Saturday, June 04, 2016

The Civil War Journal of John M. Laurie, Part 2

This is a continuation of John Laurie's Journal.

Near Chapmanville, May 3rd
Today we passed along the old route and are now near the scene of the first engagement our Regt. had with the Rebles Sept. 26th 1861. I hope we may be as successful on this expedition.

Logan Court House, May 4th
Our Brigade camped on an island in the Wyandotte River. This evening some of the boys found a dead Rebel Lieut. Half burried in the sand near the Ford. The citizens say that he was shot by our men while escaping across the river sometime last March. He had on a blue overcoat. One fellow took his revolver, another took his commission and about fifty dollar Reble script. Another robber of the dead, meaner than the others, took a ring off the dead man’s finger. I don’t mind the taking of the revolver, but I say God Damn the man that searches the dead. He is worse than the dogs and wolfes that eat them. We haven’t got a “hard tack” among us and will have to draw rations and forage before we leave.

Near Wyoming Court House, May 5th
Left Logan about noon after drawing rations and forage. We have had a very fatiguing march over mountains arriving here about 11 oclock tonight.

Foot of Indian Ridge, May 6th
The 5th and 7th Va. Cav. Left us at Wyoming C.H. to join the infantry under Genl. Crook. We are camped on Tug River. Some say this is Indian Ridge and others say the Backbone Mountains. We have been climbing mountains all day. Very hard on both men and horses. Arrived here about nine oclock this evening.

Abbs Valley, May 7th
Arrived here this afternoon. Surprised and captured the pickets without any alarm and succeeded in capturing a company of forty-five men and officers belonging to the 8th Reble Cavalry. This is the same place where we captured a company of Infantry when going to Wytheville with Toland. The roads that we came over today had been blockaded last July to keep us from retreating on them. The blockade had not been cut out yet. We went around them. It seems that we are again bound for Whytheville.

Near Jeffersonville, May 8th
We were in line of battle at daylight this morning expecting the Rebs to attack us. They were reported to be fifteen hundred strong and about five miles from us. While we were in line our old Chaplain preached a short sermon and had prayers. We left camp about six oclock and about ten oclock my Regt. Was dismounted and we began with the enemy. We drove them about three miles keeping up a desultory fire. We could do but little as we were skirmishing with Cavalry. And they would retreat after emptying their carbines and revolvers. Some wouldn’t take time to do even that. A squadron of the 2nd Va. Cav. Charged them at last and scattered them. My Regt. Had one killed and two wounded. I hear that the first Va. Cav. Had two killed wile on reconnaissance towards Jeffersonville, the County Seat of Fayewell County. We camped within three miles of the place.

Rocky Gap, May 9th
We left the vicinity of Jeffersonville last night about eleven oclock. Rode allnight and today on the Princeton Road. When about eight miles from the Cross Roads we captured a Reble train of five or six wagons, an Army Forge and traps. An old Darky showed our boys a cave where there was about two thousand dollars worth of Q.M. stores. We destroyed both train and stores. After getting to the Cross Roads, we took the road to the right and crossed East River Mountain. Cross Roads is the place where our Co. wagon was captured by the Rebs in May 1862. All of our knapsacks and Co. property was lost. We had some consolation by capturing the Staff wagons of the 51st Va. Reble Inf. Col. Pendleton lost all that he had in the way of traps. We are now camped on the Wytheville Road 30 miles from that place. The citizens say that Genl Crook’s Division of Infantry passed here yesterday evening and is now on the March for Dublin Station 20 miles from Wytheville on the railroad. I hear that a Lieut. And fifteen men belonging to the 14th Penn. Cav. Were captured while on picket last night. Also, that the enemy was in force at Jeffersonville where we left. Now it appears that the fastest wins the prize as it is as near to Wytheville this way as by way of Jeffersonville. Neither Averill or Duffie make as rapid movements as Jack Toland made.

On Guard at Ferry Over New River, May 11th
Well, we have got a thrashing. Thank the God of Battles that so many got away with their “Nappers” myself included in the lucky number. Now for a detail of what happened yesterday. Left Rocky Gap early yesterday morning. The first squadron of the 34th Reg. O.V.M. composed of Co’s E, F, and I having the advance for the first part of the day. In the afternoon we were relieved by a squadron of the 3rd Va. Cav. And our squadron was ordered to support them. We drove in the pickets at Wytheville about three oclock in the afternoon we followed them on the charge untill we run into a complete trap. The road was blockaded where it ran through a gap between two steep hills or mountains, the ridges forming an acute angle with the road. The tops or crests of the ridges were filled with the enemy and as we galloped round a sharp turn in the road. The Rebs pitched into us with a will. The foremost ranks of horses and men down at the first fire and those immediately behind falling on them completely blocked up the road. Added to this two pieces of artillery began sending in their compliments in shape of grape and cannister. Thank god they were very poor gunners.
(This ends Memorandum No. 1 in his Journal entries)