My third great grandfather, Noah Warner's, exploits as a private for the Confederate States of America. Part I - Imboden's Expedition
Noah Warner enlisted on September 28, 1862, in Hardy County, West Virginia; although at the time, he was a resident of Pendleton County. His first known deployment was Imboden's Tucker County Expedition of November 1862. He was part of the First Virginia Partisan Rangers.
On the night of November 6, 1862, Colonel J. D. Imboden and his 310 mounted men (including Noah Warner) received a small ration of blankets and overcoats, allowing them to begin an expedition into Tucker County, West Virginia in the heavy snow of November 7 at 2pm. They left their camp in South Fork (Hardy County, West Virginia) and marched towards the Cheat River Bridge, a important local on the B&O Railroad. Upon reaching the base of the Allegheny Mountains just six miles north of the mouth of Seneca around midnight, the colonel orders a halt until daybreak. At dawn, all 310 men begin the trek up the mountain, leading their horses at a walk through the blinding snow. The path up the mountain was not a road or even a path, but a winding cattle trail that led directly across the Allegheny Mountains and along the southern border of Canaan, continuing from there along Red Creek and Blackwater to the Dry Fork of Cheat. Although the company's original intention was to reach Saint George by nightfall, the snow made the going to slow, and night fell as the company reached Dry Fork where they were forced to stop until the moon rose high enough to light the way. At midnight, the men were able to mount their horse, and by coincidence, a wealthy-looking man from Tucker appeared out of the darkness at that same time. He informed Colonel Imboden, to the colonel's great surprise, of the movement of the Yankee troops in the area. A group of 600 Yankee infantryman had just passed Dry Fork earlier in the day headed back towards Seneca and were now blocking any retreat, and General Milroy of the US Army and his 4000 troops had headed towards Monterey from Beverley. The risky decision to press on was made, and by dawn of November 9 in spite of increasing snow and the addition of sleet, the troops had reached Saint George where they demanded an unconditional surrender from Captain William Hall of Company F, Sixth Virginia Infantry, and all 33 of his men. After a few minutes of deliberation and a few shots which caused no wounds to either side, Captain Hall surrendered and was made prisoner on parole along with his men. Colonel Imboden also confiscated all of their Enfield rifles, some overcoats and blankets, a few cooking utensils, one horse and his bridle, and over five hundred rations. By this point, the horses were nearly exhausted, and all but one of the captains pleaded to stay in Saint George. However, the colonel had since been informed that half of General Milroy's troops were still in Beverley. The expedition was faced with two options: run toward Rowlesburg, burn the bridge, cross into Pennsylvania, then attempt to find a safe route back to Virginia, or retrace their steps to Dry Fork and attempt to pass General Milroy's troops undercover of darkness. With the horses in such bad condition and the snow making it easy for the enemy to track their movements, the colonel decided to go back to Dry Fork, especially since the snow would have forced them to stay at Rowlesburg until morning where Union reinforcements would be sure to meet them. By 10 am on November 9, 1862, the First Virginia Partisan Rangers were headed back to Dry Fork, and they arrived at 9pm that evening where they halted until midnight. By the light of the moon, they made their way up Glade Creek along a path of the colonel's invention during his August expedition. At 4pm on November10, the men stopped just 10 miles east of Beverly for their first full night's sleep since the expedition began. Both men and horses were grateful. During the night, a man came into the camp to talk to Colonel Imboden. He had been in Beverley, and the rumor mill there reported that Colonel Imboden's company was huge, consisting of cavalry and infantry. The colonel laughed at the thought. However, the rumor mill did place General Milroy's supply train at Camp Bartow. With this information in mind, Colonel Imboden resolved to attack the supply train at Camp Bartow, and the next morning through the woods with only the help of a mountain guide and a compass to show the way. At 5pm, they reached Upper Sinks, just 11 miles from Camp Bartow. On November 12, six of the horses were too exhausted to continue and had to be left behind; their riders following the rest of the mounted company on foot. By noon that day, rain caused such darkness in the forest that the guide had become lost, and men had to return to Upper Sinks. The next day though it was sunny, it was too late to go to Camp Bartow, so the colonel led the way along a path that crossed the Allegheny Mountains to the head of North Fork at the Pendleton and Highland County lines. He then sent out two scouts around 3pm who returned with intelligence from a citizen of the area and a POW who had just been released by General Milroy. From the information, the colonel learned that General Milroy had split his troops hoping to capture the expedition as it passed through the area. He had stationed cavalry in Huntersville, infantry in Circleville, and scouts in Crab Bottom, and over a thousand more men were headed to Franklin. The colonel's men carefully made their way toward Circleville and stopped to feed their horses at the first house they could find. (The horses hadn't eaten grain since November 9.) Around sunset on November 13, they continued their march, until they came across an abandoned camp from the Union troops headed towards Franklin at 10pm. The colonel then directed his men to follow those troops to Franklin until they crossed to South Fork. At this point, they halted again. It was 3am on November 14, 1862. That day, the expedition made it to Augusta Springs through North River Gap, and thus completed their mission.