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

Wire Bridge Engagement

Federal Attack on Romney

Wire Bridge Engagement Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, March 12, 2015
1. Wire Bridge Engagement Marker
Inscription.  On October 24, 1861, Union Gen. Winfield Scott ordered Gen. Benjamin F. Kelley to strengthen his position at New Creek Station (present-day Keyser) on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and then march to Romney and occupy the town. Situated on the North Western Turnpike and the largest town in the South Branch Valley, Romney had strategic importance. Kelley planned a two-pronged attack for October 26. He led the main force from the west on the turnpike, while Col. Thomas Johns, 2nd Regiment Potomac Home Brigade, attacked from the north. Johns was to push across the Wire Bridge here, march south, and strike Romney from the east.

Johns, however, encountered stiff resistance her. He reported that Confederates had entrenched “riflemen on an eminence immediately fronting the suspension bridge. Captain Alexander Shaw, of Company A, who led the advance of the column to this point, was with his company, directed to lead the way across the bridge, at a double quick step. … About half way across the bridge, [Shaw] discovered that a portion of the plank flooring on the further side had been removed. The enemy on discovering the movement, open
Wire Bridge Engagement Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, March 12, 2015
2. Wire Bridge Engagement Marker
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fire by volley, killing one and wounding six of my men, causing the company to seek shelter behind the parapets of the bridge.”

When Johns heard Kelley’s guns firing as the general entered Romney, Johns broke off contact and withdrew to Maryland, considering his part of the attack complete.

Kelley’s troops occupied Romney until January 10, 1862, when they retreated to Cumberland, Maryland, over this bridge as Confederate Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson approached from Winchester.

(lower left) Gen. Benjamin F. Kelley Courtesy Library of Congress
(Top center) “Gen. Kelley’s troops crossing the long bridge, near Romney, on his retreat to Cumberland,” from New York Illustrated News, 1862 Courtesy Library of Congress
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 January 10, 2002.
Location. 39° 25.552′ N, 78° 42.94′ W. Marker is in Blues Beach, West Virginia, in Hampshire County. Marker is at the intersection of Cumberland Road (West Virginia Route 28) and Long Road (County Route 28/4), on the
Wire Bridge Engagement Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, March 12, 2015
3. Wire Bridge Engagement Marker
left when traveling north on Cumberland Road. Located at the south end of the bridge over South Branch Potomac River. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Romney WV 26757, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Camp Washington (here, next to this marker); Mount Bethel Church (approx. 3.7 miles away); Fort Forman (approx. 3.7 miles away); The Guns Of Jacob Sheetz (approx. 4 miles away); Old District Parsonage (approx. 6 miles away); Fort Ashby (approx. 6.1 miles away); a different marker also named Fort Ashby (approx. 6.1 miles away); American Discovery Trail (approx. 6.1 miles away).
Credits. This page was last revised on May 31, 2020. It was originally submitted on March 12, 2015, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 540 times since then and 60 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on March 12, 2015, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.

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Sep. 25, 2021