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Battle of Keslers Cross Lanes


On the night of August 21, 1861, the Confederate army of Gen. John B. Floyd, some 2,100 strong, crossed the Gauley River at Carnifex Ferry, Nicholas County, and began to entrench their position. During the afternoon of Sunday, August 25, the 7th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Union forces commanded by Col. Erastus B. Tyler and numbering approximately 850 men, advanced from near Gauley Bridge to Keslers Cross Lanes, less than three miles from General Floyd’s camp.

Tyler failed to scout the area properly or post sufficient pickets. During breakfast the next morning his regiment was caught in a surprise attack by Floyd’s army. Initially overwhelmed, men of the 7th Ohio fled for their lives until several companies formed a line of defense on a nearby hill. The ensuing battle lasted only 30 to 45 minutes. At its conclusion the 7th Ohio had been entirely routed from their position, with a loss of two killed, 29 wounded, and 110 missing. The Confederates lost one regimental flag and had several men killed and wounded. This Confederate victory temporarily severed the Union army’s lines of communication between the Kanawha Valley and Union headquarters in Wheeling.

Written by Tim McKinney


  1. Lowry, Terry. September Blood: The Battle of Carnifex Ferry. Charleston: Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, 1985.

  2. McKinney, Tim. Civil War in Fayette County. Charleston: Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, 1988.