Fr?mont's Camp

Fr?mont's Camp (HMMFK)

Location: Baker, WV 26801 Hardy County
Country: United States of America

N 39° 6.048', W 78° 50.694'

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En Route to the Shenandoah Valley

For two nights beginning on May 28, 1862, Union Gen. John C. Fr?mont and his approximately 20,000-man army camped on the broad, rolling plateau before you. They had marched from Franklin (Pendleton Co.) three days earlier through the rain and mud, almost out of provisions, to reach this spot. In Washington, D.C., meanwhile, an exasperated President Abraham Lincoln sent telegrams to Fr?mont, urging him to press on to the Shenandoah Valley and give battle to Confederate Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's army. It was tying up Federal forces that Lincoln wanted to support Gen. George B. McClellan's Peninsula Campaign against the Confederate army defending Richmond. Fr?mont had already had an unpleasant encounter with Jackson, who had defeated part of his army at the Battle of McDowell on May 8 and chased him father into western Virginia before turning around to beat Union Gen. Nathaniel Banks's army at Winchester.

Despite Lincoln's repeated orders to hurry back to the Valley and strike Jackson from behind, Fr?mont did not leave this camp until May 30.

The rain and the narrow Lost River gorge slowed him, and he did not arrive in the Valley until June 1. Jackson raced south with his "foot cavalry," past the slow-moving Fr?mont and ahead of Gen. James Banks's pursuing force, and settled into Port Republic. There, on June 8-9, Jackson defeated both Fr?mont and Gen. James Banks in succession, sending them reeling away in retreat and gaining immortality in military history for himself.

Testy Exchanges

May 27, 1862, Lincoln to Fr?mont: I see that you are in Moorefield. You were expressly ordered to march to Harrisonburg. What does this mean?

May 28, Fr?mont to Lincoln: My troops were not in condition to execute your order ... [and] the line of march was a necessity.

May 29, Lincoln to Fr?mont: Please have your force at Strasburg ... by noon tomorrow.

May 29, Fr?mont to Lincoln: My command is not yet in marching order. The medical director this morning protested against its farther advance without allowing one day's rest.

May 30, Lincoln to Fr?mont: Where is your Force? It ought this minute to be near Strasburg. Answer at once.

May 31, Fr?mont to Lincoln: Main column at Wardensville. Heavy storm of rain most of yesterday and all last night.

June 1, Fr?mont to Lincoln: Main body reached five miles from Strasburg at 10 A.M. today. Advance attacked by enemy with considerable force. Expect to bring up our entire force by nightfall.
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, October 27th, 2014 at 2:17pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 686357 N 4330173
Decimal Degrees39.10080000, -78.84490000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 6.048', W 78° 50.694'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 6' 2.88" N, 78° 50' 41.64" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)304
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 442 N River Rd, Baker WV 26801, US
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