Battle of Rich Mountain

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Battle of Rich Mountain

July 11, 1861


Same day


Randolph County, West Virginia


Eastern Theater


Operations in Western Virginia


Union victory

33 star flag.png
Conf Navy Jack.png

Three brigades
Department of the Ohio

Army of the Northwest


George B. McClellan
Major General, USA
William S. Rosecrans
Brigadier General, USA

John Pegram
Lieutenant Colonel, CSA
Robert S. Garnett
Brigadier General, CSA





The Battle of Rich Mountain (July 11, 1861) was a significant battle in the American Civil War. The battle saw Maj. General George B. McClellan face off against Confederate Col. John Pegram near Rich Mountain in what is now West Virginia, a stunning victory for the Union Army, and propelling McClellan's career.

McClellan assumed command of Union forces in western Virginia in June 1861. On June 27, he moved his divisions from Clarksburg south against Lt. Col. John Pegram’s Confederates, reaching the vicinity of Rich Mountain on July 9. Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. T.A. Morris’s Union brigade marched from Philippi to confront Brig. Gen. R.S. Garnett’s command at Laurel Hill. On July 11, Brig. Gen. William S. Rosecrans led a reinforced brigade by a mountain path to seize the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike in Pegram’s rear. A sharp two-hour fight ensued in which the Confederates were split in two. Half escaped to Beverly, but Pegram and the others surrendered on July 13. Hearing of Pegram’s defeat, Garnett abandoned Laurel Hill. The Federals pursued, and, during fighting at Corrick’s Ford on July 13, Garnett was killed. On July 22, McClellan was ordered to Washington, and Rosecrans assumed command of Union forces in western Virginia. Union victory at Rich Mountain was instrumental in propelling McClellan to command of the Army of the Potomac. (NPS summary)