On October 29, 1861, Confederate commander Robert E. Lee departed present-day West Virginia, near the end of his ill-fated western Virginia campaign. The rest of his Civil War career would rank Lee among the greatest generals in history. However, his first campaign was a total calamity.
He had been dispatched to the region to regain territory for the Confederacy. His plans came to a head in September 1861 atop Cheat Mountain in Pocahontas County. Lee’s attack, though, fell apart. His troops made a hasty retreat, and he soon abandoned the effort.