Portrait of Rutherford B. Hayes

On June 24, 1863, the U.S. War Department issued General Orders No. 186, creating the Department of West Virginia. The troops who served in the department were designated as the Army of West Virginia. Among the men who served with the Army of West Virginia were two future U.S. presidents, Rutherford B. Hayes (pictured here) and William McKinley. [Wikimedia Commons]

Army of West Virginia (USA) - Facts

June 24, 1863–June 1865

Key facts about the Union Army of West Virginia.

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Formation Date

  • June 24, 1863

Dissolution Date

  • June 1865

Commanders

  • Benjamin F. Kelly (June 1863–March 1864)
  • Franz Sigel (March–May 1864)
  • David Hunter (May–August 1864)
  • George Crook (August 1864–February 1865)
  • J.D. Stevenson (February 1865)
  • S.S. Carrol (February–March 1865)
  • Winfield Scott Hancock (March 1865)
  • George Crook (March 1865)
  • Winfield Scott Hancock (March–June 1865)

Notable Engagements

Significance

  • On June 24, 1863, the U.S. War Department issued General Orders No. 186, creating the Department of West Virginia commanded by Brigadier General Benjamin Franklin Kelley.
  • Troops assigned to the Department of West Virginia were taken from the 8th Army Corps.
  • Brevet Major General George Crook commanded the Department of West Virginia from August 8, 1864, to February 22, 1865.
  • During Major General Philip Sheridan’s Valley Campaign, George Crook commanded roughly 7,500 soldiers known as the Army of West Virginia.
  • Among the men who served with the Army of West Virginia were two future U.S. presidents. Rutherford B. Hayes commanded the army’s Second Division, and William McKinley served on Crook’s staff.
  • The Army of West Virginia served with distinction at the Battle of Opequon (September 19), the Battle of Fisher’s Hill (September 22), and the Battle of Cedar Creek (October 19) during the autumn of 1864.
  • At the conclusion of Sheridan’s Valley Campaign, the soldiers of the Army of West Virginia were dispersed to various districts in the Department of West Virginia.
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Army of West Virginia (USA) - Facts
  • Coverage June 24, 1863–June 1865
  • Author
  • Keywords army of west virginia
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date August 1, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update April 2, 2021
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