Battle of Cove Mountain; Crockett's Cove Presbyterian Church
Backstory and Context
On May 10th 1864 Union forces under the command of Brigadier General William W. Averell attempted to attack Saltville, Virginia in order to deprive the Confederates of one of their largest salt producers.2 In order to reach this objective Averell had to cross Cove Mountain, but Confederate forces under the command of Brigadier General William E. Jones were waiting for them.1 Averell led his brigade strength cavalry against the evenly matched Confederate infantry and artillery and was repulsed.
After this first attempt on the Confederate line, Averell regrouped and again attempted to break through only this time he was wounded in the fighting. He suffered a gash across his forehead, which impaired his vision.2 Again, and again Averell attacked the advancing Confederate line causing a running battle that lasted for about four hours.2 The Union soldiers and horses were exhausted, but one final attempt was made to break through the Confederate lines but they were once again repulsed.2
As night fell, Averell accepted that he would not be able to continue fighting the next day and withdrew his forces. After spending the night in the woods, Averell’s cavalry brigade made it back to Christiansburg and linked up with General George Cook who proceeded to destroy the New River Bridge on the Virginia-Tennessee Railroad.3 In total the Union forces suffered around one hundred and fifty casualties while the Confederates suffered only 25.3
2. Johnson, John M. The Battle of Cove Mountain. The Mountain Laurel. 05/1990. Accessed 04/20/2017. http://www.mtnlaurel.com/history/1720-the-battle-of-cove-mountain.html.
3. Civil War Battle of Cove Mountain. Thomas's Leigon. Accessed 04/20/2017. http://thomaslegion.net/battleofcovemountain.html.