As Johnson positioned his 150 men within the fort, "the enemy appeared in force and opened a furious fire upon us simultaneously on three sides and from as many different hills," the Union captain wrote in an after-action report. Due to the high elevation of the hills surrounding the fort, "the unfinished condition of our works exposed our men to a most galling cross-fire, which they withstood and returned with the firmness of veterans."
The two sides traded small arms fire for about five hours until Jenkins decided he would be unable to dislodge the federal troops without artillery, which he lacked. According to Johnson's report, three Union soldiers were killed outright in the gun battle, and a fourth died of injuries a short time later. According to a history of the 8th Virginia, Gallatin's force had one man killed and several others injured.
Jenkins bypassed the fort and continued on to Buffalo, where he commandeered a pair of flatboats and floated his force down the Kanawha River to Point Pleasant. The following day, he unsuccessfully tried to capture the steamboat "Victor No. 2" which was believed to have been carrying a Union paymaster and quantity of payroll cash.
The steamboat crew warned the Union garrison in Point Pleasant of the presence of the approaching Confederates, prompting them to hole up in the Mason County Courthouse. Jenkins' force attacked the courthouse and another extended small arms duel ensued, this time with no casualties on either side.
Jenkins and his regiment broke off the attack and made their way to an encampment in Cabell County.
A few months after his skirmishes in Hurricane and Point Pleasant, Jenkins was wounded by shrapnel during the Battle of Gettysburg. In May of 1864, during the Battle of Cloyd's Mountain in Virginia, a bullet pierced his left arm, which had to be amputated. He died a short time later.
Jenkins' family plantation, Green Bottom, which stretched along the shore of the Ohio River near the Cabell-Mason County line and relied on the labor of up to 50 slaves, is now the state-managed Greenbottom Wildlife Management Area. The Jenkins family's home has been stabilized and partially restored, and can be seen from W.Va. 2.
Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelham...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5169.