Cheat Mountain, WV

[Camp on Cheat Mountain - Courtesy of the History of the Fifth West Virginia Cavalry]

Date(s): September 12-15 1861

Campaign(s): Operations in Western Virginia (June-December 1861)

Battles in Campaign:



  • Union: Brig. Gen. Joseph Reynolds

  • Confederate: Gen. Robert E. Lee and Col. Albert Rust

Principal Forces: Brigades

  • Union:

  • Confederate:


  • Gen. Robert E. Lee directed his first offensive of the war against Brig. Gen. Joseph Reynolds’ entrenchments on the summit of Cheat Mountain and in the Tygart Valley.

  • The Confederate attacks were uncoordinated, however, and the Federal defense was so stubborn that Col. Albert Rust (leading the attacks) was convinced that he confronted an overwhelming force. He actually faced only about 300 determined Federals.

  • Lee called off the attack and, after maneuvering in the vicinity, withdrew to Valley Head on September 17.

  • In October, Lee renewed operations against Laurel Mountain with the troops of Floyd and Loring, but the operation was called off because of poor communication and lack of supplies.

  • Lee was recalled to Richmond on October 30th after achieving little in western Virginia.

Slide Presentation: None

Classification2: B


  • Union: 80

  • Confederate: 90

Results: Union Victory

Battlefield Websites:

Lodging and Restaurants: West Virginia Tourism

Recommended Resources:

1 National Park Service summary.

2 Classification:

  • A - having a decisive influence on a campaign and a direct impact on the course of the war

  • B - having a direct and decisive influence on their campaign

  • C - having observable influence on the outcome of a campaign

  • D - having a limited influence on the outcome of their campaign or operation but achieving or affecting important local objectives

3 Casualties are someone killed, injured, wounded, captured or missing.

Revised 04/12/2013