On this day in 1861, the Battle of Scary Creek occurred. It was a minor, early action in present-day West Virginia, precipitated by Union Gen. Jacob Cox's advance up the Kanawha Valley from Ohio. Waiting for him were Rebels under Gen. Henry Wise -- and his DELIGHTFUL personality. A fervent secessionist with zero military background, Wise was one of those 1800s dudes who missed his calling by not being a Victorian ghost IN LIFE. Robert E. Lee had hoped to attract recruits in WV, but Wise was soon pissing off both Unionists AND Secessionists.
During the battle, a certain George S. Patton Sr. -- grandfather of some dude in WW II -- rallied his green Confederate troops on horseback, but was wounded in the shoulder and captured. He’d be back in action soon, before falling at the Battle of the Opequon in 1864.
The battle was also a few days before Bull Run, and previewed some of the problems the raw troops and commanders had in the early days of the war. There was a lot of confusion, and BOTH sides retreated -- a move known in military schools as “The Kobayashi McClellan.” In a true #smh
moment, 3 Union officers, thinking the enemy were in retreat, crossed the stream to congratulate their men, only to fall into the hands of the Rebels. In his refreshingly candid memoirs, Cox calls this “another humiliating incident which gave me no little chagrin.” The Rebels returned to the field, claiming one of their first victories. But after the battle, Wise controversially withdrew up the valley, rendering it a rather hollow one. Hey, in his defense, he had fellow generals to squabble with, and headaches and face palms to cause Robert E. Lee. (BTW, I’ll sorta be reenacting the Battle of Scary Creek later today when, on a hike, I weigh up the leap from one slippery rock to the next and decide it’s a TAD too risky for This Adventurer, and retire safely to the bank with my book and my Meerschaum pipe.) #ScaryCreek #CivilWar #WestVirginia #Victorian #ghost #Patton #KobayashiMcClellan