From the Portsmouth Times, September 20, 1862:
“On Sunday last (Sept. 14), Vanceburg, Ky, situated on the river, twenty miles below here, was reported in their possession, and numerous absurd reports were in circulation, and the timid grew restless. Pickets were stationed on the hills around the city at night. About 2 o’clock am, an alarm spread through the city and some indefinite danger was apprehended. The militia was put under arms and prepared for any emergency. They adjourned at 4 o’clock with orders to report at the Market House at 6 am. The morn witnessed the ‘marshaling of arms’ – armed men filled the streets. The Forest Rose was engaged to take down whatever force might be sent. The militia regimental officers, Col. Barton, Lt. Col. Reilley and Maj. Connolly, were in command.
“Four of our city companies – the German Rifles, Portsmouth Rifles, Fourth Ward Rifles and the Artillery Company – were ordered on board. These together with Captain Churchill’s company – and squads of men from the country, crowed the boat. A large crowd had collected at the wharf at 8 o’clock when the steamer left. At Buena Vista we were reinforced by three companies under the command of Captains Frizell, Elliott and Cadon. Sheet iron crackers were furnished with hungry soldiers, who devoured them with the avidity of veterans.
“It was nearly mid-day when the boat approached the scene of the expected contest. All seemed anxious to engage with ‘red band in the foray’. As we rounded to in front of the village a hostile flag was waved from a dwelling, but no enemy was in sight. They had fled. Upon landing, our boys double-quicked it up the bank and formed in line. Pickets were thrown out, guards stationed and the ‘burg was ‘firmly held.’ A small cavalry force of rebels, we were informed, had been there on Sunday, but had taken their departure the evening previous. The citizens seemed surprised at the large force displayed. They treated us politely and some received us cordially. A squad of Dr. Frizell’s men provided themselves with such beasts as the place contained, mounted on their warlike steeds, champing for the din and strife, made an advance on Clarksburg, the county seat of Lewis county. Not having the necessary documents, they were halted a couple of miles out, by the guard, and brought back. They moved once more upon the place, took it by surprise, and also several prisoners, who were brought back as ‘spoils.” A squad had also succeeded in capturing a secesh (sic – secessionist) apron, which had been waved defiantly at us as we landed. The owner was decidedly spunky, and informed the captors that she could soon make another. Food was furnished as far as the citizens were able.
“At 5 o’clock the companies on picket duty were called in, and the troops marched on the boat preparatory to departure. Vanceburg was left amid cheers and wavings from the shore. Seven prisoners had been captured, and a more confident and outspoken feeling given to the Union men in that locality. There was no disorderly conduct upon the part of the soldiers, and no accidents occurred. Although no enemy was met and no victory achieved, the expedition was not without its benefits. The ‘militia’ reached home at 8 o’clock pm unscathed by steel or lead. So closed that eventful day. Two of the prisoners captured, on account of sickness in their families, were permitted to return home on parole. The others, by direction of the Governor, were sent to Camp Chase.”