News and Features

New book on Belle Boyd

A new book on Confederate spy Belle Boyd has recently been released. Belle Boyd: The Rebel Spy is the first serious non-fiction account of her life in 34 years. Belle Boyd was from Martinsburg, Virginia (West Virginia) and considered the most notorious and...

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Help Save 4 Battlefields in West Virginia and Virginia

The Civil War Trust now has the opportunity to save 243 acres at four battlefields in Virginia and West Virginia. We are saving a vital tract at the heart of the Cedar Creek battlefield in Virginia, as well as additional acres at another Virginia battlefield, New...

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French honored by Hagerstown Civil War Round Table

The Hagerstown Civil War Round Table presented Steven C. French with its 2016 Henry Kyd Douglas Award. French, a former middle-school teacher, is the author of “Imboden’s Brigade in the Gettysburg Campaign” (2008), which was recognized with three prestigious awards;...

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West Virginia History: An Open Access Reader

West Virginia History: An Open Access Reader West Virginia University Libraries Kevin Barksdale (Marshall University) and Ken Fones-Wolf (West Virginia University) assembled this collection of essays, mostly from the journal they edit, West...

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3 weeks ago

West Virginia in the Civil War

The Battle of Fairmont, April 29,1863 Early Tuesday morning of April 29, 1863, approximately 2,500 Confederate cavalry men under the Command of General William (Grumble) Jones attacked the town of Fairmont. There were only two companies of militia and as many guns as were fit for use to defended our town. The whole defensive force consisted of only 300 men, made up of companies D and F, 106th N. Y. Vols. - 105 men; two companies of the 176th Virginia militia - 117 men; 38 men of company A, 6th Va. a few of company N, 6th Virginia, and about 40 citizen soldiers. There were four main goals of the enemy: destroy the suspension bridge, destroy the railroad, kill Francis H. Pierpont and destroy the defensive line between the North and the South. How many of us would faced such odds as these men did here in our town? Morgantown did not put up any resistance to this Confederate invasion. During this wet, rainy morning the Confederate force entered Fairmont from the west through Barracksville and charged down Hamilton’s Hill. Imagine the frightening sight even in this day and age if 2500 fighting men descended upon us. Here General Jones divided his forces. Part headed for the suspension bridge while the main column galloped into Coal Run Hollow and down the Fairmont-Beverly Pike toward the railroad bridge. Our Union forces crossed over the Monongahela River by way of the bridge removing some of the wooden planks as they went to delay the Confederate force. The Rebels secured some timbers and replace the planks enabling them to capture the Union soldiers. The battle was brief, lasting about an hour. The Union captives were confined in the courthouse yard including A.B. Fleming who was to become the 8th Governor of West Virginia. Included in the destroyed property was the iron railroad bridge that was 615 feet long, a sawmill, a gunstock factory, and the Fairmont National newspaper office. Gov. of Restored Virginia’s, Francis H. Pierpont, library was burned to ashes except for the family bible that is now at the State Museum. (It was saved by a rebel soldier who saved against his commander’s order.) The railroad bridge was replaced in just a few weeks. The Confederate Army took all of the horses, cattle, livestock, and treasures they could find. I often wondered why they did not burn the town. I discovered the reason was that many Southern sympathizes lived here. They convinced Gen. Jones that there would be retaliation to them if the whole town was destroyed. Union reinforcements arrived in the evening from Grafton. They opened fire and Jones and his men retreated. They proceeded with their march that evening. “Wheeling Daily Intelligencer May 5, 1863: The battle April 29th, and was in many respects the most remarkable in the annals of warfare. The great disparity in the numbers engaged; the obstinate, determined resistance made by the Unionists; the length of time they held out; and, stranger still, only one killed and four wounded on our side, while the rebel loss, according to their own admission, was fifty to sixty. Indeed, Gen. Jones told Captain Chamberlin that we had killed and disabled about a hundred of his men. He, as well as the rebel soldie[r]s, complimented us on the gallantry with which we maintained our various positions. Where all who took up arms did so well, it would be invidious to particularize indizidual [sic] acts of heroism.” The Civil War Trails program has installed more than 1,000 interpretive roadside markers in five states. The markers at Civil War sites are in Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, West Virginia and North Carolina. Fairmont has six of these markers in our downtown. 1. Pierpont House 2. Pierpont Graves 3. Jones-Imboden Raid: Attack on Fairmont 4. Jones-Imboden Raid: Battle for the Bridge 5. Jones-Imboden Raid: Fleming House 6. Beverly-Fairmont Turnpike If you would like to have a free copy of the Civil War Trails map, stop by the Marion County Museum located next to the Marion County Court House. While you are there, take a free tour and pick up the Battle of Fairmont handout Information furnished by WV Reenactors Association, Inc. THE BATTLE OF FAIRMONT & the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer May 5, 1863 Dora Kay Grubb ... See MoreSee Less

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