Civil War battlefields in West Virginia are scattered throughout the state. Some are better known than others. All offered importance. The Civil War ripped apart the state of Virginia. When Union troops forced Confederate troops out of western Virginia the residents formed their own government.
When it was accepted into the Union 1863, West Virginia found itself in an interesting geographical position. To the east lay Virginia which contained the capitol of the Confederacy in Richmond. Kentucky, which was to the west tried to remain neutral.
My family was able to visit Beckley, WV for a ski trip a few years ago. We were struck by how rugged the area remains today. The vast vistas and thick forests were impressive. It is hard to imagine that Civil War battles could be fought in these hills. Yet, fought they were.
This list of 3 of the more well known places will get you started on your discovery of Civil War battlefields in West Virginia. Bring your camera. You’re going to want it.
#1 Civil War battlefields in West Virginia.
Rich Mountain Battlefield
Rich Mountain Battlefield Foundation
PO Box 227
Beverly, WV 26253
Phone: (304) 637-RICH
In the Battle of Rich Mountain, what both sites wanted, the Union won. That was control of the B&O Railroad and other transportation routes. The Battle of Rich Mountain was one of the earlier battles of the Civil War.
Rich Mountain is just a few miles west of Beverley, West Virginia. The Rich Mountain Battlefield Foundation has been formed and is at work to develop a visitor center and work for the preservation of the battlefield. Camp Garnett and the battleground have been recognized on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Confederate army was defeated here and control of this part of the state was lost to the federal army. Only two years later, the state of West Virginia was officially recognized and welcomed into the Union.
Rich Mountain Battlefield is still a work in progress. A foundation was formed that has been working hard to help the site realize its potential. Read more about the foundation’s work through the link above.
#2 Civil War battlefields in West Virginia.
West Virginia Independence Hall
1528 Market St.
Wheeling, WV 26003
Phone toll-free: 1-800-CALLWVA
This National Historic Landmark represents the birth of a new state. The first floor is a museum with period artifacts. There are also displays chronicling the events of the Civil War that led to the formation of the state. Tours are self-guided so visitors may peruse at their own pace.
#3 Civil War battlefields in West Virginia.
Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park
Hillsboro, WV 24946
Phone: (304) 653-4254
When Confederate forces tried to gain control of the Virginia ‘” Tennessee railroad they were again turned back by Union troops. The last significant battle in West Virginia was fought here at the Droop Mountain Battlefield. A battle summary made from extracts of the official Civil War records is available at this link.
Visitors are urged to download a map and directions from the website link above. No admission fee is charged. There are 2 picnic areas, 2 playgrounds, hiking trails and a museum.
These Civil War battlefields in West Virginia commemorate the most widely recognized battlefields and achievements. Visit http://www.civilwartraveler.com/EAST/WV/ for a concise list of other sites.
WV Dept. of Commerce
Civil War Traveler.com
Civil War Trails.com
National Park Service
WV Civil War.com