A Confederate-dug trench line makes an ‘S’ turn as it follows a hillside contour at the former Camp Bartow.

by Rick Steelhammer, for the Charleston Gazette, February 11, 2017

The core section of Camp Bartow, a fortified encampment with still-visible earthworks built by 1,800 Confederate soldiers, has been preserved and will eventually be opened to the public following its recent purchase by the West Virginia Land Trust.

The encampment was built by soldiers from Georgia, Arkansas and Virginia who occupied the site for several months during the opening year of the Civil War, and it was used to fend off an attack by a much larger Union force during the Oct. 3, 1861, Battle of Greenbrier River.

The 14-acre tract, bought with assistance from the national Civil War Trust, Pocahontas County Commission, state Division of Highways, Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike Alliance and First Energy Foundation, overlooks the East Fork of the Greenbrier River and borders a still-used segment of the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike, a strategic east-west supply route during the Civil War.

The site also overlooks Travellers Repose, a 19th-century inn serving Turnpike users that was torched during the Civil War but rebuilt on the same site a few years after hostilities ended.

Read the entire article….


Medal of Honor Recipient, Lt. Col. Charles E. Capehart, 1st West Virginia Cavalry

Antietam Camp #3, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) will hold its Ninth Annual Medal of Honor Ceremony on the National Medal of Honor Day, on Saturday, March 25th, 2017 at 10:00 AM at Monterey Pass Battlefield Park.

This year’s honoree will be LTC Charles E. Capehart, of the 1st West Virginia Cavalry, who earned his Medal of Honor during the Battle of Monterey Pass on July 4th, 1863 following the Battle of Gettysburg.

The guest speaker will be Mr. John A. Miller, Washington Township Historian, and Operations Director of Monterey Pass Battlefield Park, who will give an overview of LTC Capehart and of the action that day leading to his Medal of Honor. The program will conclude with a wreath-laying ceremony honoring LTC Capehart, featuring a Civil War Color Guard and Bugler, who will play “Taps.”

Following the ceremony, an informal lunch will be held at “The Keystone Family Restaurant,” 10530 Buchannan Trail East, Waynesboro, PA 17268.

The ceremony is open to the general public.

For more information, please contact Stuart D. Younkin, Camp Commander, at (540) 931-4679; or George Tommy Chapman, Senior Vice-Commander at 540-454-5560.

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 Market Heights—a battle in which 23 members of the United States Colored Troops received the Medal of Honor. In the Mountain State, we are preserving a massive 200-acre tract at Harpers Ferry, which figured prominently in the 1862 battle and siege. Lastly, we are saving the first acres ever preserved at Greenbrier River, scene of an early war clash in West Virginia.

Take advantage of a $14.96-to-$1 match and help us save these four battlefields!

Click here for more information….

Photo: Civil War Trust

Photo: Civil War Trust

An 11-acre parcel of the Shepherdstown Battlefield was purchased through negotiations by the Civil War Trust assisted by Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission.

Read the entire story via the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission…



char_flat_500_webThe Battle of Charleston, and the 1862 Kanawha Valley Campaign

by Terry Lowry

The Battle of Charleston (West Virginia), fought September 13, 1862, between the Confederate forces of Gen. William Wing Loring and the Federal command of Col. Joseph Andrew Jackson Lightburn, pales in comparison to many of the more well-known and documented engagements of the American Civil War. Yet the battle and the activities comprising the 1862 Kanawha Valley Campaign, particularly Lightburn’s subsequent retreat, beginning at Fayetteville and ending at Point Pleasant, were of much more strategic importance than readily meets the eye and held special meaning for many of its participants.

One such individual was Sgt. Joseph Pearson, Company F, 44th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, who wrote about the battle of Charleston in his journal, “We had several killed and wounded in this affair, but it was only a skirmish to what we afterwards learned of war. Yet I was more impressed with the dread[ful] feeling of that little action than all the others I was in to the finish.”

The 1862 Kanawha Valley Campaign has long been neglected by scholars, probably due to the great national attention placed on the Battle of Antietam and the Maryland Campaign, which took place during this same time period. Owing to the meticulous work of author/historian Terry Lowry, it has finally been given its due.

487 pages, 8.5×11 trim size, hard cover, 332 photos and images (many never before published), 11 maps

Available here from 35th Star Publishing….

Greg Carroll

Greg Carroll

The boom-and-bust cycle that to this day marks West Virginia’s economy was set in motion not too many years after the Mountain State’s emergence as a state in 1863, said historian Greg Carroll.

Carroll will present a portrait of the tangled and influential political and social history of the state’s early years in the free lecture “Reconstruction in West Virginia, 1865-1875: A Failure that Led to Future Mistakes,” at 6 p.m. Thursday, September 15, 2016, in the Archives and History Library at the Culture Center in the state Capitol Complex.

Read the full article from the Charleston Gazette….

Patrons may park behind the Culture Center after 5 p.m. for the lecture and enter the building at the back loading dock area. There also is limited handicapped parking available in the new bus turnaround. Visitors parking there should enter at the front of the building. For more information on the Archives and History lecture series, call 304-558-0230.


mike smith retirement july31 2016

[L-R]: Terry Lowry, Hunter Lesser, Billy Joe Peyton, Mike Smith, Steve Cunningham, Rick Wolfe

After 34 years of faithful service to the state of West Virginia, Droop Mountain Battlefield Superintendent Mike Smith has retired.  Smith was also responsible for nearby Beartown State Park.

To honor his many contributions to preserving and interpreting the Droop Mountain Battlefield, West Virginia historians honored Mike with a surprise lunch party on his last day at the park.

More info on Droop Mountain Battlefield….

Read a article on Mike Smith by Rick Steelhammer of the Charleston Gazette…


Six West Virginia State University students, working with two history professors and an archaeologist, have spent the past two weeks on a hilltop overlooking downtown Charleston.

They’re digging into the task of learning more about one of West Virginia’s best-preserved yet least-known Civil War forts — despite the fact that two men who would later be U.S. presidents served together there.

Built in May 1863 by men from three Union regiments under the command of Col. Rutherford B. Hayes, who would go on to become the nation’s 19th president, Fort Scammon was named in honor of Hayes’ predecessor as commanding officer of the 23d Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Col. Eliakim Parker Scammon, who left the regiment in October 1862 after being promoted to brigadier general.

Read the entire article from the Charleston Gazette….

Historic Preservation Lecture: Investigating Fort Scammon, Charleston’s forgotten citadel by Dr. Billy Joe Peyton

The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History is continuing its lecture series to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act. Dr. Billy Joe Peyton will present the talk, “Investigating Fort Scammon: Charleston’s forgotten citadel” at 6 p.m., Thursday, June 23, 2016, at the Culture Center, located on the state capitol grounds, in the Museum Education Media Room. The lecture series is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact John Adamik, education and planning coordinator for the State Historic Preservation Office, at 304-558-0240.


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