Battle of Moorefield

Battle of Moorefield (HMX15)

Location: Old Fields, WV 26845 Hardy County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 7.877', W 78° 57.069'

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Where the Fighting Started

The Confederate cavalry brigade of Gen. BradleyT. Johnson bivouacked in the fields to your lefton August 7, 1864. Willow Wall (built ca. 1830), visible to your left down the road, was Johnson's headquarters. Johnson's brigade and that of Gen. John McCausland (bivouacked closer to Moorefield) had taken part in Gen. Jubal A. Early'sraid on Washington, D.C., and had burned Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, in retaliation for Federal "depredations" in the Shenandoah Valley,which had likewise been in retaliation for Confederate "atrocities." Union Gen. William W.Averell, whose command was in pursuit, surprised the Confederate pickets north of here byattackingwith "JesseScouts"(Federalsoldiers inConfederateuniforms).He droveJohnson'smen south throughhere toward Parson's Ford. Averell captured four cannons, more than 400 men with their weapons, and—about as bad for theConfederates at thisstage of the war—anequal number of hard-to-replace horses. Earlyclaimed that "thisaffair had a very damaging effect upon my cavalry for the rest of the campaign" in terms of bothmorale and horses. That campaign ended withthe loss of the Shenandoah Valley, the "breadbasket of the Confederacy."

This community, remarkably undamagedby the fight, was home to the Van Meter andMcNeill families. Isaac "Big Ike" Van Meter livedat Fort Pleasant (constructed 1833, behind youand to your right) and enlisted in Co. F, 7th Virginia Cavalry, in the summer of 1862. The unitfought in the Shenandoah Valley and in severalother campaigns. According to Van Meter, "We didnot surrender at Appomattox, but came home, giving Grant's army leg bail to save our horses andprivate effects, and then surrendered in squads atNew Creek or elsewhere, when more convenient."

The other buildings that you see around you include Old Fields Church (1812), the second-oldest church in West Virginia; the Garrett Van Meter House (1835); Buena Vista (1836), built for William T. Van Meter, killed in Gen. Wade Hampton's "Beefsteak Raid" behind Union lines near Petersburg, Va., in 1864; and Traveler's Rest (1856), constructed for GarrettVan Meter's three unmarried sisters: Ann, Rebecca, and Susan Van Meter.
HM NumberHMX15
Placed ByCivil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, September 26th, 2014 at 4:09pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 677092 N 4333344
Decimal Degrees39.13128333, -78.95115000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 7.877', W 78° 57.069'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 7' 52.62" N, 78° 57' 4.14" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)304
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 405 Reynolds Gap Rd, Old Fields WV 26845, US
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