Kanawha Valley Campaign Facts

September 6–16, 1862

Key facts about the Kanawha Valley Campaign of 1862.

Portrait of William Loring

In September 1862, Major General William Wing Loring led a successful campaign that briefly re-established Confederate control of the Kanawha Valley and western Virginia after occupying Charleston, Virginia (now West Virginia). [Wikimedia Commons]

Date and Location

  • September 6–16, 1862
  • Western Virginia (modern-day West Virginia)

Timeline of the Kanawha Valley Campaign

These are the main battles and events of the Kanawha Valley Campaign in order.

August 11, 1862

Union officials transferred Brigadier General Jacob D. Cox and roughly 5,000 soldiers from his Kanawha Division to eastern Virginia, leaving the Kanawha Valley dangerously under-defended.

August 22, 1862

Confederate Major General William Wing Loring, commanding Department of Southwestern Virginia, ordered Brigadier General Albert Jenkins to lead a cavalry raid into the Kanawha Valley, south of Charleston.

When Jenkins returned, he confirmed reports that the Union garrison protecting the valley had recently been cut in half, from 10,000 to 5,000 soldiers, commanded by Colonel Joseph A. J. Lightburn.

September 6, 1862

Sensing an opportunity to restore Confederate control of the Kanawha Valley, Loring led about 5,000 Confederate soldiers northwest from Narrows, Virginia toward the Kanawha River.

September 10, 1862

Loring’s troops engaged Union soldiers and drove them away from Fayetteville, Virginia.

September 13, 1862

The Kanawha Valley Campaign reached its zenith as Loring recaptured Charleston, Virginia following a spirited artillery engagement at the Battle of Charleston.

September 16, 1862

Loring soldiers forced Lightburn’s retreating Federals troops out of Virginia and across the Ohio River at Ravenswood, Virginia (now West Virginia).

Principal Union Commanders

  • Colonel Joseph A. J. Lightburn

Principal Confederate Commanders

Union Forces Engaged

  • Department of the Ohio

Confederate Forces Engaged

  • Department of Southwestern Virginia

Number of Union Soldiers Engaged

  • 5,000

Number of Confederate Soldiers Engaged:

  • 5,000

Estimated Union Casualties

  • 310 (25 killed, 95 wounded, and 190 missing/captured).

Estimated Confederate Casualties

  • 97 (eight killed and 89 wounded)


  • Confederate victory

Impact of the Kanawha Valley Campaign

  • Despite losing the Battle of Charleston, Union officials credited Lightburn with saving a huge supply train valued in excess of one million dollars.
  • On October 15, 1862, Confederate officials relieved Loring from his command.
  • Loring was replaced with General John Echols, who was unable to halt the reoccupation of the Kanawha Valley by an overwhelming Federal force led by Brigadier General Jacob D. Cox, who had returned to the area.
  • By November, Union forces regained control of the Kanawha Valley and western Virginia.