Battle of Philippi

Battle of Philippi (HM13UE)

Location: Philippi, WV 26416 Barbour County
Country: United States of America

N 39° 9.486', W 80° 2.838'

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Inscription

Talbott's Hill

— The First Campaign —

(Preface):In the spring of 1861, Union forces rushed into northwestern Virginia to secure the vital Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, protect important turnpikes, and support Unionists against Confederates. The two sides fought numerous engagements between June and December. They included Philippi (the war's first land battle), Rich Mountain, Corricks Ford, Cheat Summit Fort, Carnifex Ferry, and Camp Allegheny. The many Union victories made Gen. George B. McClellan's reputation and damaged that of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee - a situation reversed in 1862. Despite later Confederate raids, today's West Virginia remained largely under Federal control for the rest of the war.

You are standing where Union guns opened up on Philippi on June 3, 1861, in the first land battle of the Civil War.

As Union forces attempted to secure the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at several points in the month before the battle, the Confederates moved quickly to post their own regiments along the line. Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee ordered Col. George A. Porterfield to raise troops in western Virginia. He reached Philippi on May 30, 1861, where Capt. Albert G. Reger had formed a company. On the same day, Union forces under Col. Benjamin F. Kelley arrived in Grafton, fifteen miles north. On June 2-3, the Federals advanced on Philippi in two columns, one under Kelley and one under Col. Ebenezer Dumont, marching at night in a driving rain.

Dumont arrived first and ordered Col. James B. Steedman to post two six-pounder cannons here on Talbott Hill and then await the signal (a pistol shot) to open fire once the other column was in position. Supposedly, a nearby resident, Mrs. Matilda Humphreys, sent her youngest son, Newton Humphreys, to alert the Confederates. She fired her pistol when Union soldiers intervened and the gunners, thinking it was the prearranged signal, shelled Philippi before Kelley's column arrived.

Col. Frederick W. Lander led Dumont's troops down Talbott's Hill and across the covered bridge in a charge, with Lander pelting down the muddy slope on his horse at breakneck speed. The Confederates fled. The battle resulted in only a few wounded; none were killed.
Details
HM NumberHM13UE
Series This marker is part of the West Virginia Civil War Trails series
Tags
Placed ByWest Virginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 at 10:57am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 582312 N 4334753
Decimal Degrees39.15810000, -80.04730000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 9.486', W 80° 2.838'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 9' 29.16" N, 80° 2' 50.28" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)304
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 101 College Park Dr, Philippi WV 26416, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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