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Part XII: The Battle of Cloyd’s Farm

Looking Back with Lloyd Mathews


The following is Part XII, the final installment 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, has been re-published this winter to commemorate the anniversary of this important battle.

A reenactment on the actual battlefield was held Saturday, April 7, with a repeat performance Sunday, April 6th, 2014.  For information:  www.battleofcloydsmtn.org

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

Part XII: The Battle of Cloyd’s Farm

Headquarters, & c.,

Narrows, May 6, 1864

Major-General Breckinridge:

General: Since parting from you I have had an interview with Colonel McCausland. He has received a communication from Lieutenant-Colonel Cook, at Jeffersonville, which he handed to me. That communication states that the writer is in command of Brig. Gen.  W. E. Jones’ brigade, numbering 1000 men. The writer mentions nothing of any other cavalry there, but the courier told Colonel McC. that there was no other cavalry there. Under these circumstances, and from what I learn of Colonel McC. of the force of the enemy, I thought it proper for me to write you the additional facts which I learned, and to state my conviction of my inability to defend this country if their estimate of the enemy’s force advancing from the Kanawha Valley, and which is confirmed in the main through all the different channels, be correct.

I am, general, very respectfully, yours,

A. G. Jenkins, Brigadier-General


Narrows, May 6, 1864

Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge:

The enemy drove Crawford out of Princeton at 10 o’clock this morning. Crawford fell back on the Tazewell road, leaving my front without a cavalry scout. I can hear nothing from Jones, and Rocky Gap lies open to admit enemy to my rear. I have 200 men, and it will be two or three days before I have more. Could you let Colonel McCausland’s command stay a day or two longer here?

A. G. Jenkins, Brigadier-General


Narrows, May 6, 1864—6.10 p.m.

Maj. Charles S. Stringfellow, Assistant Adjutant-General:

The enemy certainly occupy Princeton. The only mounted company I have fell back on the wrong road, taking the one leading toward Tazewell, so that I am left with nothing but infantry pickets. As my brigade has not yet been collected, and all the infantry has been removed from this section, I have only 200 men present to defend this section of country, including Dublin Depot and the New River bridge. I can learn nothing from Brig. Gen. E. E. Jones, whom General Breckinridge expected to aid me with 4000 men. Forward this telegram to General Bragg at Richmond.

A. G. Jenkins, Brigadier-General


May 7, 1864—1.30 am

Major Johnston, Assistant Adjutant-General:

Telegraph General Jenkins to retain Colonel McCausland a day if absolutely necessary, and tell McCausland to inform McMahon and direct him to hold transportation.

J. C. Breckinridge


Major. C. S. Stringfellow:

The enemy has advanced several miles on the Tazewell road. I think they will aim for the salt-works, but send several columns to strike different. I think the stores at Dublin in danger. If you could secure the necessary railroad transportation, it would lessen the danger in two ways; first, by enabling us to concentrate troops rapidly to defend the place; secondly, by furnishing us the means of sending the stores away. If possible, two freight trains should be kept at Dublin, or near, subject to my orders until the emergency is over. Show this to Major McMahon.

A. G. Jenkins


Dublin, May 7, 1864

Maj. Gen. J. C. Breckinridge:

Enemy five regiments strong occupied Rocky Gap this morning. I am moving stores from this point east to save them. Have notified the various post-offices west of this place.  General W. E. Jones at Glade Spring, covering Saltville mainly. Colonel McCausland is detained here by order of General Bragg, until the danger is over. All demonstrations of enemy as yet are on points west of New River.  I presume this place [or[ the bridge will be attacked. They can, after McCausland starts, threaten Jones, hold him in check, and send cavalry here, going back through Rocky Gap or east of the river. No direct advance on Narrows yet reported.

Chas. S. Stringfellow,

Assistant  Adjutant-General



Dublin, May 8, 1864

General Breckinridge:

Enemy advancing on this place about ten miles distant;  McCausland’s brigade drawn up in line of battle five miles from Dublin on the Narrows road. Enemy’s force five regiments infantry, and from eight to twelve pieces artillery. Mrs. Breckinridge left in ambulance this morning. General Jenkins is here in command.



Dublin, May 8, 1864

Major-General Brckinridge:

McCausland detained here by order of General Bragg. Can’t tell when he will leave, if at all. The enemy’s five regiments infantry, ten pieces artillery, and two companies of cavalry, were on Walker’s Creek road, six miles beyond Shaunon’s , at 10 a.m. No later news. Jenkins is in line of battle about Back Creek. Averell, with ten regiments of cavalry, threaten Saltville through Tazewell. We will give them a warm reception here. Deem it imprudent to mention our disposition, as I have not time to put my telegram in cipher. But, unless enemy display greater activity and skill, we will not be driven off. I remain here a few hours, but will see the fight.

C. S. Stringfellow,

Assistant Adjutant-General



Dublin, May 9, 1864

Major-General Breckinridge. Stauton:

Colonel Bowen has arrived with the Forty-fifth [Virginia] Regiment and is on the field. About 400 more men will be up to two or three hours, under orders from Jenkins. I am waiting to equip and carry them out. Our line of battle just this side of Back Creek. Considered the best position between mountain and this point. Jackson advancing from Union: French at Narrows, blocking road; Twenty-second [Virginia Cavalry] moving in the same direction. Enemy descending Cloyd’s Mountain.  Pickets been firing two hours: six or eight cannon shots just heard. It will be two hours before the fight opens fairly. Our men in splendid spirits, anxious for the fight, and perfectly confident. Will telegraph from the battle-field.

Chas. S. Stringfellow



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