July 3, 2015

The Tower on Droop Mountain

Near Hillsboro, West Virginia
This scenic lookout on Droop Mountain provides a beautiful view of the valley below. The mountain was the scene of a Civil War battle on November 6, 1863. The sign on the left summarizes the action:
Nearly five months after West Virginia was admitted into the Union, the Confederate army of Brigadier General John Echols still occupied the prosperous Greenbrier Valley region of the new state. From its headquarters in Lewisburg, his army was the foremost defense of the Virginia-Tennessee Railroad, an important Confederate supply line in southwest Virginia.

On August 26 and 27, 1863, the Confederate army had successfully repulsed an attack at White Sulphur Springs by the Federal Army of Brigadier General William W. Averell. In early November, Echols learned that General Averell had left his headquarters in Beverly, West Virginia, and was again moving south toward the railroad. Confederate outposts in Pocahontas County tried to slow the advance. General Echols marched his army north, all through the night, to Droop Mountain to reinforce them.

The reinforcements arrived just in time, for General Averell began his attack early. Throughout the morning, Echols’ outnumbered Confederate army held the high ground and blocked the highway 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 with the remnants of his command. Federal troops occupied Lewisburg on November 7, 1863, but being burdened by prisoners and captured livestock, General Averell elected to return to his headquarters in Beverly, waiting until early December to lead a third, and ultimately successful, attack on the railroad. Operations in the Shenandoah Valley in the spring in 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.

With more than 400 casualties, (140 Union and approximately 275 Confederate) the Battle at Droop Mountain was one of the last significant Civil War battles in West Virginia.
I climbed the tower steps and found a sign at the top that tells the same story.


You don't need to be a history buff, though, to enjoy Droop Mountain State Park. There are magnificent views, picnic areas, and a play area for children. The lookout tower and some other park buildings were built by the CCC during the Great Depression.

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12 comments:

  1. Spectaculat panoramas. And love the design of the sign in the second photo.

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  2. Beautiful shots of the place. The scenery is awesome.

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  3. Gorgeous views of the tower , Lovely scenic shots. Have a happy 4th of July!

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  4. This is one Civil War battle I'm not familiar with. What a view!

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  5. Beautiful photos! What a great view! I was not familiar with this battle, and appreciated learning about it today. Losing control of W VA was such a blow for the south and the RR so important!

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  6. Hard to connect the story to the place - too much contrast between its history and its present I think.

    Trying to catch up on visits and comment while I wait for a flight - one busy week to go and it's back to normal!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Heathrow Airport UK (for the next couple of hours!)

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  7. wow those are gorgeous views.

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  8. Great contrast between the dark tower and the soft blue sky. And what a gorgeous view beyond

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  9. Interesting bit of history, and a lovely view.

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