The Battle of Rich Mountain was fought on Thursday, July 11, 1861 between Union forces commanded by Brig. Gen. William Rosecrans and Confederate forces commanded by Brig. Gen. Robert S. Garnett in Randolph County, West Virginia during the American Civil War. The battle was a Union victory, routing Confederate forces in western Virginia and resulting in approximately 340 total casualties, mostly Confederate.
Soon after Virginia seceded from the Unites States in May 1861 and joined the Confederacy, Union Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, as commander of the Department of the Ohio, invaded western Virginia under the pretext of protecting unionists there. These western counties would later vote to secede from Virginia and form the state of West Virginia.
Following an ignominious Confederate defeat at the Battle of Philippi in early June, Confederate Brig. Gen. Robert S. Garnett fortified two key mountain passes: one through Laurel Mountain leading to Leadsville and the other through Rich Mountain to Beverly. The smaller force, consisting of 1,300 men and four cannon at Camp Garnett in Rich Mountain, was commanded by Lt. Col. John Pegram.
McClellan brought 5,000 men and eight cannon within two miles of Camp Garnett, where he permitted Brig. Gen. William S. Rosecrans and approximately 2,000 men to conduct a flanking attack, guided by a 22-year-old local unionist named David Hart. On the afternoon of July 11th, Rosecrans’ men surprised, assailed, and eventually overwhelmed the Confederate rearguard on Hart’s family farm.
Pegram realized he was nearly surrounded, so he ordered a quick retreat under cover of darkness. Pegram and Garnett were separated, and Pegram and his men surrendered. Three hundred Confederates were killed or wounded at Rich Mountain. In contrast, Union forces sustained 46 casualties at Rich Mountain and up to 53 at Corrick’s Ford. McClellan was widely praised for his victory and was given command of the Military Division of the Potomac on July 26, 1861.
|Pvt. George Buettner||9th Ohio, Co. K||X|
|Pvt. Gustave Stoecker||9th Ohio, Co. I||X|
|1Sg. David A. Wolcott||Burdsall’s Ind. Company Ohio Cavalry||X|
|1SG William H. Keller||8th Indiana, Co. A||X|
|Cpl. Francis M. Stobaugh||8th Indiana, Co. A||X|
|Sgt. Frank Hall||8th Indiana, Co. B||X|
|Pvt. Samuel Devaughn||8th Indiana, Co. B||X|
|Pvt. Frederick Coppersmith||8th Indiana, Co. D||X|
|Pvt. Asbury L. Kirwood||8th Indiana, Co. D||X|
|Pvt. Collier M. Reid||8th Indiana, Co. D||X|
|Pvt. John H. Walker||8th Indiana, Co. D||X|
|Pvt. Joseph Beck||8th Indiana, Co. E||X|
|Pvt. Benjamin Curtis||8th Indiana, Co. E||X|
|Sgt. George Shane||8th Indiana, Co. F||X|
|Pvt. Henry L. Powell||8th Indiana, Co. F||X|
|Pvt. Philander Wiseheart||8th Indiana, Co. F||X|
|Sgt. Marion M. Stephenson||8th Indiana, Co. G||X|
|Pvt. James Buchanan||8th Indiana, Co. G||X|
|Pvt. Andrew Stutsman||8th Indiana, Co. G||X|
|Pvt. William Lamb||8th Indiana, Co. H||X|
|Pvt. Lemuel Cusick||8th Indiana, Co. K||X|
|Pvt. James H. Emmit||8th Indiana, Co. K||X|
|Pvt. Jacob Sailors||8th Indiana, Co. K||X|
|Cpt. Christian Miller||10th Indiana, Co. A||X|
|Sgt. James A. Taggart||10th Indiana, Co. A||X|
|Pvt. Frank M. Bryant||10th Indiana, Co. A||X|
|Pvt. John Cunningham||10th Indiana, Co. D||X|
|Pvt. James W. Gwin||10th Indiana, Co. D||X|
|Pvt. Henry Rank||10th Indiana, Co. D||X|
|Pvt. John L. Thomas||10th Indiana, Co. D||X|
|Pvt. Aaron Truwiger||10th Indiana, Co. D||X|
|Pvt. Rembt. R. Elenga||10th Indiana, Co. E||X|
|Pvt. Samuel Yocum||10th Indiana, Co. E||X|
|Pvt. James H. McGill||10th Indiana, Co. H||X|
|Pvt. Joseph Blesser||13th Indiana, Co. A||X|
|Cpl. John Powell||13th Indiana, Co. B||X|
|Cpl. John F. Warner||13th Indiana, Co. B||X|
|Pvt. Joseph Cook||13th Indiana, Co. C||X|
|Pvt. William Riffle||13th Indiana, Co. E||X|
|Pvt. John Fordyce||13th Indiana, Co. G||X|
|Pvt. James F. Thompson||13th Indiana, Co. G||X|
|Pvt. Patrick Welch||13th Indiana, Co. G||X|
|Pvt. Allen J. Thompson||13th Indiana, Co. H||X|
June 15, 1861: Confederate Brig. Gen. Robert Seldon Garnett arrives in Huttonsville, Randolph County to take command of Confederate forces there.
June 16, 1861: Garnett assigns Col. Jonathan M. Heck to guard the Staunton and Parkersburg Turnpike at Rich Mountain, while he fortifies Laurel Hill.
July 2, 1861: Union Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan occupies Buckhannon in Upshur County, approx. 23 miles from the Confederate encampment at Rich Mountain.
July 9, 1861: Union forces arrive in front of Rich Mountain and Laurel Hill.
- Jun. 23 Proclamation to the People of Western Virginia
- Jul. 10 Report of Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan
- Jul. 12 Report of Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan (1st)
- Jul. 12 Report of Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan (2nd)
- Jul. 13 Report of Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan
- Jul. 13 Letter from General McClellan to John Pegram, C. S. Army
- Jul. 14 Report of Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan (3rd)