The First Campaign

The First Campaign (HMGAK)

Location: Beverly, WV 26253 Randolph County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 50.459', W 79° 52.521'

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Civil War Begins in the Mountains of (West) Virginia

— The First Campaign —

West Virginia, born of a nation divided, was the setting for the first campaign of America's Civil War. Although still part of Virginia in 1861, many citizens of the west remained loyal to the Union, rather than the Confederacy. By late May, Union General George B. McClellan, commanding the Department of the Ohio, launched the first campaign, ordering troops to cross the Ohio River and secure "Western" Virginia for the Union.

Here, during June-July 1861, McClellan's army won the inaugural Union victories of the Civil War. Hailed as the North's first battlefield hero, McClellan was summoned to Washington on July 22, following a stunning Union debacle at Manassas, Virginia. Federal troops now occupied Western Virginia, as loyal delegates met in Wheeling to form the "Restored Government of Virginia," a Union government to oppose the Confederate one in Richmond.

By August 1861, Southern forces again threatened. Confederate General Robert E. Lee attempted to reclaim Western Virginia, but failed miserably. Troops of both armies remained to guard the mountain passes during that terrible winter. By 1862, conflict shifted east. The first campaign proved to be decisive: the western counties under Union control became the new state of West Virginia in 1863. The arduous conflict in these mountains forged armies and leaders-notably McClellan, Lee, and Stonewall Jackson - who shaped the course of the Civil War.

"The history of that remarkable campaign would show, if truly portrayed, a degree of severity, of hardship, of toil, of exposure and suffering that finds no parallel."
Col. Samuel V. Fulkerson, C.S.A.
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 Sunday, October 26th, 2014 at 12:20pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 597604 N 4299731
Decimal Degrees38.84098333, -79.87535000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 50.459', W 79° 52.521'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 50' 27.54" N, 79° 52' 31.26" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)304
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 100-198 Main St, Beverly WV 26253, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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