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The Heroic Captain John Fisher of Fairmont

The family history which here follows includes a well known civil war soldier, Captain John Fisher, of Fairmont, West Virginia. The facts have been gleaned by research in the military records, as given at Washington, and from personal memoranda furnished in his lifetime by himself to the Soldiers and Sailors Historical and Benevolent Society, of Washington, D. C. The “Certificate of Record” will be appended in full, pertaining to Captain Fisher.

Captain John Fisher, third son of Jacob and Mary Fisher, was born at South Easton, Pennsylvania, January 22, 1838, died at Fairmont, West Virginia, June 16, 1910. The military record, etc., as shown by the official reports of the above-named society, is as follows:

This certifies that Captain John Fisher enlisted from Marion county, West Virginia, to serve three years, or during the war, and was mustered into the United States service on the 6th day of August, 1861, at Wheeling, West Virginia, as first lieutenant of Captain John H. Showalter’s company “A” Sixth Regiment West Virginia volunteer infantry, Colonel Nathan Wilkinson, commanding, and on July 22, 1862, was honorably discharged at Weston, West Virginia, by reason of promotion being again mustered the same day as captain of his company.

The regiment was organized in August, 1861, under Colonel Nathan Wilkinson, by authority from the war department, and under instructions from the Federal governor of Virginia, and General Rosecrans commanding the department. By special authority it was recruited to fifteen companies, and having been organized for the purpose of guarding the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, it was stationed in detachments, along the line of that road, which was a necessity to the Union army, in the moving of troops and supplies, east and west, and throughout the war was a special object of attack by the enemy. After this regiment was placed on duty, along the line, the good results of its service were apparent in the security of Union citizens, and the improvement of business. The command was in constant and active service, protecting this great thoroughfare, through territory infested with the enemy, scouting the country, and fighting bands of guerillas and prowling rebels, defending the right of way, bridges and stations, repelling numerous attacks, and protecting the lives and property of Union citizens. May 23, 1862, while a detachment of twenty-three men, under Captain Showalter, was escorting a wagon train, from Ravenswood to Spencer, it was attacked by one hundred Confederates, but succeeded in defending the train, while two messengers dashed through the rebel lines, amid a shower of bullets, and returned with reinforcements, when the enemy were driven off, with a number killed and wounded, the valuable train being brought safely into camp. August 31, 1862, companies “A” and “G” at Weston fought the enemy under Jenkins. August 23, 1863, Major Showalter, with two hundred and twenty men, was attacked by one thousand cavalry, under Jones, the battle raging until after dark, when the enemy retired, leaving his dead and wounded. At the same time other detachments were repelling attacks made on the iron trestle bridge and other points on the road. October 13, 1863, two companies took part in the defeat of rebel General W. L. Jackson, with severe loss, at Bulltown, West Virginia. August 4, 1864, companies “A” “G” and “L” bore a conspicuous part in the battle, with three thousand under McCausland, at New Creek, West Virginia. November 28th, 1864, the small garrison at New Creek, was surprised by a large force and nearly all captured, including fifty-seven of company “L” and on the same day Captain Fisher with thirty-five men repulsed a fierce attack upon Piedmont, West Virginia, on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, being highly complimented by General Crook, in special orders (as shown below). The regiment suffered severe losses, in killed and wounded, in the numerous engagements, and encounters with guerillas, bushwhackers, and roving bands of the enemy, and from death caused by diseases caused by the exposure and hardships of the service, and there were no more faithful defenders of the Union than the Sixth West Virginia Infantry.

The said Captain John Fisher was constantly with his command, bearing a loyal part in all the battles and compaigns as above outlined, and achieving a gallant record as an officer and soldier. He was wounded by gunshot in the left hand.

He received a final discharge with his company at Wheeling, West Virginia, June 10, 1865, by reason of the close of war.

He is a member of Meade Post No. 6, Department of West Virginia, Grand Army of the Republic; also of Lodge, Chapter, Royal Arch, and Commandery, Free and Accepted Masons. He served two terms as mayor of Fairmont, West Virginia; also a member of the Council and Justice of the Peace.

These facts are thus recorded and preserved for the benefit of those interested.

Compiled from official and authentic sources by the Soldiers and Sailors Historical and Benevolent Society, in testimony whereof I hereunto set my hand and cause to be affixed the seal of said Society. Done at Washington, D. C, this 1sth day of May, 1903. (No. 100,115).

H. W. Kellogg,


The following special order will explain how “Fort Fisher” at Piedmont, West Virginia, came to be named in his memory, and it stands as a lasting monument to his loyalty and bravery in the civil war:

Head-quarters Department, West Virginia. Special Orders No. 62. Cumberland, Maryland, Dec. 9, 1864.

Extract * * * *

9. Captain John Fisher, Sixth West Virginia Infantry, and the men under his command, having particularly distinguished themselves during the late rebel raid upon the line of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad, by their handsome defense of the Post of Piedmont, by which the destruction of a large amount of valuable property was prevented; the Major-General commanding the Department desires to thank them for their gallantry and soldierly bearing. By command of Major General Crook,

Robert P. Kennedy, Official. Assistant Adjutant General.

Captain John Fisher married, November 5, 1863, at Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania, Dorothy F. Gould, born June 7, 1840, in Fairmont, West Virginia, first daughter of Harrison and Hannah (Madeira) Gould.


Virginia S., born May 30, 1865;

Frank C, August 14, 1866;

Willard N., June 27, 1868;

Cora D., March 13, 1871;

William H., October 3, 1875;

Fred G., November 16, 1878;

Robert E., December 4, 1881.

Personal and Genealogical History of the Upper Monongahela Valley West Virginia, Vol 2, Illustrated, Bernard Butcher, ed; Lewis Historical Publ Co, NY 1912 pp 521-524

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