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Part XI: The Battle of Cloyd’s Farm

 The following is Part XI 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 5th and 6th, 2014.  For information:  www.battleofcloydsmtn.org

The Virginia Civil War History Mobile will be located at the New River Valley Fair Grounds on April 4th and 5th, 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 the 5th from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m.

The Story of Preparation for Battle, as Told in Telegraph Messages

Part XI: The Battle of Cloyd’s Farm

Camp four Miles from Princeton, W. Va.,–May 4, 1864.

(Via Narrows.)

General Breckinridge, Dublin:

Two soldiers of the Twenty-third [Virginia] Battalion have just come through from Kanawha. I know them to be reliable men. They report seven regiments on Kanawha, and that they will move this way about the 10th of May. I will write to you to-morrow.

John  McCausland

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General Breckinridge, Dublin:

There was a mistake in Colonel McCausland’s message to you. It should read, “There are seventeen regiments on Kanawha.”

Smith Norris, Sergeant Signal Corps.

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Richmond, May 4, 1864.

General Breckinridge, Dublin:

Information received here indicates the propriety of your making a junction with General Imboden to meet the enemy on his movements toward Staunton. Communicate with General R. E. Lee and General Imboden.

Jefferson Davis

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Orange Court-House, May 4, 1864.

General Breckinridge, Dublin:

The President informs me that you will report to me. For the present you will take the general direction of affairs and use General Imboden’s force as you think best. He has been ordered to report to you. I trust you will drive the enemy back.

R. E. Lee

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Dublin Depot, Va., May 4, 1864—5 pm

General R. E. Lee, Commanding, &c., Orange Court-House, Va.:

A dispatch from the President says information indicates propriety of my joining Imboden to meet movement on Staunton, and tells me to communicate with you. I have Echols in Monroe County, 1600 men; Wharton at Narrows of New River, 900 men; McCausland at Princeton, 1500 men; all infantry. Scarcely any mounted men yet east of New River. Enemy threatening from Kanwha, and reported 8000 men, which is probably exaggerated. It is thirty-six miles from Echols to Jackson River Depot, and sixty miles from Narrows. You thus see the situation. I was starting to the front, but will wait to hear from you, and act upon your views of the emergency.

John C. Breckinridge, Major-General.

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Verdierville, May 4, 1864—5 o’clock

(Via Orange Court House)

Major-General Breckinridge, Dublin:

General Imboden reports that Sigel will probably cross at Chester Gap and move upon our left. If you cannot by counter moves occupy him in Valley, leave sufficient troops to guard against movement from Kanawha, and push forward your troops to Orange Court House, provided Sigel moves in that direction. Ascertain from Imboden purposes of enemy, and act accordingly. Grant’s whole army is moving [on] our right, and I am following.

R. E. Lee

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Dublin Depot.  May 4. 1864—8.15 pm

General R. E. Lee, Orange Court-House, Va.:

Your dispatch directing me to take command of Imboden & c., just received. The only information I have is a dispatch from the President today telling me to confer with you and Imboden on propriety of my joining the latter to repel movement toward Staunton. I then sent you my dispatch of this afternoon. Is Staunton the point threatened? Shall I push the forces named in my dispatch to Jackson River Depot to take cars? I can add small force of Colonel Jackson. This will leave Jenkins and William E. Jones with some 4000 cavalry and 600 infantry, and good supply of artillery, to meet the Kanawha force. My First Brigade could reach Jackson River Depot Friday evening. Have not heard from Imboden. Will sit up to-night to hear from you.

John C. Breckinridge, Major-General

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Dublin Depot, Va., May 5, 1864.

Brigadier-General Jenkins, Monroe County, Va.:

I am moving under orders toward Staunton with the infantry. You must take charge of affairs for the present. Communicate with General W.E. Jones at Jeffersonville or Glade Spring, who should have over 4000 cavalry and abundant artillery. You and he must cover the front. Thurmond’s companies and Colonel Jackson will report to you. I have called our reserve forces, and will get a few hundred for Narrows of New River. Look well to that point. If I take Jackson’s battery its place will be supplied by Davidson’s battery, now nearly due here from Abingdon. Major Stringfellow, assistant adjutant-general here, will report to you. Answer here and to Narrows.

John C. Breckinridge, Major-General

I leave Forty-fifth Infantry, 700 strong, at Saltville.

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Narrows, May 6, 1864.

Major-General Breckinridge:

There is no sign of any artillery coming to me. I do not expect any addition to my present force of 200 men for two or three days. We look for an attack in the morning. Did you get dispatch announcing that there would be no transportation for you at Jackson River Depot?

A. G., Jenkins, Brigadier-General.

To Be Continued Next Week in the Final Installment of The Battle of Cloyd’s Farm

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