Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park: The Battle Continues
North of Carnifex Ferry 1000 Union soldiers were embedded at Kessler’s Cross Lanes. On the 26th of August 1861, a Confederate Force of 2000 strong crossed the Gauley River with a surprise attack. Well routed and defending, the Union troops were able to hold back the attack. During the battle, there were 15 Union Soldiers and 40 Confederate Soldiers killed. Knowing that he couldn’t win the battle, General Floyd withdrew his attack and set up a defensive position at Carnifex Ferry.
Over the following month, the Union built their forces to 5000 Men. On the 10th of September 1861, Brigadier General Rosecrans attacked General Floyd with the loss of 17 men and an unknown number of Confederates killed. General Floyd, wholly outnumbered, knew he and his men wouldn’t survive another day of battle. In the dead of night, he retreated his troops back across the Gauley River and toward Lewisburg.
Today, locals and passers-by along route WV-129 and traveling Carnifex Ferry Crossing between Kessler’s Cross Lanes and Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park report seeing Union and Confederate troops in the early morning and evening light as they prepare for battle. Park visitors have also reported hearing the sounds of horses and wagons heading down the Old Ferry Road and people scuffling through the woods. Are these sightings of the young men who never made it home? Maybe “Camping Not Allowed in Park” is for your own safety.