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This historic church was constructed in 1858 and served as a hospital following the Battle of Cove Mountain, one of several engagements of Union and Confederate forces in this area that occurred in the spring of 1864. On May 10, 1864, a Union cavalry brigade under the command of Brigadier General William W. Averell clashed with a Confederate infantry brigade supported by artillery under the command of General William E. Jones. The hard fought battle lasted a little more than four hours and concluded with a Confederate victory as Union forces were forced to fall back. The defeat meant that the Union failed to reach their objective of seizing Saltville, a town that was a leading producer of salt for the Confederate Army.


  • This historic marker for the Battle of Cove Mountain is located near Crockett's Cove Presbyterian Church.
  • Actual mini ball found at the Battle of Cove Mountain
  • This general history marker for Crockett's Cove is located at the intersection of Crocketts Cove Rd and Cove Rd
  • Crockett's Cove Presbyterian Church, photo from the Virginia Dept of Historic Resources

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    

1. ABPP. CWSAC. Battle of Cove Mountain. Accessed 04/20/2017. https://www.nps.gov/abpp/battles/va109.htm.

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.