Fort Boreman was a military fortification constructed by the United States Army during the Civil War. The protection of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, the two turnpikes, the Northwestern and the Staunton-Parkersburg, and river port facilities was absolutely essential to the Union war effort. Because of its strategic location as a transportation center, tens of thousands of soldiers traveled through Parkersburg between 1861 and 1865.
Fort Boreman gave the sentinels atop the hill a grand view of river traffic, the railroads, and the turnpikes. Under the command of Col. Daniel Frost, the soldiers of Company A of the Eleventh West Virginia Infantry began constructing the fort in June 1863. The fort itself was a triangular structure with a powder magazine. Also at the site were winter quarters and a stable. There were five gun stations on the northwest and northeast faces of the fort. The artillery pieces at the citadel included two 12-pound siege guns, one six-pound field gun, and two three-inch guns.
The fortification consisted of trenches constructed in a zigzag pattern ringed with rifle pits and firing holes cut into the logs. They were capable of holding 100 men. Fort Boreman never saw any hostile military action, and its guns were fired only on celebratory occasions. One soldier, Richard Miller, was killed on August 14, 1863, when during one such occasion, a gun misfired.
Fort Boreman was occupied in the last year of the war by Batteries D, G, and H, First West Virginia Light Artillery and finally by the Thirty-Second New York Independent Battery. Battery D, also known as the Wheeling Light Artillery, was under the command of Capt. John Carlin. The Fort Boreman site, previously owned by Jonathan B. Beckwith, was returned to him after the war.
In the late 1890s the Parkersburg Post of the Grand Army of the Republic, a Union veteran's organization, erected a cannon and carriage atop the hill, which came to be affectionately known as "Long Tom." This vintage Civil War artillery piece was moved in 1921 to Parkersburg's City Park, where Wood Countians still honor the gun as a symbol of the region's rich historical heritage.
(right) Capt. John Carlin