Major General George B. McClellan assumed command of Union forces in western Virginia in June 1861. On June 27, he moved his divisions from Clarksburg south against Lieutenant Col. John Pegram's Confederates, reaching the vicinity of Rich Mountain on July 9.
Meanwhile, Brigadier General T.A. Morris's Union brigade marched from Philippi to confront Brigadier General R.S. Garnett's command at Laurel Hill.
On July 11, Brigadier General William S. Rosecrans led a reinforced brigade by a mountain path to seize the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike in Pegram's rear. A sharp two-hour fight ensued in which the Confederates were split in two. Half escaped to Beverly, but Pegram and the others surrendered on July 13.
Hearing of Pegram's defeat, Garnett abandoned Laurel Hill. The Federals pursued, and, during fighting at Corrick's Ford on July 13, Garnett was killed. On July 22, McClellan was ordered to Washington, and Rosecrans assumed command of Union forces in western Virginia.
Union victory at Rich Mountain was instrumental in propelling McClellan to command of the Army of the Potomac.
Result(s): Union victory
Location: Randolph County
Campaign: Operations in Western Virginia (June-December 1861) next battle in campaign previous battle in campaign
Date(s): July 11, 1861
Principal Commanders: Major General George B. McClellan and Brigadier General William S. Rosecrans [US]; Lieutenant Col. John Pegram and
Brigadier General Robert S. Garnett [CS]
Forces Engaged: Brigades
Estimated Casualties: 346 total (US 46; CS 300)