Carnifex Ferry

Nicholas County About 15 miles S/W of Summersville

Near Keslers Cross Lanes - Rt 129 to CR 23

Since this is literally on the border between North/Central and South, Ill post links to it on both pages.

August 2009


From the Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park Website:

Nestled on the rim of the Gauley River Canyon near Summersville, West Virginia, Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park is an important Civil War battle site. On September 10, 1861 Union troops led by Brigadier General William S. Rosecrans engaged the Confederates and forced them to evacuate an entrenched position on the Henry Patterson Farm which overlooked Carnifex Ferry. The Confederate commander, Brigadier General John B. Floyd retreated across the ferry to the south side of the Gauley River and on eastward to Meadow Bluff near Lewisburg. This Civil War battle represented the failure of a Confederate drive to regain control of the Kanawha Valley. As a result, the movement for West Virginia statehood proceeded without serious threat from the Confederates.


From Wikipedia:

The Battle of Carnifex Ferry took place on September 10, 1861, in Nicholas County, Virginia (now West Virginia), as part of the Operations in Western Virginia Campaign during the American Civil War. The battle resulted in a Union victory that contributed to the eventual Confederate withdrawal from western Virginia. The campaign helped pave the way for the subsequent creation of the separate state of West Virginia.

In late August 1861, Confederate forces under Brig. Gen. John B. Floyd crossed the Gauley River and surprised the 7th Ohio Infantry under Col. Erastus Tyler at Kessler's Cross Lanes. Outnumbered, Tyler's inexperienced men routed, and Floyd camped near Carnifex Ferry. The Confederates began throwing up entrenchments on the Henry Patterson farm (located on the rim of the Gauley River Canyon near Summersville).

Concerned about Floyd's drive to reclaim the Kanawha Valley, Union Brig. Gen. William S. Rosecrans led three brigades of infantry southward from Clarksburg to support Tyler's regrouped regiment. Moving into position on the afternoon of September 10, Rosecrans advanced against Floyd's campsite and attacked. Fighting raged for several hours until darkness finally halted the bloodshed. The strength of Rosecrans's artillery proved to be problematic, and Floyd decided to retreat that night across the ferry to the south side of the Gauley River. He subsequently moved eastward to Meadow Bluff near Lewisburg.

Floyd, seeking to deflect the blame, placed the responsibility for the defeat on his co-commander Brig. Gen. Henry A. Wise, furthering the dissension that marked the Confederate high command in western Virginia.





Historical Marker located near the parking lot by the overlook. Just go to the end of the road inside the park, and you'll see it.




Nice scenic road through the park.




The marker is nestled up under a tree about 50 meters from the parking lot. The overlook to the ferry is off to the left.




Nearby overlook to the river crossing.




Sign by the overlook. Also explains different spellings.




Sign along the road through the park (see next photo).




Old road described in previous photo.




Another site in the park.




Next to the previous sign (Camp Gauley)




Previous 2 signs and Camp Gauley.




Sign next to Henry Patterson House.




Field next to Henry Patterson House - scene of the battle.




Sign by Henry Patterson House as you enter the park.




View of Henry Patterson House.


This is a very educational site and the ride back here is very nice. Allow plenty of time to stop at other Historical Markers and locations along the way. Babcock State Park is nearby, with the picturesque creek-side mill (the one you see in most WV travel brochures).


Hope you enjoyed visiting Carnifex Ferry State Park.

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