Hardesty's History of Wirt County

MILITARY OPERATIONS IN WIRT COUNTY

There were no battles fought in Wirt county.  The first troops 
to enter the county was a detachment of 22d Ohio Volunteer 
Infantry, three months' men, then stationed at Parkersburg. 
Some time in June, 1861, about two companies of that regiment 
came into the county, and shortly afterwards about four (4) com-
panies more of the same regiment came into the county, and the 
six companies went into camp in the grove just back of the town 
of Elizabeth (Wirt Court House), and remained there about two 
(2) weeks. The companies were under the command of Col.
Gilmore.

During the time these companies were encamped at Elizabeth, 
Isaiah Hill, now of Jefferson, Greene county, Pennsylvania, organ-
ized about twenty-five (25) men as a mounted scouting guide and 
annexed them to Col. Gilmore's regiment, ostensibly as guides.  
The troops left here for the upper counties on the Little Kan-
awha, and at the end of three months returned home; Capt. Hill
taking his men to Parkersburg, Virginia, they were mustered
into the three year (or during the war) service, and shortly, after-
wards returned to Elizabeth (late in August or early in Septem-
ber, 1861) for the purpose of recruiting, which was then being
rapidly done.

The first engagement between the Federals and Confederates in 
the county, occurred the 27th of September, 1861, near High Log
Run bridge, and about midnight of that day. A scouting party
was detailed by Capt. Hill, consisting of about twenty men from
his company, to which the assistant provost marshal, who was
then in the county, added an equal number of citizens to go to
Burning Springs in the county. The expedition, armed with all
kinds of arms, and equipped with all kinds of accoutrements, left
Wirt Court House about dark, September 27, 1861, and started
on its mission on foot, and proceeded uninterruptedly until it 
reached the narrows just below High Log Run bridge, when it was 
suddenly fired upon from the hill above the road, being a ledge of 
rocks, timber and bushes, and two of the men belonging to Capt.
Hill's company, Hamilton McClain and R. E. Weaver, were 
wounded. The firing was kept up for some time by the Federals, 
but it was never known for a certainty that any of the Confed-
erates were hurt.  From the situation of the country thereabouts
it is reasonable to suppose they escaped unhurt; the only wonder
is, considering their proximity to the Federals, that any of the
Federals escaped.  The expedition completed its mission and 
returned without further molestation.

Those men above named being the first of the war to receive 
wounds in the county in battle, it was amusing to see and hear 
them after being removed from the field.  They would commence 
an earnest prayer to their maker, and before concluding it, all the 
anathema known to man would be hurled against their ad-
versaries; it was praying and cursing with the same breath.

The next engagement occurred at Wirt Court House.  A few 
days after the skirmish at High Log run, the Confederates, for 
some unknown cause, came up on the hill just across the river 
from the town, and in broad daylight promiscously fired on the
town.  One man (a citizen), D. M. Miller, was wounded in the
knee.  Company C, lst Cavalry, Hill's company, which was 
stationed near the town, started in pursuit of them, but failed to 
find any person on the hill. During the firing the citizens of the 
town, regardless of feeling or sympathy, brought out their arms
and engaged in firing on those who were possessed of such inhu-
man feelings as to jeopardize the lives of our women and children.
The next entrance of the Confederates in the county was the com-
pany of Capt. Crawford, of Gen. Jenkin's command.  He received
many recruits to his company from this county. There being no
Federals within the county, no engagements were had with this
Company. Capt. Crawford had the appearance of and acted like
a gentleman.

In the spring of 1863, in early May, Gen. Jones, of the Confed-
erate army, marched his command into Burning Springs of this
county, consisting of about 5,000 men, and claiming to be acting
under orders from his government, fired the valuable oil property
then in operation at Burning Springs, and destroyed the whole of
it. There were many oil wells there at that time producing large
quantities of oil; many tanks and barrels were filled and many
boats loaded lying at the landings; these were all burned up.
The lights of the burning oil and building could be seen for many 
miles; the boats were set on fire and turned loose, and the cur-
rent in the river carried them down, and so great was the fire 
that the timber along the banks of the river for many miles was
badly burned.

There was no engagement between the Federals and Gen. Jones'
command in this county. Shortly afterwards a part of John 
Morgan's command, who was then making his famous raid 
through Indiana and Ohio, escaped the gunboats on the Ohio and
passed through the county. No engagement was had with them
in the county.

Many cases of individual killing on each side might be named,
but as time must be the healer of all our sorrows, we pass them
by, remembering that man in the heat of passion is not himself.
The worst matter the people had to contend with in this county
was a gang of lawless deperadoes belonging to no special service, 
nor could they scarcely ever be found; they infested the hills and
forests, and were feared alike by all people; they knew neither 
friend or foe, but when they wanted anything they took it; no
matter from whom.  No man was safe in reach of them; neither 
army recognized this band of men.

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