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HAUNTED BATTLEFIELDS GHOST STORIES AND GHOST PHOTOS

Carnifex Ferry Battlefield Ghost

 

Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park, Gauley River Canyon near Summersville, West Virginia, is an important Civil War battle site. It is a significant historical site. On September 10, 1861 Union troops led by Brigadier General William S. Rosecrans engaged the Confederates and forced them to evacuate an entrenched position on the Henry Patterson Farm which overlooked Carnifex Ferry. The Confederate commander, Brigadier General John B. Floyd retreated across the ferry to the south side of the Gauley River and on eastward to Meadow Bluff near Lewisburg. This Civil War battle represented the failure of a Confederate drive to regain control of the Kanawha Valley. As a result, the movement for West Virginia statehood proceeded without serious threat from the Confederates. Nicholas County was the site of two Civil War battles – Keslers Cross Lanes and Carnifex Ferry.

The Battle of Carnifex Ferry took place on September 10, 1861 in Nicholas County, Virginia (now West Virginia), as part of the Operations in Western Virginia Campaign during the American Civil War.

Learning of Col. Erastus Tyler's rout at Kessler's Cross Lanes, Brig. Gen. William S. Rosecrans moved three brigades south from Clarksburg to support him. On the afternoon of September 10, he advanced against Confederate Brig. Gen. John B. Floyd's camps at Carnifex Ferry. Darkness halted several hours' fighting. The strength of the Union artillery convinced Floyd to retreat across the Gauley River during the night. Floyd blamed his defeat on his co-commander Brig. Gen. Henry A. Wise, contributing to further dissension within the Confederate command.

Casualties
250 total (US and CS) Nicholas County, West Virginia
Result Union victory

Plan of the Battle of Carnifex Ferry, West Virginia.

The Union forces were fought under Genl. Benham and Capt. Hartsuff and Genl. Scammon. Col. Lytel [sic] with the 10th and 12th Ohio Regts. charged the Rebel position in left centre. Col. Smith, the extreme right of the batteries. Col. Lowe directly in front. Col. McCook extreme left of Enemy's position. Col. Lytel [sic] lost a leg. Col. Lowe was killed. McCook fought from 6 to 9 PM. and all laid on their arms during the night. Floyd evacuated his position during the night, leaving all his tents and camp equipage, wagons, horses, large amount of ammunition, 16 guns and 50 head of cattle. Floyd was wounded in the arm. He retreated with great haste, 15 miles on the Charleston road, thence to the Green River. Benham's command lost most during the battle."--Page caption.

Sneden, Robert Knox, 1832-1918.


CREATED/PUBLISHED
[1861-1865]

SUMMARY
Carnifex Ferry is located on the Gauley River east of the town of Gauley Bridge. Floyd's Confederate forces are positioned with their backs to the Gauley River, and the Union is shown attacking chiefly in the center and on the left.

NOTES
Color coding indicates the location of Union and Confederate forces.

NOTE: Researchers will be served a photocopy of this scrapbook image.

Relief shown by hachures.

The Union forces were fought under Genl. Benham and Capt. Hartsuff and Genl. Scammon. Col. Lytel [sic] with the 10th and 12th Ohio Regts. charged the Rebel position in left centre. Col. Smith, the extreme right of the batteries. Col. Lowe directly in front. Col. McCook extreme left of Enemy's position. Col. Lytel [sic] lost a leg. Col. Lowe was killed. McCook fought from 6 to 9 PM. and all laid on their arms during the night. Floyd evacuated his position during the night, leaving all his tents and camp equipage, wagons, horses, large amount of ammunition, 16 guns and 50 head of cattle. Floyd was wounded in the arm. He retreated with great haste, 15 miles on the Charleston road, thence to the Green River. Benham's command lost most during the battle."--Page caption.

This item is from the collections of the Virginia Historical Society; please contact the institution for more information.

In the Robert Knox Sneden Scrapbook (Mss5:7 Sn237:1 p. 436). Manuscripts

 

The Patterson House Museum

During the first weeks of the war, the Confederate government of Virginia recruited troops in western Virginia, assigning Colonel George A. Porterfield to Grafton, which was connected to most of northwest Virginia by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. As Union troops under General George B. McClellan advanced, Porterfield drew his forces back to Philippi. As McClellan neared the region, he sent Colonel Benjamin F. Kelley and the First Virginia Provisional Regiment (later the First West Virginia Infantry) as an advance guard. On the morning of June 3, 1861, Kelley’s troops attacked Porterfield’s forces at Philippi, resulting in a Confederate retreat. This is considered by many to be the first land battle of the Civil War.

To prevent Union troops from advancing further up the Tygart Valley, reinforcements led by General Robert S. Garnett joined the retreating Confederates and established strongholds at Laurel Hill in Tucker County and Rich Mountain in Randolph County. On July 11, Union General William S. Rosecrans won a decisive battle at Rich Mountain and days later, the Confederates were pushed from Laurel Hill. On July 14, the retreating Confederates were routed at their position at Corrick’s Ford and Garnett was killed.

While the Confederates were easily defeated in the northern part of present-day West Virginia, they mustered a better effort in the Kanawha Valley. Former Virginia governor Henry S. Wise, now a general, had established his forces at the mouth of Scary Creek in Putnam County. On July 16, Wise pushed back an attack by forces under General Jacob D. Cox. After the arrival of reinforcements, Cox’s men drove Wise up the valley to Gauley Bridge and eventually into Greenbrier County. The North suffered a setback in August as General Rosecrans’ advance forces were defeated at Kessler’s Cross Lanes in Nicholas County while marching toward Gauley Bridge. Another former Virginia governor, General John Floyd, established his troops on a bluff at the Henry Patterson farm which overlooked nearby Carnifex Ferry.

Union troops attacked Floyd on September 10. Although the Unions casualties totaled 158 compared to 20 Confederate, the larger number of northern forces drove both Floyd and Wise back into Greenbrier County. A significant factor leading to the southern defeat was a long-standing political rivalry between Wise and Floyd.

The battle of Carnifex Ferry placed the important Kanawha Valley in Union hands for the early part of the war. In only a few short months, the North had gained control of northwestern Virginia and the Kanawha Valley.

This battle is reenacted every year at Carnifex Ferry State Battlefield park. Our cabins are located adjacent to the park and are the most convenient lodging to the park and all of its amenities, Summersville Lake, and the Gauley River.

September 8-9, 2007

Civil War Weekend

Reenactment of 1861 Battle of Carnifex Ferry. Also, various living history demonstrations depicting civil war military life. Civil war memorabilia and souvenirs for sale.

Every other year in September, the Battle of Carnifext Ferry is reenacted on the same ground as the original conflict. This reenactment is hosted by Co. A, of the 36th Virginia Infantry, West Virginia's oldest and most authentic living history organization. The event attracts hundreds of the country's best Civil War reenactors from several states and has been heralded as one of the finest small reenactments in the eastern United States.

The two day event includes various living history demonstrations such as camp life, military drill, and a reenactment of the Federal assault on the center of the Confederate line.

Visitors to the park are encouraged to enter the camps and interact with the reenactors prior to the battle reenactment. In fact, walking tours, led by one of the reenactors, are given each day.

 

Carnifex Ferry Battlefield is an official Civil War Discovery Trail site.

The Civil War Discovery Trail links more than 300 sites in 16 states to inspire and to teach the story of the Civil War and its haunting impact on America. The Trail, an initiative of the Civil War Trust, allows visitors to explore battlefields, historic homes, railroad stations, cemeteries, parks and other destinations that bring history to life. For more information on the Civil War Discovery Trail and other programs of The Civil War Trust,
call 1-800-CWTRUST.

Ghost of the Battlefield

Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park is said to be haunted by those lost in the battle. Many have experienced the seeing of strange mist and hearing the sound of phantom gun shots.

Sights sounds and gunpowder smells have been reportred rheough out the year. And a few Re-enactors have told tales of running into strange looking soldiers while setting up for their reenactment of 1861 Battle of Carnifex Ferry. The most active time of the hauntings is said to be exactly September 8-9 and the week before and after.

 

Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park
1194 Carnifex Ferry Rd.
Summersville, WV 26651
(304) 872-0825
1-800-CALL WVA
carnifexferry@wvdnr.gov

156 acres. Picnicking, hiking trails, museum, game courts and playground. Minutes from Summersville Dam and Lake. During the fall, the water released from the Summersville Dam makes the world-class rapids on the Gauley River possible.

ALSO SEE: THE TOP TEN MOST HAUNTED BATTLEFIELD LIST

Though the battles have long ago ended and the sound of cannons and muskets is but a distant memory, there are some souls who are still waiting for the call to “Retreat” – and for them, it may never come!

Make plans to visit a Haunted Battlefield today!

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