Being late November the temperature was well below freezing
and the rain had turned to snow and it continued to snow
all day and night of November 25, 1862. It was all the
troops could do to just keep warm and dry through the night
into the next day. About noon on the 26th, Company "G" of
the 2nd Virginia Cavalry and the 11th Ohio Infantry
attacked the Confederate encampment and as a result of the
attack, 111 enlisted men were captured. Many escaped but
Jacob Wesley Sirk was taken prisoner by the Union forces.
He was listed as being arrested on November 27th and was
sent to Atheneum Prison Wheeling, Virginia, where he was
received on December 4, 1862 and was described in records
as being; age 22, height 5 ft. 8 in., complexion fair, eyes
grey and hair light. He was transferred immediately and was
received at Camp Chase, Ohio on the next day. He was later
transferred to the US Federal Military Prison, Alton,
Jacob Later appeared on a "Roll of Prisoners of War",
paroled by order of the War Department dated April 1, 1863.
The record was endorsed as "Received City Point, Virginia
on April 8th 1863. There were 855 POWs in this group and
they were released over the next year. Jacob was made to
sign the "Oath of Allegiance", and was released late in
1864 and returned to his home in Braxton County, West
Nearly ninety years later and three generations as fate
would have it, another young man heeded the call of his
country and went off to fight for the south. This time it
Korea. This young man was Kenneth Lewis Sirk of Clarksburg,
Harrison County, West Virginia, the great grandson of Jacob
Lewis entered the US Army in 1950 and soon after completing
basic training was sent to South Korea. His company engaged
the Chinese Communist at a place called Kunu-Ri (Kun-Rae) below the
Chosin Reservoir in North Korea.
Information on the 2nd Engineering Battion at Kunu-Ri
Chosin Reservoir--The Chosin Reservoir (Changjin Reservoir in Korean) part of
North Korea's Japanese-built hydroelectric system is located in northeastern Korea.
The Reservoir was the site of one of the best-known battles of the Korean War
from Nov. 27-Dec. 11, 1950.
History of 2nd Engineering Battion at Kunu-Ri
Gauntlet of Death at Kunu-Ri
Lewis was taken prisoner during
the action and he and many more were
forced to walk almost 250 miles in biting cold to a prison
camp in the far northern part of Korea. Many died on the long
march. The next 33 months were spent in Camp Three where
the indoctrination was intense, physical treatment was
nearly unbearable, and food, what there was, consisted of
mostly whole kernel corn or boiled rice. Lewis along with
fellow prisoners were released when an agreement was reached between
the United States and North Korea including the Chinese in
mid 1953. Lewis return home on September 10, 1953 accompanied
by one other local soldier, Cpl Donald Richards of
Lewis later obtained a degree from West Virginia
University. He taught for several years. Worked for and retired
from the Railroad.
He married, had three children and died of cancer on May 14, 1994.
The following email was received on June 21, 2001.
"My name is Art Gregory, I live in Az. I was a
POW in Korea from 5-9-52 to 4-21-53. I met Kenneth Sirk at a
POW Hospital in Poyktong about Nov. 1952. He had broken his
collar bone doing high jumps or pole vaults. I believe he
stayed in the hospital a couple months."
Cpl Kenneth L. Sirk USA and Cpl Donald Richards USMC
The above is records received varifying the capture and POW status of Jacob Wesley Sirk Pvt CSA