RACINE — Victor Wilson of Ashland, Ky., the great nephew of Confederate General Albert Gallatin Jenkins who led a Civil War raid into Meigs County 150 years ago was speaker at a special observance of the Jenkins’ Raid Sesquicentennial held recently at the veteran’s memorial at Racine Post 602 of the American Legion.
During the commemorative program arranged by Keith Ashley, he noted that the monument about Jenkins’ Raid in Racine is located in Star Mill Park where that day another event was taking place. Ashley also reported that the Ohio Historical marker on Jenkins’ Raid had been restored to its place in the Buffington Island Park in Portland.
Wilson related the history of Gen. Jenkins noting that he had served as a U.S. representative prior to the War of the Rebellion. He said Jenkins was the largest slave holder in what is now West Virginia owning a plantation at Green Bottom, Cabell County, W.Va. The home is now owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and much of the plantation has been turned into a wetland. However, Wilson said the Corps has recently worked to restore the house to its Civil War looks by removing an extension on the original home and the white paint from the outside brick.
Jenkins died when he was 33 and is buried in Spring Hill Cemetery, the only cemetery in the United States where both a Union and a Confederate general are both buried.
Ashley gave a history of Jenkins Raid noting that it started in Monroe County, and was aimed at drawing Union forces away from Confederate General Loring’s troops. There were about 1500 raiders on the West Virginia side of the Ohio River who rendezvoused with the rest at Point Pleasant.
At Ravenswood, the raiders drove 200 Union soldiers across the Buffington Island ford. The raiders then followed on Sept. 4, 1862, to Meigs County where they planted the Confederate flag. The raid continued to Racine where they occupied the town several hours. Ashley said history tells us that they did not destroy buildings but did raid some stores and took temporary hostages. George Webster who he described as deaf and dumb was shot when he failed to halt when an order was given. He survived and made his home with the Samuel Wolfe family, the ancestor of Duane Wolfe of Racine. Webster is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery near Racine. The raiders then rode down river out of Racine and crossed the ford at Wolf’s Bar, which is now the location of old Lock 24.
It was that raid, said Ashley, which resulted in the formation of a pre-war militia in Meigs County which began training for the real war action when Morgan’s Raiders came in.
At the Racine ceremony where the Legion presented a Civil War/American Revolution flag to Ashley, wreathes were placed at the monument by Alan Graham of the Racine Legion; Frank Sisson of Brooks-Grant Camp Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War; Victor Wilson for Robert S. Garnett Camp Sons of Confederate Veterans; Charles Yost, master of Racine Subordinate Grange; and Keith Ashley, commander of the Ohio Commandery Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the U. S. Emma Ashley represented the Ohio Department Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War.