Background[edit | edit source]
Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan assumed command of Union forces in western Virginia in June 1861. On June 27, he moved his divisions from Clarksburg south against Lt. Col. John Pegram's Confederates, reaching the vicinity of Rich Mountain on July 9. Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Thomas A. Morris's Union brigade marched from Philippi to confront Brig. Gen. Robert S. Garnett's command at Laurel Hill. On July 10-11, Brig. Gen. William S. Rosecrans led a reinforced brigade by a mountain path to seize the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike in Pegram's rear.
Battle[edit | edit source]
A sharp two-hour fight ensued in which the Confederates were split in two. Half escaped to Beverly and on over the Shawnee Trail, but Pegram and the others (including the "Sydney Boys", a regiment formed from the students of Hampden-Sydney College) surrendered on July 13.
Aftermath[edit | edit source]
Hearing of Pegram's defeat, Garnett abandoned Laurel Hill. The Federals pursued, and, during fighting at Corrick's Ford on July 13, Garnett was killed; he was the first general officer to be killed in the war. On July 22, McClellan was ordered to Washington, and Rosecrans assumed command of Union forces in western Virginia. The Union victory at Rich Mountain was instrumental in propelling McClellan to command of the Army of the Potomac.
See also[edit | edit source]
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Kennedy, p. 8.
References[edit | edit source]
- National Park Service battle description
- Kennedy, Frances H., ed., The Civil War Battlefield Guide, 2nd ed., Houghton Mifflin Co., 1998, ISBN 0-395-74012-6.
- Taylor, Paul, Orlando M. Poe: Civil War General and Great Lakes Engineer, Kent State University Press, 2009, ISBN 978-1-60635-040-9.
- Zinn, Jack (1971), The Battle of Rich Mountain, McClain Print. Co.