The Civil War in West Virginia

Annie69 By Annie69, 8th Oct 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>History

West Virginia was probably the most unique state in America during the Civil War. Even its historical war stats make it unique. According to the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission (CWSAC), there were 15 battles in the state of West Virginia during the Civil War. But were there?

West Virginia before statehood

When it was discovered the Articles of Confederation was not working, the people called for a Constitution Convention to fix them. Instead, a whole new form of government was created, and it would take the approval of nine states to go into effect. Virginia was the 10th state to approve the Constitution and achieved statehood on June 25, 1788.

It should be noted that at that time, there was NO WEST VIRGINIA.

When war broke out in April 1861, Virginia was still part of the Union. That changed when President Lincoln called for troops to put down the "rebellion." Virginia knew the Constitution gave no authority to the President to wage war against any states. Therefore, on April 17, 1861, Virginia seceded from the Union.

West Virginia secedes from the Confederacy

In June, 1861, the counties west of the Alleghenies met at Wheeling to reorganize the government because they didn't want to leave the Union. Francis H. Pierpont was elected governor.

A dismemberment ordinance was adopted in August. This ordinance also allowed for the creation of a new state which was originally going to be called Kanawha. After some boundary disputes, a second convention met on November 26 and the name was changed to West Virginia.

The state constitution was ratified in April 1862. Lincoln approved the statehood bill as a war measure since the Constitution prohibited new states being formed from parts of existing states.

On June 20, 1863, West Virginia became the only state to secede from the Confederacy while, at the same time, becoming the 35th state of the Union.

West Virginia during the war

According to the CWSAC, 15 battles took place in West Virginia during the war—8 in 1861, 3 in 1862, 1 in 1863, and 3 in 1864. Yes, this list totals 15, but did all of them actually take place in West Virginia?

If West Virginia didn't exist until June 20, 1863, how then, did the 11 battles before that date take place in West Virginia?

It would seem that only four battles took place in West Virginia—Droop Mountain on November 6, 1863; Moorefield on August 7, 1864; Summit Point on August 21, 1864; and Smithfield Crossing from August 25-29, 1864.

Tags

Battles In West Virginia, Civil War, West Virginia Statehood

Meet the author

author avatar Annie69
History column appears weekly in local newspaper. Also news, human interest, and pictures. My fiction and poems have appeared in literary anthologies and I've written 3 novels

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Comments

author avatar Retired
8th Oct 2015 (#)

It would seem the 11 battles took place in the western part of Virginia, or what is now West Virginia. So you're really arguing semantics here.

West Virginia was settled by a lot of Scots-Irish who were often poor themselves and did not own slaves. So they did not have much of an attachment to the Southern cause of maintaining slavery. This made it possible for them to remain in the Union. West Virginia was a Democratic state for a long time but now is becoming more and more Republican.

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author avatar Annie69
8th Oct 2015 (#)

I agree it is a matter of semantics but when politicians play (then and now) there's plenty of semantics. Usually more semantics than compromise. Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate you taking the time.

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author avatar M G Singh
9th Oct 2015 (#)

Nice info on the civil war

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
9th Oct 2015 (#)

Annie you are an encyclopedia and open book about the American Civil War!

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author avatar Annie69
9th Oct 2015 (#)

What I don't know about the Amer Civil War would fill the Library of Congress. But I'm glad my little bits of trivia are of interest to others. Thanks again for taking the time to comment.

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author avatar Marzeus von Hemelen
10th Oct 2015 (#)

Yep, them folks sure loved killing each other like flies! War this, war that. Today, America in its whole is kind of like that.

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author avatar Annie69
10th Oct 2015 (#)

I'm not sure they enjoyed killing as much as they just didn't want the other side to dictate everything. Thanks for the feedback.

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author avatar SaigonDeManila
18th Nov 2015 (#)

Splendid historical writing ...very refreshing from the usual staple, next to being very educational too!

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author avatar Annie69
19th Nov 2015 (#)

Thank you for the kind words. They are most appreciated.

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