Corricks Ford Battlefield
The Corricks Ford Battlefield is located along the Cheat River and is from the first campaign of the Civil War. The battlefield is now partially preserved thanks to efforts by local preservationists and the City of Parsons. During the battle of Corricks Ford, Confederate General Garnett became the first general of the Civil War to die in battle.
Backstory and Context
The battle at Corricks Ford took place on July 13th, 1861 along the Cheat River as part of the western Virginia campaign. By later standards, the battle was a minor skirmish, with less than 700 total estimated casaulties.
The battle was the end of a series of battles between the forces of Union General George B. McClellan and Confederate General Robert S. Garnett. McClellan had defeated part of Garnett's army on July 11, 1861 during the Battle of Rich Mountain. On hearing of the defeat, Garnett fell back toward Virginia with approximately 4,500 men around midnight that night. Garnett began to march towards Beverly, but had recieved false information implying that McClellan's men occupied the town. The Confederates then backtracked, and abandoned their efforts to secure the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike, and trekked over Cheat Mountain towards the Cheat River Valley. General Thomas A. Morris then pursued the Confederates with the 14th Indiana Infantry on July 13th, 1861, and took over Garnett's forces that were located along the Cheat River. Garnett took it upon himself to guard the rear of the forces with means to delay the Union attacks as the Confederates were retreating. Garnett was shot off of his horse and became the first General to die in battle. Due to the Confederate's retreat and Garnett's death, the Union had sole control over the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike and ultimately western Virginia.
Although there is a heartwarming story to General Garnett's death. The General's dead body somehow ended up in a bed of wildflowers. A Union soldier, who had attended West Point with Garnett, found the general's body and sent it back to his family in what was then western Virginia despite being on opposing forces. This act shows how true it was that families, loved ones, and friends were all forced to split during the Civil War.
Today, monuments to the battle still stand in and around Parsons. According to the American Battlefield Trust, a boulder by the battlefield features a commemorative plaque. Another plaque was built near the Tucker County Courthouse in 1938.