Confederates Capture Fairmont

Fairmont Times
April 28, 1904

Exciting Scenes There Were When Jones' Raiders Came To Town 41 Years Ago To-Day

Then The Only Real Battle Of The War On Marion Soil Was Fought

Some Brave People And What They Did - Governor Pierpont's Bible.

Forty-one years ago to-day the only event of any importance which transpired in Fairmont during the War of the Rebellion took place. It was the raid of the Confederate General Jones, who entered the town with four thousand men and during the day burned the railroad bridge at Johntown and caused the first blood in Marion county during the war to be shed.

It was early in the morning when the army arrived and for the most part every body in the county were aware of the fact that this place would be visited by the daring raider.

For days and days previous to the coming of the rebels the local people had been making preparations for their reception.

Almost a week before hand, word was received here that the army was heading this way, but at first very few believed it and not much activity was shown in making a defense.

The wiser heads in the county, however, hid every thing of value and then either scooted out of [sic] went to join the Home Guards which were hastilty [sic] organized to protect the town.

The night before the rebels got here there was great excitement in the town.

Rumors of foul murder had reached the ears of the people and every one thought there would be a general massacre on the morrow.

There are dozens and dozens of youngsters whose bravery was shattered to the wind the very moment the army left Morgantown and headed this way. During the night one could see them scooting out to the tall woods to lay in hiding until the last single military gray coat had left the town.

Several young fellows of the town, several of whom are still living, hid in an old vacant mine near Barnsville for thirty-six hours and when they ventured out they were half starved.

The raiders came from Morgantown where they had foraged almost every thing of value in that town. During the time they were there about two hundred and fiftey [sic] horses were stolen in the county and the losses to store keepers in Morgantown amounted to about five thousand dollars.

The rebels entered the town early in the morning and proceeded to make a general clean up.

At Barnsville and other little towns in the vicinity every thing of value in sight was foraged and many a man was compelled to exchange his good horse for a poor old worn out animal, many of which died the next day.

A large number of barns were found empty, however, the owners having taken the precaution to hide their stock.

The floor in the bridge crossing Buffalo Creek, at Barnsville was torn up by the raiders to keep off pursuit.

At the time of the raid the office of F. H. Pierpont, the Union Governor of Virginia was in this place.

The raiders broke in his library and burned his books and papers in the streets.

An old bible, which the Governor prized highly was tied to the tail of an officer's horse and dragged through the mud of the streets. This act incensed the citizens more than anything else and it was mere luck that the officer who had committed this act was not shot by some enraged citizen.

During the day a part of the army went to Johntown, where the railroad bridge was burned.

At that time the Home Guard and a company of New York Volunteers which were stationed here to guard the bridge engaged the rebels in a skirmish. This lasted all evening and one man was killed and several wounded. The little crowd of defenders were finally captured and placed as prisoners in the court house, where they were kept until the army left.

The soldier killed was a member of the New York Company and his bodie [sic] lay on the battle field until the next day, before it was removed.

At the time of the raid there was a large force of Union men at Grafton and some at Clarksburg. Whether or not these were sent for is not known.

Mulligan's battery arrived during the evening but they were too late for the rebels had taken their departure.

While here they broke in several stores and took about everything in them.

A certain shoe dealer, who kept a shoe and boot store on the corner of Main and Quincy streets happened to be out of town at the time of the raid, and when he returned he found his store open and nearly every pair of shoes and boots he had in the house were taken. In exchange were about a hundred pairs of old, worn and torn boots that never could be repaired.

An incident of the raid is related on a Fairmont woman who was a young girl at that time.

Her brother had been shot through the head during the skirmish and she decided she would go up and bring him home.

There wasn't an available horse in the neighborhood so she got a light buggy and together with another girl, pulled it on the field where the fight was going on.

They went into the thickest of the fight and loaded the wounded man in the buggy and pulled him back to town.

Jones' raid will always be remembered in Fairmont as the ony time Marion county was ever touched by a hostile army.

Fairmont Times
April 29, 1905

Not Bible, the Flag.

A friend of The Times calls attention to an error in the account of Jones' raid, printed yesterday. It was the flag taken from Governor Pierpont's house, not the family Bible, that was dragged through the streets by the members of Jones' command, who, this gentleman says, was a set of gentlemen, coming from old Virginia.

Civil War

West Virginia Archives and History