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Hillsborough (NC) Recorder

Hillsborough (NC) Recorder

July 24, 1861

Page 3


                                    ACCOUNT OF AN EYE WITNESS

            RICHMOND, July 15, 1861To the Editor of the Whig:  Camp Garnett is situated in a gorge just beyond the pass that runs between Rich and another mountain.  On Tuesday last, Col. Pegram, knowing the importance of this point, detached three companies, (Buckingham Lee Guard, Rockbridge Guard and Pryor Rifles,) and one gun from the Lynchburg Artillery, to secure the position at all hazards.  They gained the height, and about ten o’clock had built the breastwork to the height of two logs; meanwhile, the enemy, guided by the Union mountaineers, had by squads and companies reached a point beyond the breastworks and a little more elevated.  Immediately they commenced an attack upon our unfinished breastworks from the distance of fifteen hundred yards.  They advanced, and fired with Minnie rifles incessantly.  No execution however was done with these arms.  Our loss was at shorter distance from the deadly fire of our brother Virginians.  Approaching within five hundred yards, they began to feel the fatal shots from our boys.  At this and shorter distances they were mowed down like wheat before the blade at every volley from us. [Ed. note: There appears to be a punctuation error in original copy here.]


Highland county, July 16:

            I judge before you get this letter, the news will have reached you of our defeat.  The battle of Rich Mountain took place on the 11th of this month.  We were surrounded by superior forces from eight to ten thousand.  Our company acted bravely.  We lost from ten to twenty killed and wounded, besides some fifteen to twenty that are probably taken prisoners.  The battle lasted about 24 hours, when we found out that the only way of escape to ourselves was by retreating.  We had a terrible time fleeing through the mountains, but arrived in this place yesterday evening.  I am well, but feel very tired and stiff.  I am the only officer left.  Capt. Anderson was taken prisoner and I heard he was killed.  Statham was shot and was probably taken prisoner.  Raine and Massie are also taken prisoners.  Wyth Turner, Isaiah Rider, and several others whom I do not now recollect, were killed.  We are now within 46 miles of Staunton, and will probably go to that place and fortify, as the enemy have a very large force, and say they intend to go to Richmond by that route.  Gov. Letcher met us on the road day before yesterday.


[Transcribed by Sharon Strout]


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