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Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park

You are vieweing item 7 of 7 in this tour.

This is a contributing entry for Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.

After Stop 6 continue along the Patterson Trail, enjoying the scenic overlooks with views of the Galley River below. Once done with the main Picnic Overlook, continue on the Patterson Trail past the picnic shelters until you join with the Old Ferry Road Trail. Take the Old Ferry Road Trail for 0.3 miles. You are following the start of the route taken by Floyd’s Confederate army as they retreated.

Once you are finished with stop 7, you can finish the Patterson Trail loop by continuing on the Patterson Trail to your right. Once you reach the Patterson Trail Connector you can take that back to the point where you started this tour. Alternatively, from the Old Ferry Road you can retrace your steps back to the picnic area to bypass this section of the Patterson Trail. 


"Floyd's command recrossing the Gauley River after the fight of September 10th, at Carnifex Ferry"

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Ecoregion, Map, Slope, Grass

General John B. Floyd

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Report of Brig. Gen. John B. Floyd, page 1

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Report of Brig. Gen. John B. Floyd, page 2

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Report of Brig. Gen. John B. Floyd, page 3

Font, Material property, Screenshot, Publication

Brig. Gen. William S. Rosecrans

Outerwear, Coat, Human body, Beard

Report of Brig. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, page 1

Font, Material property, Parallel, Paper

Report of Brig. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, page 2

Font, Material property, Paper, Publication

Report of Brig. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, page 3

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Report of Brig. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, page 4

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Report of Brig. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, page 5

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Colonel Hugh B. Ewing, 30th Ohio Infantry

Hair, Hairstyle, Coat, Photograph

Report of Col. Hugh Ewing, 30th Ohio, page 1

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Report of Col. Hugh Ewing, 30th Ohio, page 2

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Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park Trail Map

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Floyd’s Confederates had managed to hold off a numerically superior force on September 10th, but Floyd knew that Rosecrans would attack again come morning. With two attempts at his right flank, Floyd knew that Rosecrans had figured out the weak points in his position and the 1,600 reinforcements that he had requested had not arrived to shore up the Confederate line. Around 8:00pm, Floyd sent a message to General Wise to leave one regiment to guard Hawks Nest and bring the rest of his troops up as reinforcements. A bit later however, in consultation with his officers, Floyd decided to retreat to Carnifex Ferry, cross the Gauley River, and move to Dogwood Gap to reconnect to Wise’s force. This retreat was very dangerous. The Confederates’ only escape route was the narrow and steep ferry road and the slow ferry plus a narrow pontoon bridge to cross the river. If Rosecrans figured out that the Confederates were retreating the Union force could easily fire on the retreat from the cliff and practically demolish Floyd’s army. Around midnight Floyd began to quietly withdraw his units out of their positions in the breastworks to the ferry road. Early in the morning they began the crossing over the ferry and pontoon bridge. Miraculously, Rosecrans was not alerted to Floyd’s retreat and the Confederates crossed safely to the other side of the Gauley River, destroying the ferry and bridge behind them to prevent pursuit.

Around daybreak on September 11th, the Union began an artillery barrage on the Confederate works in preparation for their renewed attack. However, pickets from the 30th Ohio soon captured a black servant who had runaway from his soldier master, who told the Union soldiers that Floyd had retreated in the night. With this information, Rosecrans asked Colonel Hugh Ewing of the 30th Ohio to confirm the report and Ewing advanced with a company into the Confederate works which were indeed empty. The 30th Ohio did capture 15 Confederate pickets who had just returned to the Confederate works unaware that their army had retreated. Advancing to the cliffs, the Union troops could see the retreating Confederate army and fired a few (ineffective) artillery shots in their direction. 

Casualties:

Union: 27 killed, 103 wounded, 4 missing

9th Ohio Volunteer Infantry: 1 killed, 8 wounded, 1 missing

10th Ohio Volunteer Infantry: 15 milled, 40 wounded, 1 missing

12th Ohio Volunteer Infantry: 2 killed, 2 wounded

13th Ohio Volunteer Infantry: 4 killed, 16 wounded, 2 missing

23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry: 1 milled, 2 wounded

28th Ohio Volunteer Infantry: 4 killed, 32 wounded

McMullen’s Artillery: 3 wounded

Confederate: 9 wounded, 23 captured

22nd Virginia Infantry: 1 wounded, 3 captured

36th Virginia Infantry: 1 wounded, 3 captured

45th Virginia Infantry: 2 wounded, 12 captured, 1 missing, 1 deserted during combat, 1 died during retreat

51st Virginia Infantry: 3 wounded, 2 captured

Guy’s Artillery: 2 captured (one of which was wounded)

Lesser, W. Hunter. Rebels At the Gate: Lee and McClellan on the Front Line of a Nation Divided. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, Inc., 2004.

Lowry, Terry. September Blood: The Battle of Carnifex Ferry. Charleston, WV: Quarrier Press, 2011.

Shaffer, Dallas B. “The Battle at Carnifex Ferry.” State of West Virginia. Produced by the Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation. C. 1963.

Snell, Mark A. West Virginia and the Civil War: Mountaineers Are Always Free. Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2011.

Stutler, Boyd B. West Virginia in the Civil War. Charleston, WV: Education Foundation, Inc, 1966.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

"Floyd's command recrossing the Gauley River after the fight of September 10th, at Carnifex Ferry." Wikimedia. Accessed May 30, 2022. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/af/Floyd%27s_retreat_after_Carnifex_Ferry.jpg.

Base map from Google Maps. Edited by Kathleen Thompson.

"John B. Floyd." Wikipedia. Accessed May 28, 2022. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_B._Floyd.

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series 1, volume 5, pages 146-148. Accessed May 30, 2022. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077730194&view=1up&seq=162.

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series 1, volume 5, pages 146-148. Accessed May 30, 2022. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077730194&view=1up&seq=162.

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series 1, volume 5, pages 146-148. Accessed May 30, 2022. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077730194&view=1up&seq=162.

"William Rosecrans." Wikipedia. Accessed May 30, 2022. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Rosecrans.

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series 1, volume 5, pages 128-132. Accessed May 30, 2022. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077730194&view=1up&seq=162.

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series 1, volume 5, pages 128-132. Accessed May 30, 2022. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077730194&view=1up&seq=162.

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series 1, volume 5, pages 128-132. Accessed May 30, 2022. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077730194&view=1up&seq=162.

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series 1, volume 5, pages 128-132. Accessed May 30, 2022. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077730194&view=1up&seq=162.

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series 1, volume 5, pages 128-132. Accessed May 30, 2022. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077730194&view=1up&seq=162.

"Hugh Boyle Ewing." Wikipedia. Accessed May 28, 2022. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Boyle_Ewing.

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series 1, volume 5, pages 145-146. Accessed May 30, 2022. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077730194&view=1up&seq=162.

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series 1, volume 5, pages 145-146. Accessed May 30, 2022. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077730194&view=1up&seq=162.

Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park. Accessed May 30, 2022. https://wvstateparks.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/CarnifexFerryBattlefieldStateParkMap.pdf.