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Battle of White Sulphur Springs
Part of the American Civil War
Date August 26, 1863 (1863-08-26)
Location Greenbrier County, West Virginia
Result Confederate victory
United States United States (Union) Confederate States of America CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
W.W. Averell George S. Patton
Samuel Jones
Units involved
4th Separate Brigade Echols' Brigade
~1,300[1] ~1,900[2]
Casualties and losses
(26 killed
125 wounded
67 missing)
(20 killed
129 wounded
13 missing)

The Battle of White Sulphur Springs, also known as the Battle of Dry Creek or the Battle of Rocky Gap, was the decisive engagement of W.W. Averell's August 1863 West Virginia Raid against the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad. Confederate forces successfully turned back the Federals during an engagement which spanned two days.

Background and opposing forces[edit]

On August 14, 1863 Brig. General B.F. Kelley commanding the Dept. of West Virginia issued orders to Brig. Gen. William W. Averell for an expedition to Huntersville and Lewisburg. The primary object of the expedition was to recover the volumes of the law library of the Virginia Court of Appeals in Lewisburg and relocate them to Beverly. The Confederate salt peter and gunpowder works would be targeted as well as the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad.[5]

The Union force consisted of the 4th Separate Brigade of the 8th Army Corps under Brig. Gen. W.W. Averell: 2nd (West) Virginia Mounted Infantry, 8th (West) Virginia Mounted Infantry, Gibson's battalion, Ewing's battery (6 pieces), 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry, 3rd (West) Virginia Mounted Infantry.[6]

The Confederate force under Col. George S. Patton was composed of: 37th Virginia Cavalry Battalion (detachment), 22nd Virginia Infantry, 23rd Virginian Infantry Battalion, 26th Virginia Infantry Battalion, 45th Virginia Infantry, Chapman's battery (4 pieces) [7]


Patton's brigade reached the crossroads in time to form a defensive line. His artillery was deployed at the crest of a hill to command the road. The engagement began at 9 o'clock in the morning.

Averell decided not to withdraw during the night in the hope that he would be reinforced by Scammon or that the enemy would withdraw. However, by 10 am the next morning it was apparent that the Confederates were holding fast and he had no chance of reinforcement. With most of his ammunition exhausted (particularly artillery) Averell began to withdraw his force at 10:30 am. His rear guard felled trees along the way as they retreated. The raiders returned to Beverly on August 31.[8][9]


The casualties were heavy on both sides for such small forces. Averell claimed


  1. ^ Averell's O.R. report, S#1, Vol. XXIX, p.37
  2. ^ Patton's O.R. report, S#1, Vol. XXIX, p. 55
  3. ^ O.R. return of casualties, S#1, Vol. XXIX, p. 41
  4. ^ Patton's O.R. report, S#1, Vol. XXIX, p. 56
  5. ^ Thayer & Kelley O.R. reports, S#1, Vol. XXIX, pp. 38-39
  6. ^ Averell's O.R. report, S#1, Vol. XXIX, pp. 34-35
  7. ^ Patton's O.R. report, S#1, Vol. XXIX, p. 55
  8. ^ Averell's O.R. report, S#1, Vol. XXIX, p.37
  9. ^ Dayton, p. 121


  • Dayton, Ruth Woods (1942). Greenbrier Pioneers and Their Homes. 
  • Official Records of the War of the Rebellion. 

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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°48′07″N 80°17′06″W / 37.802°N 80.285°W / 37.802; -80.285

Category:1863 in the United States Category:Battles of the Western Theater of the American Civil War Category:Confederate victories of the American Civil War Category:West Virginia in the American Civil War Category:Conflicts in 1863 Category:1863 in West Virginia