Kanawha County war hero honored with reburial in state veterans cemetery

INSTITUTE, W.Va. — Love, confidence and comfort were the three words that state Adjutant General James Hoyer keyed on when talking about Civil War Medal of Honor Recipient Private James Calvin Summers.

Hoyer spoke in front of a crowd of dozens Thursday morning at the Donnel C. Kinnard State Veterans Cemetery in Institute during a reburial ceremony for Summers, a Kanawha County native, who died in1927.

“Love brings us here, which doesn’t get equated with the military very often,” Hoyer said. “You have to have a love of God, your country, your family, and your comrades to do the service that you do.”

Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, W.Va. adjutant general

“Service members, whether they are Civil War or the current members serving overseas, they and their families have to have the confidence and the comfort that their comrades will always be there for them.”

Summers was a Private in the U.S. Army serving in Company H, 4th West Virginia Infantry during the American Civil War, the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) reported. During the Vicksburg campaign in Mississippi on May 22, 1863, led by Ulysses S. Grant, Summers took part in one of the two major assaults against Confederate fortifications and was awarded the Medal of Honor on February 25, 1895, “for gallantry in charge of the ‘volunteer storming party.'”

The 4th West Virginia Infantry was organized at Mason City, Point Pleasant, and Grafton, West Virginia in 1861.

He returned to the Mountain State following the Civil War before his death in 1927. From that point, Summers was buried in Elkview at a family cemetery. The family that took care of the plot, which was not Summers’ blood family, was presented with the American flag laying on the casket by Hoyer, the WVNG and Medal of Honor Recipient Hershel Woody Williams.

Hoyer said the family wanted this reburial to happen because they knew it was the right thing to do.

“They along with others agreed that it would be most appropriate for the recognition to continue here,” he said. “So many other West Virginians and others were visited this site will see that service and that conspicuous gallantry as opposed to a small family plot.”

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