Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park

Location: Summersville, West Virginia

Webpage: West Virginia State Park

General Description: Early in the Civil War, the area that would become West Virginia was an important supply line for Union soldiers and supplies and was contested by both sides until consolidated by the Union.  As part of this consolidation, Union forces under the command of Brigadier General Rosecrans were driving the Confederates from their positions along the Weston-Gauley Bridge Turnpike.  On September 10, 1861, superior Union forces engaged a Confederate force under the command of Brigadier General Floyd at the point where the Gauley and Meadows River converged.  The Confederates were in an entrenched position at the Henry Patterson farm and thus held off the Union throughout the afternoon.  Rather then facing an all out assault the following day, the Confederates retreated across the Carnifex Ferry to the south side of the Gauley River undetected by the Union during the night.  This battle represented the failure of the Confederates to regain control of the Kanawha Valley in West Virginia.

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Impressions:

1) As this was primarily a small skirmish using temporary trenches there is not much left to see of the battlefield itself.  There are a few interpretive signs in and around the Patterson farmhouse that describe the battle and they have reconstructed a short section of the wooden trenches that are used for the reenactments.

2) There is also a hiking trail, the Patterson Trail, that encompasses the park.  The part of this trail that follows the bluff overlooking the Gauley River provides a couple of opportunities to look down on a small section of the river.  There is a wooden overlook at the parking lot and another overlook about 0.25 mile hike through the woods.  Both overlooks give views of the Pillow Rapids.

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