Wire Bridge Engagement

Wire Bridge Engagement (HM1JIH)

Location: Springfield, WV 26763 Hampshire County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 25.552', W 78° 42.94'

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Federal Attack on Romney

On October 24, 1861, Union Gen. Winfield Scott ordered Gen. Benjamin F. Kelley to strengthen his position at New Creek Station (present-day Keyser) on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and then march to Romney and occupy the town. Situated on the North Western Turnpike and the largest town in the South Branch Valley, Romney had strategic importance. Kelley planned a two-pronged attack for October 26. He led the main force from the west on the turnpike, while Col. Thomas Johns, 2nd Regiment Potomac Home Brigade, attacked from the north. Johns was to push across the Wire Bridge here, march south, and strike Romney from the east.

Johns, however, encountered stiff resistance her. He reported that Confederates had entrenched "riflemen on an eminence immediately fronting the suspension bridge. Captain Alexander Shaw, of Company A, who led the advance of the column to this point, was with his company, directed to lead the way across the bridge, at a double quick step. ... About half way across the bridge, [Shaw] discovered that a portion of the plank flooring on the further side had been removed. The enemy on discovering the movement, open fire by volley, killing one and wounding six of my men, causing the company to seek shelter behind the parapets of the bridge."

When Johns heard Kelley's guns firing as the general entered Romney, Johns broke off contact and withdrew to Maryland, considering his part of the attack complete.

Kelley's troops occupied Romney until January 10, 1862, when they retreated to Cumberland, Maryland, over this bridge as Confederate Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson approached from Winchester.

(lower left) Gen. Benjamin F. Kelley Courtesy Library of Congress
(Top center) "Gen. Kelley's troops crossing the long bridge, near Romney, on his retreat to Cumberland," from New York Illustrated News, 1862 Courtesy Library of Congress
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 Thursday, March 12th, 2015 at 9:01pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 696623 N 4366527
Decimal Degrees39.42586667, -78.71566667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 25.552', W 78° 42.94'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 25' 33.12" N, 78° 42' 56.4" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)304
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 6129 Cumberland Rd, Springfield WV 26763, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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