The Thirteenth Infantry Regiment was organized October, 1862, with the following field officers: William R. Brown, colonel; James R. Hall, lieutenant-colonel. The regiment served in the Kanawha Valley during the first year of the war, mostly doing guard duty and scouting by detachments of companies. In May, 1863, the regiment was placed in the brigade of Col. Rutherford B. Hayes, and continued to serve under Colonel Hayes for about 18 months. During this period the regiment experienced considerable hard service.
In May, 1864, the regiment, 720 men, received orders to march at 8 A.M. the following day. The march was via Lewisburg. Crossed the main Alleghanies, June 2; Hot Springs, June 4; skirmished with the enemy at Warm Spring Mountain; at Goshen on the Virginia Central Railroad on the 5th and 6th, the time being devoted to destroying the railroad. June 7, crossed the mountain at Pond Gap; arrived at Staunton June 8, where it joined General Hunter's command. On the 10th, Hunter started on his advance from Staunton; in a skirmish on that day, near the village of Newport, the regiment had several men wounded. June 11, was present at the battle of Lexington; crossed the James River at Buchanan on the 14th; crossed the Blue Ridge on the 15th; arrived at Liberty, county seat of Bedford County, on the 16th; the day was devoted to destroying the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad. June 17, at 10 P.M., the regiment was assigned its place in line of battle for the following day before Lynchburg. June 18, at sunrise, the enemy opened heavily with artillery. During the morning the regiment was deployed to the right of the town; at noon the force was concentrated at the centre; was again deployed in line of battle in front of the brigade at 1 P.M., and slowly advanced under a heavy artillery and musketry fire towards the enemy's works, and remained before the works until 8 P.M., when the regiment was ordered to take position one mile beyond the village of New London. Loss in this engagement six men wounded.
June 20, was at Buford's Gap. Recrossed the Alleghany Mountains in the evening of June 24; at Meadow Bluff, 25; crossed Gauley River, June 28; encamped below Elk River July 1. Distance marched since May 30, 480 miles. Colonel Hayes' brigade, to which this regiment was attached, on this expedition consisted of the 23d Ohio, Lieut.-Col. James M. Comly; 36th Ohio, col. Hiram F. Devol; 5th West Virginia, Col. Abia A. Tomlinson; 13th West Virginia, Col. Wm. R. Brown. At the battle of Winchester, Va., on July 24 and 25, Col. Hayes' brigade was attached to Duval's division, Eighth Army Corps. The 13th Regiment displayed conspicuous gallantry in this battle. Colonel Hayes in his report of the engagement makes this special mention: "The 13th West Virginia volunteer Infantry, Colonel Brown, was never in a general engagement before. The officers and men of this regiment, under the circumstances, I deem worthy of special commendation." The regiment lost in this engagement 14 killed, 50 wounded, 15 missing.
January 31, 1864, the regiment was in Col. Abia A. Tomlinson's First Brigade, still in Kelley's division. April 2, 1864, we find the regiment at Cumberland, Md., as part of General Sigel's command. At Cedar Creek, October 19, 1864, the regiment again showed its sticking qualities; Lieut-Col. James R. Hall was killed in this engagement while gallantly leading his men.