Archive for Hunter Lesser

Hunter Lesser, the premier expert on the 1861 Western Virginia Campaign, will present “Robert E. Lee’s Feuding Generals: Wise v. Floyd” at the April meeting of the Kanawha Valley Civil War Roundtable.  The program will be Tuesday, April 17 at 7:00 p.m. at the Dunbar Public Library.  It is free and open to the public.

In the initial months of the Civil War in 1861, two former Virginia governors were named generals in the Confederate army and led Confederate troops in western Virginia–Gen. Henry Wise and Gen. John B. Floyd.  Despite pressures from Robert E. Lee in Richmond and the approach of Union troops, their old political rivalry would lead to Confederate losses in western Virginia.

“This is a riotous tale of two former Virginia governors and old political rivals who upend Confederate efforts to reclaim the western counties for the Confederacy,” said Lesser.  “General Wise and General Floyd squabble like school boys–even after they learned that Union troops are on the march to destroy them.  Robert E. Lee was no match for their antics.  It led to the loss of western Virginia and created a scandal that stretched all the way to Richmond.”

Hunter Lesser is the author of Rebels at the Gate: Lee and McClellan on the Front Lines of a Nation Divided, a comprehensive history of the 1861 Western Virginia Campaign, and The Battle at Corricks Ford.  He is also the author of the guidebook The First Campaign: A Guide to the Civil War in the Mountains of West Virginia, 1861 which features three driving tours.  He is the co-author of the soon to be released Cambridge History of the American Civil War, which is being published by Cambridge University Press.  For more than 20 years, he has worked with the Rich Mountain Battlefield Foundation and other historic preservation organizations to preserve battlefields and other historic sites from the 1861 campaign.

For more information, call 304-389-8587.

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Saturday, April 7, 2018:


Noon-12:50 ……. Registration – I.O.O.F. Hall
12:50-1:00 ……. Welcome and Overview of RMBF – Rick Wolfe
1:00-1:50 ………. Shepherdstown in the Civil War: One Vast Confederate Hospital – Kevin Pawlak
1:50-2:40 ………. The McNeill Rangers in the Gettysburg Campaign – Steve French
3:00-3:50 ………. The Battle of Lewisburg – Richard Armstrong
3:50-4:40 ………. The Crooked Road to Freedom: Strange Tales of Slavery and Emancipation – Hunter Lesser

For more information, email: – phone: 304-637-7424


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Prayer book

Union Pvt. Philip Bader took this prayer book from “a dead Secesh soldier” after the Battle of Rich Mountain on July 11, 1861.

Author/Historian Hunter Lesser has written an article describing a prayer book captured at the Battle of Rich Mountain for The Civil War News.

Click here to view the article…

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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….


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The First Campaign Driving Tour

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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…


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