In the minds of many people, Virginia is the Civil War. It is the state most closely associated with Confederate luminaries Lee, Jackson, Stuart, and Mosby and Union leaders Grant, Sheridan, Burnside, McClellan, and Pope. But when Virginia’s general assembly voted the state out of the Union, citizens west of the Shenandoah Valley voted themselves out of Virginia, creating the Union state of West Virginia. Touring Virginia’s and West Virginia’s Civil War Sites covers all the significant sites in both states.
The 18 tours visit large and small battlefields, historic houses and buildings, cemeteries, monuments and statues, rivers, and mountains, while sharing the histories behind each location, some surprising and obscure:
- When Burning Springs, West Virginia, was targeted in 1863, it was the first attack in military history in which oil was the military objective
- Had Robert E. Lee been killed or captured at a crossroads near Orlean, Virginia, in August 1862, the entire history of the war might have been altered
- Hampton, Virginia, has the only original artifacts from the USS Monitor—not to mention a working model of the ironclad’s underwater flushing toilet.
Read more in the following excerpt from Clint Johnson’s Touring Virginia’s and West Virginia’s Civil War Sites.
And while you’re at it, go ahead and vote on your favorite Civil War-era facial hair! (I have to admit, I’m partial to Alpheus Williams. Who’s your favorite?)