August 7, 1864: Battle of Moorefield Fought in Hardy County
On August 7, 1864, the Battle of Moorefield was fought in Hardy County. The Civil War skirmish occurred shortly after Confederate General John McCausland’s cavalry had burned the town of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, in retaliation for a similar Union raid on Lexington, Virginia. The evening before the clash at Moorefield, McCausland and General Bradley Johnson had camped at nearby Old Fields. They ignored warnings from McNeill’s Rangers—a local Confederate guerrilla group—that their position had been exposed.
At dawn on August 7, Union troops under General William Averell moved south from Keyser along the path of today’s Route 220. Averell’s forces overran the Confederates, capturing 500 men and 400 horses. Confederate General Jubal Early—the overall commander above McCausland and Johnson—wrote that the battle had a, quote, “very damaging effect upon my cavalry for the rest of the campaign.” Moorefield was part of a long summer of defeats that would push the Confederates from the Shenandoah Valley and help ensure President Lincoln’s reelection.
Three months later, in November 1864, another minor skirmish occurred near Moorefield—this one going in the Confederates’ favor.