The Civil War in Wise County

     Early in the morning of June 3, 1861, the little village of Gladeville (now Wise) heard the first call to arms in defense of the Southern Confederacy. Mustered and under the command of Capt. Logan H. N. Salyers, 101 brave men, calling themselves the "Yankee Catchers", marched away to the defense of their South. They were soon to see action for, on August 20th they were in a skirmish at Hamilton's near the Hawk's Nest; and on the 26th of the same month, they were in the battle of Cross Lanes and, on September 10, 1861, in the battle of Carnafax's Ferry. This company became Company H of the 50th Regiment of Virginia Infantry, Floyd's Brigade, and fought throughout the war.
     At the battle of Chancellorsville, Colonel Salyers was wounded. He was carried into the Chancellor Home and lay atop the piano all night before receiving attention. After the war, he returned to Wise, lived there for a few
years, then moved to Whitesburg, Kentucky, where he lived until his death.
     The first attack on the town of Gladeville came on June 1, 1862, when the Federal troops made a raid on the town and captured both Morgan T. Lipps, County Clerk, and Alexander Smith, Commonwealth's Attorney.
Mr. Smith was released immediately, but Elder Morgan T. Lipps, a Primitive Baptist preacher, was taken to Pikeville and later to Louisa, Kentucky, and remained a prisoner for three months before his release. One day, while in prison at Louisa, he was asked by Col. Craner of the Federal Army to preach. Elder Lipps, feeling that the Colonel's request was not serious but antagonistic, replied, "I don't cast pearls before swine." Three months later he was asked again by the Colonel to preach and this time he accepted. While he preached, the Colonel sat on the head of a barrel, his head bowed. The next day, Elder Lipps was released.

The Battle at Pound Gap - March 16, 1862

     General Humphrey Marshall, who had his headquarters at Gladeville, led an army of Confederates through the Pound Gap into Kentucky, occupying territory near Prestonsburg. He was beset by many adverse circumstances. Many of his men became ill with mumps and measles. He was attacked by Union forces and driven back a few miles. Many of his troops deserted, some of them going over to the Union side.
     In Pikeville, Kentucky, on March 7, 1862, General James A. Garfield wrote to Assistant Adjutant General J. B. Fry as follows:
     "...There has been a marked change in favor of the Union among the citizens of Wise, Buchanan, and Scott Counties. At the foot of the Cumberland Mountains, within the past few weeks several meetings have been held inviting me to come among them and promising me their cordial support."
     In view of the adverse circumstances, General Marshall was ordered by General Samuel Cooper to fall back to Pound Gap, which he did. Although General Marshall, now in Wise County, was having his troubles, General Garfield intended to pursue him just the same. No food was available to Marshall on either side of Pound Gap, and he complained to General Cooper that food and supplies for the rifle battalion at Pound Gap had been
hauled a distance of 55 miles.
     Garfield's attack on Pound Gap was written up in both the Cincinnati Gazette and the Louisville Democrat. The former account is given here:

                                   Piketon, March 19, 1862
     For some time it has been known to General Garfield that an irregularly organized body of rebels, amounting to some 400 or 500 hundred were holding the pass through the Cumberland Mountains, known as the Pound or Sounding Gap. Though, militarily speaking, they were of little account, owing to their loose, imperfect organization, and their harum-scarum guerilla character, yet this, under the circumstances, rendered them even more troublesome as that a perfect reign of terror prevailed throughout a large area, of which their rendevous was the center.
     Some fifteen days ago a small accounting part of our troops were sent out, which penetrated the waters of Elkhorn Creek, encountered their pickets, dispersed them with a loss of one man on each side, and after making some valuable observations, returned to camp.
     A party was immediately detailed from the 22nd Kentucky Regiment, the 40th and 42nd Ohio, besides 100 cavalry under the command of Major McLaughlin, amounting in all to about 700, to make an assault upon the main body at the gap, and wipe out the foul den of Miscreants at a blow. Sounding Gap "Pound Gap" is situated about 40 miles southeast from Piketon, and is connected by a good turnpike road with Gladeville and Abingdon, VA.
     A road has been cut through the gap, which is now entirely obstructed on the western slope by large trees, fallen across it by the rebels. Being the only channel of communication for wagons between Southeastern Kentucky and Southwestern Virginia, it was of course an important point in the strategic policy of General
Marshall.
     Our march occupied two entire days, and was attended with the serverest labor. The nature of the roads, being merely paths, following the creeks and rivulets, the constant rain and snow soaking both officers and men to the skin, and the bottomless, endless mud formed a combination of untoward circumstances, difficult to overcome.
     Nevertheless after two days of wading and splashing, the whole expedition arrived safely at Elkhorn Creek, two miles below the Gap, about ten o'clock on Saturday night. Several circumstances now modified General Garfield's preconceived plan of attack, but without hesitation he sent the cavalry up the road, to appear in front of the enemy's position, and by skirmishing attract their attention, while himself, with the infantry, should climb the mountain at a point a mile and a half below the gap, and thence filing along the summit of the range,
attack the rebel camp by the flank.
     At ten on the morning of Sunday, the ascent commenced, and by twelve o'clock we had reached the summit, two thousand feet above the valley. Turning to the right, our guide led the column along the soaring crags, until when within a quarter of a mile from their camp, a rebel picket was discovered only a few rods ahead of our van. He started to run, when several of our boys fired upon him, but with no other effect than to add a new impetus to his flight.
     The column was now pressed rapidly forward, until, emerging from the woods the rebels were observed forming on the opposite hill, between which and the one we occupied lay the camp of the rebels, in a deep gorge
or ravine, through which the road is built.
     Conceiving the rebels about to make a permanent stand, General Garfield drew up his line in front of them, with his right resting on the summit of the mountain, and the left stretched away down the eastern slope.
About this time, the rebel line seemed to be melting away, as though they were gradually falling back into the woods. Fearing the results of a loss of time, General Garfield immediately ordered his men forward to scale the
hill, and, if necessary, carry it at the point of the bayonet.
     A loud echoing shout burst from the long line, as with fixed bayonets it swept down through the ravine and up the hill. There was no backbone for us to contend with, however, for as our bayonets appeared over the hill, scarce an enemy was in sight. A few straggling ones could be seen tearing through the laurel underbrush, and we sent a ringing volley after them, killing one and wounding several.
     We were ordered back to camp, as the nature of the country precluded any possibility of our ever overtaking them. It being suspected, however, that a large proportion had retreated before our arrival, by the road toward Abingdon, our cavalry was brought up the hill and sent in pursuit.
     We now turned in to ransack their camp. It comprised 60 log huts, or barracks, capable of accommodating about a dozen men each - besides 10 commissary buildings, and one large house, occupied as headquarters by the commandant of the post. The huts were well provided with bedding, blankets, cooking utensils, and rude furniture, and contained besides a large quantity of clothing, arms, and promiscuous articles of personal property. There being no means at General Garfield's disposal, by which any part of this vast quantity of effects could be transported to camp, the men were allowed to take whatever they chose, and the remainder, together with the buildings, were burned.
     Late in the afternoon, laden with trophies, our troops descended the mountain to the camp of the previous night, and on the morning following began our long, weary return march. Two days of floundering through mud and water, and we are again in camp.
     Though the expedition lacks the eclat of a brilliant and bloody engagement, it was admirably planned and ably executed, and will, it is hoped, be permanent in its effect.

The Raid on Gladeville - July 7, 1863
                                
     In the Vagabond Gazette, published by the late James Taylor Adams at Big Laurel, an article by P. M. Redding, who then (in July, 1930) was the last surviving member of the McLaughlin Squadron of Ohio, wrote this story:
     On the night of July 5, 1863, we marched almost continuously, passing through Pound Gap, and reaching a point a few miles north of Gladeville where we awaited daylight.
     While waiting for daylight our Chaplain spoke to us and offered prayer, expecting that some of us might be killed, which naturally made us think of Ohio and our friends at home.
     Finally dawn came and with it the order to charge, and charge we did, right into the village and the Confederate camp, capturing everything in sight. It was all over in a few minutes. We counted eleven of our men slightly wounded, but none was killed. Of the other side's loss I do not know.
     When we rushed into the Confederate camp we captured some of them still in bed. Some of them barricaded themselves in the Courthouse and offered resistance, but our men were ready to set fire to the courthouse and before they would lose the building, the men inside surrendered and the building was left unmolested. 
     After the skirmish was over, we got our prisoners together. We found that we had 123, and of the number about 20 were commissioned officers.
     We were told that on the night before there had been a ball in the village and the officers had all attended, staying all night in the homes of the people where our boys found them and rounded them up. This accounted for our taking so many officers.
     With the fight over we rounded up our wounded, placed them in spring wagons and started back for Louisa. Hauling them back to Pikeville was almost like murdering them, but on and on we went until we reached Pikeville where we put them on a boat and sent them down to Catlettsburg and thence over to Ashland to the hospital. 
     On the trip back we took our prisoners. Just through Pound Gap on the Kentucky side we pitched camp and intended to stay for the night. We built a pen about ten feet high to keep the Confederates in. Guards were planted around it to keep the prisoners from escaping.
     After the pen was finished I settled down in an old log cabin which sheep had used and was no more than asleep when the bugle sounded and the command to fall in was given. I learned that a report had come that a regiment of Confederate Cavalry was on the way from Saltville to try to overtake us.
     We placed the prisoners on horses and we walked by their sides to prevent their getting away. This way we marched all night. Next day when we could keep out eyes on them we took the saddles and made them walk. Eventually we got our prisoners to Camp Chase near Columbus, Ohio.
     In the raid on Gladeville one of our men, a blacksmith, carried the courthouse bell away. It was a very small bell and had been made by a local smithy of the village. Our blacksmith wanted it as a memento of the skirmish. I understand that this little bell is still in the possession of this man's family somewhere in Ohio.
     The Confederates were under the command of Colonel Benjamin Caudill, a resident of Letcher County, Kentucky. Back in his home neighborhood he was a Primitive Baptist preacher.

Last Raid on Gladeville - Courthouse Burned

     The last skirmish took place in Gladeville between August 23rd and October 25th, 1864. Colonel Dills was in command of the Union forces. There was no command of Confederate troops in the village at the time - only a few members of the home guard and a few members of the Militia stood in defense of the attack. These were quickly overcome.
     The invaders destroyed a cannon belonging to the home guard and a store of ammunition. They burned the Courthouse, the home of Bill Davis, J. W. Vermillion, Tom Bohannon and others.
     When the Courthouse was fired some of the citizens gathered about and ventured to save most of the records. John Gilliam, a local soldier of the Union Army, was instrumental in helping to save the records. This was done because he owned property near Gladeville and knew his records were there. The only record book lost was Will Book No. 1.
     From Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia, Publication 15 - 1982, Page 9 to 14


 
 
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