Raids On Beverly Reenactment
Saturday May 4
9 am – 1:30 pm – Union occupied Beverly
Period sutlers and crafts demonstrators
10:30 am – Civilian social and sewing circle
2:30 pm - Confederate Gen. Imboden Raid Reenactment
Following Raid – Confederates occupy Beverly
5:15 pm - Hearty Camp Dinner ($10, reservations encouraged)
7:30 pm - Spring Gala Civil War Ball with Rich Mountain String Band
(beginners welcome, all dances taught, period dress encouraged but not required)
Sunday May 5
10 am – Period Church Service at Beverly Presbyterian Church. 19th century music by Mountain Winds woodwind ensemble. Period dress welcome.
11:30 am – Lunch at church hall. ($6, reservations encouraged)
1:30 pm – Mudwall Jackson’s Raid on Beverly
Beginning in late April 1863, Confederate Generals William E. Jones and John Imboden led a month-long raid through West Virginia. Their goals were to wreck the vital B & O Railroad, cripple the Union government in Wheeling, and seize horses and cattle badly needed by the Confederacy.
Splitting into two columns totaling about 5,000 men, Jones and Imboden left their camps near the Shenandoah Valley and circled the state. Jones pushed north, destroying railroad bridges, tunnels and track. Moving west to “Oiltown” at Burning Springs, he torched some 150,000 barrels of crude, turning the Little Kanawha River into an inferno.
General Imboden’s exploits were no less dramatic. Marching northwest along the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike, he struck the Union depot at Beverly on April 24th, wounding Sheriff Jesse Phares who still managed to sound the alarm. Imboden met resistance from 900 Federals under Col. George Latham of the 2nd West Virginia Infantry, but the defenders fled by nightfall, burning large quantities of supplies and a portion of the town. Imboden’s raiders entered Beverly to the cheers and waving handkerchiefs of the citizens, now liberated from their “Yankee” occupiers.
The raiders chased small Union forces from Buckhannon, Weston, and points south before rejoining General Jones at Summersville and returning east. Although the raid fell short of their goals, they wrecked railroads and turnpikes, demoralized Union troops, and threw the Wheeling government into a panic. An estimated 3,000 cattle and more than 1,200 horses were driven south through Beverly by the raiders—stock that kept Confederate troops in the field for two more years.
Jackson’s Raid on Beverly
General JacksonIn July of 1863, William L. Jackson and his troops were ordered to take Beverly from the Union occupation stationed there. Jackson’s Raid only lasted a few days, and though the Confederates gained supplies, they failed to retake the town of Beverly. Gen. William L. Jackson, later sometimes known as “Mudwall” Jackson, was cousin to the better known Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. As a Colonel of the 31st Virginia Infantry, in 1861, Jackson was stationed in Huttonsville to block Union movement towards Staunton. In 1862, he served on the staff of his cousin “Stonewall”. In 1863, William Jackson recruited a new unit, the 19th Virginia Cavalry, which participated in several raids and actions in Union-held western Virginia. He and his men participated in the Jones-Imboden Raid, including the attack on Beverly on April 24, 1863. In early July, 1863, Jackson’s troops returned to Beverly. Jackson came up from “the back” of Beverly by way of Cheat Pass and the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike. With Beverly surrounded, Jackson thought a victory was apparent. Unfortunately, a woman from Beverly, who was out walking, found the hidden Confederate troops and was able to warn the Union troops in Beverly. Jackson ordered artillery fire to commence, and throughout at least 2 days the Confederate troops continued to bombard the town. Eventually, the Confederates were shaken off, and apparently chased part way down the turnpike. In the Civil War Official Records, Jackson enumerates these statistics “Our loss in the attack and various skirmishes is as follows: Killed, 4; wounded 5; missing, 4. Among the killed was the gallant Lieut. William Harris, who died after being mortally wounded while bravely leading his men in a brilliant charge. The loss of the enemy, from the best information I can obtain, is as follows: Killed, 40; wounded, 67; prisoners, 55. We also captured a number of horses and cavalry equipments and arms”.
Confederate Raids on Beverly Reenactment
Confederate soldiers will once again raid Beverly on May 4th and 5th, just as they did 150 years ago during 1863. The reenactment event is open to the public and will include a host of free activities.
“We will present actual events that happened in Beverly in 1863, and will have many opportunities for the public to participate, in addition to watching the activities,” according to Darryl DeGripp, Executive Director of the Beverly Heritage Center.
On Saturday, May 4, Union soldiers will be much in evidence, as Beverly was occupied by Federal troops for most of the Civil War. At 2:30 pm Saturday, along Walnut Street behind the Beverly Heritage Center, Confederate troops reenacting Gen. Imboden’s spring 1863 raid will attack the town. During the raid, the Union troops will retreat and Confederates will take control of the town.
Saturday will also feature living history of the occupied town before and after the raid, with Civil War camps, sutlers selling period goods, and civilian activities. A camp dinner will be available to the public at 5:15 p.m. for $10. The Civil War Ball at 7:30 p.m. with Rich Mountain String Band will teach 19th century period dances, and the public is invited to participate.
Sunday’s reenactment will represent the Gen. William L. “Mudwall” Jackson raid from July 1863, at 1:30 p.m. in the afternoon. Sunday visitors are also invited to the Beverly Presbyterian Church at 10 a.m. for a period church service with 19th century music by Mountain Winds woodwind ensemble. A light lunch will be available for $6 at the church hall following the service and prior to the Sunday reenactment.
Reenactment activities will be taking place in the Town of Beverly, and local residents are encouraged to participate. “We want to alert townspeople that the reenactments on Saturday and Sunday afternoon will be noisy with the sound of black powder gunfire,” DeGripp said. Any citizens concerned about noise or impact may contact the Beverly Heritage Center to get details of when and where these activities will take place.
The weekend is sponsored by the Beverly Heritage Center and Rich Mountain Battlefield Foundation, and hosted by the West Virginia Reenactors Association. Partial funding is provided by the West Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission. Sponsorship opportunities are available for supporting businesses.
“This will be a unique event, offering a taste of what Beverly would have been like 150 years ago. We hope visitors and local residents will all come out and participate in these unique reenactment activities,” said DeGripp. For more information or meal reservations, contact the Beverly Heritage Center at 304-637-7424, email at email@example.com, visit our webpage at www.beverlyheritagecenter.org, or find us on Facebook.
Sponsored by Rich Mountain Battlefield Foundation
and the Beverly Heritage Center, and hosted by
the West Virginia Reenactors Association. Funded in part by
the West Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission.
For more information contact:
RICH MOUNTAIN BATTLEFIELD FOUNDATION
PO Box 227, Beverly, WV 26253, (304) 637-7424
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Contents copyright 2013 Rich Mountain Battlefield Foundation