Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 27.djvu/47

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Rich MouHt'iiii in 1861.

li.it in c > .. V.i. , reached Beverley, Randolph county, and encamped at the base of Rich mountain, just beyond, in the road crossing that mountain, on which, six niiK-s beyond, General Pegram held posi- tion, having 300 men, known as the " College Boys," entrenched on the summit of the mountain three miles off, and goo with him- self. Scott had 800, rank and file, and six pieces of artillery. At Laurel Hill (Elkins), nine miles beyond Beverley, General Garnett faced McClellan's 15,000 with 2,000 men, composed of Colonel William C. Taliaferro's brigade, the Thirty-first Virginia (West Virginia), under Colonel Jackson, and the First Georgia, under Colonel Ramsey. Thus Garnett was attempting to hold four de- tached positions against McClellan's united force of over three to one. On the night of the loth your correspondent was thrown out at the extreme picket on Rich mountain, with orders from Captain Shelton, of Louisa, officer of the day, to scout out if anything unu- sual occurred, and find out its nature and report to him on rounds to the posts. About midnight a movement of the enemy was dis- covered opening and cutting a way 'round Pegram's position in the direction of the entrenched position held by the "College Boys." This was duly reported and a courier sent to General Garnett. At daylight of July nth an order came to Scott to immediately join Garnett at Laurel Hill. When within three miles of that position an order came to countermarch double quick "to the forks of the road on Rich mountain, some half a mile from the entrenched 'Col- lege Boys,' and hold the position to the last man." The position was reached about i P. M., and almost immediately the enemy 5,000 strong made an attack on the position of the "College Boys." A more gallant fight than these brave boys put up against over- whelming odds was never made. They stood firm as the rocky base of the mountain beneath them, until the last round of ammuni- tion was exhausted, and then, only then, scattered amid the forest. The men of the Forty-fourth were held, under General Garnett's positive order, as idle witnesses almost, of these brave boys' de- feat stern men crying in agony to be led in to their help, even almost to mutiny. There never has been a doubt in our minds, if we had united with the boys the 1,100, and twelve pieces of artil- lery, would have checked, if not defeated, the "Buckeye Brag- garts," as we did successively four times thereafter. On that day, wrought to reckless frenzy, we might have been annihilated, but never defeated !