Partisan Raid

Partisan Raid (HM1ECP)

Location: Ripley, WV 25271 Jackson County
Country: United States of America

N 38° 49.152', W 81° 42.715'

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Inscription

Ripley Post Office

During the Civil War, both Union and Confederate supporters formed guerrilla bands. Each government denounced the other side's partisans as bushwhackers or common thieves but gave those on their own side an official military designation as cover. When Capt. George Downs, of Calhoun County, formed the Moccasin Rangers, for example the Confederate government designated the unit the 19th Virginia Cavalry.

On December 19, 1861, the Rangers raided Ripley. Union Lt. Owen G. Chase, 9th (West) Virginia Infantry who was in town that day recruiting for Federal forces had disarmed the residents and locked the weapons in the jail. He probably suspected many of the townspeople of being Confederate sympathizers. Chase then marched his recruits west of town.

That evening, Pvt. Daniel Duskey and twelve other Rangers came into Ripley, took the arms from the jail, looted J.L. Armstrong's store, and robbed local residents. When Postmaster John J. Wetzel refused to unlock the post office door, Duskey retorted that he had a key to unlock any door and kicked it down. The Rangers took everything of value, including all of Wetzel's clothing except what he was wearing.

Duskey and Jacob Varner, another Ranger, were captured a few weeks later. They were convicted of robbery as civilians, since the government did not recognize the legitimacy of the Rangers, and were confined in Albany N.Y. On November 25, 1862, Confederates captured Union Capt. William Gramm and Lt. Isaac A. Wade near Charleston and then held them in Richmond. President Abraham Lincoln pardoned Duskey and Varner on June 13, 1863, so that they could be exchanged for the officers.

"As the Judge, Jury, Marshal, District Attorney and Post Master General join in asking a pardon in this case, I have concluded to grant it. The Attorney General will please make it out & send it to me." —President Abraham Lincoln.

(captions)
(upper left) Capt.George Downs Courtesy Ken Connell
(center bottom) Gov. Arthur I. Boreman visiting Duskey in prison in Wheeling Courtesy West Virginia State Archives
(lower right) Lincoln's pardon Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration
Details
HM NumberHM1ECP
Series This marker is part of the West Virginia Civil War Trails series
Tags
Placed ByWest Virginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, October 25th, 2014 at 12:35pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 438196 N 4296954
Decimal Degrees38.81920000, -81.71191667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 49.152', W 81° 42.715'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 49' 9.12" N, 81° 42' 42.90" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)304
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 100-198 Court St N, Ripley WV 25271, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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