HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO,
Cincinnati, May 30, 1861.
COLONEL: I have the honor to report the successful occupation of Grafton without the loss of a single life. My previous dispatches have informed you of the circumstances under which the movement was undertaken and the orders given for carrying it into effect. The movement was greatly delayed by the necessity of repairing the burned bridges. I constantly advised Colonel Kelley to use great caution, and I am happy to say that he has been able to combine it with unusual energy.
He promptly arrived at the burned bridge; at once set a working party at preparing timber for repairs, moved an advanced guard forward to the very important bridge over the Monongahela, at Fairmont, and seized all the secessionists he could find. At 11 o’clock this morning he moved forward, and reached Grafton at 2.30 p. m. The secessionists had evacuated the place before his arrival.
The colonel will pursue them on the Beverly road in the morning and endeavor to capture at least some arms that they sent away before they retreated. I cannot commend too highly the prudence and energy displayed by Colonel Kelley in this movement. He has in every instance carried out his instructions, and has displayed very high military qualities. I beg to recommend to the General that he may be made a brigadier-general of the Virginia Volunteers.
It is a source of very great satisfaction to me that we have occupied Grafton without the sacrifice of a single life. Colonel Steedman’s advance from Parkersburg has not been so prompt as that of Colonel Kelley. He has met with many difficulties on his route.
I am happy to say that the movement has caused a very great increase of the Union feeling. I am now organizing a movement on the valley of the Great Kanawha; will go there in person, and endeavor to capture the occupants of the secession camp at Buffalo, then occupy the Gauley Bridge, and return in time do direct such movements on Kentucky and Tennessee as may become necessary.
I will make a more detailed report when I receive Colonel Kelley’s full report.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Major-General, U. S. Army, Commanding Department.
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.