, 2023-01-20 18:05:18,
HURRICANE, W.Va. — Early research on a Civil War engagement at Hurricane Bridge tended to underestimate the number of soldiers involved, leading historians to mislabel the “battle” as a “skirmish,” according to Hurricane native and historian Dr. Philip Hatfield, Ph.D.
“A skirmish implies this small, sort of insignificant affair, but there were actually many more troops involved,” says Hatfield, who is the author of The Battle of Hurricane Bridge, published in 2019.
There were between 800 and 1,000 troops who fought at the battle of Hurricane Bridge in 1863, says Hatfield.
Military records, in particular the regimental muster rolls, indicate the Confederates had approximately 600 men, and the Union had between 240 and 300 men in an earthen fort the morning of the battle, with approximately 80 more in the regimental field hospital located at Hurricane Bridge.
The location may best be known today as the location of the Mud River Covered Bridge, which was relocated to the battle site to avoid flood damage.
On March 28, 1863, after five hours of continuous fighting, Union troops of the 13th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry under Captain James William Johnson defeated General Albert Jenkins’ Confederates, who then retreated toward Point Pleasant.
“The outcome of the battle had a longer lasting significance, in that it enabled the Union army to maintain control of the James River and Kanawha Valley Turnpike, which was a major supply line,” Hatfield says.
The officers of the 13th West Virginia involved in the fighting referred to it as a battle themselves, Hatfield says. Regimental records at the West Virginia State Archives list principal battles and engagements fought during the war, with the first cited being the battle at Hurricane Bridge.
“I think the logic is if the soldiers who fought there called it a battle, then we should, too,” Hatfield says. “It was significant enough that they included it on a…
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