Attack on Fairmont

Attack on Fairmont (HMDZO)

Location: Fairmont, WV 26554 Marion County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 29.017', W 80° 8.417'

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Watching from the Kearsley House

— Jones-Imboden Raid —

(Preface):On April 20, 1863, Confederate Gens. William E. "Grumble" Jones and John D. Imboden began a raid from Virginia through present-day West Virginia against the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Taking separate routes, they later reported that they marched 1,100 miles, fought several engagements, captured 100 Federals, seized about 1,200 horses and 4,000 cattle, and burned 4 turnpike bridges, more than 20 railroad bridges, 2 trains, and 150,000 barrels of oil. Most bridges were soon repaired. Confederate losses were slight. By May 26, both commands had returned to Virginia's Shenandoah Valley.

Here, at the foot of the Fairmontsuspension bridge, ConfederateGen. William E. Jones watched on April 29, 1863, as his men attacked Fairmont to destroy the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad bridge upstreamat present-day 12th Street. Jones, behind you at the Kearsley House, later Skinner's Tavern, watched the fight for the suspension bridge. You can still see some of the bullet-pocked bridge piers on the riverbanks. The suspension bridge (1852-1908) spanned the Monongahela River between Fairmont and Palatine.

Jones divided his force, sending the main column up the Beverlyand Fairmont Turnpike on this sideof the river to the railroad bridge, while the 12th Virginia Cavalry and the 35th Virginia Battalion fought their way across the suspension bridge here. The Union defendersat the Palatine foundry included the Fairmont and Mannington Home Guards and detachments from the 13th Pennsylvania Cavalry and the 6th West Virginia Infantry. Thefoundry garrison had removed thefloorboards, but the Confederatesreplaced them, charged across,captured the foundry, and rodeupstream to the railroad bridge.

A trainload of Union reinforcements arrived from Grafton but was driven off. Jones reported "12 killed and many wounded"among the defenders, and only threeConfederates wounded, whom he left in the care of "kind friends." That night, Jones paroled 260 Federal prisoners confined in the courthouse(1844-1897) yard before leaving to attack Bridgeport. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad bridge was destroyed but was repaired a few weeks later.

"The fruits of this day's work . .. were 4 railroad bridges destroyed, 1 piece of artillery, 300 small-arms, 260 prisoners, and many fresh horses captured. . . . My orders were in all cases to respectprivate property. One or two stores were plundered, but as far as practicable the goods were restored." —Gen. William E. Jones
Series This marker is part of the West Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByWest Virginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, September 1st, 2014 at 4:08pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 573935 N 4370799
Decimal Degrees39.48361667, -80.14028333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 29.017', W 80° 8.417'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 29' 1.02" N, 80° 8' 25.02" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)304
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 101 Cleveland Ave, Fairmont WV 26554, US
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