Due to the importance of the B&O Railroad for the movement of troops and supplies, Grafton was a strategic point during the early stages of the Civil War and both sides tried to control it. Although most residents sided with the Union, people of Grafton and this area were divided. Union supporters joined the Grafton Guards and southern supporters joined the Confederate Letcher's Guard. On the evening of May 22, 1861, the two forces had a small scuffle in the town of Fetterman, which is now a part of Grafton, that resulted in the death of Thornsberry Bailey Brown who was the first soldier killed in the Civil War. His body now lies in the Grafton National Cemetery, one of two National Cemeteries in Grafton, and the only National Cemeteries in West Virginia. The Confederate forces were pushed south of Grafton under General B.J. Kelley and General George McClellan to Philippi where Mr. Kelley's forces defeated the Confederates under Colonel George A. Porterfield on June 3, 1861. Although the Union controlled the B&O terminal in Grafton, the Confederates often raided the area to disrupt its importance.