RICH MOUNTAIN PASS, July 13, 1861.
SIR: I have the report that on the 11th instant, by your order, I moved with one gun and a detachment of twenty-one men to occupy this pass in Rich Mountain. We took our position about 1 o’clock p. m. In less than two hours the enemy made their appearance in large column, six regiments strong, immediately on the hill south of the pass. We reversed our gun, which was pointed down the pass, and prepared to receive the enemy in the direction in which he was approaching. In a few minutes the sharpshooters of the enemy commenced a fire upon us from behind trees and rocks at a distance ranging from two to three hundred yards, the body of the enemy being still farther. We opened upon the main body with spherical shot, which I cut at first one second and a quarter, and could distinctly see them burst in their midst. I knew we did good execution, as I could distinctly hear their officers give vehement commands to close up ranks. After firing this was some little time at the rate of near four shots per minute we forced the enemy to retire.
In about twenty minutes the enemy reappeared in a column of three regiments, advanced briskly upon us, when we moved our gun a little higher up the opposite hill and again opened upon them, and with our spherical shot cut as low as one second down to three-quarters. After firing rapidly for some time the enemy again beat a hasty retreat, when my men, including the infantry not yet in action, rent the air with their shouts, confidently believing that we had gained the day. But in a short time the enemy again formed and renewed the attack with more swiftness than before, and soon played havoc with our horses. These, with the caisson, ran down the mountain with drivers and all, leaving us with only the small amount of ammunition in our limber-box. We then limbered and moved our gun near a small log stable, behind which we placed our horses for protection. By this time our men were falling fast. Sergeant Turner, of the gun, had both legs broken and shot through the body; I. I. Mays had his left arm splintered with a musket ball; Isaiah Ryder shot through the head, and died instantly; John A. Taylor had his thigh broken; E. H. Kersey, shot in the ankle; Lewis Going, wounded in the arm; William W. Stewart, badly wounded in the head and breast. This left me but few to man the gun. Captain De Lagnel, who was the commander of the post, having his horse shot under him and seeing our crippled condition, gallantly came and volunteer his valuable aid, and helped load and fire three or four times, when he was shot in the side, and, I think, in the hand. He then ordered us to make our escape, if we could, but the enemy was too close, and his fire too severe, to admit of safe retreat to many of us. I was shot though the right hand, and am now a prisoner, with the following of my men: Warren Currin, B. H. Davidson, James B. Creasey, William H. Broyles, and R. W. Walker. The rest of my command made their escape. I suppose we killed and wounded of the enemy some three hundred or more.
I take great pleasure in saying that my command in this fight, both those with guns and those in the artillery, acted heroically, and deserve the highest commendation. Private W. H. Broyles was the last to leave the gun, and pricked the last cartridge that we fired.
I have the honor to be, your obedient, servant,
CHAS. W. STATHAM,
First Lieutenant Lee Battery.
Captain P. B. ANDERSON, Lee Battery, P. A. C. S.
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series I, Vol. II. With additions and corrections. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1902.