Books

New / Best Sellers / Most Recommended

Worthy of a Higher Rank: The 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign Journal of Colonel Joseph Thoburn
by Scott C. Patchan

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.

 

Disorder on the Border: Civil Warfare in Cabell and Wayne Counties, West Virginia, 1856-1870
by Joe Geiger, Jr.

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.

A Place of Rest for our Gallant Boys
 
 

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.

 
 

Battle of Hurricane Bridge

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.

 


Rebels at the Gate
Lee and McClellan on the Front Line of a Nation Divided
by W. Hunter Lesser

General Topics

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

 

Unit Histories

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

 

Biographies/Memoirs

 

Online Reading

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.