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Based primarily on his 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign journal, this biographical work on Colonel Joseph Thoburn, Commander, 1st Infantry Division, Army of West Virginia, provides significant insight on this period of the Civil War, as well as background on an important field commander of the Union Army who was a physician from Wheeling, West Virginia.
In the last half of the 1850s, the Virginia counties of Cabell and Wayne became immersed in the national debate over slavery. Located only a stone’s throw away from the free state of Ohio, some western Virginians practiced and defended slavery, and the contentiousness between supporters and those who opposed the institution increased dramatically as the nation moved closer to civil war. When the conflict erupted in 1861, disorder was the order of the day.
Although the overwhelming majority of voters in Cabell and Wayne counties opposed the Ordinance of Secession, the most prominent and influential citizens in the area favored leaving the Union. When the state seceded, some who had opposed this step now cast their loyalty with Virginia rather than the Union. During and after the Civil War, dozens of skirmishes, raids, and armed encounters occurred in this border area, and the lengthy struggle only ended with the statewide Democratic victory in the 1870 election.
Federal supporters in Cabell and Wayne counties lived through years of terror. Their efforts to save the Union and create the new state of West Virginia, and their willingness to die on behalf of the country ensured its survival from the greatest conflict in the history of the United States.
Seceding from Secession: “West Virginia was the child of the storm,” concluded early Mountaineer historian and Civil War veteran, Maj. Theodore F. Lang. The northwestern third of the Commonwealth of Virginia finally broke away in 1863 to form the Union’s 35th state. In Seceding from Secession: The Civil War, Politics, and the Creation of West Virginia, authors Eric J. Wittenberg, Edmund A. Sargus, and Penny L. Barrick chronicle those events in an unprecedented study of the social, legal, military, and political factors that converged to bring about the birth of the West Virginia.
The Battle of Hurricane Bridge, March 28, 1863
by Philip Hatfield, PhD
The Battle at Hurricane Bridge is an often overlooked Civil War action occurring at the small and otherwise quiet western Virginia village. For five hours behind the limited protection of an unfinished earthen fort, the green Union troops of the 13th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry under the command of Captain James Johnson, fought to hold off the hardened Confederate veterans of the 8th and 16th Virginia Cavalry commanded by Brigadier General Albert Gallatin Jenkins.
Ultimately, the March 28, 1863, battle at Hurricane Bridge directly contributed to the Union army maintaining control of the James River & Kanawha Turnpike, a key supply line, and enabled Federal control of the Kanawha Valley for the remainder of the war.
The Seventh West Virginia Infantry: An Embattled Union Regiment from the Civil War’s Most Divided State
by David W. Mellott and Dr. Mark A. Snell
Rebels at the Gate
Lee and McClellan on the Front Line of a Nation Divided
by W. Hunter Lesser
Images of the Civil War in West Virginia, by Terry Lowry and Stan Cohen
West Virginia in the Civil War (Images of America), by Richard A. Wolfe
West Virginia and the Civil War, by Dr. Mark A. Snell
The War Came by Train: The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad During the Civil War, by Daniel Carroll Toomey
The Civil War in West Virginia: A Pictorial History, by Stan Cohen
Pictorial Guide to West Virginia’s Civil War Sites, by Stan Cohen
Battles / Campaigns
The First Campaign: A Guide to Civil War in the Mountains of West Virginia, 1861, Three One-Day Driving Tours, by W. Hunter Lesser
The Battle of Charleston and the 1862 Kanawha Valley Campaign, by Terry Lowry
The Battle of Lewisburg, by Richard L. Armstrong
The Battle of White Sulphur Springs, by Eric J. Wittenberg
September Blood: The Battle of Carnifex Ferry, by Terry Lowry
Campaign in Western Virginia, by George B. McClellan
Holding the Line: The Battle of Allegheny Mountain, by Joe Geiger
The Jones-Imboden Raid, by Darrell L. Collins
General William Averell’s Salem Raid, by Darrell L. Collins
The Coal River Valley in the Civil War, by Michael B. Graham
Last Sleep: The Battle of Droop Mountain, by Terry Lowry
The Battle of Scary Creek, by Terry Lowry
History of the 5th West Virginia Cavalry, by Frank S. Reader
History of the 12th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry, by William Hewitt,
Includes: The Story of Andersonville and Florence by James N. Miller
Phantoms of the South Fork: Captain McNeill and His Rangers, by Steve French
Headquarters in the Brush: Blazer’s Independent Union Scouts, by Darl L. Stephenson
The Other Feud: William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield in the Civil War, by Dr. Philip Hatfield
Stonewall Jackson: The Man, The Soldier, The Legend, by James I. Robertson, Jr.
Major Thomas Maley Harris, by H.E. Matheny
Brigadier General John D. Imboden, by Spencer C. Tucker
A House Divided: Statehood Politics and the Copperhead Movement in West Virginia by Richard Orr Curry
University of Pittsburgh Press – Digital Editions
The Tarnished Thirty-fifth Star by C. Stuart McGehee
Virginia at War, 1861; edited by William C. Davis and James I. Robertson, Jr.
Virginia Center for Civil War Studies
Loyal West Virginia from 1861-1865 by Theodore F. Lang
The Deutsch Publishing Company, Baltimore, Maryland, 1895.