July 17, 1861: Confederate Army Wins Early Civil War Victory in Putnam Co. Battle
On July 17, 1861, Confederates won one of their first victories of the Civil War at the Battle of Scary Creek in Putnam County. Union forces had been dispatched to dislodge Confederates, who had controlled the Kanawha Valley since the war began three months earlier. On July 17, about 1,300 Union troops under the direct command of Colonel John Lowe clashed at the mouth of Scary Creek with about 900 Confederates under Colonel George S. Patton of Charleston. Patton was the grandfather of General George S. Patton of World War II fame.
For nearly five hours, the two sides waged a heavy musket and artillery battle, with relatively few casualties. The Northern troops made several unsuccessful attempts to cross the Scary Creek bridge. After Patton was seriously wounded, Captain Albert Gallatin Jenkins of Cabell County took command and rallied the Confederates to victory.
However, the Southerners’ success was short-lived.
Pressed by Union successes to the north, the Confederates abandoned the valley two weeks later. Colonel Patton recovered from his wounds and went on to a distinguished career before being killed at the Third Battle of Winchester.