Battle of Guyandotte

Battle of Guyandotte (HM1EEG)

Location: Huntington, WV 25702 Cabell County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 25.723', W 82° 23.399'

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Federal Retaliation

After capturing Guyandotte on November 10, 1861, and rounding up civilian Unionists and Federal recruits, Confederate forces under Col. John Clarkson and Col. Albert G. Jenkins began the next day to leave the town with their prisoners. At the same time the steamboat Boston arrived—too late—with Union reinforcements, about 200 soldiers of the 5th (West) Virginia Infantry. Boston fired a few shots from her bow gun at the departing Confederates and then docked. Earlier, steamer had picked up a few angry Unionists who had escaped from Guyandotte to Ohio when the Confederates attacked.

When they and the reinforcements landed here, they heard stories of an alleged "massacre" from wounded survivors who had evaded capture. They also learned of collaboration between pro-secessionist residents and the Confederate cavalrymen. The troops' and Union sympathizers' rage boiled over. An officer, perhaps Col. John L. Ziegler, issued orders to burn Guyandotte.

Only a few dwellings, such as the Keenan House and the Crawley House, survived the fire. The town's most prominent secessionists received special attention from the fire-setters. Soldiers knocked on doors demanding that residents vacate, sometimes allowing them to bring along their valuables. The business section of Guyandotte was completely gutted to prevent the Confederates from returning for supplies.

Notable buildings that were torched include Buffington Mill (reportedly the largest flour mill on the Ohio River between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh), the Forest Hotel, and Guyandotte Baptist Church. The entire town would have been burned, except that Union Col. William Bolles finally persuaded the soldiers to stop the destruction.

(lower left) Guyandotte's cemetery is the oldest public cemetery in Cabell County and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Many of the area's early settlers, as well as several American Revolutionary soldiers, are buried there.

(upper right) The Federal style Keenan House is one the oldest buildings in Guyandotte. It was constructed before 1840.

(upper left) A waterside town burning during the war, Harper's Weekly, Aug. 31, 1861
(lower right) Bow gun on a steamer — Courtesy Library of Congress
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 Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 at 1:48pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 378674 N 4254298
Decimal Degrees38.42871667, -82.38998333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 25.723', W 82° 23.399'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 25' 43.38" N, 82° 23' 23.94" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)304
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 234 Guyan St, Huntington WV 25702, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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