“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Charleston in Kanawha County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)

Baptism By Fire

To Arms!

Baptism By Fire Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, August 2, 2012
1. Baptism By Fire Marker
Inscription.  In July 1861, this area swarmed with retreating Confederate troops and pursuing Federal forces. Union Gen. George B. McClelland had ordered Gen. Jacob Cox to march his 3, 000 raw Ohio recruits into western Virginia from Gallipolis, Ohio, to drive Confederate Gen. Henry A. Wise and equally raw troops from the Kanawha Valley. Wise marched downriver from Charleston to confront the Federals. By July 13, Wise’s men had erected fortifications west of here on Tyler Mountain and on the Littlepage farm to command the junction of the road to Ripley with the valley road leading to Charleston.

Cox launched a three-pronged drive up the Kanawha River Valley on July 11 to envelop Wise. Two wings marched overland while the third came upriver on four steamboats. Soon the Federal forces began to converge on Wise’s position, and on July 17, they fought at Scary Creek, fifteen miles downriver from here. During a Union charge, the untested Confederates panicked and began falling back. Capt. George Patton tried to rally them, but his frightened mount bolted to the rear and the men fled faster. Capt. Albert G. Jenkins assumed command. His horse also bolted,
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and the retreat gathered speed. It stopped, however, when Wayne County’s Sandy Rangers, called the Blood Tubs for their red shirts, joined the line, singing “Bullets and Steel.” and turned the tide. Despite their victory, the Confederates retreated east to avoid being cut off by a superior Union force. They retreated eastward, pouring by here with the Federals in pursuit. The strategic Kanawha Valley was firmly in Union hands six weeks later.

"I saw, I think, the first puff of powder smoke and a bullet hit the stump on which I sat. A large beech tree was opportunely near me and I immediately sought the protection of its trunk. As the puffs of smoke increased, the beach tree seemed to wonderfully decrease in size. But for personal reasons, I stuck to it. Captain Albert G. Jenkins came up … and called for someone to go and get his horse. He did not like King Richard, promised a kingdom for his horse, but I was thinking of the kingdom to come, and a chance to dodge it. So I left the beech tree, and ran … over the hill and mounted the horse."
-Sgt. Levi Welch, 22nd Virginia Infantry

Erected 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
Baptism By Fire Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, August 2, 2012
2. Baptism By Fire Marker
in the West Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is July 1861.
Location. 38° 21.84′ N, 81° 39.75′ W. Marker is in Charleston, West Virginia, in Kanawha County. Marker is at the intersection of Kanawha Boulevard (U.S. 60) and Florida Avenue, on the right when traveling east on Kanawha Boulevard. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1279 Kanawha Boulevard, Charleston WV 25302, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. William H. Davis (within shouting distance of this marker); Spicer Patrick (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Alex Schoenbaum (approx. ¼ mile away); A Growing City (approx. 0.3 miles away); A Monumental Project (approx. 0.3 miles away); George W. Summers (approx. 0.4 miles away); Little Page Terrace Public Housing (approx. 0.7 miles away); War At The Front Door (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Charleston.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 4, 2021. It was originally submitted on September 3, 2012, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 678 times since then and 33 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 3, 2012, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.

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Sep. 21, 2023