable force at Blue's Gap and other points in
the vicinity, heavy picketing was required. In a few instances our men
were fired upon and some killed by skulking bushwackers.
On the 16th of December Col. S. S. CARROLL*,
recently appointed Colonel of the Eighth, arrived at Romney and took
command of the regiment. He was a graduate of West Point, and a
Captain in the Tenth Regiment U. S. Infantry. He was a dashing officer,
anxious to distinguish himself, and above all to qualify his regiment for
its duties. Col. John S. Mason, also a West Point graduate, and Captain of
the Eleventh U. S. Infantry, had recently been made Colonel of the Fourth;
Ohio in place of the lamented Col. LOREN ANDREWS,
deceased. This was a new era in our military life. Col. CARROLL
was at once an authority and a model and we all felt that in the pursuit
of the art military we were no longer groping our way in the dark. Guard
duty was brought up to the letter of the army regulations; discipline was
strictly enforced; battalion drill regularly required, and Sunday morning
inspection and dress parade regularly held. The officers subscribed for
and procured an elegant silk regimental flag, and in short we found
ourselves all at once a well equipped, a well drilled, a plucky and very
Co. B, Capt. KENNEY, during this
time was stationed at the suspension bridge across the south branch of the
Potomac, a few miles below Romney, and did not join the regiment until it
moved to Patterson Creek, some weeks later.
* Note.—Samuel Sprig Carroll was born in Washington City,
D. 0., September
21, 1833, entered West Point in 1852, graduated in 1856, and appointed to
the Tenth U.S. Infantry, with which he served in Minnesota and Kansas. In
1857 he accompanied Johnson's Expedition to Utah, returned in 1859 and was
stationed at West Point as Quartermaster. In November, 1861,
appointed Colonel of the Eighth Regiment, Ohio Volunteers; commanded
Regiment till May 24th, 1862, when he was placed in command of a Brigade
in Shield's Division; commanded Brigade until May 13th, 1864, when he was
severely wounded at Spottsylvania and was out of the field until February,
1865, when he was placed in command of the Department of West Virginia. He
was appointed Brigadier General May 12th, 1864; April, 6,1865, was
assigned to command Army of Shenandoah; in May assigned to command First
Army Corps, Camp Stoneman, Washington; in July assigned to command the
District of North East Virginia, headquarters at Fredericksburg and in
September at Charlottsville and remained there until January 1st, 1866,
when he was mustered out of volunteer service and placed on recruiting
service. In July appointed Lieutenant Colonel Twenty-first U. S. Infantry
and joined Regiment at Petersburg; in January, 1867, appointed Inspector
General, Miles' Division of the Atlantic until May, 1869, when he was
retired as Major General, U. S. A.