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Upshur promotes local Civil War history

August 4, 2012
The Inter-Mountain

As West Virginia commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Upshur County also seeks to showcase its own Civil War history through the efforts of the Upshur County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Before West Virginia emerged as a new state, local towns once were caught between Union and Confederate soldiers. Numerous battles, historic victories and campaigns were fought in the places current county residents now call home.

Upshur County has a deep history as a Civil War location, and it has four official Civil War markers. Visitors can see Civil War buildings still standing and being used today, and they can immerse themselves in the county's rich heritage and story.

At 16 Marion St., Buckhannon, Confederate Gen. Albert Jenkins overcame some Union resistance during his cavalry raid in the late summer of 1862. Jenkins attacked Aug. 30 and scattered men from several Union units attempting to defend the town. After defeating the town's Union defenders, Jenkins' cavalry marched the prisoners to the courthouse, at 38 W. Main St., and made them burn weapons and ammunition there. The building was used for storage and housing by Federal troops later in the war, causing considerable damage.

The Bassel House, 90 Edmiston Way, Buckhannon, was used by Confederate Gen. John Imboden.

After occupying Beverly for four days, Imboden led his wing of cavalry here to reunite with the wing under Gen. William Jones during their 1863 raid. Long lines of cavalry and wagons passed this spot May 2, 1863.

Kesler's Raid, at 88 Rock Cave Road, Rock Cave, was an important strategic part of an overall attempt to capture Sutton in Braxton County.

In September 1863, Confederate Maj. Joseph Kesler led a raid through Upshur County aimed at capturing Sutton. As Kesler made his way back to his base in Pocahontas County, he captured 70 Union militia men at Centerville.

Visitors can stop by Buckhannon City Park on Park Street to learn more about Gen. George McClellan, a famous Union general whose forces moved through the region; and Buckhannon and Upshur County's shifting loyalties during the Civil War. While Buckhannon and Upshur County remained staunchly pro-Union during the Civil War, the Buckhannon support continually shifted sides as troops from both sides would arrive.

More information about the area's historic sites is available by calling 304-473-1400.



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