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

The First Campaign

Civil War Begins in the Mountains of (West) Virginia


—The First Campaign —

The First Campaign Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 10, 2010
1. The First Campaign Marker
Inscription. West Virginia, born of a nation divided, was the setting for the first campaign of America's Civil War. Although still part of Virginia in 1861, many citizens of the west remained loyal to the Union, rather than the Confederacy. By late May, Union General George B. McClellan, commanding the Department of the Ohio, launched the first campaign, ordering troops to cross the Ohio River and secure "Western" Virginia for the Union.

Here, during June-July 1861, McClellan's army won the inaugural Union victories of the Civil War. Hailed as the North's first battlefield hero, McClellan was summoned to Washington on July 22, following a stunning Union debacle at Manassas, Virginia. Federal troops now occupied Western Virginia, as loyal delegates met in Wheeling to form the "Restored Government of Virginia," a Union government to oppose the Confederate one in Richmond.

By August 1861, Southern forces again threatened. Confederate General Robert E. Lee attempted to reclaim Western Virginia, but failed miserably. Troops of both armies remained to guard the mountain passes during that terrible winter. By 1862, conflict shifted east. The first campaign proved to be decisive: the western counties under Union control became the new state of West Virginia in 1863. The arduous conflict in these mountains forged armies and leaders-notably McClellan,
Campaign Map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 10, 2010
2. Campaign Map
Lee, and Stonewall Jackson - who shaped the course of the Civil War.

"The history of that remarkable campaign would show, if truly portrayed, a degree of severity, of hardship, of toil, of exposure and suffering that finds no parallel."
Col. Samuel V. Fulkerson, C.S.A.
Erected by West Virginia Civil War Trails.
Location. This marker has been replaced by another marker nearby. It was located near 38° 28.531′ N, 79° 41.947′ W. Marker was near Bartow, West Virginia, in Pocahontas County. Marker was at the intersection of U.S. 250 and Forest Service Road, on the right when traveling south on U.S. 250. Click for map. Marker was in this post office area: Bartow WV 24920, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this location, measured as the crow flies. Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike (here, next to this marker but has been reported missing); The Great Raid (a few steps from this marker); Camp Allegheny (a few steps from this marker); War In West Virginia (a few steps from this marker); West Virginia / Virginia (a few steps from this marker); Highland County / West Virginia
Markers at the Intersection image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain
3. Markers at the Intersection
Several interpretive markers stand at the intersection, which also stands at the state line.
(within shouting distance of this marker in Virginia); a different marker also named Camp Allegheny (approx. 0.7 miles away in Virginia); a different marker also named Camp Allegheny (approx. 1.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Bartow.
More about this marker. On the right side of the marker is a map of West Virginia with sites related to the Western Virginia campaign noted. This marker orients visitors to the early war campaign in West Virginia and is duplicated at several locations.
Regarding The First Campaign. This marker was replaced by a new one named War In West Virginia (see nearby markers).
Also see . . .
1. War in the Mountains. Civil War Traveler guide to the 1861 campaign in West Virginia. (Submitted on July 11, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

2. West Virginia in the Civil War. (Submitted on July 11, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
Categories. War, US Civil
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Linda Walcroft of Strasburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 501 times since then and 39 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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