Archive for West Virginia State Archives
On Tuesday, September 2, 2014, Brian Stuart Kesterson presented “Incidents of Morgan’s Raid with an Account of Stovepipe Johnson’s Retreat through West Virginia” in the Archives and History Library in the Culture Center in Charleston.
Kesterson focused on the ill-fated 1863 raid of General John Hunt Morgan and Colonel Adam Rankin “Stovepipe” Johnson’s retreat through West Virginia. Several years ago, he traveled over roads and lanes that Col. Johnson and his 300 retreating Confederate cavalrymen traveled. The remoteness of the retreat route largely factored in the preservation of a substantial part of the route, according to Kesterson. “Some of these roads were little better than wagon paths and they have changed very little since the time of the Civil War. About 90% of Johnson’s original retreat route still exists, which is amazing to think about since he and his men retreated over eight counties in West Virginia and two counties in Virginia.”
A native of Wood County, Brian Kesterson received a bachelor’s degree from Marietta College and his teaching certification and master’s degree in education from Ohio Valley College. He currently is a history teacher at Parkersburg High School. He also is a member of the 6th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, which has provided living history, boot camp programs for the school children of West Virginia and Ohio since 1990, and serves as chief musician/bugler for the general staff of the United States Volunteer Infantry.
Kesterson appeared in the in the movie The Patriot (2000) as a special abilities re-enactor for the Revolutionary War time period and has appeared in documentaries on Civil War and other historical topics. He is the author of The Last Survivor: The Memoirs of George William Watson, A Horse Soldier in the 12th Virginia Cavalry (1993); Campaigning with the 17th Virginia Cavalry Night Hawks at Monocacy (2005); Dear Sir . . . Dear Miss . . .: The Letters of Granville B. Mann, Company A, 30th Battalion Virginia Sharpshooters & Miss Lucinda Maria Virginia (Chandler) Mann (2007); and Incidents of Morgan’s Raid with an Account of Stovepipe Johnson’s Retreat through West Virginia (2013).
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.
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.
On January 23, 2014, Dr. Michael Workman presented “Parkersburg: Guardian of the Union” at the Thursday evening lecture in the Archives and History Library in the Culture Center in Charleston.
Workman discussed the Civil War history of Parkersburg and Little Kanawha region. He also discussed the historiography of statehood in West Virginia.
Michael Workman earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science and his masters and Ph.D in history from West Virginia University. A historian for the Institute for the History of Technology & Industrial Archaeology at WVU for a number of years, he has been an assistant professor at West Virginia State University since 2010. Workman has written and published on labor, industrial, and West Virginia history. His latest manuscript is a study of the Civil War as it impacted Parkersburg and the Mid-Ohio Valley.
On November 5, 2013, author/historian Terry Lowry gave 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. His upcoming book on the campaign will be released by 35th Star Publishing in 2014.
Lowry’s presentation on the campaign included 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 provided 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 displayed 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, 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.
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.
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.
Greg Carroll presented the talk “Slavery in Virginia: 1619-1860″ on Thursday, April 11, 2013, in the Archives and History Library at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston.
Carroll addressed the development and spread of slavery from Virginia’s early years to the Civil War. He discussed how the slavery system in Virginia differed from the types of slavery practiced in South Carolina, the Caribbean, South America, and even the serfdom techniques used in Russia. Carroll explained the main aspects of slavery in economic and social terms. He also explained the contradictions that the system fostered, especially in Virginia, and how the reliance on a slave economy in the southern states split the U.S. in 1860 and brought about the Civil War.
Carroll is a graduate of Marshall University. He was a staff historian for the West Virginia Division of Culture and History’s Archives and History Section for 23 years until his retirement in October 2012. His primary focus was on Native Americans, African Americans and Civil War history.
On November 13, 2012, Dr. Kenneth R. Bailey presented ‘“Scratch ‘em and Sue ‘em’: Post Civil War Legal Issues” at the Tuesday evening lecture in the Archives and History Library in the Culture Center in Charleston.
Civil War legal issues consumed much of West Virginia’s court system for several years following the war. Using a PowerPoint program, Bailey discussed legal cases at the Supreme Court dealing with Reconstruction Era issues of voting, false arrest, belligerent rights, acts of Confederate county officers, the value of Confederate money, etc., from the end of the war until rights were restored to former rebels. Former Confederates were “scratched” from the voting rolls and sued for alleged wrongs on civilians during the war. Pictures of individuals and documents were used to illustrate topics covered.
Dr. Bailey is a graduate of West Virginia Institute of Technology (now WVU Tech), Marshall University, and The Ohio State University, from which he received a Ph.D. in 1976. He is retired Dean of the College of Business, Humanities and Sciences and Emeritus Professor of History and Geography at WVU Tech. Bailey is the author of Kanawha County Public Library: A History (2004), Alleged Evil Genius: The Life and Times of Judge James H. Ferguson (2006), Raising the Bar: A History of the West Virginia Bar Association (2007), and Mountaineers are Free: A History of the West Virginia National Guard (1979, revised and expanded 2008).
On October 11, 2012, Greg Carroll presented “Applying for a West Virginia Civil War Medal” at the Thursday evening lecture in the Archives and History Library in the Culture Center in Charleston.
The Civil War medals were authorized by the state legislature in 1866 as “tokens of respect” for Union veterans of West Virginia military units. Many were unclaimed, however, and eventually were turned over to Archives and History, which began a program to distribute remaining medals to descendants who file a properly documented line of descent from the veteran to themselves.
Greg Carroll is a graduate of Marshall University and recently retired as a staff historian at West Virginia Archives and History, where he worked for 23 years. He had been working with the Civil War medal claims for about two decades.
For more on the West Virginia Civil War Medals, click here….