General William Averell

November 6, 1863: Battle of Droop Mountain

Nov 6, 2019
Observation tower at Droop Mountain State Park overlooking the Greenbrier River valley.
Chad Matlick

On November 6, 1863, one of the most important Civil War battles in West Virginia occurred in Pocahontas County. In August of that year, Union General William W. Averell had launched a series of raids to disrupt the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad in southwestern Virginia.

August 19, 1863: Union Troops Destroy Saltpeter Works Near Franklin

Aug 19, 2019
General William Averell
E-WV, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

On August 19, 1863, Union troops under General William Averell destroyed the saltpeter works near Franklin, the seat of Pendleton County. This was the first of Averell’s three cavalry raids in 1863, launched from West Virginia toward Confederate railroads, troops, and supplies in western Virginia. Averell had been more or less banished to the West Virginia theater due to his failures during the Chancellorsville campaign.

August 7, 1864: Battle of Moorefield Fought in Hardy County

Aug 7, 2019
Jedediah Hotchkiss / Library of Congress

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 first glance, the battle might not have seemed that significant because Echols’s forces managed to escape.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park, General William Averell, General John Echols, Pocahontas County, Lewisburg, Civil War

On November 6, 1863, one of the most important Civil War battles in West Virginia occurred in Pocahontas County. Union General William W. Averell launched a raid, to trap Confederate troops around Lewisburg.