Hunter's Raid on VMI, June 1864
Confederate Army Correspondence
This text is from the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (O.R.)-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXXVII/1 [S# 70] CONFEDERATE CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING SPECIALLY TO OPERATIONS IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA, WEST VIRGINIA, MARYLAND, AND PENNSYLVANIA, MAY 1 TO JUNE 30, 1864.--#3
RICHMOND, VA., June 8, 1864-5.20 p.m.
Maj. Gen. J. C. BRECKINRIDGE:
Dispatch received. Following are two last telegrams from Vaughn, dated yesterday, from Blue Ridge Tunnel:
General BRAGG: An escaped prisoner just in reports enemy 15,000 strong under Hunter. General Jones' cavalry brigade, 1,100 strong, has just arrived.
Later.--No movement of enemy from Staunton to-day. I have information from battle-field. We have there 60 wounded. Enemy's loss in killed and wounded, 1,500; they have 1,000 prisoners.
We have a report here that Morgan has gone to Kentucky. G. B. Crittenden, at Glade Spring, in command of department temporarily. Inquire of him.
ROCKFISH GAP, VA., June 8, 1864--4.45 p.m.
The enemy advancing, and are one mile from Waynesborough. I have not over 2,500 muskets. I wish you to come soon. General Wharton telegraphs he has forty rounds of ammunition. Send forward as much ammunition as your division will need. I have only a tolerable supply for my force. My commissaries [?] is limited. Crook, Averell, and Hunter have, I think, united their forces at Staunton. They have twenty-three regiments of infantry, and ten to twelve regiments of cavalry, and forty pieces of artillery. General Wharton requires ammunition, .58 caliber. I have sixteen pieces of artillery, but short supply of ammunition. I will hold this position as long as possible, but it is liable to being flanked. I wish you would come immediately, if you have to come on an engine. McCausland and Jackson, I fear, are cut off.
[J. C. VAUGHN.]
LYNCHBURG, June 8, 1864--9 p.m.
Col. G. B. CRITTENDEN,
Glade Spring, Va.:
I have applied to Richmond for Morgan to report at once to assist in repelling Crook and Hunter. General Bragg answers that you are in temporary command in my department. Morgan should report to me at once. If he is moving toward mouth of Sandy, he might sweep up Kanawha Valley and attack enemy now at Staunton in flank and rear. Telegraph me at Charlottesville.
J. C. BRECKINRIDGE,
RICHMOND, June 11, 1864.
Following dispatch from Lynchburg:
I have just received the following dispatch, which I forward:
"HEADQUARTERS VIRGINIA MILITARY INSTITUTE, "June 10, 1864--6 p.m. "General BRECKINRIDGE: "I have just left McCausland's camp two miles below Lexington. He has been fighting Averell's cavalry, estimated at 5,000 strong, all day, from one and a half miles this side Staunton to Brownsburg, and his scouts report that Crook entered Fairfield this afternoon with upward of six regiments of infantry and 200 cavalry. If pursued by either column, McCausland will not be able to hold Lexington. The plans of the enemy are developed; they camp to-night at Cedar Grove, nine miles from Lexington, and at Fairfield, twelve miles from Lexington.
"F. H. SMITH,
F. T. NICHOLLS,
BONSACK'S, June 11, 1864.
Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON, Secretary of War:
Averell's cavalry, reported 4,000 strong, crossed the North River, eight miles above Lexington, at 12 o'clock last night, and it is presumed entered and occupied the town before daybreak this morning. McCausland, with 1,500 cavalry, skirmished with them several times during the day, but could not impede their advance materially. Averell came from Staunton by the Middlebrook and Brownsburg road, and Crook's infantry force is reported to be advancing by the Greenville and Fairfield road, with no Confederate forces between him and Lexington. Doubtless the Virginia Military Institute is now a heap of ruins. Can you send a force to intercept them and co-operate with the heavy force of Breckinridge in their rear? Buford's Depot, on the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, is but twelve miles from Buchanan and nearer, too, to the route of the enemy than any other.
JOHN W. BROCKENBROUGH.
NEAR FAIRFIELD, VA., June 12, 1864--11 p.m.
Maj. Gen. J. C. BRECKINRIDGE, Rockfish Gap:
GENERAL: The enemy are now at Lexington, camped; not moving to-day. They burned the Institute this morning. They have thirty-six pieces of artillery, so the citizens say. I am now ten miles from Lexington. I send this by two of McCausland's men, who bear a message to you from that officer. Several furnaces have been burned on the river. Nothing from the enemy's cavalry, which crossed the mountain. General Imboden has communicated with you ere this. I sent you a dispatch this morning. We chased three of their scouts this evening dressed in gray. Got one of their horses; the rider got to the mountains.
E. LEE HOFFMAN.
FOUR MILES NORTH OF LEXINGTON, June 13, 1864
Commanding Valley District:
GENERAL: The enemy are camped around Lexington with their entire force of infantry and artillery; some on the Lynchburg road, and a considerable portion to the west of the town. One regiment on the Staunton road, apparently on picket. They are resting quietly very near the town. Citizens say they are very uneasy. The cavalry which crossed the mountain has not been heard from. But few cavalry at Lexington. I sent you a dispatch last night by one of McCausland's couriers. Their pickets are one mile from town. Let me know what else I can do. Any further facts will be promptly communicated to you. Yours, respectfully,
E. LEE HOFFMAN,
AMHERST COURT-HOUSE, June 15, 1864--2 p.m.
Sergt. J. W. Parsons. General Imboden's special scout, has just come in from Lexington, who brings the following information with him as to the movements of the enemy: They moved out of Lexington yesterday morning, the rear guard leaving at 10 a.m. They went in direction of Bonsack's Depot via the Natural Bridge. Before moving from Lexington they concentrated their entire force, which was done on Monday evening. At sunset yesterday he saw from White's Gap fires in the vicinity of Natural Bridge. They spoke boldly of their intentions, that they intended going to Bonsack's, thence up to Lynchburg. Their force was estimated at 18,000 by persons who took particular pains to observe them. They moved away rapidly.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN C. VAUGHN,