“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Fairmont in Marion County, West Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Battle for the Bridge

The Foundry Fight


—Jones-Imboden Raid —

Battle for the Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 23, 2009
1. Battle for the Bridge Marker
Inscription. On April 20, 1863, Confederate Gens. William E. “Grumble” Jones and John D. Imboden began a raid from Virginia through present-day West Virginia against the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Taking separate routes, they later reported that they marched 1,100 miles, fought several engagements, captured 100 Federals, seized about 1,200 horses and 4,000 cattle, and burned 4 turnpike bridges, more than 20 railroad bridges, 2 trains, and 150,000 barrels of oil. Most bridges were soon repaired. Confederate losses were slight. By May 26, both commands had returned to Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

Here, at the site of the Palatine foundry, a battle for possession of the suspension bridge took place on April 29, 1863. Confederate forces under Gen. William E. Jones attacked Fairmont to destroy the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad bridge upstream at present-day 12th Street. The suspension bridge (1852–1908) spanned the Monongahela River between Fairmont and Palatine.

Jones divided his force, sending the main column up the Beverly and Fairmont Turnpike across the river to the railroad bridge, while
Battle for the Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 23, 2009
2. Battle for the Bridge Marker
The High Level Bridge (also known as the Million Dollar Bridge) which replaced the Suspension Bridge, and downtown Fairmont can be seen in the distance. This street was the eastern approach to the bridge.
the 12th Virginia Cavalry and the 35th Virginia Battalion fought their way across the suspension bridge to go upstream to the rail bridge. The Union garrison here had removed the floorboards, but the Confederates replaced them as they fought their way across. The Fairmont and Mannington Home Guards, with detachments from the 13th Pennsylvania Cavalry, 23rd Illinois Infantry, 106th New York Infantry, and 6th West Virginia Infantry, opposed them. John Coffman, Jr., of Harrison County, was among the Federals killed, and Perry Watton of Palatine was wounded.

After capturing the foundry, the Confederates rode upstream to the railroad bridge. A trainload of Union reinforcements arrived from Grafton but was driven off. The railroad bridge was destroyed but was repaired a few weeks later. Jones paroled 260 Federal prisoners that night before leaving to attack Bridgeport.

“[Officers] in charge of working parties, commenced the task of destruction, and soon after dark had the satisfaction of seeing this magnificent structure [the B&O bridge] tumble into the water. The bridge was of iron; three spans, each 300 feet. More than two years were required for its
Closeup of Map Shown on Marker image. Click for full size.
3. Closeup of Map Shown on Marker
This map shows the Jones (red) and Imbuden (purple) routes.
construction, and six months for the erection of the centers on which to fix the superstructure of iron. It cost $486,333. Much time must elapse before this gap can be closed.”
—Gen. William. E. Jones

Erected by Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the West Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 39° 28.933′ N, 80° 8.317′ W. Marker is in Fairmont, West Virginia, in Marion County. Marker is on Everest Drive just north of Merchant Street (West Virginia Route 73), on the left when traveling east. Click for map. It is under the Jefferson Street bridge in Palatine Park. From downtown Fairmont, take the 3rd Street bridge across the river (the roadway changes name to Merchant Street) and make the first left onto an unnamed street that will wind you down to the riverbank and continue under the Jefferson Street bridge. The marker is just past the Jefferson Street bridge overpass. Marker is in this post office area: Fairmont WV 26554, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance
Piers from the Suspension Bridge image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 23, 2009
4. Piers from the Suspension Bridge
The Suspension Bridge connected what was then called Palatine (now part of Fairmont, foreground) and Fairmont (distance). The marker is hidden by the tree branches to the right of the roadway. The bridge landed at Madison Street across the river in Fairmont.
of this marker. High-Level / Million Dollar Robert H. Mollohan Bridge (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Attack on Fairmont (about 700 feet away); Confederate Cemetery (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named High-Level / Million Dollar Robert H. Mollohan Bridge (approx. ¼ mile away); A. Brooks Fleming House (approx. ¼ mile away); Fairmont (approx. 0.3 miles away); Marion County Courthouse (approx. 0.3 miles away); Boaz Fleming (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Fairmont.
More about this marker. This Civil War Trails marker has a photograph of the “Fairmont and Palatine Suspension Bridge ca. 1900” on the lower left, a portrait of General William E. Jones on the upper right, and a map of the route of the Jones–Imboden raid on the lower right.

The “Attack on Fairmont” marker is on the opposite shore.
Also see . . .  Jones-Imboden Raid. “On April 29, at Fairmont, Jones waged the largest battle ever fought in that part of the state against a force of 500 regulars,
Suspension Bridge Pier image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 23, 2009
5. Suspension Bridge Pier
This view was taken from the High Level Bridge, one block upstream. The marker is near the streetlamp, hidden by the foliage. The suspension bridge crossed here where this pier is now located.
home guards, and volunteers. There was some civilian involvement on both sides of the fight. The Confederates prevailed, burning the personal library of Francis H. Pierpont, governor of the Restored Government of Virginia, and exploding an iron railroad bridge across the Monongahela River.” (Submitted on July 26, 2009.) 
Categories. War, US Civil
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,849 times since then and 111 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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