Presidential Presence

Presidential Presence (HM14FJ)

Location: Charleston, WV 25301 Kanawha County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 21.042', W 81° 38.388'

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Tending to Family, Fort, and Ferry

Camp White, the main Union camp at Charleston, was located directly across the Kanawha River from here. Col. Rutherford B. Hayes, 23rd Ohio Infantry, occupied the camp and Charleston in March 1863. He ordered his men to build a fort on top of the hill to your right, where Confederate artillery had shelled Federal troops during the Battle of Charleston on September 13, 1862. Fort Scammon strengthened the Union army's control over the Kanawha and Elk Rivers, the James River and Kanawha Turnpike, and the ferry that connected Charleston to the main road south.

On June 15, 1863, Hayes's wife Lucy Hayes, their four young sons, and her mother visited Camp White. The family had just settled into a cottage when the youngest son, 18 month-old Joseph, fell ill with dysentery and died. Within a week, Lucy Hayes returned to Ohio with her grief-stricken children and mother. After the war, Rutherford Hayes was elected a U.S. Senator and then governor of Ohio. He was elected President of the United States in 1877.

Another future president, William McKinley enlisted in Hayes's regiment in 1861 as a private. For McKinley's courage and coolness under fire, Hayes promoted him first to sergeant and then to lieutenant. McKinley mustered out in 1865 as a captain.

"We have nearly finished a tolerable fort, and have a gunboat. I have thirteen pieces of artillery." - Col. Rutherford B. Hayes, Camp White, May 17, 1863

"Conley heard a couple of ladies singing secesh songs as if for his ear in a fine dwelling in town. Joe has got his revenge by obtaining an order for use three rooms for hospital patients. The announcement caused grief and dismay - they fear smallpox (a chase has appeared). I think Joe repents his victory now." - Col. Rutherford B. Hayes, Apr. 5, 1863, letter to wife, Lucy W. Hayes
HM NumberHM14FJ
Series This marker is part of the West Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByWest Virginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, October 13th, 2014 at 1:30am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 444095 N 4244920
Decimal Degrees38.35070000, -81.63980000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 21.042', W 81° 38.388'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 21' 2.52" N, 81° 38' 23.28" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)304
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 401-485 Kanawha Blvd E, Charleston WV 25301, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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