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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Wheeling in Ohio County, West Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The First Campaign

Civil War Begins in the Mountains of (West) Virginia

 

—The First Campaign —

 
The First Campaign Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, July 27, 2010
1. The First Campaign Marker
Inscription. West Virginia, born of a nation divided, was the setting for the first campaign of America’s Civil War. Although still part of Virginia in1861, 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 proved to be decisive: the western counties under Union control became the state of West Virginia in 1863. The arduous conflict in these mountains forged armies
The First Campaign Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, July 27, 2010
2. The First Campaign Marker
View looking west along 16th Street, showing the historical marker in front of the south side of the building, and in the background on the street corner is the "Old Custom House" historical marker.
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 tail, of exposure and suffering that finds no parallel.”
Col. Samuel V. Fulkerson, C.S.A.
 
Erected by Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the West Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 40° 3.842′ N, 80° 43.3′ W. Marker is in Wheeling, West Virginia, in Ohio County. Marker is on 16th Street (State Highway 2) east of Market Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Wheeling WV 26003, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Independence Hall (here, next to this marker); Old Custom House (within shouting distance of this marker); Baltimore and Ohio Passenger Station (within shouting distance of this marker); B & O Railroad (within shouting distance of this marker); The Athenaeum (within shouting distance of this marker); First State Capitol (about 600
The First Campaign Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, July 27, 2010
3. The First Campaign Marker
View from across 16th Street of the south side of the Old Custom House (Independence Hall) with the featured historical marker being just to the right of the orange construction lift. There is also a view of the Old Custom House historical marker at the corner of 16th Street and Market Street.
feet away, measured in a direct line); Lewis and Clark (approx. 0.2 miles away); Walter Reuther (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Wheeling.
 
Also see . . .
1. Civil War Auto Tour - West Virginia Scenic Byway. This is a link to information provided by GORP, the Great Outdoor Recreation Pages. (Submitted on August 21, 2010, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.) 

2. The First Campaign, 1861 in the Mountains. This is a link to information provided by the Civil War Traveler. (Submitted on August 21, 2010, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
The First Campaign Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 30, 2013
4. The First Campaign Marker
The marker has been taken down while a new iron fence is installed. Here it lies on the ground behind Independence Hall.
Map -- The First Campaign image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 30, 2013
5. Map -- The First Campaign
Close-up of map on marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 18, 2010, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio. This page has been viewed 755 times since then and 51 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on August 19, 2010, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.   2, 3. submitted on August 21, 2010, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.   4, 5. submitted on January 4, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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