“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 (Appalachia)

The First Campaign

Civil War Begins in the Mountains of (West) Virginia

— The First Campaign —

The First Campaign Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, July 10, 2010
1. The First Campaign Marker
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 Map image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, July 10, 2010
2. Campaign Map
Click or scan to see
this page online
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, 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.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. A significant historical year for this entry is 1861.
Location. This marker has been replaced by another marker nearby. 38° 28.531′ N, 79° 41.947′ W. Marker is near Bartow, West Virginia, in Pocahontas County. Marker is at the intersection of U.S. 250 and Forest Service Road, on the right when traveling south on U.S. 250. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bartow WV 24920, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this location, measured as the crow flies. 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.
Photographed 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); Camp Allegheny 1861-1862 (approx. 1.3 miles away); a different marker also named Camp Allegheny (approx. 1.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map 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. Western Virginia Campaign. Wikipedia entry (Submitted on July 9, 2022, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.) 

2. West Virginia in the Civil War. Website homepage (Submitted on July 11, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 9, 2022. It was originally submitted on July 11, 2010, by Linda Walcroft of Woodstock, Virginia. This page has been viewed 786 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 11, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 21, 2023