Battle of Cheat Mountain

Battle Of Cheat Mountain

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Battle of Cheat Mountain

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The Battle of Cheat Mountain, also known as the Battle of Cheat Summit Fort, took place September 12–15, 1861, in Pocahontas County and Randolph County, Virginia (now West Virginia) as part of the Operations in Western Virginia Campaign during the American Civil War. It was the first battle of the Civil War involving Robert E. Lee.


Confederate General Robert E. Lee, directing his first offensive of the war, devised a strategy which included a two-pronged simultaneous attack against Colonel Nathan Kimball's fortress on the summit of Cheat Mountain and against Brig. Gen. Joseph J. Reynolds' entrenchments at Elk Water on the Tygart Valley River. Approximately 4500 Confederate soldiers moved to attack Cheat Summit. The Union defenders numbered 1800 men at Fort Milroy.


The approaches by each of the three Confederate brigades were uncoordinated. Rain, fog, mountainous terrain, and a dense forest limited visibility to minimal distances. As a result, each of the three Confederate brigades assigned to attack Cheat Summit Fort acted independently and never made contact with either of the other two Confederate brigades. The Union defenders on Cheat Summit were very familiar with the terrain and mountain trails.

Information from captured Federal soldiers was so misleading and two Federal probing attacks from Cheat Summit Fort were so aggressive that Confederate Colonel Albert Rust and Brigadier General Samuel R. Anderson, each leading approximately 1500...
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