Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park
On November 6, 1863, the federal army of Brigadier General William W. Averell, in his second attempt to disrupt the Virginia-Tennessee Railroad at Salem, Virginia, faced again the Confederate troops of Brigadier General John Echols. Throughout the morning, Echols’ smaller Confederate Army held the high ground and blocked the roadway with artillery, but in the afternoon was overwhelmed by the crushing advance of Federal Infantry on his left flank.
Following the collapse of his lines, General Echols retreated south into Virginia with the remnants of his command. Federal troops occupied Lewisburg on November 7, but were burdened with prisoners and captured livestock; General Averell elected to return to his headquarters in Beverly. He waited until early December to lead a third and ultimately successful attack on the vital railroad.
Operations in the Shenandoah Valley in the spring of 1864 drew remaining confederate troops out of West Virginia, thus leaving the new state securely under the control of the federal government for the remainder of the war.
The battlefield site was purchased by the state in 1928 and dedicated on July 4, 1929 as a memorial to the casualties of the battle. The Park was rebuilt through the efforts of the Civilian Conservation Corps who built a system of trails and a wooden observation tower. Land acquisitions over the years resulted in the 267 acres the Park boasts today.
Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park is located in the southern portion of Pocahontas County and is the site of West Virginia’s last significant Civil War battle.
The Division of Parks assumed administration of Droop Mountain Battlefield in 1937 after the Division of Forestry held stewardship for many years and the ark remains essentially the same as it was in the beginning. A small Civil War museum was refurbished in 1974 from an early forest division cabin.
A replica Civil War cannon was acquired in 1965 and helps add period atmosphere to the park. A re-enactment of the famous Civil War battle is held on alternating years complete with smaller skirmishes, ladies social, and period worship service.
Reports of ghosts and voices from the Civil War period, having been seen and heard in the park, have circulated through the years since the battle. Reports from more recent years include the sound of galloping horses. A headless confederate specter has been reported to be seen on more than one occasion in addition to the figure of what appeared to be a sleeping confederate soldier lying against a tree.
Whether you come to hike the family-friendly trails, peer over the valley from the lookout tower, or probe the ghost tales in person, you will find Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park an exciting and educational experience.
The Park features a replica lookout tower to view the expansive Little Levels valley and a museum located in the remaining cabin left from the original cabins built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. The museum houses several artifacts from the Civil War events in Pocahontas County.