Two Letters: One by Dr. W. C. Daniels, Surgeon to the regiment, the other a letter to Ex-Mayor Brownlee from his step-son, a member of Co. A. (Toledo Guard,) appearing in the Toledo Daily Herald & Times on Friday, June 14, 1861.
FROM THE REGIMENT.
The following truthful and graphic sketch of the march on Phillippi, Va., and the heroic conduct of the 14th Ohio Regiment under Col. Steedman, we have been permitted to copy from a letter sent by Dr. W. C. Daniels, Surgeon to the regiment. Its unvarnished and correct details of the fight, no one we are sure will question:
* * * * * * We have just received a Cincinnati paper of June 4th, containing a report of the rout of the rebel forces, 112,000 strong," at Phillippi, giving the credit of the conquest to the Indiana and Virginia volunteers, under Colonels Kelley and Crittenden. It is a most unjust and false statement; neither regiment being on the ground until after the rout of the rebels was complete. To the slowness of their alone in taking the position assigned them, which was to cut off the rear of the rebel camp, is due the escape of the enemy's forces--a united movement having been agreed upon with the forces at Grafton, the 14th regiment, and the Cleveland artillery, which were located at Webster-both places about equidistant from Phillippi--to attack the rebels in front and rear.--We were on the ground at the appointed hour, and drove them out. No force was in the rear to turn them back, consequently they had the road to themselves, and with something of a start, the greater portion of them managed to escape.
Our forces left Webster about 11½ P.M.--The night was terrible,--very dark, with a drenching rain; the mud knee deep, and the distance about 15 miles, with not a hundred rods of level ground the entire way. We reached the heights overlooking Phillippi at 4 ½ in the morning, distant from the town about a mile, when the order was given to strip! Off went knapsacks, blankets, canteens, and all the paraphernalia, which goes to make up a "soldier's kit."
With musket and cartridge bags alone to encumber them--the order was given "double quick time"--march!--as yet we were not in sight of the town. The Artillery led off, on the run, taking their position on an elevation directly overlooking the town, and opened their battery of two pieces, throwing round shot and cannister into the rebel camp like hail!--The 14th in the mean time took the road which skirted and circled round the base of the hill, which was occupied by the Cleveland boys.-They reached the town in a little less than no time. The wet clothing and fatigue of the forced night march were entirely forgotten, and with loud huzzah's they pounced in on the already flying sons of the F. F. V's--but only to complete the rout already established by the Artillery. The surprise was complete--the enemy abandoned everything and took to their heels, "the exercise of which, I believe, is the only thing in which they excel the boys of the 14th," for they managed to get away with a greater portion of their command.
The only part Col. Kelley's regiment took in the fight was to deliver a volley with their Minnie muskets at the Artillery on the hill, supposing, they say, that they were a part of the enemy's force. Col. Kelly himself was wounded by an accidental shot from a revolver. As to Colonel Crittenden's regiment, or what there was of it, (only four companies) they did not discharge a gun. "To the 14th Ohio Regiment and Cleveland Artillery alone belongs the whole honor of the rout of the rebels, and the capture of a large amount of arms, horses, ammunition, provisions and camp equipage, with "six stand of Secession colors." A few of the rebels were killed and more wounded. Not a man of the 14th was injured.
From a letter to Ex-Mayor Brownlee from his step-son, a member of Co. A. (Toledo Guard,) the extract by permission the following:--
Dear Father * * * We started from Webster for this place at 11 o'clock at night and arrived here at daylight, after a terrible march of (13/18?) miles, over slippery mountainous roads, covered ankle deep with sticky mud. We marched the whole distance without resting fifteen minutes at any one time. Our march was forced to such a pitch that several were compelled to drop off along the road. When we were about half a mile from Phillippi we were ordered to unsling knapsacks and get in fighting order, which was done though with not very good grace, as every man felt certain of defeat, in case it was a long battle. We were so tired that if the march had been kept up for half an hour longer, every man in the ranks would have given out. However we got fixed up and marched on with weary steps, thinking of and caring for nothing, until when within a short distance of the valley we heard the sound of cannon!--then with a wild yell every man started for the battle ground on double quick time. The first shot dispelled all thoughts of weariness and we rushed on down the valley like a set of yelling blood thirsty tigers. But what was our dismay, on reaching the town to find--the bird had flown! Although we missed the game, the cannon had made sad havoc among them--killing 30 or 40. They succeeded in getting off in wagons, while more would undoubtedly have been killed, but just after the artillery had fired 5 or 6 shots, a lot of soldiers rushed down the hill on the other side of the town and the cannons were pointed for them! when fortunately the "American Flag" was discovered in time to save them. They proved to be the Wheeling regiment.
By the report of the New York Herald, the Indiana regiment gets all the credit of the capture, which rightfully belongs to us.
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