December 13, 1861 in Camp Allegheny, West Virginia
Union Forces Commanded by Brig. Gen. Robert Milroy
Confederate Forces Commanded by Col. Edward "Allegheny" Johnson
Conclusion: Inconclusive / Draw
Western Virginia Operations
������ In December, Confederate forces under Col. Edward Johnson occupied the summit of Allegheny Mountain to defend the Staunton-Parkersburg Pike. A Union force under Brig. Gen. Robert Milroy attacked Johnson on December 13. Milroy started the advance from Cheat Summit on the morning of the 12th, when he sent 2 companies forward as all advance guard to seize and hold Camp Bartow until the main force arrived. But when within 2 miles of the old Confederate camp, the advance guard fell into a rebel ambuscade.
The Confederate pickets escaped to Camp Allegheny to give notice that Union troops were on the prowl. However, they knew of only the 2 companies in that regional. The main body left Cheat Summit in the afternoon and arrived, without incident, at Camp Bartow just after dark. There they halted for rest and for the evening mess.The plan of attack was to strike both the right and left at daybreak, but as so often happened in the mountain campaigns the difficult terrain upset the timetable. The left flank attacking force was hours late in reaching the designated point, and thus was not in position to support the main body on the right when the engagement was brought on prematurely, but well after daybreak.
The Union troops were guided to the Confederates right flank by a traitor from Northwestern Virginia named Shipman. They were guided to the Confederates left flank by a noted guide and traitor, who lived within 3 miles of this place, named Slater. At about 7:15 A.M., the Union troops advanced, and a terrific fire commenced.
Fighting continued for much of the morning as each side maneuvered to gain the advantage. The tide of battle moved back and forth--advance and retreat--first one side and then the other. Several times the Union attackers gained a temporary hold in the camp itself, only to be driven back. The Confederates, with thin lines, tried flanking movements several times, but each movement was halted before it really got under way. The fighting was in close quarters, so close that the eight guns in the Confederate emplacements could not be worked efficiently. Finally, Milroy's troops were repulsed, and he retreated to his camps near Cheat Mountain. At year's end, Edward Johnson remained at Camp Allegheny with five regiments, and Henry Heth was at Lewisburg with 2 regiments.
The fight at Camp Allegheny closed the mountain campaign for the winter, with exception of skirmishes between small probing groups. Johnson's force remained at the camp, though suffering greatly from the winter weather, until the following April.