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Battle of Cheat Mountain
September 12, 1861
September 15, 1861
Battle of Cheat Mountain

Other names: Cheat Summit, Fort Milroy

Joseph Reynolds [US] defeats Robert E. Lee [CS]
West Virginia
  Operations in Western Virginia
  Robert E. Lee

Battle of Cheat Mountain

Other Names: Cheat Mountain Summit, Cheat Mountain Fort

Shortly after Manassas General Robert E. Lee rode west from Richmond, crossing the Blue Ridge Mountains to the city of Staunton in the middle of the Shenandoah Valley. At the east end of the Parkersburg-Staunton Turnpike, the town was of concern to the Confederacy because Union forces were slowly moving in that direction from the Union stronghold of Charleston, West Virginia.

In July George McClellan ordered a fort built to protect the pass beneath the summit of Cheat Mountain. By the time the fort was completed McClellan had moved east and William S. Rosecrans was in overall command. In the tiny town of Elk Water (or Elkwater) Joseph J. "J. J." Reynolds [US] established his headquarters, securing a supply line to the fort along the Parkersburg Turnpike.

Reynolds was busy training his raw recruits from Indiana and Ohio when Lee and "Old Blizards" (W. W.) Loring showed up at the western entrance to Cheat Mountain. For most of the time since late July Lee and Loring argued over just about everything. With John Floyd and Henry Wise also in bitter dispute it is not surprising that the Confederate Western Virginia command structure was a shambles.

Lee wanted Loring to attack and secure Cheat Mountain fort while he drove the Union defenders out of Elk Water. Colonel Albert Rust was entrusted with the attack. Lee realized before issuing the orders that successfully taking the fort would be nearly impossible, he just wanted a diversion so Reynolds would be distracted or even send additional troops to support the fort or reinforce the line of supply.

Links appearing on this page:

George McClellan
John Floyd
Robert E. Lee
William S. Rosecrans

Battle of Cheat Mountain was last changed on - September 12, 2009
Battle of Cheat Mountain was added on - June 7, 2006

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