The West Virginia Division of Tourism launched a new website Tuesday dedicated to the role the state played in the Civil War and what it has to offer today.

Tourism Commissioner Betty Carver unveiled www.WVTourism.com/CivilWar. The site features 57 minutes of video about the state divided up into 9 travel regions.

 

Robert E. LeeRick Steelhammer’s article in the Charleston Gazette describes how the Confederate general’s image suffered during the West Virginia campaigns of 1861.

Click here to read the full article….

 

Western Virginia on the Eve of War
by Dr. Mark A. Snell, Director of the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War at Shepherd University

Read the article that appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of Hallowed Ground magazine produced by the Civil War Trust.

Toward Statehood

1864, Library of Congress

My ReminiscencesNow 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.

Purchase online from the West Virginia Book Company.

 

 

West Virginia and the Civil WarWest 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.

Listen to the podcast with Dr. Mark A. Snell on West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

 

 

September BloodThis 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.

Purchase online at the West Virginia Book Company

 

12th West Virginia InfantryHistory of the 12th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry
by William Hewitt

Includes: The Story of Andersonville and Florence by James N. Miller

Contents:

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
Index

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.

The First Campaign

A Guide to Civil War in the Mountains of West Virginia, 1861. Three One-Day Driving Tours, by Hunter Lesser

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.

Read Rick Steelhammer’s review in the Charleston Gazette…

 

Civilian War in West Virginia, 1861-1863, by George A. Hall.

This is an evening program held in the West Virginia Archives and History Library on May 12, 2011. George A. Hall provided a lecture on the Moccasin Rangers, a Confederate guerilla unit that operated in central West Virginia.   He is the author of Civilian War in West Virginia: The Moccasin Rangers.

View the lecture on Youtube

 

 

At the July 14, 2011, Thursday night West Virginia Archives and History genealogy program in the West Virginia State Archives library in Charleston, Ken Hechler, author, his­torian, and political figure, made a presentation on his new book Soldier of the Union, which contains letters written by his grandfather and great uncle during the Civil War. Much of the evening was a question-and-answer session, and Dr. Hechler addressed ques­tions on a variety of activities in his life, ranging from his work as a combat his­torian during World War II to his efforts against mountaintop removal.

Soldier of the Union by Ken Hechler