Battle of Philippi
The Covered Bridge
— The First Campaign —
In the spring of 1861, Union forces rushed into northwestern Virginia to secure the vital Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, protect important turnpikes, and support Unionists against Confederates. The two sides fought numerous engagements between June and December. They included Philippi (the war's first land battle), Rich Mountain, Corricks Ford, Cheat Summit Fort, Carnifex Ferry, and Camp Allegheny. The many Union victories made Gen. George B. McClellan's reputation and damaged that of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee—a situation reversed in 1862. Despite later Confederate raids, today's West Virginia remained largely under Federal control for the rest of the war.
On the morning of June 3, 1861, Union troops charged down the hill to your left and crossed over this covered bridge into Philippi in the first land battle of the Civil War.
In the month before the battle, as Union forces attempted to secure the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at several points, the Confederates moved quickly to post their own regiments along the line. Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee ordered Col. George A. Porterfield
Dumont attacked before Kelley's column arrived, opening fire with two cannons on the hill. Col. Frederick W. Lander led Dumont's infantry down the slope and across the bridge into town. Some fighting occurred on Main Street as Porterfield and his men fled in such haste that the battle was referred to as the Philippi Races. Only a few men on either side were wounded, and none were killed. Kelley was struck in the chest; he later named his horse Philippi. Ahead of you on Main Street, Confederate Pvt. James E. Hanger became the war's first amputee when a solid shot fired from Talbott Hill struck his leg. He later became an inventor and manufacturer of artificial limbs.
Pvt. James E. Hanger, the war's first amputee, returned home to Churchville, Virginia, and began developing an articulated prosthetic leg. The firm he founded became the largest manufacturer of artificial limbs in the country. Today, Hanger Orthopedic Group is the nation's foremost provider of prosthetic devices
Turnpike engineer Lemuel Chenoweth designed the Philippi covered bridge, which was constructed here on the Beverly and Fairmont Turnpike in 1852. Built of yellow poplar, the bridge is 26 feet wide and 285 feet long. A tollgate stood at the eastern end to collect fares from users, Chenoweth designed covered bridges for the antebellum turnpike system in western Virginia. Today the bridge carries local traffic and is the only covered bridge on a federal highway.
Erected by West Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Bridges & Viaducts • War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the West Virginia Civil War Trails series list.
Location. 39° 9.162′ N, 80° 2.633′ W. Marker is in Philippi, West Virginia, in Barbour County. Marker is at the intersection of Mansfield Drive (U.S. 250) and North Main Street, on the right when traveling north on Mansfield Drive. On the grounds of the Blue And Gray Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Philippi WV 26416, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Philippi Covered Bridge (here, next to this marker); Benjamin F. Kelly (a few steps from this marker); Colonel Porterfield's Headquarters Flag (within shouting distance of
Credits. This page was last revised on January 22, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 19, 2021, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 50 times since then. Last updated on January 22, 2021, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on January 19, 2021, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.