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On Tuesday, June 3, 2014, Robert Thompson will present “Wayne County: Slavery and the Civil War” in the Archives and History Library in the Culture Center in Charleston. The program will begin at 6:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Slavery in western Virginia was not as widespread as it was in the Tidewater and Piedmont regions of Virginia; however, it was an economic and political factor in the most western county, Wayne. While the number—143 slaves in the 1860 U.S. Census—was not large, it was a similar amount to that of the surrounding counties of Pike and Lawrence in Kentucky and Cabell and Logan in Virginia. Thompson will share the story of the Pauley family children and their return to slavery in 1850, after they were kidnapped from Ohio and sold to William Ratcliff of Wayne County. Later, Ratcliff, as a delegate of Wayne County, was instrumental in the statehood movement that formed West Virginia.

The second part of Thompson’s presentation will examine the life and career of Milton Jameson Ferguson, a local attorney with a flourishing practice, handling chancery and other property actions. When the Civil War erupted he became a colonel of the Confederate 16th Virginia Cavalry. This unit was formed primarily of men from Wayne County and the surrounding area. Slavery and the county political leaders produced a very complex and volatile situation as Virginia became engulfed in the Civil War and West Virginia was born.

Robert Thompson has researched Wayne County and its history nearly all his life. He is a product of Wayne High School and a 2010 graduate of Marshall University, the alma mater of Milton J. Ferguson. A lifelong Wayne Countian, he currently teaches social science at Wayne High School and is on the Wayne Town Council. He has authored 10 books on the history of Wayne County including Few Among the Mountains: Slavery in Wayne CountyFear No Man: The Life of Colonel Milton Jameson Ferguson; and his latest book, Badges & Bullets: Wayne County, WV Sheriffs 1842-1942.

On June 3, the library will close at 5:00 p.m. and reopen at 5:45 p.m. for participants only. For additional information, call (304) 558-0230.

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West Virginia Archives and History Lecture Series events are held in the Archives Library at the West Virginia Culture Center, Charleston, West Virginia.

West Virginia Archives and History Lecture Series events are held in the Archives Library at the West Virginia Culture Center, Charleston, West Virginia.

Steve Cunningham, regimental historian of the 7th West Virginia Cavalry, will be presenting a lecture entitled “Loyalty They Always Had: The 7th West Virginia in the U.S. Civil War” for the West Virginia State Archives Lecture Series.

The event is free and open to the public, and will be held in the Archives Library at the West Virginia Culture Center in Charleston, West Virginia, at 6pm on Thursday, May 15, 2014.

Raised and organized in the Kanawha Valley in 1861, the 7th West Virginia Cavalry (previously the 8th Virginia Infantry and 8th West Virginia Mounted Infantry) served during the U.S. Civil War in numerous battles, campaigns, and raids including the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862, Cross Keys, 2nd Bull Run, White Sulphur Springs, Droop Mountain, the Salem Raid, Cloyds Mountain, and the Lynchburg Campaign. At war’s end, they facilitated the paroling of more than 5,000 returning Confederate soldiers to the Kanawha Valley region. Cunningham will share from his research for his upcoming book on the unit, entitled Loyalty They Always Had: The 7th West Virginia Cavalry in the U.S. Civil War.

Steve Cunningham has been conducting research on the 7th West Virginia Cavalry for about 20 years, maintains an active Web site about the 7th, and has hosted several events for descendants of the unit. He is a past president of Kanawha Valley Civil War Roundtable, where he was involved in the organization of the centennial rededication of the West Virginia monuments at Gettysburg, and co-authored the book,Their Deeds Are Their Monuments: West Virginia at Gettysburg. He also is the author or co-author of several articles on the Civil War, including “The 1st West Virginia Cavalry in the Gettysburg Campaign” for the scholarly journal Civil War Regiments. He was a contributor to the West Virginia Encyclopedia and has contributed research to several other authors’ books.

Cunningham created and maintains the Web site West Virginia in the Civil War, which receives 75,000 visitors each year, and is president and owner of 35th Star Publishing, which specializes in non-fiction titles on West Virginia history and culture. He holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and operations research from Virginia Tech, and a master’s of business administration from the Marshall University Graduate College. He resides in Charleston and is employed by Charleston Area Medical Center.

For more information on this event, contact Robert Taylor, library manager, at Bobby.L.Taylor@wv.gov or at (304) 558-0230, ext. 163.

More information on the 7th West Virginia Cavalry can be found here…

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huntersraid_logoWest Virginia soldiers who were casualties of the 1864 Lynchburg Campaign will be honored during 150th anniversary events in Lynchburg, Virginia.

On Sunday afternoon, June 15th, there will be a marker dedication at 2pm at Quaker Memorial Presbyterian Church in Lynchburg, honoring the fallen West Virginia soldiers buried there in unmarked graves.  The event is sponsored by the Taylor-Wilson Camp #10 of the Union Veterans of the Civil War.  The public is invited to attend.  Listed below are the West Virginia soldiers lost during the Lynchburg Campaign.

Many other events and activities are scheduled during the week of June 13-21, 2014.  For more information on the Lynchburg Sesquicentennial, contact Kevin Shroyer, chairman of the Lynchburg Sesquicentennial Committee.

For more information on the Lynchburg Campaign, visit huntersraid.org.


Union soldiers from West Virginia who were casualties of Gen. David Hunter’s Lynchburg Campaign, June 10-20, 1864

1st West Virginia Light Artillery, Battery B

1. Pvt. John Boyce
2. Pvt. William Rust

1st West Virginia Light Artillery, Battery D

3. Pvt. John G. Beardsley
4. Pvt. John W. Durbin
5. Pvt. James O. Mills

1st West Virginia Cavalry

6. Pvt. Alexander Hoback, Wagoner

2nd West Virginia Cavalry

7. Pvt. James Woodrum, Co. H

3rd West Virginia Cavalry

8. Corp. William Wentz, Co. M

7th West Virginia Cavalry

9. Pvt. Valentine Alexander, Co. G
10. Sgt. Patterson Ballard, Co. B
11. Pvt. William A. Green, Co. I
12. Sgt. Abner Monk, Co. B

1st West Virginia Infantry

13. 2nd Lieut. Joseph B. Gordon, Co. C
14. Pvt. Robert J. Simpson, Co. I

5th West Virginia Infantry

15. Pvt. John Fausnott, Co. D
16. Pvt. Daniel Forbus, Co. B
17. Pvt. Solomon Harrison, Co. D
18. Pvt. James M. Johnson, Co. H
19. Pvt. John Kelley, Co. K
20. Pvt. James H Parker, Co. I
21. 2nd Lieut. David J. Thomas, Co. A
22. Sgt. Colman B.B. Waller, Co. K

9th West Virginia Infantry

23. Pvt. Henry S. Smith, Co. D

11th West Virginia Infantry

24. 1st Lieut. James Barr, Co. D
25. Pvt. Henderson Burdett, Co. G
26. Pvt. Thomas McPherson, Co. K
27. Pvt. James L. Mathews, Co. I
28. Pvt. Francis Proudfoot, Co. C
29. Pvt. Jasper Rand, Co. B
30. Pvt. Morgan Rexroad, Co. C
31. Pvt. John W. Sigler, Co. C
32. Pvt. Francis M. Smith, Co. C

12th West Virginia Infantry

33. Pvt. James M. Stewart, Co. F
34. Pvt. James White, Co. K

14th West Virginia Infantry

35. Pvt. John S. Prince, Co. D

15th West Virginia Infantry

36. Pvt. Phillip Coonts, Phillip, Co. F
37. Pvt. Daniel Daugherty, Co. C
38. Pvt. Daniel Dulaney, Co. C
39. Sgt. Thomas Fowler, Co. A
40. Corp. Joseph W. Hitt, Co. B
41. Pvt. John S. Kayser, Co. D
42. Pvt. William King, Co. K
43. Pvt. Robert Lemmon, Co. C
44. Pvt. George Runner, Co. E
45. Pvt. John Watkins, Co. C

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Mar
11

A House Divided Symposium, April 5, 2014

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The Mason-Dixon Civil War Round Table of Morgantown, West Virginia, is pleased to announce that its annual Civil War Symposium will be held Saturday, April 5, 2014. The Symposium will be held at the West Virginia University Erickson Alumni Center. Registration begins at 8:30 AM with presentations beginning at 9:10 AM.

The Symposium speakers (with topics) are: Charles Knight (New Market), Dave Phillips (Jesse Scouts), Dr. John Rathgeb (Hospital Development in the Civil War) and Scott Patchan (The Army of West Virginia and the Last Battle of Winchester).

The Symposium registration includes not only these excellent speakers but many Civil War displays and exhibits, book sales by prominent authors, a breakfast buffet and lunch, and a year’s subscription to our monthly newsletter delivered electronically. The registration cost is $30. To register, please send a check to Professor Jack Bowman, 28 Vintner Place, Morgantown, WV 26505. Be sure to include your name, mailing address and email address. Your email address will be used to include you in our newsletter mailings.

Co-sponsored by the West Virginia University Department of History and the Stonewall Jackson Civil War Roundtable of Bridgeport, West Virginia.

More info:  Mason-Dixon Civil War Roundtable

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On March 4, 2014, Rick Wolfe will present “From the Burning of Chambersburg to the Battle of Moorefield” at the Tuesday evening lecture in the Archives and History Library in the Culture Center in Charleston. The program will begin at 6:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

In the summer of 1864, General Jubal Early moved his Confederate army down the Shenandoah Valley and east to threaten Washington, DC. His mission was to create confusion and draw Union soldiers and resources away from General Ulysses S. Grant’s campaign to destroy General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Early dispatched two cavalry brigades under the command of General John McCausland to burn Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Afterwards, Union cavalry under the command of William W. Averell pursued the town burners. They caught up with the Confederates in Hardy County, resulting in the Battle of Moorefield.

A native of Morgantown, Richard A. Wolfe spent 26 years in the Marine Corps, retiring as a major in 1998. Since then, he has worked in the information technology field with the Department of Justice and in December 2013 retired from Lockheed Martin. Wolfe has been a long-time student of the American Civil War, especially as it relates to West Virginia. He is associated with the Clarksburg and Morgantown Civil War Roundtables, is president of Rich Mountain Battlefield Foundation, and is a volunteer on the Civil War Task Force for West Virginia’s Division of Tourism, which is responsible for West Virginia Civil War Trails. In June 2009, Wolfe was appointed by Governor Manchin to the West Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission. He is the author of a book in the Images of America series titled West Virginia in the Civil War.

Click here for more info…

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On November 5, 2013, author/historian Terry Lowry will give a presentation on the 1862 battle of Charleston and the Kanawha Valley Campaign at the Tuesday evening lecture in the Archives and History Library in the Culture Center in Charleston. The program will begin at 6:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

In 1903 Sgt. Joseph A. Saunier, Co. F, 47th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, a veteran of the battle of Charleston and the 1862 Kanawha Valley Campaign of the Civil War, wrote, “It is a curious fact that in all the military histories of the late war there is no mention made of one of the most masterly retreats that occurred during the rebellion, and that was the one that was conducted by Colonel Lightburn in the fall of ’62, from Gauley Bridge, West Va., thence to the Battle of Charleston, thence from Charleston to the Ohio River.” The battle of Charleston, fought September 13, 1862, between the Confederate forces of Gen. William W. Loring and the Federal army command of Col. Joseph A. J. Lightburn has long been neglected by historians.

Lowry’s presentation on the campaign will include details of the battles of Fayetteville, Cotton Hill, Montgomery’s Ferry, Charleston, and Buffalo, in addition to the Trans-Allegheny Raid of Gen. Albert G. Jenkins. He will detail the burning and mass evacuation of Charleston and provide insight into the various personalities involved, such as Col. Samuel A. Gilbert, father of Cass Gilbert, who designed the current West Virginia State Capitol, and Col. Edward Siber, who held off more than 5,000 Confederate soldiers with only two under-strength regiments of infantry, at Fayetteville. To compliment his presentation, Lowry will display a number of actual artifacts from the battle and campaign from his own personal collection, as well as of the State Archives collections, many never before seen by the public.

A native of South Charleston, Lowry received his BA in History in 1974 from West Virginia State College (now University) and studied Civil War History at Marshall University Graduate School. A professional musician for most of his life, he spent over twenty years as music critic at Charleston Newspapers, Inc., and one year with The Atlanta Journal. He published his first book, The Battle of Scary Creek; Military Operations in the Kanawha Valley, April-July 1861, in 1982. Other books have included September Blood: The Battle of Carnifex Ferry (1985); two volumes of the Virginia Regimental Histories Series, 22nd Virginia Infantry (1988) and 26th (Edgar’s) Battalion Virginia Infantry (1991); and Last Sleep: The Battle of Droop Mountain, November 6, 1863 (1996). In 2000 he co-authored with Stan Cohen, Images of the Civil War in West Virginia. Lowry’s most recent book is Bastard Battalion: A History of the 83rd Chemical Mortar Battalion in World War II (2009). His new book, The Battle of Charleston and the 1862 Kanawha Valley Campaign, is tentatively scheduled for an early 2014 release. Lowry currently is a historian with West Virginia Archives and History, where he has been employed since 2001.

On November 5, the library will close at 5 p.m. and reopen at 5:45 p.m. for participants only. For planning purposes, participants are encouraged to register for the lecture, but advance registration is not required to attend. To register in advance, contact Robert Taylor, library manager, by e-mail or at (304) 558-0230, ext. 163. Participants interested in registering by e-mail should send their name, telephone number and the name and date of the session. For additional information, contact the Archives and History Library at (304) 558-0230.

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Harold Holzer

One of the nation’s leading Abraham Lincoln scholars will deliver the 2013 McCreight Lecture in the Humanities at the state Culture Center in October. Harold Holzer will present “Emancipating West Virginia: Abe Lincoln Creates a State” at 7:30 p.m. on October 17. The annual McCreight Lecture is a program of the West Virginia Humanities Council and the public is invited to attend. Mr. Holzer’s lecture is one of many Civil War and Statehood Sesquicentennial programs delivered by the Humanities Council over the past four years.

Harold Holzer is Chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation, official successor organization of the U.S. Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, which he co-chaired for nine years, appointed by President Bill Clinton. In 2008 Holzer was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President George W. Bush. He recently served as script consultant for Steven Spielberg’s 2012 film,Lincoln.

Holzer is the author, co-author, or editor of more than 40 books on Lincoln and the Civil War era, most recently 1863: Lincoln’s Pivotal Year (2013), Lincoln: How Abraham Lincoln Ended Slavery in America(2012), the official young adult companion book for the Spielberg film, and The Civil War in 50 Objects, a volume that tells the story of the war through the collections of the New York Historical Society, for which he serves as the Roger Hertog Fellow.

More information….

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Joseph N. Geiger, Jr.

As part of the State of West Virginia’s sesquicentennial events, Joseph N. Geiger, Jr. will  present a lecture on “A State of Convenience: The Creation of West Virginia” in the West Virginia Archives and History Library at the Culture Center in Charleston on Thursday, June 20, 2013, at 12:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Geiger will outline the major conventions and other events that shaped the creation of the new state from Virginia in the midst of the Civil War. He also will discuss the importance of the Civil War to the statehood movement and review the reasons why many questioned the legality of West Virginia’s formation.

Joe Geiger has been the director of West Virginia Archives and History since 2007. He is the author of Holding the Line: The Battle of Allegheny Mountain and Confederate Defense of the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike, 1861-62 (2012) and currently is working on a revised edition of his Civil War in Cabell County, West Virginia, 1861-1865 (1991). Geiger has taught West Virginia history at Marshall University since 1997.

For additional information, contact Bryan Ward, assistant director of Archives and History, at (304) 558-0230, ext 723, or Bryan.E.Ward@wv.gov.

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As part of the State of West Virginia’s sesquicentennial events, Dr. Aaron Sheehan-Dean will present a lecture on “When Western Virginians Remained Loyal: West Virginia Statehood and the Union” in the West Virginia Archives and History Library at the Culture Center in Charleston on Friday, June 21, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.

When western Virginians remained loyal to the United States in the Civil War, they were among the only white people living in the slave states who refused to join the Confederacy. Sheehan-Dean will discuss the reasons for their decision. Understanding their motivation helps solve one of the continuing puzzles at the heart of the Civil War: why people stayed loyal to the U.S. He will explore what the United States represented that compelled such sacrifice from its loyal citizens. Sheehan-Dean also will explore what other northerners thought about West Virginia statehood. Beyond the technical question of state creation and the strategic importance of securing the territory of western Virginia, he will discuss how Americans understood what West Virginians’ loyalty meant.

Aaron Sheehan-Dean is the Eberly Professor of Civil War Studies at West Virginia University. He is the author of Why Confederates Fought: Family and Nation in Civil War Virginia (2007) and the Concise Historical Atlas of the U.S. Civil War (2008), and he is also the editor of several books. He teaches courses on 19-century U.S. history, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and Southern History.

 

For additional information, contact Bryan Ward, assistant director of Archives and History, at (304) 558-0230, ext 723, or Bryan.E.Ward@wv.gov.

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Eric J. Wittenberg

UPDATE:  Listen to an interview with Eric Wittenberg on West Virginia Public Radio.

Eric Wittenberg, one of the nation’s leading experts on Civil War cavalry, is the guest speaker for the May meeting of the Kanawha Valley Civil War Roundtable. Wittenberg is the author of The Battle of White Sulphur Springs: Averell Fails to Secure West Virginia. The book is the focus of Wittenberg’s lecture at the May meeting of the Kanawha Valley Civil War Roundtable. The meeting will be Tuesday, May 21 at 7:00 p.m. at the South Charleston Public Library. The meeting is free and open to the public.

The Battle of White Sulphur Springs is one of the first in 1863 to involve Gen. William Woods Averell’s 4th Separate Brigade. Averell, a West Point graduate who had risen to command a division in the Army of the Potomac’s Cavalry Corps, assumed command of the brigade in May 1863. It was comprised of infantry, mounted infantry, cavalry and artillery batteries. The mounted infantry regiments were the 2nd, 3rd and 8th West Virginia, regiments which began the war as infantry, became mounted infantry in 1863 and finished the war as the 5th, 6th and 7th West Virginia Cavalry regiments respectively.

“Averell took command of these infantry regiments and in just a few weeks turned them into effective cavalry. They had to learn to march and fight in formation. It’s supposed to take months to train cavalry. Averell did it in just a few short weeks before he was ordered to Lewisburg,” Wittenberg said.
Battle of White Sulphur SpringsAverell’s command was sent to Lewisburg to capture the Virginia Supreme Court law library housed in the Greenbrier County Courthouse. Because the Virginia Supreme Court met at least once each year in western Virginia, the courthouse had a law library that was a duplicate of the one in Richmond. When West Virginia became a state, the library was needed in Wheeling to help establish the new West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. Because of this mission, the Battle of White Sulphur Springs is sometimes referred to as the Battle of the Law Books.

“There is a misperception that Averell was afraid to fight. That he was too cautious. The truth is that he was a bold gambler who did what he needed to do. This was a brutal slugging match, and Averell and his troops were up to the task,” Wittenberg said.

Eric Wittenberg is an attorney in Columbus, Ohio. His other books include The Union Cavalry Comes of Age: Hartwood Church to Brandy Station; The Battle of Brandy StationGettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry ActionsProtecting the Flank: The Battles for Brinkeroff’s Ridge and East Cavalry FieldOne Continuous Fight: The Retreat from Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia;Lil Phil: A Reassessment of the Civil War Generalship of Gen. Philip H. Sheridan; and Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads and the Civil War’s Final Campaign. His new books include one on Gen. John Buford’s division in the Gettysburg Campaign and Buckeyes Forward, a book on Ohio troops in the Antietam Campaign.

Copies of The Battle of White Sulphur Springs will be available for purchase at the meeting. For more information, phone (304)389-8587.

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