Philippi in Barbour County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)
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.
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
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. A significant historical date for this entry is June 3, 1861.
Location. This marker has been replaced by another marker nearby. It was located near 39° 9.161′ N, 80° 2.633′ W. Marker was in Philippi, West Virginia, in Barbour County. Marker was at the intersection of Mansfield Drive (U.S. 250) and North Main Street, on the right when traveling east on Mansfield Drive. On the grounds of the Blue And Gray Park. Touch for map. Marker was 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 location. First Battle of a Long War (here, next to this marker); The Philippi Covered BridgeBenjamin F. Kelley (a few steps from this marker); In Memory of the Sago Miners (a few steps from this marker); Philippi (within shouting distance of this marker); Confederate Regimental Flag (within shouting distance of this marker); Churchville Cavalry Flag (within shouting distance of this marker); United States Flag (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Philippi.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. New CWT Marker At This Location titled "First Battle of a Long War".
Credits. This page was last revised on December 4, 2022. It was originally submitted on January 19, 2021, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 273 times since then and 61 times this year. Last updated on December 3, 2022, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on January 19, 2021, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.