1st West Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment (3 Month)

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1st West Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment
Flag of Virginia.svg
Flag of Virginia
Active May 10, 1861, to August 27, 1861
Country United States
Allegiance Union
Branch Infantry
Engagements Battle of Philippi

The 1st West Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment was an infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. During its period of service, the regiment was known as the 1st Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment.


The first incarnation of the 1st West Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment (known as the 1st Virginia at the time) was organized at Wheeling, Virginia, in May, 1861 from volunteer companies from Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, and Marshall counties (the Northern Panhandle of the state). These companies had been formed by pro-Union citizens of these counties in April 1861, after the Commonwealth of Virginia voted to secede from the Union, in order to resist Confederate incursions from the eastern portions of the state. The Regiment was mustered into United States service by companies for a period of three months (the first company, Company A, was mustered into service on May 10, while the final company, Company K, was mustered on May 23). Company A (from the Fourth Ward of Wheeling) had actually been organized, as the Rough and Ready Guards, on April 18, 1861, the day after the state convention voted for secession.[1]

Under the command of Colonel Benjamin Franklin Kelley, the 1st Virginia traveled from Wheeling by train on May 27 to near Mannington to secure a bridge on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which had been destroyed by the rebels. After remaining there two days, the regiment advanced again, seizing the important railroad junction of Grafton on May 30 from a body of Virginia state militia under command of Confederate Col. George A. Porterfield. Porterfield's troops retreated to Philippi where, on June 3, they were defeated by a Union force which included the 1st Virginia Infantry. The Battle of Philippi was the first land battle of the Civil War. During the battle, Col. Kelley was seriously wounded. The Regiment remained on duty at Rowlesburg, Grafton, and Philippi until July.

During the remainder of their three months service, the regiment was separated. A detachment of five companies served with Major General George B. McClellan in the Rich Mountain campaign. Another detachment was with Col. Erastus B. Tyler in a campaign against Confederate Brigadier General Henry A. Wise, who at that time had attempted an invasion of western Virginia. The remainder of the regiment guarded the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. On August 19, they returned to Wheeling where the 3-months regiment was mustered out of Federal service on August 27, 1861.


The 1st West Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment suffered no fatalities in battle during its enlistment. However, a member of Company G was killed in camp on May 29, 1861, from the accidental discharge of a gun.[2]




  1. ^ Rawling (1887), chap. II.
  2. ^ Rawling (1887), chap. IV.

See also[edit]