CWTrust Civil War site protected by West Virginia Land Trust


1st Lieutenant
Mar 16, 2016
Civil War site protected by West Virginia Land Trust

BARTOW — The West Virginia Land Trust recently purchased property at Camp Bartow, a Civil War site in Pocahontas County that was the scene of the Battle of Greenbrier River in 1861.

The 14-acre tract lies in the heart of the battlefield and fronts the historic Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike, once a major east-west route across Virginia.

“This well-preserved camp and battlefield is a living testament to American values and the true cost of war. It is gratifying to witness the vision and commitment of the West Virginia Land Trust in protecting this Pocahontas County treasure,” said Hunter Lesser, West Virginia author and interpreter.

The site overlooks the East Fork Greenbrier River and the historic “Travellers Repose,” a prominent 19th century inn. The protected property contains a grove of large white oak trees shading well-preserved Confederate earthworks and two impressive artillery lunettes. As a bonus, this hilltop was the campground of the 31st Virginia Infantry, a storied regiment with local ties. Tent pads and other surface features remain visible.

Camp Bartow and the Battle of Greenbrier River, which occurred Oct. 3, 1861, played key roles in the First Campaign of America’s Civil War. The action here helped pave the way to West Virginia statehood and lay boundaries for the new state. The site was a proving ground for many future generals. Legendary author Ambrose Bierce highlighted this place in such works as “On a Mountain,” “Battlefields and Ghosts” and “A Bivouac of the Dead.”

The West Virginia Land Trust worked with partners to protect the site, including the Pocahontas County Commission, Civil War Trust, West Virginia Division of Highways, First Energy Foundation and other local contributors. This ongoing conservation project will offer new public access and interpretation.

“Protection of this site represents a tremendous success toward the conservation of West Virginia’s historic and cultural resources. I am very proud that the story and lessons of this site will be preserved and available for all to visit and learn,” said Ashton Berdine, lands program manager for the West Virginia Land Trust.

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