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Camp Carlile was a military training camp on Wheeling Island from 1861 to 1865. Soon after the beginning of the Civil War, enlistment centers opened in Wheeling, causing great numbers to travel to the city to join the Union Army. The Ohio River, the National Road, and the B&O Railroad made Wheeling a transportation hub and a natural center for recruitment and training. Most loyal West Virginia military units were mustered into service at Camp Carlile, and many also mustered out there.

Some of the first troop movements of the Civil War originated at Camp Carlile in the early summer of 1861, when Col. Benjamin F. Kelley moved his forces out to engage the rebels of Philippi. Francis Pierpont received a military salute at the camp on the day of his election as governor of the Reorganized (Unionist) Government of Virginia, June 20, 1861.

The Wheeling camp had several names. The first was simply City Camp, and the second was Camp Logan. Eventually it was named Camp Carlile for John S. Carlile, an early leader in the movement to create West Virginia and a U.S. senator representing Reorganized Virginia. After Senator Carlile fell in popularity the camp was renamed again, this time as Camp Willey, for the U.S. senator and state founder, Waitman Willey.

The camp provided training for different branches of the army. Cavalry, artillery, and infantry were all present at Carlile at various times. Training lasted two to four weeks depending on the specialty of the troops being trained. Cavalry and artillery training lasted three to four weeks.

This Article was written by Diane Davis Darnley

Last Revised on October 18, 2023

Cite This Article

Darnley, Diane Davis "Camp Carlile." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 18 October 2023. Web. 12 July 2024.


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