Mountain & Trail News

West Virginia State Park Foundation Assists “Walking in the Footsteps of Soldiers”

The Battle of Droop Mountain occurred on November 6, 1863.  On November 6, 2013, 150 years ago to the date and time, a group of individuals will arrive at the battlefield after an overnight hike that commemorates the route taken by Echols’ Brigade, Confederate Army of Southwestern Virginia. The hike begins in Lewisburg on November 5. It will be a 30-mile route, overnight, and will test the hike registrants who will repeat history’s footsteps.

Mike Smith, park superintendent at Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park in Pocahontas County, has designed and coordinated four memorial hikes in 2013 to honor not only West Virginia’s 150th birthday, but also to pay tribute to the men and families of both sides the Civil War that ultimately contributed to the creation of West Virginia as the 35th state. There are two hikes remaining in the series, August 31 and November 5-6. More information is available online at www.droopmountainbattlefield.com.

An additional tribute is planned at Droop Mountain. A ceremony placing a native stone marker with a bronze placard listing known men who died or died as a result of wounds that occurred at the Battle of Droop Mountain will occur around 2 p.m. after the fourth memorial hike arrives at the state park on November 6, 2013. Smith will install the bronze on a near-perfect natural obelisk and flat feature stone of approximately 4 x 6 feet. The soldiers’ memorial will become one of many markers erected at Droop Mountain identifying battle history and individuals.

The West Virginia State Park Foundation is accepting donations to be used to offset the memorial cost. Donations can be mailed to: Robert Hoke, WVSPF Treasurer, 6304 Kaybro St., Laurel, MD 20707, and should indicate it is for the Droop Mountain Memorial. Donations received are acknowledged in writing. Any amount donated is appreciated.

The West Virginia State Park Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation formed to solicit, receive and accept contributions, gifts, grants, and bequests of real or personal property in support of the West Virginia State Park system. Contributions and donations considered tax-deductible gifts.

Droop Mountain Battlefield Memorial Hike Field Hike Information

8th WV Mounted Infantry Memorial Hike: (August 31, 2013)

Registrations for Hike #3 on August 31 are underway and eight descendants of men in the 8th W.Va. Mounted Infantry (later 7th W.Va. Cavalry) have signed up. Two of those are from Ohio and one from Colorado. Several re-enactors also have registered. Registration for this hike is still open.

Echols’ Brigade, Confederate Army of Southwestern Virginia Memorial Hike: (November 5-6, 2013)

The start point for Hike #4 is near Lewisburg. This will be a 27-mile hike along U.S. Rt. 219, mostly at night, with a 1,000 feet elevation change and moderate grades. The hike will begin in the afternoon, with a two hour break from midnight to 2 am, and then continuing through the night to arrive at the park near dawn as did the Confederate army of Gen. John Echols prior to the battle at Droop Mountain.

This will be an extremely rigorous hike, mostly at night, on a weekday in November when weather conditions can be unpredictable. It is not intended for the faint-of-heart and registrants are requested to obtain a doctor’s statement that they are physically fit for a 30-mile trek. After arrival at Droop Mountain Battlefield, a second extended rest period is scheduled, to be followed by a public dedication of a monument and reading of names (of battle casualties) in the early afternoon. Registration is still open for the fourth and final memorial hike, an overnight experience.

“Two hikers from Braxton County had three ancestors, all brothers, in the Union army, and believe that Federal soldiers walked to and from Lewisburg just like the Confederates,” said Droop Mountain State Park Supt. Mike Smith. “So, even though Hike #4 is listed as a Confederate route, Union supporters are very much welcomed and appreciated. We are all West Virginians remembering the footsteps of all soldiers.”

Logo courtesy West Virginia Division of Natural Resources

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