In late April 1863, the Confederates launched a major raid from Rockingham County into West Virginia. A primary goal of the raid was the destruction of the Cheat River Bridge of the B&O Railroad near the Northwestern Turnpike crossing the Cheat River, 50 miles west of Fort Mill Ridge.
The Confederates divided into two forces of 3000 troops. One force under General William E. "Grumble" Jones which included McNeill's Rangers, reached Moorefield on April 24th. From Moorefield, the force marched northwest through Greenland Gap on April 25th to intersect the Northwestern Turnpike approximately 30 miles west of Fort Mill Ridge. Jones' command then continued west, failing to destroy the Cheat River Bridge, but burning a major bridge across the Monongahela River at Fairmont as well as other railroad bridges and property.
In response to the raid, a force from Fort Mill Ridge was sent to Greenland Gap on April 27th. The Confederates, however, had already departed. After reconnoitering the area, the Federal troops returned to Fort Mill Ridge on April 29th.
Thinking that the Confederates might return by the same route, troops from Fort Mill Ridge were ordered to reoccupy Greenland Gap on May 3rd. The Union force remained in the Gap until May 15th, patrolling the countryside and constructing fortifications. The Confederates, however, continued westward toward Parkersburg, destroying railroad lines deep in Union territory. They then turned southeast toward Sumersville and returned to the Shenandoah Valley by a route well south of Fort Mill Ridge.
Sat 25. fair wether. we had orders to pack our knapsacks and bee ready to move in a moments warning. Sun 26. fair wether. excitement in camp. thair was 80 men went on a scout out of our regement. started at dark. Mon 27. fair wether; thair was 185 of us weat on a scout to Greanland Gap. we left Camp at one p.m. got to the Gap at daylight. went all night. vary hard march. 21 mils from hear to the Gap.
Diary of Joshua Winters, April 1863.