Princeton in Mercer County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)
This house, the home of physician Robert B. McNutt, is the only antebellum dwelling in Princeton. It survived the fire that Col. Walter H. Jenifer of the 8th Virginia Cavalry ignited on May 1, 1862, as he evacuated the town.
Jenifer was attempting to block the advance of Union Gen. John C. Frémont’s Mountain Army as it marched to the Shenandoah Valley to support Nathaniel P. Banks against Confederate Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. Jenifer sent about 200 cavalrymen and militia of his 300-man command on the road north from Princeton under Lt. Col. Henry Fitzhugh. At Camp Creek, a branch of the Bluestone River, Fitzhugh’s force clashed with Frémont’s advance guard — Lt. Col Rutherford B. Hayes’s 23rd Ohio Infantry — the withdrew to Princeton. There, Jenifer gathered up all the supplied he could carry, set fire to the town, and marched south to Rocky Gap.
Frémont reported that “after the affair at Camp Creek …Hayes pushed and drove Jenifer, with 300 cavalry, through Princeton. Jenifer ser fire to the place, but 6 or 8 houses were saved by Lieutenant-Colonel Hayes.” One of the dwellings
[Right-hand Inset] Walter H. Jenifer (1823-1878), a Maryland native, designed and patented a cavalry saddle while serving as a lieutenant in the 2nd U.S. Cavalry late in the 1850s. Confederate authorities adopted the saddle after the war began, but it soon proved unsatisfactory and saddlers attempted to modify it. Jenifer sued the Confederate government in 1863 for patent infringement and later settled out of court. After losing command of the 8th Virginia Cavalry after an 1862 reorganization, Jenifer served as a cavalry inspector for the duration of the war. Afterward he joined the Egyptian army in 1870, then resigned because of ill health two years later. He returned home to the Baltimore area and raised fine Arabian horses imported from Egypt until his death.
Erected 2008 by West Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #25 William McKinley, and the West Virginia Civil War Trails series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is May 1841.
Location. 37° 22.035′ N, 81° Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1522 North Walker Street, Princeton WV 24740, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. To The Memory of Gen. Hugh Mercer (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Princeton (about 500 feet away); American Revolution Bicentennial Bell (about 500 feet away); Richard Blankenship (about 500 feet away); Napoleon Bonaparte French (approx. 0.4 miles away); Battle of Pigeon's Roost (approx. 0.4 miles away); Confederate Dead (approx. 0.4 miles away); Feeding the Confederacy (approx. 3½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Princeton.
Also see . . .
1. Princeton-Mercer County Chamber of Commerce: The Dr. Robert B. McNutt House. (Submitted on November 10, 2010, by PaulwC3 of Northern, Virginia.)
2. Bluefield Daily Telegraph: Historical merit of Princeton house recognized. (Submitted on November 10, 2010, by PaulwC3 of Northern, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 8, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 9, 2010, by PaulwC3 of Northern, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,579 times since then and 48 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on November 9, 2010, by PaulwC3 of Northern, Virginia. 3. submitted on August 24, 2010, by PaulwC3 of Northern, Virginia.