7th Tennessee Infantry — September 12 -14, 1861

Posted on Sunday, September 18th, 2011

The 7th Tennessee Infantry remained in western Virginia.

September 12, 1861: Cheat Mountain Summary, (West) Virginia

Although all of Lee’s troops had been in their assigned positions the coordinated attack never occurred. Apparently, it had been up to Col. Rust, leading the 3rd Arkansas Infantry, to initiate the attack at 10 a.m. that would provide the signal for the other regiments to attack. The 3rd Arkansas had come from their camp at Traveler’s Repose, east of Cheat Mountain along the Staunton Road, and also had difficulty reaching their position, “tangling with thick mountain laurel and crossing his men waist-deep through half a mile of the ice-cold Cheat River.” Some of these men had captured Federal pickets who said there were 4,000 troops in Fort Milroy, when in fact there were only 300. Col. Rust believed this report and also suspected that the element of surprise had been lost, so he decided unilaterally to withdraw. “As the morning continued, the other Confederate columns grew confused and worried over the lack of the signal. Lee finally ordered Donelson to attack, but the lackluster response caused by the weather and the waiting collapsed the Confederate resolve. Lee’s first battle was over before it had begun.”

Other quotes from David J. Eicher, “The Longest Night” (Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, 2001), page 115-116.

 

September 13, 1861: Cheat Mountain, (West) Virginia

 

Union General “…Reynolds sent reinforcements from Elkwater onto Cheat Mountain, and Lee determined to reconnoiter routes by which he might turn the Federal right at Elkwater. He sent one party containing his son, Maj. William Henry Fitzhugh Lee…and Col. John A. Washington, a family friend and relative [not to mention the great nephew of George Washington] along the right branch of Elkwater Fork. A Federal picket line opened [fire] on the group of horsemen [other reports say the Federals were cavalry] striking Washington [in the back] with three Minie balls, killing him…With bad weather and roads, supplies and morale low, and the Federals reinforcing, Lee had no choice but to pull back to Valley Mountain. His first battle had been a signal failure, and back home newspapers now branded Lee with a derisive epithet, “Granny”…

David J. Eicher, “The Longest Night” (Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, 2001), page 116.

Archibald Norris, Company K: “Resumed our march early, after going a mile or two a report came that we were pursued by two thousand of the enemy. We halted and prepared to receive them. After waiting some time no enemy appeared and we resumed our march. We camped near Gen’l Donnelson’s brigade and as we were destined to remain here some little time this may be considered the terminus of this most extraordinary of all marches.”

David Phillips, Company K: “We were permitted to have fires next morning, all of our bread having got wet the night before. We had nothing to eat for breakfast but sourbread and but little of that. We were on the march pretty soon. Had nothing interesting during the day, except once about 10 o’clock the word was passed along the line that the Yanks were in the rear in pursuit. We double-quicked it till we were closed up, formed line of battle and waited for them to come up. Waited some 30 minutes and saw no Yanks, when we again took up our line of march. Got to the place we camped about an hour by sun. In evening rested a few minutes and resumed our march for another place where we could get something to eat. Put up for the night about dark. Provisions arrived about 10 o’clock. We were hungry and tired.”

Thanks to Thomas Venner for the quotes.

Miles traveled since leaving Tennessee: 382

Order of Command:

Army of the Northwest: Lee

Loring’s Division

Anderson’s Brigade

 

September 14, 1861: 7th Tennessee withdrawing from Cheat Mountain, (West) Virginia

 According to the report from General Reynolds, some Confederate regiments, probably Donelson’s Brigade, continued to operate around Elkwater, involved in minor skirmishes, but the 7th continued its march south toward Big Springs.

Archibald Norris, Company K: “Was awake almost all night trying to get to cook some beef, hearing that we were to fight the enemy today, but instead we lounged about and slept during most of the day, which was fair, thereby refreshing ourselves somewhat. At sunset the bugle sounded and we were off again, after marching about six miles we encamped on valley river on the Huttonsville and Huntersville road about 10 o’clock.”

David Phillips, Company K: “We rested all day. We took up our line of march about dark for Mingo Flats, had good road down a branch and moonlight to travel by. We came about seven miles and camped on the Huttonsville road in Mingo Bottoms.”

Thanks to Thomas Venner for the quotes.

Miles traveled since leaving Tennessee: 389

Order of Command:

Army of the Northwest: Lee

Loring’s Division

Anderson’s Brigade

 

Courtesy of Lamont Wade – http://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Civil-War-Journal-Jeremiah-Turner-the-7th-Tennessee-Infantry/217025828317262?sk=notes

 

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