The Battle of Droop Mountain occurred on Nov. 6, 1863. This year on Nov. 6, 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 Nov. 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, Aug. 31 [8th WV Mounted Infantry Memorial Hike – Registrations for Hike #3 on Aug. 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] and Nov. 5-6 [Echols’ Brigade, Confederate Army of Southwestern Virginia Memorial Hike]. 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 Nov. 6. 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 Street, 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.