The Battle of Moorefield was a cavalry battle in the American Civil War, which took place on August 7, 1864, at Moorefield, West Virginia, as part of the Valley Campaigns of 1864. Brig. Gen. William W. Averell led Union troops to a victory over Brig. Gen. John McCausland and his Confederate troops in Hardy County, West Virginia.
Following the resounding Confederate victory at the Second Battle of Kernstown on July 24, General Jubal A. Early dispatched cavalry under Generals McCausland and Bradley T. Johnson to raid the towns of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and Cumberland, Maryland. On the 29th the cavalry force crossed the Potomac west of Williamsport, Maryland, evading their Union counterparts under General Averell. As the Confederates moved north towards their target, Averell mistakenly assumed they would turn east to attack Baltimore and moved his force to repel such a maneuver. In doing so he allowed the Confederates to raid and burn Chambersburg virtually unopposed and then make off for Cumberland and West Virginia
On August 4, the Confederate cavalry continued with their objective of disrupting traffic on the B&O Railroad by attempting to raid New Creek (present day Keyser, West Virginia). The raid proved to be unsuccessful as the small Union garrison used topography to its advantage, emplacing fortified artillery atop the mountains that surrounded the New Creek Valley. After aborting the raid the Confederates fell back towards Moorefield and made camp. Having been operating virtually unopposed since he left Virginia, McCausland felt he was in no imminent danger and carelessly set up his camp with his two divisions separated by the South Branch Potomac River.
While the Confederates attempted to raid New Creek, Averell's force crossed the Potomac at Hancock, Maryland, and headed for Springfield, West Virginia. Upon arriving on August 6, they learned of the Confederate raid and subsequent withdrawal to Moorefield. Averell determined not ...