Battle for Bath

Battle for Bath (HM13SO)

Location: Berkeley Springs, WV 25411 Morgan County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 37.602', W 78° 13.644'

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Struggle in the Snow

— Jackson's Bath-Romney Campaign —

(Preface): On January 1, 1862, Confederate Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson led four brigades west from Winchester, Va., to secure Romney in the fertile South Branch Valley on the North Western Turnpike. He attacked and occupied Bath on January 4 and shelled Hancock, Md.; he marched into Romney on January 14. Despite atrocious winter weather, Jackson's men destroyed telegraph lines and 100 miles of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad track. Leaving Gen. William W. Loring's brigades in Romney, Jackson led the Stonewall Brigade back to Winchester on January 23. Loring followed on January 31, and the Federals reoccupied Romney on February 7.

At about 10:00 A.M. on January 4, 1862, terrified civilians in Bath (present-day Berkeley Springs) heard the booming of the 4th U.S. Artillery's guns on Warm Springs Mountain (in front of you). Soon, the crackling of musketry from three companies of the 39th Illinois Infantry joined in as Confederate Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's 8,500 men attacked. Facing twenty times their number, the untested Illinois men had an important ally: wind, freezing temperatures, and more than four inches of snow.

Artillery fire, sharp skirmishing, and the difficulty of maneuvering in the snow delayed the Confederate advance for hours. Hoping to capture the Federal garrison, Jackson deployed units to outflank the town while the main body advanced down the road into Bath. Snow and determined resistance delayed his complicated battle plan.

The first Confederate casualty may have been Pvt. William Sybert, 48th Virginia Infantry, who fell in the snow and broke his ankle. The 39th Illinois broke contact shortly before 2:00 P.M. and escaped to Sir Johns Run and Hancock. Jackson pressed on, attacking other companies of the 39th Illinois at Great Cacapon, Sir Johns Run, and Alpine opposite Hancock, but garnering few prisoners. With the Federals pushed across the Potomac River, Jackson could now march west to Romney.
HM NumberHM13SO
Series This marker is part of the West Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByWest Virginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, September 20th, 2014 at 11:19am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 737969 N 4389999
Decimal Degrees39.62670000, -78.22740000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 37.602', W 78° 13.644'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 37' 36.12" N, 78° 13' 38.64" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)304
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 250-298 County Rte 9/9, Berkeley Springs WV 25411, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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