“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Moorefield in Hardy County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)

Cemetery Hill

Fighting Among the Tombstones

Cemetery Hill Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), July 17, 2020
1. Cemetery Hill Marker
During the Civil War, Moorefield could be seen in front of you from this then-treeless hill. Beyond the town is the confluence of two watercourses that form the South Branch River. The Harness family cemetery was located at the northern end of this knoll to your right.

Union Maj. Edward W. Stephens, Jr., with six companies of the 1st West Virginia Infantry and a company of cavalry, were ordered to this area on September 10, 1863, to surprise a Confederate camp on the South Branch. When Stephens bivouacked and entrenched here that night, however, he was the one surprise. Just before dawn on September 11, Capts. John H. McNeill, George W. Imboden, and McNarey Hobson led an attack that overran Stephens's position. The Confederates captured 8 officers and 152 enlisted infantrymen and cavalrymen, and seized two ambulances, 9 wagons, 46 horses, 123 rifles, 112 pistols, and 10,500 rounds of ammunition.

A Union officer at first refused to surrender to a Confederate private named Mark Westmoreland. But he changed his mind when the soldier leveled his carbine and pointed out that it equalized their ranks.

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the war, the cemetery was expanded gradually to forty acres and named Olivet. An obelisk erected in 1873 honors Confederate war dead buried here, including McNeill, although it is uncertain whether his remains were reinterred here from Harrisonburg. Oak Hill Cemetery, across the drive to your left, contains the graves of slaves, former slaves, and their descendents.

"The enemy picketed every road leading to their intrenched camp, and deployed about 50 … skirmishers … all night, several hundred yards from their works, and sent out two companies to surprise our camp. Our men moved noiselessly in the darkness, flanked the enemys pickets, and succeeded in getting between the line of skirmishers and the camp before daybreak on Friday morning, the 11th. Just as dawn appeared they charged the Yankee camp, firing into the tents and yelling like savages. Some resistance was made, but in a short time the fight was over. About 30 Yankees were killed or too badly wounded to be removed."
— Confederate Gen. John D. Imboden, Sept. 13, 1863

Erected by West Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCemeteries & Burial Sites
Cemetery Hill Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), July 17, 2020
2. Cemetery Hill Marker
War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the West Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical date for this entry is September 10, 1863.
Location. 39° 3.77′ N, 78° 57.689′ W. Marker is in Moorefield, West Virginia, in Hardy County. Marker is on Olivet Drive, half a mile east of Winchester Avenue (Old West Virginia Route 55), on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 323 Winchester Ave, Moorefield WV 26836, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Veterans Memorial (a few steps from this marker); Confederate Memorial (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Olivet Cemetery (about 600 feet away); Hardy County's First Court House (approx. 0.3 miles away); Moorefield (approx. 0.4 miles away); S. A. McMechen House (approx. 0.4 miles away); McMechen House (approx. 0.4 miles away); Presbyterian Church (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Moorefield.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. This marker has replaced the linked marker.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 28, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 18, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 210 times since then and 55 times this year. Last updated on August 30, 2020, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 18, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Jun. 7, 2023