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 invasion. During the battle, there were 15 Union and 40 Confederate Soldiers killed. Knowing that he couldn’t win the battle, Confederate 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, Union Brigadier General Rosecrans attacked Confederate 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 “West Virginia 1 29” (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 Access Road, and people scuffling through the woods. Are these sightings of the young men who lost their lives on the battlefield? Are these sounds of the Confederate Army retreating in the dead of night? Maybe the park’s signage that reads “Camping Not Allowed in Park” is not to protect the park, but is for your own safety.