Kenner B. Pipes

Company "K" of the 7th W. Virginia Infantry ( October 1861 -January 1864)

Company "C" of the 7th W. Virginia Infantry ( January 1864 to Oct 1864)

Kenner B. Pipes was born about 1835 in the state of Virginia. The area later called Tyler County was to become part of the state of West Virginia when it was granted statehood in 1863. Kenner's roots in the Pipes family go back to Greene County, Pennsylvania and the family of John Pipes and Eleanor Slater. John and Eleanor 's oldest son Abner was born in Greene Co. about 1796 and sometime after 1820 he migrated to Tyler County with his wife Ann Brown Boreman. They had been married in 1821 and probably moved there to take advantage of new land opportunities. They are reported to have had at least six children although we only know the names of five;

Sarah Jane,

Eleanor b.1828

John B. b.1833

Kenner B. b.1835

Mary Ann b.1839 d. 1861.

Kenner lists his birth place as Middlebourne and his place of enlistment was Sisterville, both towns are located along the Ohio River about 70 miles south of Wheeling. He joined in October of 1861 and was assigned to Company "K" of the 7th Virginia Infantry. There has been some confusion regarding the name of his unit as they were renamed the 7th WEST Virginia after 1863 when statehood was granted. There was also a 7th Virginia infantry unit in the Confederate army.

Although the 7th became known as the "Bloody Seventh", they earned that reputation after their first year of duty which was spent in police actions, guard duty, drill and marching about the northern Virginia countryside. In April of 1862 they were made part of Shield's Division and spent several months chasing Stonewall Jackson up and down the Shenandoah Valley. The 7th did not see any action during this time but learned a great deal of patience and the techniques needed to become good soldiers. With the end of the Valley campaign the Division was broken up and the 7th was assigned to the Peninsula Campaign, where they spent most of their time fighting off sickness and enduring the ravages of the Virginia backwater country. It was not until late August that the unit was finally aligned with a fighting force that saw its first full engagement at the battle of Antietam. After that time they were engaged in most of the major battles of the war as an important part of the famous Second Corps of the Army of the Potomac.

The Battle of Antietam started on September 17th and the 7th was part of  Kimball's Brigade along with the 14th Indiana, the 8th Ohio and the 132nd Pennsylvania. Lieutenant Benjamin Shriver was the commander of the 7th on this formidable day in which he was to give his life while leading their efforts against the Confederates dug in on the east side of the infamous sunken road. Casualties were very heavy for the 7th as they fought for hours along the sunken farm lane known as "Bloody Lane". Their Brigade suffered heavy losses that day with 121 killed, 510 wounded and 8 captured or missing. The 7th Regiment suffered 29 killed and 116 wounded during several hours of battle that earned the Brigade the title of the "Gibraltar Brigade".

It was two months later in December of 1862 that the unit was in the thick of things again as they fought at Fredericksburg and were involved in the struggle at Marye's Heights. Kenner survived through all of this and fared well until March of  '63 when he spent a period in the Hospital, returning to duty on April 10th, just in time for the Chancellorsville Campaign, which culminated in that battle on April 30th. They were now part of Carrol's Brigade because of the enormous depletion of their ranks from battle losses. They distinguished themselves again by taking part in the countercharge that delayed the confederates from advancing on the Chancellor House crossroads that day.

His military records indicate that Kenner entered the Hospital in Washington D.C. on June 18th of 1863 and was released on July 28th, 1863, spending 5 weeks to get his digestive system to work properly. While in the Hospital, his unit fought at the battle of Gettysburg and again distinguished themselves in battle on the second day while defending Cemetery Ridge.

Shortly after his return, the unit was consolidated  into company "C" of the 7th W. Virginia. This was necessary because of the depleted ranks of Company "K". Their losses in the previous year were very high and even the combined units were not at full regimental strength.

In the spring of 1864 the men of the 7th were offered a veteran's furlough of 30 days and the unit was discharged. However, most of the men re-enlisted for another 3 years and the records indicate that Kenner signed up again in January of 1864 in Stevensburg, Virginia. Kenner's luck changed at this point as the unit was asked to participate in a diversionary attack at a place called Morton's Ford in Virginia. The agreement was to fight this one fight and then take their furlough. Kenner was wounded on February 6th. The records do not indicate the nature or severity of the wound. Somehow, after their furlough, the the 7th managed to gain 120 new recruits, possibly on their reputation as a fighting unit, and proceeded with Grant's Army on the Overland Campaign. They were in all the major battles at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor.

Kenner was wounded for a second time at Belle Plain in May of 1864, again the records do not tell us much, but he was in the Hospital for much of June and July of that year. Returning to his unit as they moved to close in on Lee's  Army at Petersburg, he may not have known how many of his cousins were nearby. Captain James Milton Pipes was wounded at Ream's Station in August and David Washington Pipes was close by with the Washington Artillery unit from Louisiana.

The final chapter of his life was written as his unit was told to participate in a sweep from the left end of the Federal lines at a place called Hatcher's Run on October 27th. This place is Southwest of Petersburg and the records indicate that he took a shot to the body that was fatal.

I am still researching his final resting place, as he may have been returned to West Virginia or buried near Petersburg.

The 7th went on to participate at Appomattox and were prominent in the Grand review in Washington at the close of the war, closing out their service in July of 1865.


Family information from Connie Taylor records.

National Archives records for Kenner B. Pipes

The 7th W. Virginia Infantry Homepage

David W. Mellot: "The 7th West Virginia Infantry's Assault on Bloody Lane"  Article in Civil War Regiments Vol 5 No. 3

GEN WEB project: W. Virginia, Tyler County info.

The Official Records: Various reports on the activities of the 7th W. Virginia Infantry

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