By Joe Geiger, Jr.
This book seeks to provide a detailed look at military activities along the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike from mid-September 1861 to the first week of April 1862. This campaign, fought primarily in Pocahontas County, Virginia, included the Battle of Greenbrier River, in which nearly 7,000 soldiers clashed in what was primarily an artillery duel; the Battle of Allegheny Mountain, the bloodiest battle of the first year of the war in present-day West Virginia; the January 1862 raid on Huntersville; and numerous other skirmishes, raids, expeditions, incidents and events.
The evidence shows that although Union forces never planned an offensive eastward along the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike after Major General George B. McClellan departed from western Virginia, Confederate leaders were convinced that failure to defend this road would result in a Union advance toward Staunton, a belief that doomed hundreds of Confederate soldiers to spend a winter in a most inhospitable land.
The soldiers who lived through these tumultuous times would remember their experiences in this remote region for the rest of their lives, and this endeavor was undertaken and completed so that their sacrifices and experiences are documented and preserved for future generations. They would undoubtedly be pleased to be remembered.
About the Author: Joe Geiger is the director of Archives and History at the West Virginia Division of Culture. Geiger has published numerous scholarly articles and a book, Civil War in Cabell County, West Virginia, 1861-1865.