Present Moments with some of your favorite historical authors
The Authors of Writes of Passage
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Back to the Hills
A while back I blogged about the Bridges of Madison County in Iowa. No disrespect intended to those wonderful bridges, but the covered bridge in Philippi, West Virginia is truly a marvelous gem.
This bridge was constructed in 1852 and was constructed of yellow poplar. The bridge is 26 feet wide and 285 feet long. Much wider and longer than any others I’ve seen. A tollgate stood at the eastern end to collect fares from users. Today the bridge carries local traffic and is the only covered bridge on a federal highway. It really is a treat to drive through the covered bridge. I think you’ll agree it’s quite an engineering feat.
Philippi also lays claim to the first land battle of the Civil War. On June 3, 1861, Union troops charged down one of the hills near Philippi, crossed the covered bridge into town and the first land battle ensued.
The Union forces had been attempting to secure the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at several points while the Confederates moved to post their own regiments along the railroad line. General Lee sent Colonel George A. Porterfield to raise troops in western Virginia. Porterfield and his troops reached Philippi on May 30, 1861. On the same day, Union forces under Colonel Benjamin F. Kelley arrived in Grafton, fifteen miles north. On June 2-3, the Union troops advanced down the slope, across the bridge and into town. Some fighting occurred on Main Street as Colonel Porterfield and his confederate troops fled in such haste that the battle was referred to as the Philippi Races.
Only a few men on either side were wounded, and none were killed, but Colonel Kelley was struck in the chest; he later named his horse Philippi—a nice gesture, right? An even more interesting tidbit is the fact that a private named James E. Hanger became the war’s first amputee when a solid shot fired from Talbott Hill struck his leg. He later became an inventor and manufacturer of artificial limbs. Out of adversity, God used this man to benefit others—and He continues to do the same for those of us who are open to being used by Him.
And I couldn’t close without a picture of this beautiful flower. The rhododendron bushes flanked the front porch of my sister’s home and I was thrilled they were in bloom while I was visiting.
May you find joy in the beauty that surrounds you. ~Judy