Droop Mountain, located three miles south of Hillsboro in Pocahontas County, was the site of one of the most important Civil War battles in West Virginia, as well as the last large-scale engagement fought on our soil. The decisive Union victory ended Confederate efforts to control the new state.
Between August and December 1863, Gen. William W. Averell led his Union soldiers in three daring raids through the mountains and valleys of southeastern West Virginia and southwest Virginia, in an attempt to break or disrupt the vital Virginia & Tennessee Railroad in the vicinity of Dublin, Virginia.
Averell’s second raid resulted in the Battle of Droop Mountain, fought November 6, 1863. Averell, based at Beverly, launched a pincer movement in conjunction with Gen. Alfred N. Duffie, at Charleston, moving to entrap the Confederate forces in the vicinity of Lewisburg. Although the plan failed, Averell’s 5,000-man force of cavalry, infantry, and artillery, clashed with some 1,700 Confederates under Gen. John Echols on the crest of Droop Mountain.
Following nearly six hours of continual artillery fire, musketry, and hand-to-hand combat, Averell’s infantry broke the Confederate left flank at ‘‘the Bloody Angle.’’ The resulting Confederate retreat became a complete rout. Although Echols managed to escape and avoid Duffie, casualties were high on both sides. Averell and Duffie called off pursuit south of Lewisburg and returned to their respective base camps.
Although Averell had won a minor victory he failed to obtain his main objective, and within 10 days the Confederates reoccupied their previous positions. The battle site is preserved today as Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park.
This Article was written by Terry Lowry
Last Revised on July 17, 2012
Cite This Article
Lowry, Terry "Battle of Droop Mountain." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 17 July 2012. Web. 27 March 2017.