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GSC ROTC Cadets Participate in Battle of Bulltown Staff Ride


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Kanawha Area Park Ranger Tommy Smith (center) briefs Battle of Bulltown Staff Ride participants

Kanawha Area Park Ranger Tommy Smith (center) briefs Battle of Bulltown Staff Ride participants

Napier, WV — Members of the Glenville State College Army ROTC program recently took part in a ‘Staff Ride’ at the Bulltown Historic Area located in Braxton County, West Virginia. Bulltown was the site of an 1863 Civil War battle. A Staff Ride is an opportunity for members of a military organization to study historic operations and apply current principles, while fostering a sense of camaraderie with their brethren of the past. During the field phase of the event, participants travel to the site and apply their military knowledge to what they have learned from research conducted in earlier phases.

“The strategic and tactical actions before, during, and after the Battle of Bulltown provide valuable lessons to today’s military personnel,” said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kanawha Area Park Ranger Tommy Smith, Ph.D.

The Battle of Bulltown on October 13, 1863 was a significant victory for Federal forces garrisoned at the Bulltown Fort. Union troops there were under the command of Captain William H. Mattingly of Parkersburg. The Federals, in a defensive position, had only a fraction of the force of the Confederates and resisted repeated advances from Confederate forces throughout the day. Even though Mattingly suffered a critical thigh wound, the Federals suffered no casualties. Due to Mattingly’s resolve, Confederate commander Colonel William L. ‘Mudwall’ Jackson, cousin to the famous ‘Stonewall,’ was stymied in his efforts to cut the Federal lines of communication from the eastern and western armies of the Union. This battle was the last significant offensive by Confederates in West Virginia.

GSC ROTC Cadet Eric Plummer (center, in hat) in a replica Civil War Era Union Uniform

GSC ROTC Cadet Eric Plummer (center, in hat) in a replica Civil War Era Union Uniform

Eric Plummer of Bluefield, West Virginia is a recent GSC graduate who participated in the Staff Ride. He is now a U.S. Army Second Lieutenant stationed at Fort Knox and said of the Ride, “It was a very informative experience and told the story of our forefathers that fought in the Civil War. I think that more people should go and experience Bulltown or similar events to gain a better knowledge and appreciation for our state history.”

Joining GSC ROTC cadets in this first Bulltown Staff Ride were students from West Virginia State University and Marshall University’s ROTC programs. After the day’s events, Smith stated, “The Army Corps of Engineers was proud to offer this first-ever Staff Ride for many of the state’s ROTC staff and cadets. The participants added much to the historic interpretation of this battle. We hope more military personnel will follow their lead and visit Bulltown.”

For more information about this event or the Glenville State College ROTC program, contact Sergeant First Class Daniel Webb at or (304) 462-6285 or Major Charles Beirne at or (304) 462-6287.

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