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The Guyandotte Affair

Several Views of an Incident of the American Civil War

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In the month of November, during the first year of the American Civil War, 1861, an “affair,” as it is called in the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, took place at a place called Guyandotte in what was then western Virginia.  Rebel cavalry attacked and routed Union forces at Guyandotte, which consisted primarily of recruits for the Ninth Virginia Regiment, a volunteer regiment just forming.  Most of the recruits were from the area.  Some were at church and some were at home or the homes of friends at the time of the attack.

A number were killed on both sides, somewhere between 70 and 100 were taken prisoner, and the rebels took possession of Union supplies that included 200 or 300 Enfield rifles.  They also took a number of townspeople with them as prisoners.

Response to the attack “by armed citizens from Ohio, ” (home guards) after the rebels had gone resulted in the burning of many of the buildings in Guyandotte.  Some townspeople thought to be involved were arrested and imprisoned.

This work is a compilation from a number of 19th century accounts of the affair.  It is intended to demonstrate, using this one incident, how events were portrayed in the newspapers, books, and journals of both sides of the conflict, as well as a personal account and official records. Some followup material is included, including the escape of one of the rebel’s prisoners and the disposition of some of the federal prisoners.

An index is provided at the end of this document of names of individuals mentioned in the work.

MpG 10/28/2005

Scientific American

November 23, 1861

The Destruction of Guyandotte.

We have the following horrible account by telegraph from Cincinnati, dated Nov. 12th

The defeat of the Union forces at Guyandotte was accomplished by trickery on the part of the inhabitants. It seems that a force of rebel cavalry, variously estimated at 500 to 1,000, had concentrated in the country back of the town. These proposed, with the assistance of the rebel inhabitants of Guyandotte, to annihilate the Union forces in the town. This force consisted of 250 Virginians belonging to a Virginia regiment, and a few of Colonel Zeigler’s Fifth Virginia Volunteers.

It was arranged between the rebel cavalry and the rebel citizens to massacre our troops in cold blood. Accordingly, the rebel citizens were very kind to our troops last Sunday evening, and invited them to their houses on various pretexts, and all who were off duty accepted the invitation. While they were being entertained, at about half-past eight o’clock, the rebel cavalry dashed into the town. Signals were displayed from every house where the Union troops were, and into these the rebels rushed, murdering the unarmed soldiers in cold blood. The rebel citizens—men, women and children—rushed to arms, and aided the cavalry in the slaughter. The Union troops in camp prepared as soon as possible for defence, but were overpowered, and had to break. Very few men were killed in the engagement with the cavalry, nearly all being murdered in the houses.

When Colonel Zeigler arrived, and on learning the particulars of the affair, he ordered the destruction of the town. The buildings were immediately fired, and the whole town is now reduced to ashes.

The New York Herald

November 12, 1861

The Situation

(an excerpt)

A despatch dated yesterday from Gallipolis, Ohio, states the town of Guyandotte, on the Virginia bank of the Ohio river, thirty-six miles below Gallipolis, was attacked on Sunday night by six hundred rebels, and that out of one hundred and fifty Union troops stationed there, one hundred were either killed or taken prisoners. It was said that the rebels, both male and female, fired on our troops from the houses. Three steamers which passed up the river after the fight, represent that no human being was visible at Guyandotte. Three other steamers went down to Guyandotte from Point Pleasant, yesterday morning, with four hundred Union troops on board. Guyandotte is a flourishing post village in Virginia, at the mouth of the river of that name, 228 miles below Wheeling, and 360 miles northwest of Richmond. It is an important point for steamboat purposes, and has a population of about one thousand inhabitants. A railroad to run from there and Covington, to connect with the Central railroad, is in project. Later news states, however, that only eight or our men were killed, but that a large number were taken prisoners or wounded. It appears that the rebel portion of the inhabitants were aware of the intended attack, and had prepared a supper for the rebel cavalry on their arrival. Colonel Zeigler, with the Fifth Virginia regiment, arrived soon after the rebels left, and set fire to the town, the greater part of which has been reduced to ashes. Such is the news brought by the steamboat Empire State, which arrived at Gallipolis yesterday evening.

Southern history of the war. The first year of the war.

By Edward Alfred Pollard

Published 1863

Page 177

Col. Jenkins' cavalry rendered efficient service in the Kanawha Valley, and kept the enemy all the time uneasy. On the 9th November, they made a gallant dash into the town of Guyandotte, on the Ohio river, and routed the forces of the enemy stationed there, killing and wounding a number of them, and taking nearly one hundred prisoners. Federal reinforcements afterwards came up to the town, and on the pretence that the Confederates had been invited to attack it by resident Secessionists, gratified a monstrous and cowardly revenge by firing the larger portion of the town, although many of the inhabitants had come out to meet them on the banks of the river, waving white flags and signifying the most unqualified submission. Women and children were turned into the street, many of them being forced to jump from the windows of their houses to escape the flames.


Page 177. —In noticing the expedition of our cavalry to Guyandotte, we should have associated with this bold enterprise the name of Col. Clarkson, who originated it and was intrusted with its execution by Gen. Floyd. The services of Col. Clarkson on this and other enterprises, and his intrepidity on some of the most critical occasions in the western Virginia campaign, deserve mention, and we regret that we can give it no further within the limits of this postscript, than to supply the omission of credit justly due him in connection with the famous expedition of our cavalry to the Ohio.

National History of the War for the Union, Civil, Military and Naval

by Evert Augustus Duyckinck

Published 1861

Page 568

An indication of the perils to which the posts of the army of occupation were exposed in Western Virginia is afforded in the painful story of the surprise of a party of Union troops at. the little town of Guyandotte, at the junction of the river of that name with the Ohio. The opinions of the residents of the place, which was on the southern line of the Union army, were divided on the national question. There were warm friends of the Government, but the larger number, it is said, favored the secession cause. It was, at the time to which we allude, held by Colonel R. V. Whaley, of the adjacent Wayne county, as the recruiting station of the 9th Virginia regiment of Volunteers. He had about a hundred and fifty men assembled when, on the evening of Sunday the 10th of November, the discipline of the camp being relaxed—some were at church and others scattered through the town—an attack was suddenly made by a guerrilla party of cavalry, several hundred in number, led by Colonel Albert G. Jenkins, a member of the National House of Representatives from the county in the recent Congress. As the recruits were taken entirely by surprise, they were enabled to rally only singly or in small parties, fighting in the streets and at the bridge which crosses the Guyandotte river. The assailants, well informed as to their position, seized their arms and horses, and with mutual slaughter, made prisoners of nearly half their number. The town during the night was occupied by the rebels.

Word of the attack immediately reached Colonel John L. Zeigler, a resolute and patriotic citizen of Wayne county, who was stationed a few miles below on the Ohio, at Ceredo, with his 5th Virginia regiment. He at once embarked two hundred of his men on the steamer Boston, with whom he arrived at Guyandotte about 8 o'clock on Monday morning, just as the rebels had left, carrying off with them, beside the prisoners of war, their Enfield rifles and horses, various Union citizens of the town, store-keepers and others, whose property they had plundered. The indignation of the relieving party, as might have been expected, was excessive. The time and manner of the attack, the alleged complicity of many of the townspeople with the surprise, and the ruthless conduct of the assailants, aroused the vengeance of the troops. Several arrests of leading secessionists were made, and a portion of the town, comprising some of the most valuable stores and dwellings, was set on fire and consumed. Numbers of the citizens of the adjoining Lawrence county, in Ohio, crossed the same day and rallied to the support of the Virginians and the defence of their common region from the incursions of the enemy.

A youth's history of the great civil war in the United States, from 1861 to 1865

By Rushmore G. Horton

Published 1867

Pages 151 – 152

There were, during the fall many brilliant skirmishes between detachments of the Federal and Confederate armies, but no great battle. But through all that section, all who did not profess sympathy with the abolition cause, whether men, women or children, were treated with the vilest indignity and outrage wherever they were not protected by the presence of Southern soldiers.

For instance, there was a beautiful little village on the Virginia bank of the Ohio River, called Guyandotte. This place was suspected of having given a welcome to some Confederate cavalry who had been there and left; and when the inhabitants learned that it was the intention of the Lincoln army to destroy the town, they came out, both men and women, waving white flags in token of entire submission; but it was of no avail. The town was murderously assaulted and fired, and not only old men, but women and children might be seen jumping from the windows in wild attempts to escape from the devouring flames. One woman, with a pair of infant twins in her arms, rushed madly out of her burning house into the street, where she was instantly killed by a stray abolition bullet, which penetrated her brain.

Incidents and Anecdotes of the War;

Together with Life Sketches of Eminent Leaders, and Narratives of the Most Memorable Battles for the Union.

By Orville James Victor

Published 1862

Page 388

Southern honor and the Southern cause alike demanded that a Northerner should be regarded as a savage, and treated as such.

The massacre at Guyandotte, Virginia, illustrated this spirit of secession atrocity. There a troop of Union cavalry was quartered, when the rebels, secretly informed of the fact by the residents of the town, made a sudden descent upon the place. An indiscriminate slaughter of the Federals followed, in which the people of Guyandotte—including the women—joined. But about forty escaped of the two hundred cavalry men—many of whom were shot by the Guyandotte people as they were trying to escape by swimming the river. This bloody act was followed by a just retribution. The town was reduced to ashes by the Unionists, who quickly gathered to avenge the atrocious conduct of citizens whom they had respected.

The Rebellion Register:

A History of the Principal Persons and Places, Important Dates, Documents and Statistics, Military and Political, Connected with the Civil War in America.

Compiled by Robert Allen Campbell

Published 1866

Page 118

Guyandotte, Va., on the Ohio River, near the Kentucky line, was, on November 10, 1861, captured by a force of rebel cavalry under Colonel Jenkins, who took over one hundred prisoners. Every Union soldier who made the least resistance was killed. The rebel force, who had been for some time carrying on a guerrilla warfare, left next morning, taking with them all the plunder they could carry. Colonel Zeigler, of the 5th (loyal) Virginia, who arrived next morning, ordered the houses of the leading secessionists to be burned, on the assumption that they had furnished the information which rendered safe and successful the guerrilla raid of the rebels. The leading citizens being mostly secessionists, the town was mainly consumed.

History of the Great Rebellion,:

From its Commencement to its Close…, etc., etc.

by Thomas Prentice Kettell

Published 1866

Page 184

On the 10th of November, General Benham, with his brigade, crossed the Kanawha River near the mouth of Loup Creek, and marched forward on the road to Fayetteville Courthouse, to get in the rear of the rebel army under Floyd, on Cotton Hill, at the junction of the New, Gauley, and Kanawha Rivers. Part of General Cox's brigade, at the same time, crossed the New River near Gauley, and attacked Floyd's force in front. After a slight skirmish, the rebels fell back four miles, and at night retreated towards Raleigh. On the same night a body of nearly one hundred and fifty Union troops, occupying Guyandotte, on the Ohio River, were attacked by a superior force of Confederates. The Union soldiers were invited to the houses of the citizens by previous arrangement, and when the Confederates made the attack, signals were displayed from the houses where the Federal troops were quartered, in consequence of which ten or twelve were killed and twenty or thirty wounded; although, in the attempt to execute this inhuman massacre, the rebels lost nearly or quite as many as they killed of the Union soldiers. In retaliation, on the arrival of Colonel Zeigler with a Union force, a part of the town was burned.

The Literary Messenger.

A Magazine Devoted to Literature, Science and Art.

Richmond, February, 1864.

History of the War

[pp. 65-77]

By Robert R. Howison

Page 71

Although winter was fast approaching, active military operations did not cease in West Virginia. Col. Jenkins, who had been left with his cavalry and a part of the [  ] Legion in Fayette county, organized a force of about four hundred horse, under Col. Clarkson, and on Sunday, the 10th of November, suddenly descended upon the town of Guyandotte, in Cabell county, on the Ohio river, then held by a garrison of two hundred and fifty Federals. After a short resistance, the enemy gave way and took refuge in the houses, firing from the windows upon the Southern cavalry, who were enclosed in the streets. Col. Clarkson dismounted and ordered his men to do the same and follow him. In a few moments they broke open the doors and drove the Yankees from house to house, killing and wounding many, and finally compelling the surrender of all surviving. The military property captured consisted of two hundred Enfield rifles, a large quantity of ammunition, saddles, clothing and commissary stores, and a number of cavalry horses—the whole valued at not less than twenty-five thousand dollars. [1]

The object of the move being accomplished, and it being impossible, with so small a force, without supplies or support to hold the town, Col. Jenkins withdrew his troops in safety. His action had been perfectly legitimate, and according to the laws of war; he attacked a town held by a regular force of the enemy, overcame them, and took nothing but public military spoils. Nevertheless, the next day a body of traitor troops and Ohio home guards, under a Col. Zeigler; came up to the place in the steamer Boston, and upon the pretext that the people of Guyandotte had invited the Southern attack, set fire to the town and reduced two-thirds of it to ashes, including many dwellings of unhappy Union men! Women and children were turned homeless into the streets, alter seeing all that made their homes comfortable pillaged or burned before their eyes.[2]  This cowardly outrage added one more to the links of that chain which at last bind the North to a fate of lasting infamy.

Ironton Register

October 13, 1887

A Pretty Narrow Escape of Dr. Jona Morris

….But you are after personal incidents, where the escapes were peculiar to the individual. The one that comes to my mind now was the event at Guyandotte where I did make a pretty narrow escape.

Col. Whaley was forming a regiment at Guyandotte in the fall of 1861. He had got together about 120 men, and I was there as the surgeon of the new regiment. On the night of the 9th of November, just as I had returned from church, about 9 o’clock on Sunday night, I heard some firing at the edge of town, up the Guyandotte river; and thinking it was some careless or foolish firing by our pickets, I started up that way to stop it. I had got a little beyond the bridge, and immediately after shots were fired, some of the balls coming uncomfortably close to me. Of course, the town was in an uproar immediately and everything in confusion; so I started back to get to my hotel as soon as possible.

The fact was, Col. Clarkson and about 1500 rebel troops had seized the town. They were all mounted and upon us before we knew it. Beyond the town, a short distance, they had divided, one-half coming down on the west side of Guyan river and the other half taking in the east side of the town. Well, by the time I had got to the hotel, it was surrounded and a good deal of firing had been going on. In fact, several persons had been killed and wounded. The night was dark and it was hard to tell friend from foe, so I thought the thing to do was to get into the hotel and skip to my room.

So I started in at the front door. In front was troop of reb. Cavalry banging away at somebody all the time. I entered at the front door, and started up stairs, somewhat in a hurry, for I didn’t know how soon a ball would come searching for me. Just as I was getting toward the top of the steps, some one fired a shot through the hall, which was a signal for the rebs. outside to open up, and then came a tremendous volley into that hall. Just then was about as scaly a little time as I experienced during the war. I was nearly at the top of the steps when the volley came, and I jumped forward to the landing above and into a room, without knowing whether I was killed or wounded or only badly scared. One thing I knew, however, and that was, I was pretty mad, and having a little "pop" with me I ran to the window to fire that into the street, when some man in the room, exclaimed, "for God’s sake, don’t fire out that window, we will be riddled to pieces in a moment." At this, I got back from the window, when a moment or so after, a new sensation arose. A man called from the street "come out of the hotel, every one of you or we will burn it to the ground." I knew that meant business, so I went out into the hall and proceeded to feel my way down the stairway. At the bottom of the steps I stumbled over a dead man, in a side room, I heard the groaning of wounded men. It was a very ghastly moment for me, as I didn’t know how soon my time would come. But I boldly stepped out the front door into the presence of the rebs. and immediately plead, "don’t fire the building, don’t shoot in there. There are wounded men who need assistance, and I want a light so as to dress their wounds."

This speech had some effect, and some of them entered the hotel, striking lights, to hunt up the wounded. The dead man whom I had stumbled over proved to be a citizen of Guyandotte, by the name of Huddleson. In a side room we found a reb. Soldier, shot in the side. I dressed his wounds and others, and then was made a prisoner myself. They tied my arms behind me, guarded me closely till morning, and then marched me off with about sixty others, among whom was Col. Whaley, who escaped a day or two after. They took us to Libby where I remained four and a half months. I fell under the immediate charge of Capt. Henry Clay Plate, for several days after my capture, and would have fared pretty badly, if it hadn’t been for Gen. Jenkins.

One thing I may safely claim credit for and that is saving Col. Zeigler at Ceredo. He was there forming a regiment, and it was part of the plan to capture his rising force. They asked me particularly about him, how many men he had and especially if he had artillery. I told him he had 2500 men and four cannon, and so they concluded not to attack him. It is allowed in war, you know, to deceive the enemy.

Myers' History of West Virginia

Vol 1

S. Myers


Thirteen days after the battle at Camp Barteau, a body of Confederates in ambush attacked a body of Federal troops under Isaac Hill, at High Log Run bridge, in Wirt County, the Federals retreating with the loss of one man wounded.

A short time after the above event, Major K. V. Whaley recruited a company at Guyandotte for the 9th West Virginia Infantry. On the evening of November 10th, 1861, the 8th Virginia Confederate Cavalry suddenly appeared and opened fire on the Union men's position at the southern end of the suspension bridge. The result was disastrous to the Federals, all being killed, wounded or captured excepting a few who effected their escape through the lines in the confusion of battle. The Confederates lost two killed and a few wounded.

At the commencement, Colonel Zeigler, with the 5th West Virginia Infantry, was stationed at Ceredo, eight miles below, and, learning of this attack, with a force of men went aboard the steamer Ohio, ascended the river, disembarked on the Ohio side at the mouth of the Indian Guyan, a mile below the scene of conflict. From here they marched to Proctorsville, and at daylight on the 11th began crossing the river. As the Federals entered the town the Confederates were leaving. The Federals applied the torch to two-thirds of the buildings. A few days later a few men came over from the Ohio side and set fire to the extensive flouring mills of Dr. Thomas Buffington, and then went a mile up stream and fired the handsome residence of Robert E. Stewart. 




Operations in the Kanawha and New River Region, West Virginia.
No. 7. -- Reports of Brig. Gen. John B. Floyd. C. S. Army.

Camp Piney, November 19, 1861.


I take occasion here to state that some two weeks since I ordered Colonel Clarkson, in command of only cavalry, to proceed in the direction of the Ohio River, and to strike the enemy a blow whenever and wherever he thought it prudent to do so. He went as far as the town of Guyandotte, attacked a force of the enemy about 300 strong stationed there [November 10], and, to use his own language, annihilated them. He took 95 prisoners, killed or drowned the remainder, and captured about 300 Enfield rifles. The prisoners I have the honor to send to Richmond. Colonel Clarkson executed his mission in the most satisfactory and gallant manner, and merits the highest commendation.

(end excerpt)

Hoping that the several movements above detailed of the army which I have the honor to command may meet with the approbation of the Department, I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


 Brigadier-General, Commanding Army of Kaneohe.


NOVEMBER 10, 1861.--Affair at Guyandotte, W. Va.
Report of Adjt. J. C. Wheeler, Ninth Virginia Infantry, U. S. Army.

Adjutant-General's Office, Wheeling, November 13, 1861.

The undersigned, adjutant of the Ninth Virginia Regiment, a new regiment just forming at Guyandotte, Va., would beg leave respectfully to report that on Sunday evening, the 10th instant, just after 7 o'clock, the said regiment, consisting of only 150 men yet in camp, was completely surprised by 700 cavalry, under command of Jenkins, [Clarkson], the guerrilla chief, and cut to pieces and captured, with the loss also of about 30 horses, a small stock of Government stores, and 200 Enfield rifles. The dead and wounded on either side could not be clearly ascertained, but supposed to be 10 or 12 killed and 20 or 30 wounded. The enemy captured 70 prisoners and their loss in killed and wounded was equal to if not greater than ours. They left one of their captains dead on the street. His name was Hubbell, or a name similar in sound. Three other dead bodies were found in the street, and they were seen to throw several from the Suspension Bridge into the Guyandotte River, killed by our men while they were crossing the bridge; besides, a wagon load was hauled off in the night. Three of our dead were found. One was known to have been shot 1 mile above town, on the bank of the Ohio River, and 4 in crossing. Several others are missing and supposed to be killed. Among the number is Capt. G. B. Bailey, of Portsmouth, Ohio, who commanded a company under Colonel McCook at Vienna and Bull Run, and was to have been the lieutenant-colonel of this regiment. I have since learned that his body was found in the river near the mouth of the Guyandotte.

Among those taken prisoner are the Hon. K. V. Whaley, member of Congress, who was in command of the post; T. J. Hayslys, esq., quartermaster-sergeant ; Capt. Uriah Payne, of Ohio, who was one of the first three to plant the American flag on the walls of Monterey, in Mexico, and Captain Ross, of Ironton, an intelligent Scotchman. Captain Thomas, of Higginsport, Ohio, is supposed to be taken, and also Dr. Morris, of Ironton, the first surgeon.

The enemy also arrested and carried off the following Union citizens, after having first taken and destroyed their property: William Dowthit, merchant, and his son; Dr. Rouse, druggist, who was also a commissioner of the Federal court; Albert White, and perhaps others. At Barboursville, the county seat of the same county, they captured John W. Alford, a candidate for the legislature; Matthew Thompson, a merchant, whom they stripped of all his goods; old Mr. Kyle, a gunsmith, and Mr. Morey, a tanner.

The attack was so sudden and unexpected that not more than 40 of our men got into line to resist them. Others, however, fought them singly, and all who got into the fight at all exhibited commendable courage and contended against the overwhelming force with which we were surrounded for more than one hour, and those only escaped who were satisfied at the beginning of the overwhelming number of the enemy and fled immediately, except in a few instances, where they hid under houses and log piles, and were not discovered. Some 50 or 60 are known to have got away, and perhaps others will yet come in.

The rebels held the place until about 8 o'clock the next morning, when the steamboat Boston came up with about 200 of the Fifth Virginia Regiment, under Colonel Zeigler. They were joined by a number of the Home Guards of Lawrence County, Ohio, who had assembled at Proctorsville, opposite, to prevent the rebels from landing in Ohio, which they had threatened to do. On the arrival of the Boston some shots were fired from a small cannon aboard, sending a ball through a rebel's brick house. The rebels immediately left on double-quick time, and the hypocritical secession citizens, who had been instrumental in getting up the attack, came on the bank of the Ohio with a great number of white flags, which they waived with great apparent earnestness. Our troops passed over, fired a few shots at the retreating rebels, whose rear was still in sight, and the armed citizens from Ohio set fire to the town, and a large portion of it in value was burned up. All our papers, books, rolls, &c., were captured. Respectfully submitted.


 Adjutant Ninth Virginia Regiment of Vols., U. S. Army.

 General W. S. ROSECRANS.


Memoranda of Various Political Arrests--From Reports of Confederate Commissioners.--#1

G. Pollock.--Born in Ohio. Came to Guyandotte to join a regiment which Wheeler was raising for the U.S. service. Was captured at Guyandotte by Colonel Clarkson. This man should I think be held as a prisoner of war.


Memoranda of Various Political Arrests--From Reports of Confederate Commissioners.--#2

Hamilton Smith.--Born in Ohio. Says he came to Guyandotte to bake for a man who had the contract to bake for the regiment Whaley was raising for the United States. Was taken prisoner by Jenkins' men before he commenced baking or concluded a contract to do so. Says he owes his allegiance to Ohio and the United States. I suggest he be held prisoner as an alien enemy.

Sanford Thomas.--Born in Breckinridge County, Ky. When twelve years old removed to Cass County, Ind. Has for twelve years roved about the country. Lived the last three years in Brown County, Ohio. Was promised the appointment of sutler to Whaley's regiment. Went to Guyandotte to make his arrangements; was taken prisoner before the regiment was raised. I suggest he be held as a prisoner of war.

Caleb N. Stevenson.--Born in Cabell County, Va., now Wayne; lives six miles and a half from Guyandotte. Was arrested by Capt. Vincent Witcher's company; for what he does not know. Voted for the Union because he was told it would keep war out of Virginia, but when Virginia went out of the Union he went with her. Had nothing to do with the Northern army or their friends. Staid close at home to keep out of their way. Ready to take the oath of allegiance. Mr. Laidly, delegate from Cabell, says prisoner is an ignorant, obscure man, but honest, and has kept himself very quiet in the disturbances in that county. Says Captain Witcher's company is one of independent scouts and are supposed to be indiscriminate in their arrests. I recommend this man be discharged on taking the oath of allegiance.


Miscellaneous Union Correspondence, etc., Relating to Political Arrests During the First Year of the War.--#6

Wheeling, November 13, 1861.

General W. S. ROSECRANS: .

The undersigned, adjutant of the Ninth Virginia Regiment, a new regiment just forming at Guyandotte, Va., would beg leave respectfully to report that on Sunday evening, the 10th instant, just after 7 o'clock, the said regiment, consisting of only 150 men yet in camp, was completely surprised by 700 cavalry under command of Jenkins [Clarkson], the guerrilla chief, and cut to pieces and captured, with the loss also of about 30 horses, a small stock of Government stores and 200 Enfield rifles. * * *

Among those taken prisoners are the Hon. K. V. Whaley, member of Congress, who was in command of the post. * * * The enemy also arrested and carried off the following Union citizens, after having first taken and destroyed their property: William Dowthit, merchant, and his son; Doctor Rouse, druggist, who was also a commissioner of the Federal court; Albert White and perhaps others. At Barboursville, the county seat of the same county, they captured John W. Alford, a candidate for the legislature; Matthew Thompson, a merchant, whom they stripped of all his goods; old Mr. Kyle, a gunsmith, and Mr. Moory, a tanner. * * *

Respectfully submitted.


Adjutant Ninth Virginia Volunteers, U.S. Army.


Miscellaneous Union Correspondence, etc., Relating to Political Arrests During the First Year of the War.--#11

Baumgardner, Jacob         Guyandotte, Va    Released on oath and bond. 

A Guide-Index to the Official Records Of The Union And Confederate Armies, 1861-1865

Volume II:Main Eastern Theater of Operations

Guyandotte, atlas. 140:H-5/6; 141:C-7.

-----affair Nov. 10, 1861, 5:U411. See also 5:288 and cp. Moore, 3:74 (diary of events), 354 (documents). Union troops engaged per battle lists (a) 1st W. Va. Cav. (b) same, Co. G (eleven men missing). NOTE:The battle-list entries were derived from casualty notations on the co. muster roll, on which appear the names of 1st Lt. William E. Feazell and 2d Lt. William H. Shanley. These officers are referred to in a newspaper account given in Moore (p. 355) as having brought thirty-five cavalrymen to Guyandotte on Nov. 9. 

Dyer's Compendium, Pt. 2 (Campaigns etc.)

Battles, Campaigns, Etc., in West Virginia 

Nov. 10  Skirmish, Guyandotte        WEST VIRGINIA--1st Cavalry (Detachment); 9th Infantry (Recruits). Union loss, 7 killed, 20 wounded. Total, 27.


Scientific American

November 30, 1861

The affair at Guyandotte, Va., noticed in our last number, appears not to have been so serious a matter as at first reported, but few Union troops were killed, and but few buildings were burned in retaliation.

Civilians Arrested in the Days Following the Guyandotte Affair

Civil Prisoners at Camp Chase

Columbus, Ohio

From one of two surviving registers

  • numbered as listed in the register

  • discharges in italics are from a separate list

353. Henry H. Miller (influential) Nov 16 Guyandotte Va. Cabal Co. 12-1861. Discharged by order of Genl. Rosecrans. .

354 Jacob Baumgardner Nov 16 Guyandotte Va. Cabal Co. (Discharged 1-1-1862)

355. Henry W. Baumgardner Nov 16 Guyandotte Va. Cabal Co.

356. John W. Hite (influential) Nov 16 Guyandotte Va. 12-21-1861. Discharged by order of Genl. Rosecrans. .

357. Elijah Ricketts Nov 16 Guyandotte (Discharged 1-1-1862) 358. E. H. Walton Nov 16 Guydndotte 12-21-1861.
Discharged by order of Genl. Rosecrans. .

359. Absalom Chapman Nov 16 Guyandotte.

360. Edward D. Smith Nov 15 Guyandotte Va. 12-21-1861. Discharged by order of Genl. Rosecrans. .

361. James Stewart Nov 15 Guyandotte Va. (Discharged 1-1-1862)

362. Saml. Russel Nov 15 Guyandotte Va.

363. John Ong Nov 15 Guyandotte Va.

364. George Russel Nov 15 Guyandotte Va.

365. H. M. Thornbry Nov 15 Guyandotte Va.

366. Peter Everett Nov 20 Guyandotte Va. (Pet. Everitt Discharged 1-1-1862)

367. Chas. Everett Nov 20 Guyandotte Va.

368. David Prampton Nov 20 Guyandotte Va.

369. Robert Reynolds Nov 20 Guyandotte Va.

370. Stephen Strother Nov 20 Guyandotte Va.

371. W. C. Rogers Nov 20 Guyandatte Va. 

Anecdotes, poetry, and incidents of the war: North and South.


Collected and arranged by Frank Moore.

Published 1867

Page 235

A Remarkable Escape.—Maj. K. V. Whaley, member of Congress from Wayne County, Va., was captured at Guyandotte by H. Clay Pate, at the time of the massacre in that town, and carried to the vicinity of Chapmansville, two days' journey distant. The prisoner and his captors stopped at a house near Chapmansville. Night coming on, Maj. Whaley, after hanging up his coat and hat by the fire to dry, went to bed with Capt. Wicher. In this room there were eight men, one of whom acted as a guard. About three o'clock in the morning Maj. Whaley awoke, and finding the guard nodding in front of the fire, and all the rest in deep slumber, determined to effect an escape. Leaving his bed as quietly as possible, he approached the guard, and, ascertaining that he was asleep, took Capt. Wicher's hat, picked up his own shoes, raised the latch of the door, and, seeing all clear outside, ran with all his might about two hundred yards down the Guyandotte River. Here he put on his shoes, and looked about for some drift wood upon which to cross the stream; but, finding none, concluded to swim the river, which he did with considerable ease. He then proceeded down the river about a mile and a half; and commenced to ascend a mountain, the summit of which he reached just at daybreak, and just as Wicher was firing his guns as a signal of the escape. The firing was answered from all directions. Maj. Whaley, knowing it would be fatal to attempt to travel in daylight, sought a thicket of red oak brush, in which he found a sort of path. To and fro over this path he walked all day. A bleak wind was blowing; and being wet through, and having no coat, he was compelled to walk rapidly in order to save his life. When night came on he started down the Guyandotte Valley, tracing the foot of the hills, a distance of two miles, when he came upon a camp of about one hundred cavalry; and, knowing it would be folly to attempt to pass, retreated, again to the mountains. The next day he took a circuit upon the top of the hills, to try and trace the valley and keep off the river, which he supposed would be guarded.

At last he came upon Hart's Creek, and supposed himself to be in the vicinity of a Union settlement, at the head of Twelve Pole. He went up Hart's Creek, and inquired of an old lady named Adkins, who, with her son and son-in-law, were in the house, asking her to direct him to Kyer's Creek, which he knew to be one of the branches of Twelve Pole. Young Adkins finally agreed to show him the creek for two dollars; and when they started, the Major observed that the son-in-law, Thompson, started in another direction. The Major suspected that Thompson knew him, and feared pursuit; so he hurried young Adkins along a good deal faster than that young gentleman desired to move. Arriving at the creek, the Major, having been robbed of all his money at Guyandotte on the night of the fight, could not comply with his contract with Adkins, but gave him twenty-five cents, all the money he had, and a new pair of soldier's shoes, taking in exchange the guide's old moccasons. The Major struck down the creek, along a very narrow road, passing two houses, at one of which he saw a little girl, but had not gone a great distance before he heard the tramp of the cavalry coming in pursuit. The Major was about turning a bend in the road, and had barely time to jump over a fence, and lie flat upon his belly, when along dashed a company, led by the fellow Thompson, before mentioned. The Major was lying not six feet from where his pursuers passed, and could see their eyes peering anxiously forward in search of him.

After the pursuers passed, he crawled up a ravine, and spent another twelve hours, exposed to the hardest kind of a rain, accompanied by the fiercest lightning and the loudest thunder.

[The Major afterwards learned that the little girl whom he had seen had informed his pursuers that he had just gone around the bend in the road; and in their anxiety to gain the bend and capture him, they never thought of looking to the right nor to the left.]

Being exceedingly weak and feeble, in consequence of having gone three days without food, the Major determined to approach a house a short distance ahead, and ask for something to eat. He was answered by the man of the house, a Union man, who recognized the Major almost at once, and warned him not to remain a minute if he wanted to escape, as the cavalry had been there hunting for him. The Major offered the man five hundred dollars to conduct him to the Queen Settlement, and to the house of Absalom Queen. The man, although avowing himself a good Union man, refused the offer, stating that he would be killed by his cannibal neighbors if discovered. He, however, gave the Major a blanket to throw over his shivering shoulders, and directed him to the house of Queen.

The Major plodded on, and at last reached the house of Queen, where he found a Home Guard of twenty-five men, who had assembled to keep the rebels from driving off the cattle from the Union settlement. Here was the first place he got anything to eat after making his escape. Queen and eleven of his men accompanied the Major, travelling only at night.

The party reached the mouth of Big Sandy on Sunday at twelve o'clock, and there was great rejoicing all along the Ohio River, firing of cannon, &c.

Absalom Queen was a brave soldier in the war of 1812, and as true and loyal a man as lives. There were about two hundred Union men in the settlement in which he resided, one hundred of whom, through his individual influence, joined Col. Zeigler's Fifth Virginia regiment.

End Notes:

[1] Letter of N., November 14.  Examiner Dec. 2nd.

[2] Wheeling Intelligencer.  Examiner, Nov. 22.

(page numbers apply to the pdf version of this document)

 Adkins, — (old lady)............................ 14

Adkins, — (old lady's son)................... 14

Alford, John W................................. 9, 11

Bailey, Captain G. B................................ 9

Baumgardner, Henry W........................ 12

Baumgardner, Jacob........................ 11, 12

Benham, (General)................................. 5

Buffington, Dr. Thomas......................... 7

Campbell, Robert Allen........................... 4

Chapman, Absalom.............................. 13

Clarkson, Colonel John.. 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11

Cox, (General)........................................ 5

Dowthit, —........................................... 11

Dowthit, — (son of William).................... 9

Dowthit, William (merchant).............. 9, 11

Duyckinck, Evert Augustus...................... 3

Everett, Chas....................................... 13

Everett, Peter....................................... 13

Feazell, 1st Lt. William E....................... 12

Floyd, General John B.................... 3, 5, 8

Hayslys, T. J. (quartermaster-sergeant).... 9

Hill, Isaac............................................... 7

Hite, John W........................................ 12

Horton, Rushmore G............................... 4

Howison, Robert R................................. 5

Hubbell, —............................................. 8

Huddleson, —........................................ 7

Jenkins, Colonel Albert G. 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11

Kettell, Thomas Prentice.......................... 5

Kyle, — (gunsmith)........................... 9, 11

Laidly, —.............................................. 10

McCook, (Colonel)................................. 9

Miller, Henry H.................................... 12

Moory, — (tanner)................................ 11

Morey, (tanner)....................................... 9

Morris, Dr. Jona.................................. 6, 9

Myers, S................................................. 7

Ong, John............................................. 13

Pate, H. Clay.............................. See Plate

Pate, H. Clay........................................ 13

Payne, Captain Uriah............................... 9

Plate, Captain Henry Clay........... See Pate

Plate, Captain Henry Clay...................... 7

Pollard, Edward Alfred............................ 2

Pollock, G............................................. 10

Prampton, David.................................. 13

Queen, Absalom.................................. 14

Reynolds, Robert.................................. 13

Ricketts, Elijah.................................... 12

Rogers, W. C........................................ 13

Rosecrans (General William Starke 10, 11, 12, 13

Ross, (Captain)....................................... 9

Rouse, Dr. (druggist)......................... 9, 11

Russel, George..................................... 13

Russel, Saml......................................... 13

Shanley, 2d Lt. William H...................... 12

Smith, Edward D................................. 13

Smith, Hamilton..................................... 10

Stevenson Caleb N............................... 10

Stewart, James...................................... 13

Stewart, Robert E.................................. 7

Strother, Stephen................................. 13

Thomas, (Captain)................................... 9

Thomas, Sanford................................... 10

Thompson, —...................................... 14

Thompson, Matthew (merchant)........ 9, 11

Thornbry, H. M.................................... 13

Victor, Orville James............................... 4

Walton, E. H........................................ 13

Whaley, Colonel Kellian Van Rensalaer 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 13

Wheeler, Adjutant J. C............... 8, 10, 11

White, Albert.................................... 9, 11

Wicher, (Captain)................................. 13

Witcher, Captain Vincent....................... 10

Zeigler, Colonel John L. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 14

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Campaigns, Battles, Incidents and Affairs will feature, primarily, 19th century material relating to the actual conflict.  Other parts of Skedaddle deal with other aspects of the war — the impact on the people, the trials and tribulations of the soldiers in the camps, the poitics... and more

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