Top o’ the hill

In an audacious move, the Federal troops swung around the blocking Confederates at the bottom of  Rich Mountain and attacked the small unit of Confederates on guard on top of the mountain.

The Confederates held off the larger Federal forces for 3 hours, and when you take a look at their defensive positions, you can understand why.

bullet proof

I don’t believe the trees in front of this position were around during the time of the battle.  At that time, the rocks were in the middle of a stable yard!  So you can imagine a very clear field of fire on the approaching Federals across the way and these large rocks were perfectly suited to protect the men behind them.

A little further back

However, just as soon as you start to believe in the strength of this position, you come across these very hard to see letters carved into the rocks.


The letters, you see, were scrawled into the rocks after the war, commemorating locations where young men met their fate; etched into the stone by comrades who wanted people to remember what happened.   Originally, the whole name was written there – “Private X was killed here, July 3, 1861” or something along those lines.  I’m sure that for many, if not most, of the men on the top of Rich Mountain this was the first time they had “seen the elephant” and I’m sure there were things they saw there that they never forgot.   Today, nearly 150 years to the day, you can barely make out individual letters in the stone.  It’s a poignant reminder indeed.


~ by Derrick Birdsall on June 27, 2011.

6 Responses to “Top o’ the hill”

  1. Looks like a fascinating time exploring these Civil War battle sites. Doing the photos as B/W was a great choice. They grab you, much as if they had been done at the time. Interesting stuff Derrick.

    • Thank you, PJ. I know the “rule” says you’re supposed to shoot in RAW, or shoot in color, and then alter it in post…. I was after a particular feel and shot them in b/w in camera. Glad you like ’em.

  2. Another moving entry to this series – I think a book would be nice, Derrick. I would buy a copy.


    • Wow, thank you Sharon! I AM working on a Texas Forts book… need some more visits to Civil War stuff in order to have enough of “those” pics. 🙂

  3. Wow…
    these really make you stop a minute and think…
    such an amazing series, Mr. B…

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