The following is Part III in a series of articles written in 1993 and published in this “Looking Back with Lloyd Mathews” section of The Southwest Times. The series, entitled The Battle of Cloyd’s Farm and the Skirmish at New River Bridge, May Ninth and Tenth, 1864: A series of newspaper articles written about the only Civil War action taking place in Pulaski County, Virginia, will be re-published this winter to commemorate the anniversary of this important battle.
In this the 150th Anniversary year since the battle, the Pulaski Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee, the New River Rifles, and the 1st Stuart Artillery are honored to invite you to living history and reenactments on the actual battlefield, April 5 and 6. For information: www.battleofcloydsmtn.org
The Virginia Civil War History Mobile will be located at the New River Valley Fair Grounds on April 4 and 5, with the 4th being a day for the local schools. Event parking will be at the fairgrounds, and there will be bus transportation to the battlefield. Bus tours of the local historical sites will be available on Saturday, April 5 from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m.
Part III: The Battle of Cloyd’s Farm
Following the Battle of Cloyd’s Farm in Pulaski County on May 9, 1864, northern forces moved into the Town of Dublin to destroy the railroad. The majority of the 8,000 or so men bivouacked in and around Dublin that night. It has always been a part of victory to gather the spoils of war, and some of the tired federal soldiers did some pillaging while resting.
On the afternoon or evening following the battle, a group of Yankees went over to the village of Newbern. Some said they were searching for whiskey. While there they were challenged by Attorney Benjamin Wysor, who had taken part in the Cloyd Farm Battle earlier in the day. He was shot and later died from the wound.
In his report of the Battle of Cloyd’s Farm, General Crook wrote: “At Dublin many public stores fell into our hands.” Colonel Horatio Sickel, in charge of one of the Union brigades, finished his report by stating that a large amount of commissary, quartermaster, and ordnance stores were taken at Dublin.
Stories passed down by local citizens tell of the enemy taking many horses with them as they moved out of the county.
Colonel Thomas of the 50th West Virginia Volunteers was not a bit humble as he wrote, “After the battle was over the four Companies under Major Wells rejoined my six Companies, and we marched triumphantly after our brave leaders into Dublin, having our confidence highly increased in both our brigade and division commanders. Halted for the night after fighting and marching nine miles near Dublin, where our boys replenished their haversacks from the commissary supplies furnished by the rebel, General Jenkins.”
It is interesting at this point to note some of the supplies and equipment confiscated by the Yankees at the Dublin Depot: 120 bushels of corn, 10 tons of hay, 45 young beef cattle, 130 pounds of bacon, and 800 pounds of tobacco. There were 70 uniform coats and 32 pairs of trousers, and 320 blankets, and 1,200 knapsacks. I am sure the Yankees were disappointed that they found no shoes because one officer complained that many of his men were without footwear.
In 1939 James T. Summers, of the state of Kansas and former citizen of Pulaski County, wrote a letter that was published in the Southwest Times. The following is a portion of that letter:
“As to my early experiences in Dublin and vicinity, it was in 1864 I went to the telegraph office with John M. Oakey as a messenger boy to deliver messages and to get a knowledge of telegraphy … I remember very distinctly the battle of Cloyd’s Farm, and that our forces were defeated. The Yankees came in and formed a line at the edge of the timber on Giles Turnpike, just back of the Trinkle home, and began firing on the town and, as our soldiers retreated, Captain Jim Cecil rode through the town and told all of us that the Yankees were coming and that there was a big supply of government stores in the commissary department, and for everybody to get what they could. Consequently, everybody was at the commissary getting food and supplies to carry home when the firing increased and several buildings were hit; but I had gotten home safely and my mother took all of us to the basement for safety, and she went upstairs and waved a white window curtain, trying to prevent them from shooting at our house.
“General Crook came right to our house and asked to establish himself there and, of course, my mother could do nothing but tell him that she would give him a room, but if he expected her to board him and his staff, he would have to furnish the provisions, and on this basis he stayed.
“My mother asked him if he would place a guard at the doors to prevent the soldiers from ransacking and demolishing the furniture, and he courteously complied.”
James T. Summers was a boy twelve years of age at the time. His father was a partner in the operation of a general store in Dublin.