The Civil War Trust recently had the chance to sit down with Nicholas Redding, author of a new book, Civil War Shepherdstown: Victory and Defeat in West Virginia’s Oldest Town. This new book describes and analyzes the story of a town caught on the border of north and south and the experience of its citizens. The book also offers driving tours of nearby sites, including the Shepherdstown Battlefield.
Nicholas Redding, executive director of Historic Long Branch in Clarke County, Virginia, is the Civil War Trust’s former deputy director for advocacy.
By Joe Geiger, Jr.
This book seeks to provide a detailed look at military activities along the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike from mid-September 1861 to the first week of April 1862. This campaign, fought primarily in Pocahontas County, Virginia, included the Battle of Greenbrier River, in which nearly 7,000 soldiers clashed in what was primarily an artillery duel; the Battle of Allegheny Mountain, the bloodiest battle of the first year of the war in present-day West Virginia; the January 1862 raid on Huntersville; and numerous other skirmishes, raids, expeditions, incidents and events.
The evidence shows that although Union forces never planned an offensive eastward along the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike after Major General George B. McClellan departed from western Virginia, Confederate leaders were convinced that failure to defend this road would result in a Union advance toward Staunton, a belief that doomed hundreds of Confederate soldiers to spend a winter in a most inhospitable land.
The soldiers who lived through these tumultuous times would remember their experiences in this remote region for the rest of their lives, and this endeavor was undertaken and completed so that their sacrifices and experiences are documented and preserved for future generations. They would undoubtedly be pleased to be remembered.
About the Author: Joe Geiger is the director of Archives and History at the West Virginia Division of Culture. Geiger has published numerous scholarly articles and a book, Civil War in Cabell County, West Virginia, 1861-1865.
Author/Historian Hunter Lesser has written an article describing a prayer book captured at the Battle of Rich Mountain for The Civil War News.
A book review written by Jonathan A. Noyalas on Eric J. Wittenberg’s The Battle of White Sulphur Springs has been published bythe Civil War News.
During a ceremony on March 2, 2012, at the Bavarian Inn in historic Shepherdstown, W.Va., the Civil War Trust, the nation’s largest battlefield preservation organization, recognized two outstanding advocates for the protection of historic sites with its Chairman’s Awards for Excellence. One of the awards, presented by the Trust’s chairman, Henry E. Simpson, honored Edward Dunleavy of Shepherdstown, W.Va., for his outstanding work with the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association.
Rich Mountain Battlefield Foundation President Richard A. Wolfe recently wrote a short history of the foundation for The Civil War News.
In the October 2011 issue The Civil War News, Author/historian John Michael Priest reviews the modern reprint of the History of the 12th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry by William Hewitt.
The book can purchased at The West Virginia Book Company.
The Pocahontas Times has published a review of My Reminiscences of the Civil War with the Stonewall Brigade and the Immortal 600. These memoirs were written by Captain Alfred Mallory Edgar of the Confederate 27th Virginia Infantry. Edgar was a native of Greenbrier County and lived much of his life in Pocahontas County.
The historic cement mill property in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, has been purchased by the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission. This important 18 acre site on the Potomac River is associated with the Battle of Shepherdstown.
The History Press has released a new title, The Battle of White Sulphur Springs: Averell Fails to Secure West Virginia, by Eric J. Wittenberg.
In August 1863, Union general William Woods Averell led a 600-mile raid culminating in the Battle of White Sulphur Springs in Greenbrier County. Col. George S. Patton, grandfather of the legendary World War II general, met Averell with a dedicated Confederate force. After a fierce two-day battle, Patton defeated Averell, forcing him to retreat. In his book, Civil War historian Eric J. Wittenberg presents an in-depth analysis of the important battle.
Wittenberg has written more than 15 published books on the Civil War. Visit his blog at http://civilwarcavalry.com.
The 193-page paperback is $21.99. It is available at The West Virginia Book Company.