Footsteps of History
Fetterman, West Virginia
Bailey Brown, the first Union solider killed in the Civil War, died on May 22, 1861, at the Fetterman Bridge crossing the Tygart River, Taylor County, West Virginia. Grafton is the county seat
On May 22, two members of the Grafton Guards, Daniel Wilson and T. Bailey Brown went from Grafton to a rally in Pruntytown to recruit forces for the Union army. On their return that evening, the two men were ordered to halt by three Confederates, George E. Glenn, Daniel S. Knight, and William Reese, who were doing picket duty at the Fetterman Bridge where the Northwestern Turnpike crossed the tracks of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. Brown answered their demands with pistol fire, injuring Knight in the ear. Knight fired at Brown, killing him almost instantly. Thus, T. Bailey Brown became the first casualty of the Civil War. A few days later, June 3, 1861, the first land battle of the Civil War was fought at Philippi, sixteen miles south of where T. Bailey Brown fell.
Brown was later buried in the National Cemetery in Grafton in 1867. His monument is the largest one in the cemetery. Not far from where the action took place is a large stone memorial along Route 50 just a few hundred feet from the supports of the now long-gone bridge.
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