On that day, UnionBrig. Gen.William W. Averell's cavalry brigade encountered a Confederate brigade under the command of Brig. Gen. William E. "Grumble" Jones. Averell attacked the Confederate positions but was repulsed. The Confederates received reinforcements from Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan and counterattacked, chasing the Union forces through the cove area of Wythe County, Virginia. The Confederates held the battlefield as the sun went down. The next day, Averell returned to West Virginia after failing to accomplish his objectives.
Following the battle, Union forces were forced to retreat to the Crockett's Cove Presbyterian Church. Seventeen severely wounded of Averell's men were left in the church where they were found the next morning by local people who gave attention to wounds and fed the men. A few died and were buried behind the church. The residents of the neighborhood were grateful that their homes and buildings were not burned by the retreating Union forces. This was probably due to the fact that the Union soldiers’ demands for food were met by the women of the homes they passed—at the Elijah Smith home, and later by the cooks and Sallie Carpenter Crockett at her home who fed corn cakes to the retreating men.