Portrait of Benjamin F. Kelley

During the Battle of Philippi, Confederate soldiers wounded Colonel Benjamin Franklin Kelley. [Wikimedia Commons]

Battle of Philippi - Facts

June 3, 1861

Key facts about the Battle of Philippi fought on June 3, 1861, during the Western Virginia Campaign.

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Also Known As

  • Philippi Races

Date and Location

  • June 3, 1861
  • Barbour County, Virginia (now West Virginia)

Campaign

Principal Union Commanders

  • Colonel Benjamin Franklin Kelley
  • Colonel Ebenezer Dumont
  • Brigadier General Thomas A. Morris

Principal Confederate Commanders

  • Colonel George A. Porterfield

Union Forces Engaged

  • Department of the Ohio

Confederate Forces Engaged

  • Virginia Volunteers

Number of Union Soldiers Engaged

  • Roughly 3,000

Number of Confederate Soldiers Engaged

  • Roughly 800

Union Casualties

  • Estimated to be 4

Confederate Casualties

  • Estimated to be 26

Result

  • Union victory

Significance

  • Though reports from both sides would assert that anywhere from ten to a hundred men were slain, there were no fatalities during the Battle of Philippi.
  • Some historians consider the Battle of Philippi as the first significant land battle of the American Civil War.
  • The Battle of Philippi was the first time in history that an army used the railroad to deploy troops for battle.
  • After the Battle of Philippi, the Civil War’s first amputations were performed to save the lives of two wounded soldiers. One of the amputees, Confederate Private James E. Hanger, fashioned a wooden leg for himself while imprisoned. He later patented the “Hanger Limb” and opened the J.E. Hanger Company, which grew into a multi-national corporation after the war.
  • The Union victory at the Battle of Philippi contributed to the eventual Confederate withdrawal from western Virginia.
  • A few days after the Battle of Philippi, at the Second Wheeling Convention, delegates from the western region of the state nullified the Virginia ordinance of secession and adopted “A Declaration of the People of Virginia,” calling for the reorganization of the state and named Francis H. Pierpont as governor of the “Restored government of Virginia.”

Timeline of the Western Virginia Campaign

These are the main events and battles of the Western Virginia Campaign in order.

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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Battle of Philippi - Facts
  • Coverage June 3, 1861
  • Author
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 27, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 13, 2021
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