It was all a part of the Peninsula Campaign and General Joseph E. Johnston was pulling back from Yorktown, Warwick and Williamsburg. On 10 March, President Davis tried to convince Johnston to hold fast and he would be reinforced.
On 1 April, McClellan began his assault on the lines across the peninsula being held by John Bankhead Magruder.
The Daily Dispatch: March 22, 1862.
Guerrilla fighting — a Hazardous expedition — incidents, &c.
A correspondent of the Lynchburg Republican, writing from Lewisburg, Greenbrier county, March 14th, gives some interesting statements respecting affairs in that a portion of which we copy:
Col. Jenifer's cavalry does nearly all the scouting duty of this division — besides about 200 guerrillas, styling themselves the "Moccasin Rangers, " the officers of whom have been recently commissioned by the Governor to fight in their own way, and strike the enemy wherever found. The men get the usual Government pay, besides whatever they capture from the enemy belongs exclusively to them. In this way they are enriching themselves, and inflicting severe injury upon the Yankees and known Union men. They have lately received from Richmond two howitzers, and arms of the most improved description, and their deeds are destined to fill an important page in the history of this unrighteous and unholy war. Not long since one of their number, a young man named Tucker, of Upshur county, in a hand-to-hand conflict, killed a notorious Yankee, after which he was captured, tried, and condemned to be hung. In a few days his comrades, finding it out from their spies, immediately determined to liberate him, as soon as the resolve was made, they determined upon its execution, and forth with repaired to the vicinity of the jail, and under cover of a dark night, approached the guards, dispatched them with bowie-knives, broke open the prison, set their comrade free, and before day break were 26 miles distant. This statement I got from Tucker himself, who is now here, and is corroborated by any number of respectable citizens of this place. This is the way to fight the thieves and robbers now polluting our soil.
A bullet from an unseen foe is the most dreaded of all. Tucker says he has made about twenty of them bite the dust, and if spared, will yet be amply avenged upon them for the desolation of his home and the death of an aged and beloved father. His father, it seems, had, at the commencement of the war, given some Southern soldiers lodging, and something to eat, for which offence the scoundrelly villains dragged him from a sick bed and from the side of a devoted wife and children, carried him to Ohio, and imprisoned him in Camp Chase, and then left the old man to died of starvation and neglect.
A great many refugees are here from the counties west of this, nearly all of whom have been driven from their homes by the ruthless foe and are punting for an opportunity to be revenged.
General Floyd, I find, is the Idol, not only of the soldiers, but of the people throughout this region. With him as a leader, all the army here would delight in being led into Ohio and adjoining Yankee States. His presence alone here would be equal to five or ten thousand men.
No Yankees are reported nearer than Nicholas C. H. Some few hundred are there with pack mules and saddles, thought to be about starting upon some thieving expedition. But the Moccasin Bangers are watching them, and woe be unto them if they fall into their clutches. They take no prisoners, but carry them into the woods and turn them loose, so they say. It is also reported here that there are very few in the Kanawha Valley, nearly all having gone to Kentucky.
The writer adds, in a postscript, that a report has reached Lewisburg that Jenifer's cavalry had attacked the enemy at Raleigh Court-House, killing fifty, taking seventy prisoners, and putting the remainder to flight.