Monday, April 17, 2006

"Civil War in Cabell County, WV 1861-1865"

When a price comparison inquiry on the many used book search sites comes up empty, it seems like many booksellers simply tag a $150 price on their copy and see if anyone bites. This is indeed what I found when I first attempted to find a used copy of Joe Geiger's Civil War in Cabell County, West Virginia 1861-1865 (Pictorial Histories Publishing: Charleston, WV, softcover, 1991 OP, 2 maps, photos, rosters, notes, pp. 140). Lo and behold, I check out Morningside recently and they have a new copy (must be a slooow seller) for 10 bucks. It pays to know where to look!

It's a worthwhile purchase, but I think anyone who pays anywhere close to three figures would be ultimately disappointed. On the plus side, Mr. Geiger's book is made up of high quality materials and is very nicely presented and well-researched. The author made a solid effort to uncover and examine a range of previously unpublished source materials. Like most books from this publisher, photographs are sprinkled liberally throughout. Coverage of events (military or otherwise) in the county during the first two years of the war is adequately detailed, with nice chapters on the 1861 Battle of Barboursville and the Clarkson/Jenkins raid on Guyandotte later on that year. Additionally, capsule biographies of prominent individuals and families are included, as well as unit rosters of both Union and Confederate Cabell countians.

Unfortunately, like many county histories where the main events occurred early in the war, the amount of material rapidly dwindles as the war goes on, making the book progressively less interesting. The reading here was a bit of chore to get through after 1862. Also, the maps aren't much help for those readers unfamiliar with the area, another lamentable feature of CW county histories.

Overall, I would recommend the book to anyone interested in the early years of the Civil War in West Virginia.


  1. Drew,

    I've often wondered how you go about finding the more obscure titles in your collection such as this one. Would you care to give the rest of us any tips...or would that be too much competition? ;-)


  2. Hey, you found both volumes of Guns of Port Hudson cheaply (relatively!). You should teach us! :-)

  3. LOL. I was one lucky SOB in that case, no doubt. I usually use the "wanted books" feature (sometimes it is known by different names, but most sites have this feature) that emails you when one of your wanted books is available. I then check the price and if it is to my liking I pounce. The best sites for this seem to be,, and



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