Archive for Books
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.
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.
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 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.
Now available from 35th Star Publishing of Charleston.
My Reminiscences of the Civil War with the Stonewall Brigade and the Immortal 600
by Captain Alfred Mallory Edgar
27th Virginia Infantry, CSA
Alfred Mallory Edgar was born on July 10, 1837, in Greenbrier County, [West] Virginia, the son of Archer Edgar and Nancy Howe Pearis. Their mill, known as Edgar’s Mill, is now the site of present day Ronceverte, West Virginia. At the outbreak of the Civil War, the family owned ten slaves, five males and five females, ranging in age from 7 to 39 years old.
On May 9, 1861, at 23 years of age, Alfred volunteered for service in the Greenbrier Rifles, which would become part of the 27th Virginia Infantry, a regiment in the famous Stonewall Brigade of the Confederate Army. The Stonewall Brigade received their name from their legendary commander, General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. The 27th Virginia fought in many of the major campaigns and battles of the Civil War, including First Manassas, the 1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaign, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and the 1864 battles of the Wilderness. Edgar was wounded in the left shoulder at the Bloody Angle at Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia, on May 12, 1864, and was made a prisoner of war. He was sent to Fort Delaware until he became part of a group that would be known as The Immortal 600. This group of Confederate officers were taken to Morris Island, South Carolina, at the entrance to Charleston Harbor, and exposed to enemy artillery fire for 45 days in an attempt to silence the Confederate gunners manning Fort Sumter. This was in retaliation for the Confederate Army imprisoning 50 Union Army officers and using them as human shields against federal artillery in the city of Charleston, in an attempt to stop Union artillery from firing upon the city. Edgar was finally released on June 16, 1865.
In June, 1875, he married Lydia McNeel, daughter of Col. Paul McNeel, whom he had met while a student at the old Lewisburg Academy. They settled at Hillsboro in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, where he was a farmer and stockman. Captain Edgar died in Pocahontas County on October 8, 1913, and is buried in the McNeel Cemetery.
Later in life, he wrote his reminiscences of the war. This work presents those memoirs with only minimal editing. It is the compelling personal account of a young Confederate soldier describing his dramatic experience in the Civil War and its impact on his life, family, and community.
West Virginia and the Civil War: Mountaineers Are Always Free by Dr. Mark A. Snell
The only state born as a result of the Civil War, West Virginia was the most divided state in the nation. About forty thousand of its residents served in the combatant forces—about twenty thousand on each side. The Mountain State also saw its fair share of battles, skirmishes, raids and guerrilla warfare, with places like Harpers Ferry, Philippi and Rich Mountain becoming household names in 1861. When the Commonwealth of Virginia seceded from the Union on April 17, 1861, leaders primarily from the northwestern region of the state began the political process that eventually led to the creation of West Virginia on June 20, 1863. Renowned Civil War historian Mark A. Snell, director of the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War at Shepherd University, has written the first thorough history of these West Virginians and their civil war in more than fifty years.
This is the definitive work on a battle where both sides claimed victory, but in reality neither side won. It is the story of the disorganization of the Confederate forces and the dogged persistence of the Union army. Filled with personal reflections by soldiers, detailed yet highly readable descriptions of the battle, plus maps & photos, this book brings Carnifex Ferry back to life.
The highly sought after and rare book on the Battle of Carnifex Ferry, September Blood by Terry Lowry is available again, after being out of print for almost 25 years. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of this important early battle of the Civil War, Quarrier Press has reprinted a small number of this well-researched and highly entertaining book.
The book has a new introduction by Terry Lowry and is full of maps, photos, drawings, and engravings.
Includes: The Story of Andersonville and Florence by James N. Miller
The regimental history of the unit originally published in 1892
The Story of Andersonville and Florence by prisoner of war James N. Miller
Medal of Honor recipients
Complete regimental roster
A new, modern reprint of the classic regimental, “History of the 12th West Virginia Volunteeer Infantry” has been published by 35th Star Publishing of Charleston.
The history was originally published in 1892 by the veterans of that Civil War unit. The new version contains the original text, as well as an index, a complete regimental roster, and a list of the unit’s Medal of Honor recipients.
Also included is an additional manuscript titled “The Story of Andersonville and Florence,” by James N. Miller, a member of the regiment.
The book covers all of the battles and campaigns in which the unit participated, including Winchester, New Market, Piedmont, Snicker’s Ferry, Kernstown, Berryville, Opequon, Fisher’s Hill, Tom’s Brook, Cedar Creek and their dramatic attack on Fort Gregg at Petersburg.
Purchase online at The West Virginia Book Company.
New driving tour book by Hunter Lesser available at the West Virginia Book Company.
West Virginia was the setting for the First Campaign of America’s Civil War. Here brothers clashed in combat amid the rugged mountains of “Western” Virginia in 1861. The First Campaign became a proving ground for soldiers and civilians who would shape American history.
In these mountains, a Union army lead by George McClellan battled Confederates directed by Robert E. Lee. McClellan rocketed to stardom here while Lee left the mountains in defeat. Meanwhile, daring Unionists forged a new Virginia government. With President Lincoln’s aid, the new state of West Virginia was born.
This guidebook offers three one-day driving tours filled with spellbinding scenery and adventure. Easy to follow directions, narratives and “fun facts” are your ticket to a delightful journey through these “enchanted” mountains.