Civil War History Celebrated At Bartow In October
Bartow, WV – A horrible cacophony of artillery and rifle fire echoed through the upper Greenbrier River valley in October 1861, when Union troops attacked a Confederate fort, guarding a bridge across the river (sound of cannon fire). But on Saturday, music filled the air at the former Confederate outpost (sound of a fife).
NRAO employee Rob Taggart was there playing “Dixie” on a wooden flute. Taggart and other Civil War musicians performed a variety of Civil War music during a living history event held at Traveler’s Repose in Bartow to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of the Greenbrier River. Jessie Powell, owner and occupant of a rebuilt Traveler’s Repose hosted the event.
Patrick Lambert and Julia Bauserman sang “Just Before the Battle, Mother”, a sorrowful tune about a soldier who fears he will be killed in battle (Lambert and Bauserman singing).
Four Michigan re-enactors displayed a cannon that was used in the battle. Dressed in Civil War uniforms, the re-enactors taught visitors about the three inch Parrott gun and the history of the Michigan artillery unit to which it belongs. Re-enactor group leader Matt Switlik says visiting places like Bartow helps him understand the soldiers who fought there.
Hunter Lesser, author of “Rebels At The Gate” and an expert on the Civil War in West Virginia, gave a talk on the battle and lead a walking tour of Confederate earth works on a hill above Traveler’s Repose. Historic portrayals included Jason Bauserman as frontier preacher John Cline an Don Teter as Civil War cartographer and writer David Strother. Teter portray Strother discussing the life and death of abolitionist John Brown.
“And of course, within six years of the time that John Brown swung from that gallows, all of the slaves had been freed,” says Teter as Strothers, “so who’s to say which was the greater madness, that of John Brown or that of the secessionists.”
Powell was delighted when she visited the Michigan artillery exhibit, and discovered that a projectile that she had found on her property was a round from a Parrott gun, possibly fired by the same gun on exhibit in her back yard.
“I think it’s wonderful, and I think that cannonball cannon that came all the way down from Michigan and I had a missile to fit it, is awesome,” says Powell. “It’s a lot of history and it affects us today.”
A memorial service was held to remember Civil War soldiers who died here in Pocahontas County. Jason Bauserman delivered an invocation and Taggart performed “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes.
For more information on the Battle of the Greenbrier River, visit your local Pocahontas County library and borrow a copy of Rebels At The Gate.
Please click on the above link to hear more of the sounds from this story.