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West Virginia and the Civil War:: Mountaineers Are Always Free (Civil War Series) Paperback – August 5, 2011
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People often say with some exaggeration that that the Civil War was a conflict where brother fought against brother and father against son, but when one speaks about West Virginia's role in the Civil War, there is often no exaggeration. As Civil War historian Mark A. Snell ably demonstrates in his new book, West Virginia and the Civil War, the western section of Virginia that became the state of West Virginia was the most divided part of the nation throughout the Civil War. As many as forty thousand of the new state's residents served as combatants in the conflict, about twenty thousand on each side. There is evidence of a fairly even divide in the loyalties of the residents of the region as well.
There had long been a divide between eastern and western Virginia. As one newspaper in western Virginia noted, " The causes of complaint on the part of the citizens of Western Virginia were unequal and unjust taxation; a studied partiality in legislation by the delegates of East Virginia, and an improper appropriation of public funds in the way of internal improvements." When the Virginia Secession Convention passed its Ordinance of Secession on 17 April, 1861, by an 88-55 vote, forty-eight of the dissenting votes came from the northern Shenandoah Valley and western mountain regions of Virginia. The referendum vote for secession, however, was far more divided. Voters in half of the forty-eight counties of the future state of West Virginia supported Virginia's leaving the Union.Read more ›
The author also seemed surprised at the pro-Confederate sentiments in the state post-1865. However, those with deep family roots in West Virginia know that those sentiments were widely prevalent before and during the war. A study of the facts shows that the creation of West Virginia was one of opportunity, not one of desire by the residents of the western counties of Virginia. Had a fair and honest election of all residents been held, it seems highly unlikely that secession from Virginia would have been the outcome. This is supported by Dr. Snell's own accounting that no more than approximately half of the State's soldiers fought for the North. That alone causes the objective reader to question why the people of the counties that now make up West Virginia would have wanted to leave Virginia. It is likely that a large majority did not, explaining in part why the state quickly looked "pro-Confederate" after the war ended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is in good condition and was just the same as it was listed.Published 14 months ago by B.B.
Had lots of interesting facts, West Virginia and how it broke from Virginia Wanted to read it all as fast as i8 could.Published on June 1, 2013 by Linda Stockbauer
Purchased for my daughter who is a history major in college and will be taking a WV history class this spring.Published on December 30, 2012 by J.W.