Droop Battlefield Hosts Four Memorial Hikes

June 14, 2013 |

Pocahontas County–To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Droop Mountain, park superintendent Mike Smith is planning something kind of crazy, and kind of incredible. He’s leading a memorial march into battle, along steep mountain trails and a federal highway. Make that four hikes, beginning with an 8 ½ mile hike from Hillsboro on June 22nd, and ending with the 27 mile hike from Lewisburg on November 5th.

Park Superintendent Mike Smith, pointing to the valley of Hillsboro on the 1st hike on June 20. Photo by Drew Tanner.

Space is limited on these memorial hikes, and you must pre-register. Call 304-653-4254 or visit droop mountain battlefield dot com for more information. Hike number one was on June 22, 2013, commemorating the 10th WV infantry and the 28th Ohio infantry, up the mountain along US 219.

Female civilian reenactors, 2012. Photo by Jessie Wright-Mendoza.

2nd hike: Amid light mists of rain, on Sat. July 20, Park superintendent Mike Smith led eight hikers for about five hours, beginning around 8:45 on Sherman Beard’s farm in Hillsboro. Atop one of the pastures where we stood, General William Averell made his camp 150 years ago this November as he launched a raid on the Confederate troops on Droop. Read the full article about this hike.

Droop Battle Reenactment: August 31-Sept. 1. The original battle fought on November 6, 1863 pitted General John Echols’ Confederates controlling the Greenbrier Valley against General William Averell’s Federals advancing from the north. A welcome social will be held on Friday evening in the park shop building. Coffee and refreshments will be served along with Civil War videos and a warm fire if the weather is cold. Saturday evening will feature the Droop Mountain Open Air Ball and Young Ladies’ Cotillion. Period music and dance instruction will be provide. On Sunday morning, an authentic church service will be held at the overlook near the Confederate camp. Contact: 304-897-5372

3rd hike: August 31. This is a three mile hike through some fields, but mostly private owned woodland, partly on old log roads. Some sections are extremely steep, possibly requiring use of hands or trekking pole. The route is all uphill and fairly steep overall, with 800 feet elevation change. No support vehicle will be provided; snacks, drinks, and personal items will have to be carried by hikers. Contact: 304-653-4254. Register online. 

Droop Re-enactment 2012, photo by Jessie Wright-Mendoza.

4th hike: November 5-6. This 27 mile hike will take the route of Echols’ Brigade, the Confederate Army of Southwestern Virginia Memorial Hike, from near Lewisburg to Droop Mountain. Hikers will walk along US Rt. 219, mostly at night, with 1000’ elevation change and moderate grades. The hike will begin in the afternoon, with a two hour break from midnight to 2:00 am, then to continue 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. A support vehicle with food, first aid supplies, and a porta-john will be provided. This will be an extremely rigorous hike, mostly at night, along a public road on a weekday in November when the weather could easily be quite miserable. 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. Contact: 304-653-4254. Register online.

Music for the audio story is by the Rich Mountain String Band.



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