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Civil War Blog

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Rev. Daniel Kendig – Army Chaplain at Presidio During Civil War

Posted By on November 16, 2012

Rev. Daniel Kendig of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, was the Chaplain at the Presidio of San Francisco, California, from 19 December 1859 through 27 May 1867.  According to Wikipedia:

1861–1865 — The American Civil War involved the Presidio. Colonel Albert Sydney Johnston protected Union weapons from being taken by Southern sympathizers in San Francisco. Later, he resigned from the Union Army and became a general in the Confederate Army. He was killed at the Battle of Shiloh. The Presidio organized regiments of volunteers for the Civil War and to control Indians in California and Oregon during the absence of federal troops.

A California Registered Historical Landmark plaque explains its significance:

PRESIDIO OF SAN FRANCISCO

Formally established on 17 September 1776 the San Francisco Presidio has been administered successively as a military headquarters by Spain, Mexico and the United States.  A major command post during the Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, and Korean War, it remains a symbol of United States authority in the Pacific.

The drawing shown above is of the Presidio at the time of the Civil War.  In the many views available (photographs, engravings, prints, architectural drawings, etc.) none show precisely where the chaplain’s headquarters were located.  However, it is believed that the chaplain worked within the area designated as the hospital.

Rev. Daniel Kendig merits only a brief mention in the Commemorative Biographical Encyclopedia of Dauphin County which contains a history of his family:

Rev. Daniel Kendig… was born in September 1824.  He is a chaplain in the United States Army and was stationed at the posts of Fort Stallacoom in Washington [State] and the Presidio, San Francisco, from 19 December 1859 to 27 May 1867; post chaplain, 31 April 1867; on the retired list United States Army, 1891.

Other sources indicate that he was chaplain during the Civil War.

The portion of the post report (shown above) indicates that Daniel Kendig was officially the chaplain at the Presidio as early as January 1863.  The complete set of Presidio post reports for the Civil War years is available on Ancestry.com.

Daniel’s father, Martin Kendig (1797-1850), was born at Sunbury, Northumberland County, later settled at Middletown, Dauphin County, and was involved in the lumber trade.  From 1826 too 1828, he was one of the Dauphin County auditors and served in the state legislature representing the county from 1837-1839.  He was married three times and the Rev. Daniel Kendig (1824-1911) was a child of the first marriage.  Daniel’s brother (with the same mother), Walter Henry Kendig (1830-1904), was also involved in the lumber business.

Rev. Daniel Kendig spent nearly his entire post-Civil War career as a military chaplain, although prior to the Civil War he was involved in the lumber business with both his father and his brother.  In 1880, he and his wife, Josephine M. Kendig, are located at the Presidio Barracks.  Two male Chinese servants are part of their household.  By 1891, Daniel Kendig had retired from the army and at some point before the 1900 census, he moved to Philadelphia where he was enumerated as a “clergyman.”  In 1910, still living in Philadelphia, he stated that he was a “U. S. Army Chaplain.”

On 31 July 1911, Rev. Daniel Kendig died in Philadelphia, as indicated by the obituary (above) which appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer.  He was buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia.

Not much is known about his time as army chaplain at the Presidio.  Further research may reveal some heretofore untold stories about this Dauphin County native who served in an unusual capacity during the Civil War.

Comments are welcome, and additional information can be sent to the Civil War Research Project via e-mail.


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