Battle of Droop Mountain
After Action Report
(Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Vol. 29, pages 510-512)
Tenth West Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment
Report of Col. Augustus Moor, Twenty-eighth Ohio Infantry
HEADQUARTERS INFANTRY FORCES,
FIRST SEPARATE BRIGADE, DEPT. OF WEST VIRGINIA
Beverly, W. Va., November 18, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to forward to the general commanding the following report of the part that the infantry forces of the First Separate Brigade took in the battle of Droop Mountain on the 6th of November last:
In compliance with orders received during the night, I left camp near Mill Point at 6.30 a.m., in command of the Twenty-eighth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Tenth (West) Virginia Volunteer Infantry, and Keeper’s battery, and halted the column near Hillsborough. About 8 o’clock I received orders to feel the enemy along the Lewisburg pike. Three companies of the Twenty-eighth Ohio Volunteer Infantry were detached, who drove the enemy’s pickets, skirmishing through the woods to the foot of Droop Mountain, their (by nature) sufficiently fortified position. Here the skirmishers were halted until further orders. At 9 o’clock I was ordered, with the infantry and Captain Jaehne’s cavalry, to make a detour through the mountains, turn the enemy’s left, attack them in the rear, and take their position. The most difficult task was to bring the column across the valley without being discovered by the enemy. Before the column emerged from the woods, ‘I ordered every rider to dismount and arms to be carried at a trail’. By marching 4 miles in a northwesterly direction, in a zigzag line along ditches and behind fences, I succeeded in reaching the mountains without being seen by the enemy, as I was told afterward by a wounded rebel officer, General Echols having no idea of the approach of infantry from this direction until I drove in his pickets. It was now 2 o’clock, and for about one hour I had been marching due south, describing nearly a semi-circle of about 9 miles from the starting point, driving the enemy’s skirmishers steadily. The firing grew stronger in my front and I had just increased my line of skirmishers to three companies from the Twenty-eighth Regiment, when I arrived in front of the enemy’s position, covered by a kind of hedge constructed of logs and brush. I had ordered the Twenty-eighth Regiment forward into line and Colonel Harris’ Tenth (West) Virginia Regiment to move up in double-quick. Prevented by trees and thick undergrowth from seeing more than 25 or 30 yards ahead, they allowed my line to approach within that distance. Now rising and yelling like Indians, they poured a tremendous fire into the Twenty-eighth, advancing rapidly at the same time. This was the critical moment of the day. I ordered the Twenty-eighth Regiment to lie down and fire by file. The sudden disappearance of the regiment and the increasing fire through the underbrush had an almost stunning effect upon the enemy. They hesitated. Colonel Harris, who had great difficulty to extricate his Tenth (West) Virginia Regiment through cavalry horses and other obstacles, now came up, just in the nick of time. I ordered the colonel to front the regiment by inversion and form on the right of the Twenty-eighth, which was promptly executed. Detailing one company of each regiment to march in the rear as a small reserve and to guard the flanks, I ordered the charge, and with cheers completely drowning the hideous yells of the enemy, my infantry pressed forward continuously until my left reached the cleared hill, where the rebel artillery was. They had just limbered up and started toward the pike. At this time the right of the dismounted men joined my left, coming up through a ravine. Now the wildest scene ensued right in front, our men pouring a deadly fire into the moving rebels, killing and wounding artillery horses; rebel officers urging to make another stand, others cutting loose fallen horses, driving and pushing on cannon and caissons through their infantry. In a few moments this fast-moving mass melted away by scattering through the woods south of the pike. When my right wing came up with the pike no enemy could be seen except the dead and wounded. Farther up the pike a portion of my command fired at two rapidly moving spring wagons, killing two of the horses. They captured the wagons and found them filled with wounded rebels. The commanding general coming up, I was ordered to march the infantry forward as far as possible. I marched till after dark, 6 miles, and bivouacked on the roadside, the men being rather tired, but in high spirits. On November 8, at Lewisburg, I was ordered to proceed to Beverly with the infantry, battery, dismounted men, horses, and prisoners, with instructions to capture all small-arms, cattles, horses, and to destroy the rebel camps, &c., all of which I did as far as practicable. At Hillsborough I took 55 of our own and 1 rebel wounded, and comfortably placed them in ambulances and wagons filled with straw. I left what rations, hospital stores, and medicines could be spared, with 2 badly wounded of our men and 9 rebel wounded, in charge of Assistant Surgeon Blair, Tenth Regiment (West) Virginia Volunteer Infantry. Four Federal and 4 rebel wounded have died since the battle, and 14 wounded rebels were left at the Mountain House, of whom 3 died since. Our surgeons are of the opinion that only 2 out of the 11 left will possibly recover. I left Hillsborough on the 10th, at 10 a.m. On Elk Mountain I encountered some 60 bushwhackers under a McCoy, wounding some of the cattle and firing on the pioneer party, causing a dead stop of nearly one hour. One company from each regiment climbing up in front and rear, drove them headlong down the other side, and without further molestation, accident, or even straggling, we arrived at Beverly at 4 p.m. on the 12th instant, colors flying and drums beating in the most perfect order, having marched 222 miles in a little over eleven days, besides fighting a battle, which deprived us of nine hours’ marching time. I beg leave to mention that during the action of Droop Mountain, I was most cheerfully and ably assisted by Colonel Harris, commanding Tenth Regiment (West) Virginia Volunteer Infantry, and Lieutenant-Colonel Becker, commanding Twenty-eighth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, in guiding and maneuvering the regiment in unbroken lines over the most difficult ground, through ravines, rocks, thick undergrowth, and fallen trees. Also Capt. Edwin Frey, Twenty-eighth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and Lieut. J. Mork, the former commanding the line of skirmishers in a most creditable manner, enabling me to find the exact position of the enemy; the latter, acting assistant adjutant-general, by carrying orders and even executing some in most exposed places with coolness and judgment. Regimental commanders assure me that all behaved well. Accompanying please find reports of killed and wounded, of captured arms, prisoners, horses, cattle, &c.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel, 28th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
Lieut. L. MARKBREIT,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
Tenth West Virginia Infantry
Battle of Droop Mountain
10 Killed, 26 Wounded, 0 Missing – Total Casualties 36
Updated 28 March 2010