Camp Belington Historic Marker
The Camp Belington marker stands on the site of a fortified Union camp that was established in July 1861. The Union host was led by Brigadier General T. A. Morris and was the Union army’s base during the Battle of Belington, also known as the Battle of Laurel Hill.
Backstory and Context
Camp Belington was the fortified Union base camp during the battle held from July 7-11, 1861. The battle is referred to be several names, most often the Battle of Laurel Hill, but also Laurel Mountain or Belington. Union troops at Belington were led by Brigadier General Thomas A. Morris while the Confederates were led by General Robert S. Garnett. The Confederate campsite was two miles away at the foot Laurel Hill.
After Confederate Gen. Garnett took control of a mountain pass, he set up camps at Laurel Hill and Rich Mountain. The forces at Belington and Laurel Hill fought several times over the course of five days starting on July 7th, the attacks were led by Gen. Morris. At the end of the five days, the Confederate troops were defeated.
Gen. Garnett retreated to the Cheat River after learning of Confederate defeats at Rich Mountain at the hands of Union Gen. McClellan’s. Gen. Garnett was killed in the Battle of Corrick’s Ford the day after his retreat and his men lost decisively. Gen. Garnett was the first General to die in the Civil War.
The early victories at Laurel Hill, Rich Mountain, and Corrick’s Ford helped to secure the area that would become West Virginia for the North. This Northern control would be pivotal in the creation of the state of West Virginia.
Powell, Bob. July 7, 1861: Battle of Laurel Hill Begins in Barbour County. WV Public Broadcasting. July 07, 2017. Accessed February 24, 2019. http://www.wvpublic.org/post/july-7-1861-battle-laurel-hill-begins-barbour-county#stream/0.
Laurel Hill and the First Land Battles of Civil War. Battle of Laurel Hill. Accessed February 24, 2019. http://www.battleoflaurelhill.org/history.htm.