Sept. 18, 1861
BATTLE OF THE CROSS LANES
By a gentleman who
left Gen. Floyd’s Brigade on Wednesday last, and the camp of Gen. Wise on the
next day, we are able to supply accurate and fuller details of the victory at
Cross Lanes on the 26th ult.
While Gen. Floyd
was crossing Gauley
River, at Carnifax’s
Ferry, a few days before the battle, he was observed by some of the spies of
the enemy, who reported to Col. Tyler, then encamped at the mouth of the
Gauley. Induced by these representations
to believe that he could cut off Gen. Floyd’s command, Tyler made a forced march against him with
1200 men. On Sunday night he encamped
within three miles of Floyd, having by that time learned that he had
under-estimated General Floyd’s force.
The same night a “Union man” left the camp of Tyler, and joining Floyd reported to him the
enemy’s strength and position. An attack
being resolved upon on our side, the advance was made in three columns, by as
many different roads—the centre under the commanding General, the right under
Col. Heath, and the left under Colonel McCausland. Col. Tompkins also held a position in the
fight, but what it was our informant did not recollect. They fell upon the enemy’s
camp—simultaneously early the next morning, taking the enemy completely by
Tyler’s army was encamped on an eminence of
the side of a creek that makes into the Gauley.
The ground was cleared in front and on both sides, and a dense wood was
in the rear. The soldiers were at
breakfast, which they were making of roasted green corn.
At the end of
twenty minutes, from the commencement of the fire, the flight of the enemy
commenced. It was led by Col. Tyler,
next went his Chaplain, then his Surgeon, then his Lieutenant Colonel. The men stood about ten minutes longer, when
they protected the retreat of their gallant officers, and imitated their
beautiful speed. Under cover of the
friendly shade, most of them escaped the pursuers. They ran as the water ran—down the river—nor
stopped till sadder and wiser, they sat them down where, in an evil moment,
they had conceived their brilliant adventure.
The number of
slain which they left on the ground was at least thirty, that number having
been found and buried by our men. One
hundred and three prisoners, including the wounded, had been taken, and our
troops were hourly bringing in more of the stragglers.
On our side the
loss was two killed and two severely wounded.
The former were both from Nicholas county. With so small a loss was this brilliant advantage
troops pursued the enemy, in hope of taking his baggage wagons; but fearing to
fall into and ambuscade, they desisted, after capturing three wagons.
They then returned
to their camp near Carnifax’s Ferry.
We learn. Also,
that General Wise had been skirmishing with the enemy, near Hawk’s Nest, almost
daily; and it was asserted that the enemy had evacuated that position, and
fallen back on the Gauley. About this,
however there was doubt.
[Transcribed by Sharon Strout]