Battle of Lewisburg

The Battle of Lewisburg occurred in Greenbrier County, Virginia (now part of West Virginia), on May 23, 1862, during the American Civil War. A Union brigade commanded by Colonel George Crook soundly defeated a larger Confederate force commanded by Brigadier General Henry Heth. Panicked Confederate forces escaped by crossing and burning a bridge across the Greenbrier River.

Prior to the battle, George Crook's Union force occupied Lewisburg, where almost all of the residents were Confederate sympathizers. A larger Confederate force led by Heth attacked early in the morning, believing it would have an easy victory. Crook sent two companies forward as skirmishers to meet Heth's attackers, and those two companies engaged and retreated. Believing the entire Union force was retreating, Heth sent his whole force forward, including his artillery. Crook had placed infantry regiments on both sides of town, and soon the outflanked Confederates were fleeing.

Heth lost at least four pieces of artillery in the battle, and more pieces were lost near the Greenbrier River Bridge. Many of his men discarded their weapons and provisions in the retreat while they were pursued by cavalry and infantry. The unexpected victory by Crook resulted in a promotion to brigadier general. Heth and a battalion of new recruits were blamed for the loss.

CS Brigadier General Henry Heth                     US Colonel George Crook