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Old Fields in Hardy County, West Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Battle of Moorefield

Where the Fighting Started

 
 
Battle of Moorefield Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, October 22, 2011
1. Battle of Moorefield Marker
Inscription. The Confederate cavalry brigade of Gen. Bradley T. Johnson bivouacked in the fields to your left on August 7, 1864. Willow Wall (built ca. 1830), visible to your left down the road, was Johnsonís headquarters. Johnsonís brigade and that of Gen. John McCausland (bivouacked closer to Moorefield) had taken part in Gen. Jubal A. Earlyís raid on Washington, D.C., and had burned Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, in retaliation for Federal “depredations” in the Shenandoah Valley, which had likewise been in retaliation for Confederate “atrocities.” Union Gen. William W. Averell, whose command was in pursuit, surprised the Confederate pickets north of here by attacking with “Jesse Scouts” (Federal soldiers in Confederate uniforms). He drove Johnsonís men south through here toward Parsonís Ford. Averell captured four cannons, more than 400 men with their weapons, and—about as bad for the Confederates at this stage of the war—an equal number of hard-to-replace horses. Early claimed that “this affair had a very damaging effect upon my cavalry for the rest of the campaign” in terms of both morale and horses. That campaign ended with the loss of the Shenandoah Valley, the “breadbasket of the Confederacy.”

This community, remarkably undamaged by the
Battle of Moorefield Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, October 22, 2011
2. Battle of Moorefield Marker
fight, was home to the Van Meter and McNeill families. Isaac “Big Ike” Van Meter lived at Fort Pleasant (constructed 1833, behind you and to your right) and enlisted in Co. F, 7th Virginia Cavalry, in the summer of 1862. The unit fought in the Shenandoah Valley and in several other campaigns. According to Van Meter, “We did not surrender at Appomattox, but came home, giving Grantís army leg bail to save our horses and private effects, and then surrendered in squads at New Creek or elsewhere, when more convenient.”

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The other buildings that you see around you include Old Fields Church (1812), the second-oldest church in West Virginia; the Garrett Van Meter House (1835); Buena Vista (1836), built for William T. Van Meter, killed in Gen. Wade Hamptonís “Beefsteak Raid” behind Union lines near Petersburg, Va., in 1864; and Travelerís Rest (1856), constructed for Garrett Van Meterís three unmarried sisters: Ann, Rebecca, and Susan Van Meter.
 
Erected by Civil War Trails.
 
Location. 39° 7.877′ N, 78° 57.069′ W. Marker is in Old Fields, West Virginia, in Hardy County. Marker is on U.S. 220 just north of Rolling Acres Drive, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. It is
Closeup of Map on Marker image. Click for full size.
3. Closeup of Map on Marker
just before Old Fields, just before the bridge, when traveling north. Marker is in this post office area: Old Fields WV 26845, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Fort Pleasant (approx. 0.3 miles away); Gen. Joseph Neville / McNeill's Raid (approx. 4.5 miles away); Cemetery Hill (approx. 4.8 miles away); McMechen House (approx. 4.9 miles away); Moorefield (approx. 4.9 miles away); Presbyterian Church (approx. 4.9 miles away); Moorefield Presbyterian Church (approx. 4.9 miles away); Maslin House (approx. 5 miles away).
 
Also see . . .  Battle of Moorefield. Wikipedia entry. “At around 3 a.m. the Union vanguard led by Capt. Thomas Kerr encountered and captured the first Confederate pickets north of Moorefield. After the pickets were sent to the rear, Averell rode up and prepared for his attack, placing Major Thomas Gibson in the center along the Moorefield road. Two columns under Col. William Powell formed on the flanks of Gibson. Kerr again lead the vanguard. With his line formed Averell ordered the attack. Gibsonís column immediately smashed into the Bradley Johnson camp. Most of Johnsonís men were asleep and woke up only in time to be taken prisoner or rush off in
Generals Averell, McCAusland, and Johnson image. Click for full size.
4. Generals Averell, McCAusland, and Johnson
Closeup of portraits on marker.
full retreat. The commotion of Johnsonís retreating men was enough to awake the men in McCauslandís camp on the other side of the river who were able to form a line and meet Gibsonís advance at the river. Averell had planned to meet resistance at the river and thus sent his two flanking columns to cross up and down stream respectively of Gibson's crossing. The two columns soon crossed and poured into the flank of the hastily formed Confederate line causing it to break into retreat. The Federal advance then pushed on encountering Brig. Gen. William Jacksonís horse cavalry on the Winchester pike east of town. Jackson tried to bring his guns up to fire on the Federals, but because the retreating Confederates were so interspersed among them he could not get a shot off before they were overrun and captured.” (Submitted on October 30, 2011.) 
 
Categories. Wars, Non-US
 
View North Towards Old Fields image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, October 22, 2011
5. View North Towards Old Fields
Marker is on the right on the grass.
Willow Wall image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, October 22, 2011
6. Willow Wall
It is half a mile south of the marker, on the right when traveling south. This view is from the roadway of U.S. 220.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 30, 2011, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,189 times since then and 111 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 30, 2011, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.
 
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Photos of Old Fields Church • the Garrett Van Meter House • Buena Vista • Travelerís Rest • Can you help?
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