November 6, 2013, marked the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Droop Mountain. Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park Superintendent Michael Smith did a great job in organizing a wonderful ceremony to dedicate a new monument to the soldiers killed or died of wounds during the battle. Speakers included my good friends Terry Lowry, author of Last Sleep: The Battle of Droop Mountain, and Richard A. Wolfe, representing the West Virginia Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. I had the honor of reading the names of the fallen soldiers of the West Virginia Mounted Infantry units.
For more information, visit www.droopmountainbattlefield.com.
Charleston Gazette Newspaper coverage of the event: http://www.wvgazette.com/topStories/201311090049
8th West Virginia Mounted Infantry Memorial Hike, Droop Mountain Battlefield, near Hillsboro, West Virginia, August 31, 2013.
Our hike began just south of Hillsboro and followed the route that the 8th West Virginia Mounted Infantry took in attacking the entrenched Confederate position on top of Droop Mountain on November 6, 1863. The regiment lost 3 men killed, and 8 wounded in the attack.
Special thanks to Mike Smith, Park Ranger at Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park, for organizing the 4.15 mile hike.
After several years of searching, I was finally able to secure an image of the grave marker for Colonel Lucien Loeser. He is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.
Special thanks to Jeff Richman, cemetery historian, for his assistance!
Jeff is also leading an initiative to change the federal government’s policy on obtaining markers for Civil War soldiers. Read about it here: www.marktheirgraves.org and be sure to sign the petition.
Descendants of the 7th West Virginia Cavalry (formerly the 8th West Virginia Mounted Infantry) are invited to participate in a memorial hike to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the 1863 Battle of Droop Mountain. The hike will be held on Saturday, August 31st, as part of reenactment activities taking place that weekend.
The hikes will be led by park superintendent Michael Smith along the routes used by troops gathering for West Virginia’s last significant Civil War battle. For safety and logistical reasons participation will be limited and registration is required. Registrants should be in good physical condition. This unique excursion is intended as a memorial hike, not a race, and all participants are expected to remain in a single group throughout the hike. At various points along the way, short readings of official reports, letters, and diaries pertinent to the battle will help relate the modern view with its historical context.
For those unable to make the hike, you are still encouraged to attend the afternoon reenactment activities. A small social tent will be set up during the afternoon to allow descendants of the 7th West Virginia Cavalry to gather and fellowship.
Here is a description of the hike: Start point is near Hillsboro. This is a three mile hike through some fields, but mostly private owned woodland, partly on old log roads. Some sections are extremely steep, possibly requiring use of hands or trekking pole. The route is all uphill and fairly steep overall, with 800 feet elevation change. No support vehicle will be provided; snacks, drinks, and personal items will have to be carried by hikers. Restrooms available at park at end of hike, otherwise relief relies on 1800s protocol. This will be a moderately to difficult hike and is expected to take 3 to 4 hours. Assemble at park office at 7:00 am; early start necessary so participants can be back to park for other reenactment activities in the afternoon.
The required registration/waiver form is located at this web site:
For more information on the Droop Mountain weekend activities, you can call the park at 304-653-4254.
I look forward to seeing many of my fellow 7th West Virginia Cavalry descendants at Droop Mountain on August 31st. Drop me a note and let me know if you plan to attend.
Jon Averill has recently released a new documentary film, Averell’s Raiders and the 35th Star. The film features several prominent historians, including Eric J. Wittenberg, Scott C. Patchan, Dr. David Bard, and Howard R. McManus. It will be available on DVD in July 2013. Watch the trailer below, and visit www.averellsraiders.com for more information.