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Philippi in Barbour County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)
 

Battle of Philippi

Talbott's Hill

— The First Campaign —

 
 
Battle of Philippi Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, August 1, 2012
1. Battle of Philippi Marker
Inscription.  (Preface):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.

You are standing where Union guns opened up on Philippi on June 3, 1861, in the first land battle of the Civil War.

As Union forces attempted to secure the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at several points in the month before the battle, the Confederates moved quickly to post their own regiments along the line. Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee ordered Col. George A. Porterfield to raise troops in western Virginia. He reached Philippi
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on May 30, 1861, where Capt. Albert G. Reger had formed a company. On the same day, Union forces under Col. Benjamin F. Kelley arrived in Grafton, fifteen miles north. On June 2-3, the Federals advanced on Philippi in two columns, one under Kelley and one under Col. Ebenezer Dumont, marching at night in a driving rain.

Dumont arrived first and ordered Col. James B. Steedman to post two six-pounder cannons here on Talbott Hill and then await the signal (a pistol shot) to open fire once the other column was in position. Supposedly, a nearby resident, Mrs. Matilda Humphreys, sent her youngest son, Newton Humphreys, to alert the Confederates. She fired her pistol when Union soldiers intervened and the gunners, thinking it was the prearranged signal, shelled Philippi before Kelley’s column arrived.

Col. Frederick W. Lander led Dumont’s troops down Talbott’s Hill and across the covered bridge in a charge, with Lander pelting down the muddy slope on his horse at breakneck speed. The Confederates fled. The battle resulted in only a few wounded; none were killed.
 
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 West Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical date for this entry is May 30, 1861.
 
Location.
Battle of Philippi Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, August 1, 2012
2. Battle of Philippi Marker
39° 9.486′ N, 80° 2.838′ W. Marker is in Philippi, West Virginia, in Barbour County. Marker is on Circle Drive East, on the right when traveling north. The marker is located on the Campus of Alderson Broaddus College. 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. Shearer Quadrangle (within shouting distance of this marker); "Apollo" (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Birthplace - W.D. Zinn (about 500 feet away); Historic Campbell School (approx. 0.2 miles away); Benjamin F. Kelley (approx. 0.4 miles away); First Battle of a Long War (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Philippi Covered Bridge (approx. 0.4 miles away); In Memory of the Sago Miners (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Philippi.
 
Battle of Philippi Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, August 1, 2012
3. Battle of Philippi Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on August 23, 2012, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,987 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 23, 2012, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland.   3. submitted on September 10, 2012, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 22, 2024