Dedication of Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park

Pocahontas Times
July 12, 1928

State Park Dedicated

Big Crowd Celebrates the Fourth on Droop

On last Wednesday July 4 the Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park was dedicated in due form[.] Governor Howard M[.] Gore received it for the people of the State of West Virginia from Hon[.] John D[.] Sutton chairman of the legislative commissian [sic]. This commission was appointed at the last session of the Legisla[ture] to buy the battle site for a State Park as a memorial for all time of the men who fought in the greatest battle of the Civil War on West Virginia soil.

The crowd is estimated at ten thousand people[.] W[h]ile the greater number of those present were from Pocahontas and Greenbrier counties [t]here were many people from other West Virginia counties and the adjoining State of Virginia. It was one of the largest c[r]owds to as[s]emble in Pocahontas county. It perhaps equaled the number of men engaged in the Battle of Droop Mountain.

The speakers were Hon. John D[.] Sutton, chairman of the Legislative Commission which bought and marked the battlefield; Judge George W[.] McClintic, Judge or [sic] the United States Court for the Southern District or [sic] West Virginia, and a native of Pocahontas county; Governor Howard M[.] Gore, Governor of West Virgini[a]; Hon. E. T. England, Congressman from this the Sixth District; Hon[.] J. Alfred Taylor, former congressman and nominee of his party for Governor of West Virginia[.] Andrew Price, President of the West Virginia Historical Society, was the presiding officer of the day.

Among the veterans present were M. J. McNeel, N[.] D[.] McCoy, R[.] F. Diehl, of the Confederate arm[y]; J[.] W[.] Tyler, J[.] D[.] Sutton and Peter McCarty of the Union army[.]

There were more than a thousand automobiles in the Park Wednesday[.] The traffic was handled and the cars parked with military precision by members of Marlinton Post of the American Legion. State Trooper Jack Tidd had the assistance of a [s]quad in handling things.

So great was the crowd that only a few thousand people could get within hearing of the speakers[.]

The Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park is one of the beauty spots of the whole State, aside from its great historical interest. It over hangs the beautiful Little Levels region of Pocahontas county, and to the east are the forest clad ranges paralleling the main Alleghenies, with the water of the Greenbrier showing in a few place; to the west and a thousand feet higher are the rich Back Allegheny Mountains. There are few views that surpass the outlook from Droop Mountain.

In the Park are a few fields, but the most of the area is woodland[.] Some of the undergrowth is being cut away, and soon it will be about the most pleasant spot in the whole Greenbrier Valley.

The positions of the various units of the opposing armies have been marked. Mr[.] Sutton is doing thi[s] work, has his own recollection of the battle to guide him; the recollection of other Union and Confederate Veterans, and the complete voluminous reports of more than twenty commanding officers of both armies[.]

The battle of Droop Mou[n]tain was the most important engagement in West Virginia in the war between the States. It marked the decline of Confederate strength in the mountains. The date of the battle was November 6, 1863[.] This was a [battle?] between West Virginians. In some instances brother against brother in the opposing armies[.] In the Union army there was one regiment of Pennsylvania, the 14th and the 28th Ohio Infantry, but the brunt of the fighting was done by the 2nd, 3rd and 10th West Virginia Regiments[.] In the Confederate army were the 19th, 20th, 22nd and 14th Virginia regiments, which were all composed of West Virgin[i]ans[.] The Confederate commanders were General W. L[.] Jackson and General Echols. The Union commander was General W. W[.] Averell, a military genius of the Civil War, second to Stonewall Jackson[.]

T[h]e Confederates occupied the mountain, guarding the river road to Greenbrier county, but leaving the Caesar Mountain side unguarded[.] The Union Army was camped in the Levels. General Averell made a feint against the front of Droop Mountain, and he sent three or more regiments around the end of Caesar and attacked the unguarded flank of the Confederates[.] Here took place one of the hardest fights of the war. The Confederates broke and made their escape by the way of Lewisburg, passing through that town by a matter of minutes before General Duffie could cut them off with an army he was bringing up over the Midland Trail.

But to speak about the Fourth of July celebration on Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park last Wednesday. It was the biggest and most satisfactory picnic this writer has ever attended. The opportunity to meet and greet old friends and to meet and make new acquaintances was the best ever. Everyone brought a basket, and this region has the best cooks in the known world. The speakers were men who had proven themselves and earned positions of importance and honor in the s[t]ate and the nation[.] They had messages to bring and they brought messages to their fellow citizens. The weather was perfect, and it was a day well spent. In the afternoon for a while rain threatened, but it veered to one side and the people on the maintain top saw a heavy shower falling in the valley a thousand feet below[.]

With the completion of the work already begun of clearing out the underbrush and opening road ways, the Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park will be the p[i]cnic ground of the S[t]ate of West Virginia, and with the completion of the State highway system it will be visited by thousands of tourists yearly.

Parks and Recreation