|VOL. XIX.--NO. 63.||RICHMOND, VA., WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 18, 1861.||PRICE ONCE CENT.|
THE MARCH UPON CHEAT MOUNTAIN.--In the hurried notice published in the paper yesterday morning of the march of the Confederate forces upon the Federal fort on the top of Cheat Mountain, it was erroneously stated that the force from Gen. Lee's camp, under Col. Anderson, was intended to join that from Gen. Jackson's camp, in the attack upon the Federal fortification. Col. Anderson was only to engage the enemy stationed at the foot of Cheat Mountain, on the west side, not far from Huttonsville, while Col. Rust assaulted the fort. Col. Anderson advanced upon the enemy as arranged, and had engaged him, the firing being heard by Col. Rust's men. The result of it was not known at Gen. Jackson's camp Saturday night.Richmond Daily Dispatch, 18 September 1861.
The fort on Cheat Mountain is said to be a defence almost impregnable. Some of our men, Col. Rust himself among them, have approached it so nearly as to look over into it and see all that was going on in it and also the exact nature of the fortification. It is built on the summit of Cheat Mountain, in Randolph county, just where the road crosses upon a hill which has no level land on its top, but suddenly descends on both sides. The forest along the road at this point, as for many miles of the adjacent country, consists of the white pine, which are tall and stand close together, while the undergrowth is almost wholly mountain laurel, so dense and interlocked as to be almost impenetrable. Here the enemy cleared several acres on each side of the road. On the outer boundary they placed the tall pines they had cut down, partially trimmed and skinned, with their tops outward; presenting to any one approaching a mass of sharp points raised to a considerable height, and strongly interlocked. Inside of this they built a wall of logs and cut a deep ditch. In the road they built up, in line with the fortification, breastworks of great strength and mounted them with pivot guns, while in the centre they erected a blockhouse pierced and armed also with cannon,--On the east side from the fort to the Cheat River, one mile and a quarter distance, they cleared the road for some distance on both sides, and this can be all the way swept by the cannon. the same is the case on the road westward for some distance.
This powerful fort or stockade it was thought might be surprised and taken, and it was for this that the force under Colonels Rust and Taliaferro left the camp of General Jackson on Monday, the 9th last. That camp is in Pocahontas county, on Greenbrier river, at the foot of Greenbrier Mountain (and not the Cheat, as has been stated.) Taking four days provisions they marched, in high spirits, by a circuitous route which was fully twenty miles to the fort, while the direct one was only ten. This route was much of it impassable to horses, and almost to man. It lay through the pine and laurel thickets, and along the bed of the Cheat river itself, in which for miles the men patiently marched over rocks and through deep holes, as preferable to the dense forest. Wednesday night they slept on the wet ground, in hearing of the enemy's camp. The next morning they approached it, killed several pickets, and arrested some prisoners. They got on both sides the fort and reconnoitered it fully, and decided not to attack. In the afternoon they resumed their return march, and on Friday striking a shorter route than that they had gone, they reached "Slaven's Cabin," on the Parkersburg Road, where they met soldiers with provisions, which were very timely, as they had only taken four days' supply with them. Fatigued and almost worn out, this intrepid expedition reached the camp on Saturday, the 14th inst. There could not be a more laborious and fatiguing march than that they had endured. A good part of the time it rained in torrents, and they returned drenched, as well as weary.
Col. Anderson, it is supposed, also had a march of great hardship. He left General Lee's camp, which is, or was on the line of Randolph and Pocahontas counties, at Valley Mountain. It was understood that he was to reach the enemy at the foot of Cheat Mountain, on the West side, without observation, if possible. He therefore traveled through much such obstacles as those the troops on the other side of the mountain encountered. He accomplished his object and engaged the enemy as is known; but the result has not yet come to hand.
General Lee had, before Col. A. marched in this expedition, issued an order for an advance; but whether his whole body has advanced or not we have not heard. The following order, of the 9th, speaks of the previous one for and advance:
HEADQUARTERS, VALLEY MOUNTAIN,
September 10, 1861.}
Special Orders, No.---- The forward movement announced to the Army of the Northwest, in special orders, No. 28, from its headquarters of this date, gives the general commanding the opportunity of exhorting the troops to keep steadily in view the great principles for which they content, and to manifest to the world their determination to maintain them. The eyes of the country are upon you. The safety of your homes, and the lives of all you hold dear depend upon your courage and exertions. Let each man resolve to be victorious, and that the right of self-government, liberty, and peace in him find a defender. The progress of this army must be forward!
(Signed,) R.E. LEE,Recurring to the remarkable fort on Cheat Mountain, while it is creditable to the ingenuity of the enemy, it induces a very earnest regret that we ourselves had not held that position when we had it. But if it cannot be taken, of course it can and will be turned. Gen. Lee has, indeed, already turned it; but he has still some hope of taking it, which we suppose this expedition will induce him to abandon. It is defended by 1,200 men, who are good with their protection against probably as many thousand. But if our forces march on beyond it, the position is useless to the enemy, and will have to be abandoned.
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