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

War in West Virginia

"That Remarkable Campaign"

— The First Campaign —

War in West Virginia Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, October 11, 2009
1. War in West Virginia Marker
You are standing at the heart of the first campaign of America's Civil War, looking west toward Rich Mountain. Late in May 1861, Gen. George B. McClellan moved troops across the Ohio River "to secure Western Virginia for the Union" and to protect the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The Confederates wanted to secure the Staunton and Parkersburg Turnpike, a vital road from the Shenandoah Valley to the Ohio River. The turnpike crossed Rich Mountain through the notch to the left of the radio towers.

After the defeat at Philippi on June 3 in the "First Land Battle of the Civil War," the Confederates reorganized at Huttonsville under Gen. Robert S. Garnett. On Rich Mountain and Laurel Hill, Garnett fortified the passes that he called "the gates to the Northwestern country." Union forces routed the Confederates on Rich Mountain on July 11, and the next day McClellan occupied Beverly. This area remained in Federal hands for the rest of the war.

Garnett became the first general killed in the Civil War, at Corrick's Ford (near present-day Parsons) on July 13. Gen. Robert E. Lee came to this area in August and established a headquarters
Civil War Sites Map image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, October 11, 2009
2. Civil War Sites Map
Click or scan to see
this page online
at Valley Mountain but failed to drive out the Federals.

These small Union triumphs had two important outcomes. First, President Abraham Lincoln promoted the victorious McClellan to command all Union armies after the shocking Federal defeat at Manassas, Virginia, on July 21. Second, Federal control here allowed the fledgling statehood movement to grow. Two years later, on June 20, 1863, West Virginia became the 35th state of the Union.

"The valley in which we are is one of the most beautiful I ever saw & I am more than ever inclined to make my Head Quarters at Beverly & have you with me."
- Gen. George B. McClellan to his wife, Mary Ellen McClellan, July 13, 1861

"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.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O), and the West Virginia Civil War Trails series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is May 1861.
Location. 38° 55.523′ N, 79° 51.055′ W. Marker
War in West Virginia Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, October 11, 2009
3. War in West Virginia Marker
is in Elkins, West Virginia, in Randolph County. Marker is at the intersection of Railroad Avenue and 3rd Street, on the right when traveling south on Railroad Avenue. Located at the Elkins Railroad Depot. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Elkins WV 26241, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Railroad Builds Elkins (within shouting distance of this marker); Western Maryland Railway Honor Roll (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); H.W. Daniels Post No. 29 (about 300 feet away); Working the Railyard (about 400 feet away); The Darden Mill (about 500 feet away); Henry Gassaway Davis (approx. 0.2 miles away); Stephen Benton Elkins / Halliehurst (approx. Ό mile away); All Veterans Memorial (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Elkins.
More about this marker. On the lower left is a portrait of Gen. Lee. Gen. Robert E. Lee, Harper's Weekly, Aug. 24, 1861. Lee grew a beard while in the mountains and bought his war horse, Traveller, near here.

In the upper center is a portrait of Gen. George B. McClellan and his wife, Mary Ellen McClellan.
Also see . . .  Forging a State: The Western Virginia Campaign of July 1861–Part I. Emerging Civil War website entry (Submitted on June 28, 2022, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.) 
Train Depot image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, October 11, 2009
4. Train Depot
The depot is still used for excursion trains which take passengers into the hills of West Virginia for day trips.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 28, 2022. It was originally submitted on October 12, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,346 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 12, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.

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Mar. 25, 2023