Springtime Snow and Mud
— Jones-Imboden Raid —
On April 20, 1863, Confederate Gens. William F. "Grumble" Jones and John D. Imboden began a raid from Virginia through present-day West Virginia on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Taking separate routes, they later reported that they marched 1,100 miles , fought several engagements, captured 700 Federals, seized about 1,200 horses and 4,000 cattle, and burned 4 turnpike bridges, more than 20 railroad bridges, 2 trains, and 150,000 barrels of oil. Most bridges were soon repaired. Confederate losses were slight. By May 26, both commands had returned to Virginia's Shenandoah Valley.
On April 22, 1863, the third day of the Jones-Imboden Raid, Gen. John D. Imboden's 3,300 soldiers rested here at Camp Bartow after covering 18 miles in the rain and mud over Allegheny Mountain on the Staunton and Parkersburg Turnpike. The day had begun on the eastern side of the mountain with martial glory and regimental flags flying. Seventeen-year-old John A. McNeill, of Pocahontas County, later recalled: "It was a fine Spring day ? and with fife and drum they moved out. ? The scene was too much for my young rebel heart." But now Imboden and his men were deep into the mountains.
Leaving here on April 23, the Confederates rode northwest on the turnpike. They had to cross the freezing, slush-filled Greenbrier River about three miles west. Then they came to Cheat Mountain, which rises a thousand feet in fewer than five miles by road from the river. Adding to the ordeal of climbing the steep road, between six and twenty inches of snow had fallen the night before. The exhausted men and horses reached Huttonsville after dark and then prepared for the attack on Beverly the next day.
The trenches located .25 mile southeast above Travelers Repose were built for the Confederate camp before an engagement here on October 3, 1861. Many of the soldiers who were in the Jones-Imboden Raid also were in that fight. Corp. James E. Hall, Co. H, 31st Virginia Infantry, wrote in his diary of revisiting this site on April 22, 1863: "A very different scenery is presented to the eye now, compared to the way [Camp Bartow] was when occupied by the troops [in 1861]. The hard baked earth has given way to luxurious vegetation, and all over that broad camp a dead silence reigns following the hum and stir of busy camp life. The graves of our soldiers who fell in the battle are all sodded over, and the green grass waves in beauty over those fallen heroes."