2nd West Virginia Cavalry
General Wm. H Powell was born May 10, 1825, in Monmouthshire, South Wales, Great Britain, of Welsh ancestry, “a gallant, Christian race, patterns of every virtue, every grace, ever loyal to God and country.” He emigrated with his parents to America in 1830. His early life, covering the period of 1833 to 1843, was spent in Nashville, Tennessee, since when he has resided in Virginia, Ohio and Missouri; his present home, since 1876, is Belleville, Illinois. His entire manhood life, save the four years he devoted to saving “the old flag” in 1861 to 1865, has been devoted as an iron manufacturer and mechanical engineer. At the age of 25 he was employed to superintend the erection of the original Benwood Iron and Nail Works, near Wheeling, West Virginia, and following the completion of these works, the erection of the Blandy & Sturgess Rail Mill and the construction of the first nail works at Ironton, Ohio, known as the Belfont Iron and Nail Works. In 1857, he was chosen by the Lawrence Rolling Mill Company as its general manager and financial agent, which position he relinquished, August 1, 1861, to enter the service of the United States, to suppress the rebellion inaugurated in the Southern States.
His effort in obtaining recruits enabled him to report with a company at Parkersburg, Va., for organization and muster, September 16, 1861. Under President Lincoln’s call of July 2, 1861, the formation of a regiment for the cavalry arm of the U.S. service was begun about August 1, in southern Ohio. Three companies were recruited in Lawrence County, two in Meigs, one in Jackson, one in Vinton, one in Washington, and one in Morgan. The remainder of the regiment was composed largely of volunteers from Putnam and Monroe counties. When this body was ready for organization and commission, application was made to Governor Dennison, of Ohio, to complete the organization. This he declined to do, saying that the governors of all the Northern States had received instructions from the War Department to recruit no more cavalry, and that they were also advised that all cavalry organizations in excess of forty regiments would be mustered out of service.
Application was then made to F.H. Pierpont, provisional governor of that portion of Virginia now known as West Virginia, the latter State not having been admitted to Statehood until June 20, 1863. Governor Pierpont, with the consent of the Secretary of War, accepted the organization as cavalry, ordering the same into camp quarters at Parkersburg, where ten companies reported about the middle of September, 1861.
On the 15th of December the regiment was ordered into winter quarters at Guyandotte, Va. The organization was a fine body of Ohio soldiery, and many were the regrets expressed that it could not have been mustered into service as an Ohio regiment. Yet, neither during the progress of the war nor since its close, have we had the slightest cause to complain of our treatment at the hands of the loyal people of the little mountain State, born amid the throes of war, rocked and shaken with the roar of cannon, whose soil drank the blood of many of her own gallant and loyal sons.
With the exception of an occasional unimportant scouting expedition, and cooperation Col. James A Garfield, on the 7th and 8th of January, 1862, in his movements against General Humphrey Marshall, in northeastern Kentucky, where the first blood of the regiment was spilled by the killing of two men, Amos McKee, of Co. B, and Albert Leonard, of Co. C, and the wounding of five others, the command was not disturbed in its drill exercise and preparation for subsequent service during the winter. During the month of April, 1862, the regiment was divided into battalion organizations. The Second Battalion, composed of Co.’s A, D, E, G and K, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Paxton, accompanied by Major R.L. Curtis, was ordered to report to General J.D. Cox, at Flat Top Mountain. In a few days thereafter, Colonel Bolles, accompanied by Major Hoffman, in command of the First Battalion, composed of Co.’s B, C, F, H and I, broke camp under orders to report to Lieutenant-Colonel Elliott, at Gauley Bridge, who, in command of the 47th O.V.I. was en route to Meadow Bluffs, Greenbrier County. On the eve of May 11, Major Hoffman commanding the cavalry, moved forward from Meadow Bluffs via the Blue Sulphur Springs route, and Colonel Elliott proceeded via the Lewisburg turnpike, under instructions to meet at the junction of the two roads at Handley’s house, near Lewisburg. The commands met as ordered before break of day on the 12th. Edgar’s Rebel Infantry battalion, and Captain White’s cavalry company were encamped within speaking distance of the junction, advised of the approach of the Union troops by some of their pickets that had escaped capture. Those captured had informed Colonel Elliott of the position of the enemy; at daylight the Rebel line was charged and scattered in all directions. Captain Powell was ordered out in pursuit of the Rebel cavalry, and drove them to and through the town of Lewisburg, to within one mile of the White Sulphur Springs, capturing quite a number of prisoners in this wild and exciting chase. The command returned to Meadow Bluffs, where, on the 16th of May, Col. George Crook arrived with other troops, and organized the 3rd Brigade of the Kanawha Division, comprising the 36th, 44th and 47th O.V.I. and First Battalion 2nd W.Va. Cavalry and a battery of artillery, and began his reconnaissance in force against Jackson River Depot. The infantry moving via the pike, and the cavalry on the old Sweet Street road, under orders to form a junction at Callahan’s Station. En route to the station, Captain Powell commanded the advance guard of twelve men. On nearing the station, late in the afternoon, six Rebel captains of the “Moccasin Ranger” organization were surprised and captured after a serious contest, after Captain Powell charged upon the station and captured two other officers and twenty-five men. A halt was made to await the arrival of the main force, which, on coming up after dark, went into camp. The command moved forward next morning upon Jackson River Depot, but on learning that there were no Rebel troops in that immediate section, and that General Heth, with a considerable force, was moving in the direction of Lewisburg, Colonel Crook hastened back to Meadows Bluffs, to make the necessary preparations to give his old classmate at West Point a warm reception.
On the early morn of May 23rd, Colonel Crook placed his command in line just as General Heth gained the summit of the hill east of the town, and quickly formed his line of battle about midway between the summit and the eastern edge of the village and awaited Heth’s attack, which was promptly made, and as promptly met by Crook in a gallant charge of the 36th, 44th and 47th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, capturing the enemy’s guns, and pushed his line forward driving Heth and his entire force in utter rout, the cavalry pushing the enemy back over Greenbrier River in the direction of the Union. Thus the victory was quickly achieved. The time occupied in this engagement did not exceed 30 minutes from the time Heth gained the summit until he was driven back over it. The enemy’s loss was 80 killed, 100 wounded, 157 prisoners, 4 guns, 25 horses and 300 stand of small arms. Union loss – 13 killed, 50 wounded, 6 prisoners. Colonel Crook slightly wounded. The brigade returned to its camping grounds at Meadow Bluffs, May 29th.
Aside from active cavalry scouting, and the visit in force made by Colonel Crook, accompanied by his brigade on the 24th of June to his distinguished friend, General Heth at Union, who, in preference to waiting Crook’s arrival, had sought a hiding place in some distant mountain the day previous. On learning of the enemy’s flight, Colonel Crook returned to Meadow Bluffs. The infantry force quietly rested until the 14th of August, on which date General J.D. Cox was ordered to report with the Kanawha Division, except the 44th and 47th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and 2nd Virginia Cavalry, at Washington City. The latter regiments were ordered into camp at the Kanawha Falls, under command of Colonel J.A.J. Lightburn.
Early in September, the camp was filled with rumors of the coming General Loring, with a Rebel force, via Flat Top Mountain, to drive the Yanks into Ohio, which induced Lightburn to move his force down the river to “Soup Creek.” On the 13th the rumor materialized into fact; the enemy attacked the Union position. Colonel Lightburn declined to contest the Rebel advance and retreated to Charleston, and on his arrival ordered the transports with supplies and sick in hospital en route to Gallipolis, Ohio, then crossed the Elk River and destroyed the bridge, moved down the river to Pocatalico, thence across the country to Racine, Ohio.
Two days previous to General Loring’s attack, Lightburn was advised of Jenkin’s Rebel cavalry raid to the Ohio River near Guyandotte, and sent Colonel Paxton with eight companies of the Second Virginia Cavalry to look after him. Colonel Paxton pushed forward rapidly on the pike leading from Charleston via Coalsmouth to Guyandotte on the Ohio River. On approaching within a few miles of Barboursville, General Jenkins’ force, 1200 strong, was reported to be quartered near the latter place. Captain Powell (now major, having received his promotion June 25, in command of Company B) being in the advance, halted to await Colonel Paxton’s arrival with the command which failed to close up until after dark. The conference was short. Major Powell advanced rapidly, drove in the Rebel pickets and charged the camp, driving the entire force up the Guyandotte River, and was in peaceable possession of the Rebel camp on Colonel Paxton’s arrival, losing but one man killed in the charge. Returning from this movement against the enemy to report to Colonel Lightburn, on reaching Coalsmouth, the transports were met en route out of the Kanawha river, and the first news of the evacuation of the Kanawha Valley by the Union troops was received with orders to Colonel Paxton to escort the transports out of the Kanawha River. On reaching Thirteen Mile Creek, the regiment, save a suitable guard, left with the transports, moved across the country to Letart Falls on the Ohio River, thence down the Virginia shore to Point Pleasant at the mouth of the Kanawha River. The Second Virginia Cavalry Regiment did not disgrace its war records by forsaking the sacred soil of Virginia by crossing the Ohio river into Ohio, notwithstanding its orders to do so.
The brigade reassembled at Point Pleasant. The inexcusable driving out process experienced under Colonel Lightburn induced the assignment of General Q.A. Gilmore, U.S.A., to the command of the troops at Point Pleasant, who was soon relieved by General Milroy, and he in a few days relieved by General J.D. Cox, who, on the 20th of October, after a reorganization of the troops proceeded to Charleston, where it was ordered into winter quarters, the Second Virginia Cavalry being ordered into winter quarters at Camp Piatt, 12 miles above, on the Kanawha River.
On the 16th of November General George Crook, having been promoted to the rank of brigadier-general of volunteers, relieved General Cox in the command of the Kanawha Division.
Having completed the campaign work of 1862 in the Kanawha Valley, as he was supposed, much to the surprise and gratification of the boys, they were in the saddle and on the road in obedience to the following order:
Headquarters Kanawha Division
Charleston, Kanawha Co., Va., November 23, 1862
Special Order No. ___
Captain Jno. C. Paxton, commanding the Second Regiment Loyal Virginia Cavalry, will proceed with all the serviceable men of his regiment tomorrow morning, Nov. 24, to Cold Knob Mountain, in Greenbrier County, Va., via the Summersville and Lewisburg road, leaving the Kanawha River route at Cannelton. On Cold Knob Mountain you will overtake Col. P.H. Lane, commanding the 11th O.V.I., ordered to that point to reinforce your command. From which position you will proceed against the camps of the 14th Rebel Virginia Cavalry Regiment, located in the Sinking Creek Valley, some two miles apart in winter quarters, recruiting. Break up the organization if possible.
Commanding Kanawha Division
Leaving the camp at early morn, Summersville was reached by 8 P.M. that day, having traveled sixty miles over rough roads, camped there that night; broke camp early on the following morn, encountered a small Rebel squad en route, took them in and passed on, halted during the afternoon to feed and rest; then pressed forward through a heavy snow storm through the afternoon and night of the 25th, arriving at the summit of Cold Knob Mountain early forenoon of the 26th, where the command overtook Col. P.H. Lane, 11th O.V.I. ordered to this point from Summersville, to reinforce the cavalry movement, which regiment, in consequence of the deep snow and great suffering experienced, returned from Cold Knob to Summersville that morning. The advance upon the Rebel camp in the valley was promptly organized. Major Powell, in command of twenty men of company G., commanded by Lieutenant Jeremiah Davidson, constituted the advance guard en route down the mountain side; a Rebel scouting party of four men were met, two were captured, from whom the exact status of the enemy was learned. On nearing the foot of the mountain the two escaped scouts were seen in the distance leisurely approaching their camp; the smoke of which was perceptible to the advance guard. Major Powell halted a moment to allow the two scouts to pass around a point of view of his movement, then pushed rapidly forward to said point, from which he gained full view of the Rebel camp, with the aid of his field glass; judging of the action of the camp, he felt assured that his close proximity was not known in the camp. Appreciating the golden opportunity, seeing that the regiment was not in supporting distance, the Major announced his purpose to his little heroic band. They promptly answered: “We will follow where you lead.” The line was formed and the camp, 500 strong, was assailed. The enemy, surprised, capitulated on condition of protection of their lives, before Colonel Paxton and the regiment reached the camp. Thus, Major Powell, with Lieutenant Davidson and twenty men of Company G, 2nd Regiment Virginia Cavalry, did on the 26th of November, 1862, without the loss of life or the firing of a gun or revolver, accomplish one of the most brilliant and successful feats in the war of 1861 and 1865, for which daring exploit General W.H. Powell wears a badge bearing the following inscription: “The Congress to General William H. Powell, and 2nd Regiment West Virginia Cavalry Volunteer, Sinking Creek, Virginia, Nov. 26, 1862.” granted by reason of the following endorsement:
Chicago, Ill., Feb. 2, 1889
My Dear Powell: I have read your paper on the Sinking Creek raid with much interest and pleasure for I have always regarded the part you took in that expedition as one of the most daring, brilliant and successful of the whole war.
January 15, 1863, General Crook ordered Colonel Paxton in command of his regiment on an expedition to Peter’s Mountain via Meadow Bluffs, Alderson Ferry and Centreville. Companies B and H, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Powell, who received his commission as lieutenant-colonel, dated October 25, 1862, for his daring gallantry in the Sinking Creek raid November 26, 1862, to succeed Lieutenant-Colonel R.L. Curtis (resigned), were ordered to make a feint upon Lewisburg, and to burn Hanley’s house and Teamster’s barns near Lewisburg, to draw the troops of the enemy from their camps at Centreville and Union, in Monroe County to Lewisburg, to allow Colonel Paxton and his troops to pass through Centreville. The feint was a success, but the expedition in the main proved a failure on account of the heavy snows and extreme cold weather.
In the latter part of January, Lieutenant-Colonel Powell, under orders, proceeded to Wheeling on official business pertaining to the more efficient arming of the regiment; in this absence from his command, he contracted a severe cold and an attack of bilious fever, that proved so serious as to induce the tender of his resignation as lieutenant-colonel, about the middle of April.
During his absence from camp at home, and previous to the acceptance of his resignation, General E.P. Scammon, then commanding the Kanawha troops, ordered General Paxton and regiment on a reconnaissance to Lewisburg; encountered the enemy near Brush Mountain, was surprised and suffered a disastrous defeat of 14 killed and severely wounded, and a number taken prisoner. On his return to camp, upon making his report, he was by order of General Scammon peremptorily dismissed from the service. Whereupon the regiment petitioned General Scammon and Governor Pierpont to urge upon Lieutenant-Colonel Powell to withdraw his resignation as lieutenant-colonel, and to accept a commission as colonel of the regiment and return to the command, which he was induced to accept, receiving his commission as colonel of the Second West Virginia Volunteer Cavalry, under date of May 13, 1863.
July 13, an expedition was organized, consisting of the 34th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Lieutenant-Colonel Franklin commanding (mounted for this expedition), seven companies of the 2nd Regiment West Va. Cavalry (West Virginia having become a state June 30, 1863), commanded by Colonel Powell, and two companies of the 1st Regiment West Va. Cavalry, under command of Captain Delaney. Commanded by Col. John T. Toland, it began its movement against Wytheville, Va., on the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad. A number of small bodies of the enemy were encountered en route, many of whom were captured and paroled. The command suffered some loss at Raleigh C.H. through lack of proper precaution, evidencing the worthlessness of temporarily mounted infantry as cavalrymen.
The expedition reached Wytheville in the forenoon of the 18th; on nearing the village the advance 34th Ohio Volunteer Infantry encountered a feeble skirmish line on the crest of a low ridge that obstructed a view of the town. A halt was made, Colonel Powell received orders to move his command to the front to charge the town. Colonel Powell suggested to the commanding officer to dismount the 34th Ohio Volunteer Infantry to drive the enemy from the crest to the ridge, that a knowledge of the position and strength of the enemy might be ascertained. The suggestion was unheeded and the order to charge repeated. The charge was made, the enemy was driven from his position, his guns and many prisoners taken. But the loss sustained was heavy and totally unjustified. The gallant Colonel Powell was severely wounded in leading the charge, and Colonel Toland killed soon after he reached the head of the line to assume command. The Union loss was killed in action, including Colonel Toland, 6; wounded in action, including Colonel Powell, 18.
Colonel Powell and the wounded Assistant-Surgeon O’Nellis were taken to Richmond, Va., as soon as able to be moved. The command under Lieutenant-Colonel Franklin returned to the Kanawha Valley.
Colonel Powell was held as a prisoner of war until the 29th of January, 1864. When, after great and repeated efforts he was paroled for thirty days to visit Washington City to effect the exchange of Richard H. Lee, then a prisoner on Johnson’s Island. During Colonel Powell’s sojourn in Libby prison he was confined in a cell in the basement of the building for thirty-seven days, and made to subsist on coarse corn bread and water, with no bed or bunk to lie down on, his supply of water was furnished him but once a week, one ordinary bucketful every Sunday morning, out of which he drank, and in which he washed his face and hands. The exchange was effected, and Colonel Powell, after a short visit at his home in Ironton, Ohio, returned to the Kanawha Valley and assumed command of his regiment March 20, 1864, which gave him a magnificent reception.
His friends in the Lawrence Iron Works, over which he presided prior to the war, presented him with a gold watch, bearing the inscription on the inner case: “Col. W.H. Powell, 2d Virginia Cavalry, from his friends of the Lawrence Iron Works, Ironton, Ohio, February 22, 1864. Always on time.” The citizens at large, gave him $300 to purchase a horse and equipments; John Peters, Chaplain McCabe’s father-in-law, a beautiful sabre, belt and sash and a brace of Colt’s ivory mounted 44 calibre navy revolvers.
General George Crook, having returned to the command of the corps in the Kanawha Valley, organized a cavalry movement (under General W.W. Averell) against Saltville, on the Tennessee and Virginia Railroad, and moved out from Camp Piatt April 30, while General Crook made an advance upon Dublin Depot. The latter achieved a brilliant success over General A.G. Jenkins’ Rebel force in which engagement General Jenkins received his death wound. The former movement against Saltville was not made. General Averell withdrew the cavalry from its advance upon Saltville, and proceeded to make an attack upon Wytheville, via Cove Gap, in which he was frustrated by reason of the occupancy of the Gap by a strong force of the enemy, anticipating his movements. On approaching the latter place it was found to be strongly fortified by the enemy, under General Jno. H. Morgan (of Indiana and Ohio raid notoriety), whose advantageous position in the Cove Gap rendered Averell’s attack upon the objective point impracticable. General Averell, however, made an attack upon the enemy’s position, which was stubbornly contested for four hours, in which engagement Averell received a wound across his forehead compelling his retirement from command during the battle, and in view of General Duffie’s conspicuous absence, the command devolved upon Colonel Powell, whose active and determined movements baffled and successfully held in check the persistent attempts of the enemy to drive him from his position until darkness closed the engagement. During the night General Averell crossed the mountain and fell back to Blacksburg, en route to Lewisburg. In General Averell’s report of this engagement at Cove Gap, he complimented the conduct of Colonel Powell and his regiment as follows: “The General commanding desires to express his high appreciation of the skillful evolution of the 2d Regiment, West Virginia Cavalry, under Colonel Powell, under the field of battle. It was a dress parade that continued without disorder under a heavy fire for four hours.”
On the 31st of May, Crook’s entire force (Army of West Virginia) was again on the move, under orders to report to General Hunter at Staunton in a movement against Lynchburg, Va. On reaching Staunton, the cavalry force was reorganized; two division were created, commanded respectively by Generals Averell and Duffie, the latter for special separate service in the movement against Lynchburg; the former operated with the main force. Colonel Powell was assigned to the command of the Third Brigade, composed of the First, Second and Third Regiments, West Virginia Cavalry, Averell’s Division, Army of West Virginia.
On the approach of the advance of the main force at Lexington, the enemy made but feeble resistance; Powell’s brigade drove the enemy’s cavalry a few miles beyond the city and returned to headquarters. At early morn of the 13th, the cavalry advanced on Buchanan, en route overtook McCausland’s Rebel cavalry; Colonel Powell’s brigade being in the advance, drove the enemy across the James River, who fired the bridge as he passed over, making it necessary for the Union troops to ford the stream. On reaching Buchanan, several batteaux loaded with stores of various descriptions were captured. The cavalry remained here until the morning of the 15th, then crossed the Blue Ridge between the Peaks of Otter to “Fancy Farm” to await the arrival of the main column. On its arrival at dark, Colonel Powell’s brigade was ordered forward to Liberty, where the Rebel cavalry was encountered and driven off to find some other quarters for the night.
On the 16th, the main cavalry column advanced to Liberty, rebuilt the bridge over Little Otter River, forded Big Otter and attacked McCausland, driving him from New London. General Imboden’s report that “the enemy’s (Union) troops, after a short engagement gave way, losing a dozen men.” and that “a double line of the enemy’s infantry overlapped his right, forcing his retreat,” is not correct; there were no infantry in the engagement at New London.
On the morning of the 17th, Colonel Powell’s brigade in the advance, pushed McCausland and Imboden’s cavalry force back to and beyond the stone church, within four miles of Lynchburg, and halted at the church until General Averell came forward with the remainder of his division and the 91st O.V.I., formed a line of attack and charged the Rebel line, driving it in confusion towards the city, in which charge Col. Jno. A. Turley, 91st O.V.I. was wounded. On the arrival of the main army, Generals Crook and Averell urged an advance upon Lynchburg that evening, which was unheeded by General Hunter, who ordered the army into camp for the night. In the early morn of the 18th, Colonel Powell, in command of his brigade and two guns, moved out under orders on the road leading to Lynchburg via Campbell Court House to attack the Rebel works on south side of the city. He overtook General Imboden’s cavalry at Campbell Court House in position behind the buildings. Powell immediately brought his guns to bear upon the court house and other buildings, resulting in the hasty display of Imboden’s truce flag, which was respected by Colonel Powell upon condition that the enemy would evacuate the village in 10 minutes. He then drove Imboden back upon Lynchburg rapidly; on reaching a point within view of the city, the advance halted until the column closed up. In the meantime, a messenger from General Averell overtook the command with orders to Colonel Powell to return to army headquarters. En route to New London, on the road to Liberty, procuring a colored man as guide, the brigade passed to the left within sight of the Rebel camp fires at the stone church at midnight, overtaking Hunter’s army at New London in camp near daybreak.
General Hunter retreated to the Kanawha Valley via Liberty, Bonsack, Salem, Newcastle, and Lewisburg, reaching Charleston June 29, with an army sadly demoralized and half starved, all feeling, as freely expressed, that with General Crook in command the army would not have deserted the Valley of Virginia at Salem. General Hunter’s forces moved out of Charleston, July 12, en route via Ohio River to Parkersburg, thence via Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to Martinsburg, where it arrived on the 18th.
July 20. General Averell, commanding a brigade composed of the 9th West Virginia Infantry Volunteers, 91st and 34th Ohio Infantry Volunteers, and the Second Cavalry regiment, in advancing up the valley encountered the Rebel General Ramseur’s Division, 5600 infantry, 8 guns, and 1600 cavalry strong, in position on Carter’s farm, four miles north of Winchester. The enemy, after a severe contact and heavy loss, was routed and driven from the field. Rebel loss, 217 killed and wounded, 200 prisoners, four guns and 800 stands of small arms. Union loss, 60 killed, 157 wounded. Union force engaged 2000 infantry, 800 cavalry, no artillery.
In the entire campaign in the Shenandoah Valley, beginning July 20, 1864, under Hunter, and from the 7th of August until the close of the war, under General Phil. H. Sheridan, at Appomattox, serving in the Second Cavalry Division, Army of West Virginia, under General W.W. Averell and General W.H. Powell as commanders, in Sheridan’s Cavalry corps, the Second Regiment West Virginia Cavalry, under its commander, Col. W.H. Powell, and under his command as brigade and division commander, won enduring renown from its Commander-in-Chief, Powell, Averell, Crook, Torbert and Sheridan, in the main battles of Lewisburg, Wytheville, Sinking Creek raid, Lynchburg, Carter’s Farm, Winchester, Moorefield, Martinsburg, Bunker Hill, Kernstown, Winchester (July 24, 1864), Moorefield, Steven’s Depot, Opequon (September 19), Fisher’s Hill, Mount Jackson, Forrest Hill, Weyer’s Cave, Cedar Creek, Ninevah, Rude’s Hill, Liberty Mills and Five Forks, and 46 other severe and important engagements.
[Source: Loyal West Virginia from 1861 to 1865, by Theodore F. Lang]
Organized at Parkersburg, W. Va., September to November, 1861. Attached to District of the Kanawha, W. Va., to March, 1862. Unattached, Kanawha Division, W. Va., to September, 1862. Unattached, District of the Kanawha. Dept. of the Ohio, to January, 1863. Unattached, 3rd Division, 8th Army Corps, Middle Department, to June, 1863. Scammon’s Division, W. Va., to December, 1863. 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, Army of West Virginia, to April, 1864. 1st Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division, Army of West Virginia, to June, 1864. 3rd Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division, Army of West Virginia, to July, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division, W. Va., to November, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, Cavalry Corps, Middle Military Division, to February, 1865. 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac, to June, 1865.
SERVICE.–Ordered to Guyandotte, W. Va., December 15, 1861, and duty there till April, 1862. Cooperate with Garfield against Humphrey Marshall January 7-8, 1862. Dry Fork, Cheat River, February 8. 1st Battalion (Cos. “B,” “C,” “F,” “H” and “I”) moved to Meadow Bluff April, 1862. 2nd Battalion (Cos. “A,” “D,” “E,” “G” and “K”) moved to Raleigh with General Cox engaged in scouting and operating against bushwhackers in Raleigh, Fayette and Wyoming Counties till August, then rejoined Regiment. Demonstration on Virginia & Tennessee Railroad May 10-18. Lewisburg May 12. Princeton May 15-17. Retreat to Flat Top Mountain May 18. Jackson River Depot May 20. Lewisburg May 23. Raid to Shaver River May 30. Lewisburg May 30. Middle Creek June 8. Alderson’s Ferry June 9. Wolf Creek July 10. Lamb’s Mill July 15. Blue Sulphur Springs July 20. Alderson’s Ferry July 23. Williamsport July 28. At Meadow Bluff till August. Ordered to Kanawha Falls August 14. Shady Springs August 28 (Detachment). Campaign in Kanawha Valley September 6-16. Barboursville September 8. Fayetteville September 10. Cotton Hill September 11. Loop Creek September 11. Hurricane Bridge September 12. Charlestown September 13. At Point Pleasant to October 20. Moved to Charlestown October 20, thence to Camp Piatt. Expedition from Summerville to Cold Knob Mountain November 24-30. Lewis Mill on Sinking Creek November 26. Peters Mountain Raid January 5-20, 1863. Scout into Wyoming County February 5-8. Expedition into Pocahontas County February 10-12. Scout through Boone, Wyoming and Logan Counties March 12-16. Expedition through Logan and Cabell Counties April 3-6. Mud River April 5. Lewisburg May 2. West Union May 6. Summerville May 12 Fayetteville May 18-20. Scout on Big and Little Coal Rivers June 18-19. Loup Creek June 26 (Cos. “B” and “I”). Raleigh July 4. Expedition from Fayetteville to Wytheville July 13-25. Shady Springs July 14. Wytheville July 18-19. Fayetteville July 28. Cold Springs Gap August 5 (Detachment). Scouts from Camp Piatt September 11-13. Smythe County September 14. Scout to Boone Court House October 21-22. Expedition from Charlestown to Lewisburg November 3-13. Little Sewell Mountain November 6. Capture of Lewisburg November 7. Muddy Creek November 7. Near Union November 8. Scammon’s Demonstration from the Kanawha Valley December 8-25. Meadow Bluff December 11. Lewisburg and Greenbrier River December 12. Scout in Cabell and Wayne Counties March 16-18, 1864. Averill’s Raid on Virginia & Tennessee Railroad May 5-19. Princeton, Grassy Lick Cove, near Wytheville, Wytheville, Ingle and Cove Gap May 10. Salt Pond and Pond Mountain Gap May 13. Hunter’s Raid on Lynchburg, Va., May 26-July 1. Staunton June 8. Newport June 10. Lexington June 11. Near Buchanan June 13. New London June 16. Otter Creek June 16. Diamond Hill June 17. Lynchburg June 17-18. Liberty June 19. Buford’s Gap June 20. Catawba Mountains and near Salem June 21. Cove Gap June 23. Snicker’s Ferry July 17-18. Carter’s Farm July 20. Newtown July 22. Kernstown, Winchester, July 24. Martinsburg July 25. Hagerstown July 29. McConnellsburg, Pa., July 30. Hancock, Md., July 31. Near Moorefield August 7. Williamsport August 26. Martinsburg August 31. Bunker Hill September 2-3. Near Bunker Hill September 5. Near Stephenson’s Depot September 5. Darkesville September 10. Bunker Hill September 13. Near Berryville September 14. Battle of Winchester September 19. Fisher’s Hill September 22. Mt. Jackson September 23-24. Forest Hill or Timberville September 24. Piedmont September 25. Brown’s Gap September 26. Weyer’s Cave September 26-27. Battle of Cedar Creek October 19. Dry Run October 23. Nineveh November 12. Rude’s Hill, Front Royal, November 22. Expedition to Gordonsville December 19-28. Liberty Mills December 22. Jack’s Shop, near Gordonsville, December 23. Near Ashby’s Gap December 27. Sheridan’s Raid from Winchester February 25-March 25, 1865. Mt. Crawford February 28. Waynesboro March 2. Charlottesville March 3. Augusta Court House March 10. Haydensville March 12. Beaver Dam Station March 15. White House March 26. Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9. Dinwiddie Court House March 29-31. Five Forks April 1. Namozine Church and Scott’s Corners April 2. Jettersville April 4. Sailor’s Creek April 6. Stony Point April 7. Appomattox Station April 8. Appomattox Court House April 9. Surrender of Lee and his army. Expedition to North Carolina April 23-29. March to Washington, D.C., May. Grand Review May 23. Mustered out June 30, 1865.
[Source: Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, by Frederick Dyer]
Regiment lost during service 4 Officers and 77 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 115 Enlisted men by disease. Total 196.
[Source: Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, by Frederick Dyer]
Powell, William H.; “The Battle of the Petersburg Crater.” In Battles & Leaders of the CW, Vol. 4. NY: Yoseloff, 1956. pp. 545-60.
“The Sinking Creek Valley Raid.” In War Papers and Reminiscences (MOLLUS, MO). St. Louis, MO: Becktold, 1892. pp. 191-203.
Stutler, Boyd B., ed.; “From Muddlety to Appomattox.” CWTI 4 (Feb 1966): pp. 36-42.
Sutton, Joseph J.; History of the Second Regiment, West Virginia Cavalry Volunteers During the War of the Rebellion. Huntington, WV: Blue Acorn Pr, 1992. 321 p. Reprint of 1892 ed.
History of the 2nd West Virginia Cavalry from archive.org
2nd West Virginia Cavalry Guidon Flag from West Virginia State Museum
2nd West Virginia Cavalry from Wikipedia
2nd West Virginia Cavalry – West Virginia Adjutant General papers at West Virginia State Archives
2nd West Virginia Cavalry from National Park Service
2nd West Virginia Cavalry from Ohio in the Civil War
2nd West Virginia Cavalry from The Civil War in the East