The Battle of Hurricane Bridge, March 28, 1863
With the Firmness of Veterans
by Philip Hatfield, PhD
The Battle at Hurricane Bridge is an often overlooked Civil War action occurring at the small and otherwise quiet western Virginia village. For five hours behind the limited protection of an unfinished earthen fort, the green Union troops of the 13th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry under the command of Captain James Johnson, fought to hold off the hardened Confederate veterans of the 8th and 16th Virginia Cavalry commanded by Brigadier General Albert Gallatin Jenkins.
Ultimately, the March 28, 1863, battle at Hurricane Bridge directly contributed to the Union army maintaining control of the James River & Kanawha Turnpike, a key supply line, and enabled Federal control of the Kanawha Valley for the remainder of the war.
“...the enemy appeared in force and opened a furious fire upon us simultaneously on three sides from as many different hills, owing to the high elevation of which, and unfinished condition of our works, exposed our men to a most galling cross fire, which they withstood and returned with the firmness of veterans.”
- Captain James W. Johnson, 13th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry, Union Commander at Hurricane Bridge, March 28, 1863