Battle at Rich Mountain

July 11, 1861
Not for the last time, Major General George B. McClellan took credit for something he didn’t do.

William S. Rosecrans

At today’s engagement at Rich Mountain in western Virginia, Brigadier General William S. “Old Rosey” Rosecrans bested Confederate Lt. Col. John Pegram. Rosecrans used a little known road to sweep around Pegram and flank his force.

Rosecrans was part of McClellan’s army, and he had some 2,000 men with him. McClellan was to take a remaining 6,000 men and move in concert to support Rosecrans. He never showed up.

Rosecrans pulled off a victory, and forced Pegram to surrender more than 500 men. McClellan, however, took the credit.

McClellan’s successes in western Virginia threw open the door for that region to seceded from already seceded Virginia. They also caught the eye of Abraham Lincoln, who in a few weeks would be looking for a victorious general to repair the broken Union army around Washington.

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