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West Virgina And The Civil War

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The Civil War

And West Virginia

Brother against himself

Throughout the years much has been written and said about West Virginia. When talking to your average person its usually a joke referring to a lack of education or marrying your sister. I wonder if those people know how responsible West Virginia is for shaping our nation. In our nations most brutal war,the civil war, it was often family against family. West Virginians had it differently though they were often fighting not just their brothers but their own morals, values, and beliefs. It has been said that men would fight for either the north or the south one day and on the following day see either a family member or close family friend fighting for the other side. Once they would see their brother they would reavaulate the reasons for joining which ever side they were on and often cross the line to join in the other sides cause.

To understand West Virginias role in the civil war it needs to be understood that not only did the first planned battle take place in state but there were several other key moments that took place here as well. Harpers Ferry, which had the United States Armory and Arsenal, alone changed hands eight times. There are several other battles in the books that took place on West Virginia soil, but what is less written about is the guerrilla bands that were recruited and used through out the state. Most over the time these bands consisted of very small numbers of men who new the land well. These guerrilla bands would lay in wait and set ambushes were fifteen or twenty men could devastate a marching army of several hundred men.

The question would seam to be why was West Virginia such an contested land. There are several reasons for both sides to want West Virginia. One of the most important was the fact that the first successful railroad ran through a good deal of the state. Both sides wanted the rail system to transport good and soldiers and neither side wanted the other side to hold such a valuable tool. Another must have for both sides was the United States Armory and Arsenal



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