Rich Mountain Battlefield Civil War Site
Confederate Stronghold Guarding the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike
Confederate Brigadier General Robert S. Garnett ordered fortifications built here to control the turnpike and hold western Virginia for the South. The fort,built of earth and log entrenchments, overlooked the vital road. By July, 1861, Colonel John Pegram commanded Camp Garnett with 1,300 Virginia troops and four cannon.
Union Major General George B. McClellan was charged with securing western Virginia for the Union. On July 9, 1861, he brought over 5,000 troops to Roaring Creek Flats, two miles west of Camp Garnett. Hesitant to attack the well-entrenched Confederate position, McClellan sent Brigadier General William S. Rosecrans with 1,917 troops on a roundabout route to the south up Rich mountain. Guided by David Hart, whose family lived at the pass, the Federals' goal was to capture the turnpike above and behind Camp Garnett.
Gen. Robert S. Garnett
was killed at Corrick's Ford while retreating from his former position at Laurel Hill. He was the first Civil War general to fall in battle.
Gen. George B. McClellan
was called to Washington to lead the federal Army of the Potomac as a result of the victory at Rich Mountain.
connected the Shenandoah Valley with the Ohio River and gave access to the vital B&O railroad. The battle to control western Virginia began at Philippi, with Union victory secured at Rich Mountain and Corrick's Ford. During the remainder of 1861, Union troops at Cheat Summit Fort faced off against Confederates at Camp Barlow, then Camp Allegheny, but Federal forces remained in control of the strategic road.