Corricks Ford Battlefield

Confederate General Robert S. Garnett took command of the Army of the Northwest after the "Philippi Races" in early June 1861. By June 16, 1861, Garnett's 5,300 troops had dug in west of Beverly at Rich mountain and on Laurel Hill some sixteen miles south. These strategic locations were chosen to stop an invasion by Union Troops commanded by General George McClellan.

McClellan won the victory at the Battle Rich Mountain on July 11. That night, Garnett and 3,500 Confederates abandoned their camp at Laurel Hill and marched south toward Beverly. Fearing trap, they turned northeast in a daring bid to escape. Union troops pursued the Confederates over Pheasant Mountain in a driving summer rain along muddy roads and rain-swollen river crossings. Garnett's army tossed tents, camp furniture, and supplies along the way to lighten the load and block the path of their pursuers. The running battle continued through the night and into the early morning hours of July 13, when the exhausted armies reached Corricks Ford, a river crossing on the Shavers Fork River near present-day Parsons, WV, Garnett and his troops broke off the fight and retreated downriver to make a final stand. Sharpshooters of the 23rd Virginia Infantry were positioned behind dritwood along the riverbank in a desperate bid to stall the enemy. The general remained with his troops as bullets hissed across the stream. As Garnett turned to give an order, a ball struck him and he toppled from his horse. Federal skirmishers splashed across the ford and found the general's body among the wildflowers.

General Robert S. Garnett was killed at Corricks Ford on July 13, 1861--the first general officer to die in the Civil War. His troops fled in disarray, escaping over the mountains and along the river. The events during these first campaigns of the Civil War secured Union control of western Virginia. In June 1863, the new state of West Virginia was born. Five interpretive markers located along the Allegheny Highlands Trail (AHT) in Parsons tell the story of the Battle of Corricks Ford. The markers are easily accessible by foot or bicycle along the AHT, a rail-trail which links Elkins to Hendricks, WV. The scenic Shavers Fork River is only a few steps away.


 

The Corrick House

The Corrick family settled here along Shavers Fork in 1820. In 1851 they built their home (right) near what would become Parsons. After Gen. Robert S. Garnett was shot on the battlefield on July 13, 1861, Union troops carried his body to this home which became a makeshift headquarters, hospital, and prison. The Corrick House stands today near the site where the first general of the Civil War fell.


 

Directions

The Corricks Ford Battlefield Park site is located Parsons, West Virginia, at the southern end of Poplar Street. From I-79, Exit #99 at Weston, WV: Drive time approx. 1 hour 15 minutes, distance approx. 58 miles Exit off I-79 at exit #99 onto US-33, East (Corridor H) Drive approximately 43 miles on US Route 33 Exit right onto US Route 219, North in direction of Parsons Continue north to Parsons on US Route 219 for 14.5 miles Take first right onto Kohler Street in Parsons, then turn right at Poplar Street Corricks Ford Battlefield Park is at the end of Poplar Street From I-68, Exit #4 at Friendsville, MD: Drive time approx. 1 hour 25 minutes, distance approx. 58 miles Exit off I-68 at exit #4 onto MD Route 42 South (Friendsville Road) Drive for 7.2 miles on MD Route 42 South/Friendsville Road Continue onto US Route 219 South/Garrett Highway to Oakland, MD In Oakland turn left at East Oak Street, proceed 0.5 miles Turn right at US Route 219, South Drive 21.5 miles to Thomas, WV Turn right before Thomas to stay on US 219, South, drive 13 miles to Parsons At traffic light in Parsons, turn left onto Main Street/US 219, South Take left onto Kohler Street, then turn right at Poplar Street Corricks Ford Battlefield Park is at the end of Poplar Street