The Ranks of the Greenbrier--Appearance of Yankees--Capture of Two of the Pittsylvania Cavalry--Capture of a Yankee, &c.


CAMP BARTOW Nov. 15, 1861.

Desolate as this Alleghany region is, especially at this season, like other deserts, it has its oasis; which in this case is the opening between the mountains along the banks of the Greenbrier. This valley begins about four miles below Camp Bartow and extends some fifteen miles of varying width.--It is nearly one unbroken meadow wherein feed many fine herds. The first farm below of any magnitude is that of Uriah Havener, who is quite an energetic and prosperous graizer. But unfortunately the Yankees on Cheat Mountain are too conveniently near his house, and the have paid him several visits, uninvited; and without leave (or compensation) taken off horses, cattle, and other valuable property, and once Mr. Havener himself, who, however, was afterwards released.

Day before yesterday six or eight Yankees made their appearance on the opposite side of Greenbrier river which runs on the west side two miles distant from Havener's.

Lieut. Hurt and private Williams, of the Pittsylvania Cavalry went forward to ascertain the numbers of the enemy; but proceeding incautiously, they were captured. The neighborhood, as well as the camp, were speedily aroused. Cols. Ramsey and Hansborough, who happened to be near at the time of the capture of Hurt, collected the militia, some 40 or 50 in number, and placed them in ambush along the road to the village of Greenbank, supposing the enemy meant to repeat their visit to that place. But cententing [sic] themselves with their prisoners and gathering together some 15 milch cows and several colts, the marauding vilhains [sic] though five or six hundred in number, hastily beat a retreat across the river back to their mountain fortress. the colts, however, were unmanageable, and the cows Mrs. Havener begged hard for, so both were left, and the Yankees bore off only a beegum as booty.

The party that captured Lieut. Hurt, referred to above, when they left for their camp, one of their number strayed off and finally got lost from them, and after wandering about for some time, he came to the residence of a Mr. Carr, and thinking that he was a Union man, made bold to enter and ask for something to eat. He was furnished with food, then arrested, and sent to our camp by Mr Carr, in the custody of three boys, two of them sons of Mr. C., and the third a son of Mr. Arbogast.

On arriving at camp, he was handed over to the Cammandant of the Post, and gave his name as Abel Chatman, of the 7th Indiana regiment. He appeared alarmed at first, and was anxious to know what would be his fate. He is quite intelligent, young, and good looking. He says he was born in Connecticut, but raised in Indiana; that he has two brothers in the Southern army, and that he preferred being where he was to that of the Yankee camp. Chatman informed us that the body that took Hurt and WIlliams was 400 strong, and that they had come down from their mountain stronghold to get cattle, as they had had nothing to eat for some time but salt provisions; but, fortunately, they did not succeed in getting any. He says that they have four regiments on this and eight on the other side of Cheat Mountain; are very strongly fortified, having built forts, barricades, &c., and are fixed there for the winter. They suffer a great deal from cold, and Chatman says that they have had snow two feet deep, and rain and sleet nearly every day.

At the recent fight at this place, Chatman says that they had twenty-four pieces of artillery, and were confident of whipping us easily. They lost a number of field officers, and a Col. Sims, one of their number, was mourned greatly over in Cincinnati. Their force consists of Indiana and Ohio troops principally.

The men of this valley are loyal and brave, whilst the women posses, in addition to patriotism and courage, the usual benevolence, tenderness, and self-devotion of their sex. Besides the militia, bravely commanded by Captain Arbogast, they have a volunteer company commanded by an officer of the same name, both of which companies have done good service.

Everything is quiet to stagnancy. The mud is disgustingly deep and adhesive. The weather has not been very cold, but is often disagreeable from rain. Log cabins are in process of erection as winter quarters, both Here and on the alleghany mountains. A winter campaign, so far as practicable, would be infinitely preferable to inactive life in a region of snow and frost like this. More anon.


Richmond Daily Dispatch, 21 November 1861.