Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Reading List: My favorite West Virginia Civil War books

Not a broad range of materials (most are military campaign studies and none are primary accounts), just a few books that I particularly enjoyed. They are listed here in no particular order:
  • The Battle of Scary Creek: Military Operations in the Kanawha Valley, April-July, 1861 by Terry Lowry.
  • The Civil War in Greenbrier County, West Virginia by Tim McKinney.
  • Robert E. Lee at Sewell Mountain by Tim McKinney.
  • The Civil War in Fayette County, West Virginia by Tim McKinney.
  • R.E. Lee's Cheat Mountain Campaign by Jack Zinn.
  • Civil War in the New River Valley 1861-1865: Three One Day Driving Tours by David Bard.
  • Last Sleep: The Battle of Droop Mountain by Terry Lowry.
  • September Blood: The Battle of Carnifex Ferry by Terry Lowry.
  • The U.S. Army Invades the New River Valley, May 1864 by Patricia Givens Johnson.
  • Yanks From the South! The 1st Land Campaign of the Civil War, Rich Mountain West Virginia by Fritz Haselberger.
  • The Tygarts Valley Line by Eva Margaret Carnes.
  • The Civil War in Cabell County, West Virginia 1861-1865 by Joe Geiger.
  • General William Averell's Salem Raid: Breaking the Knoxville Supply Line by Darrell L. Collins.
  • Lee vs. McClellan: The First Campaign by Clayton Newell.

There's some great looking stuff on the shelf that I haven't been able to get to so this list will likely expand. Perhaps I'll add some commentary in the future as well but those wanting more information about specific titles will find that some of these have been reviewed here already (just type the title or author into the blog search box in the upper left corner). I am thinking of compiling book 'favorites' lists for Kentucky, E. Tennessee, Missouri, and Arkansas as well.


  1. Drew:

    You might also check out the following:

    Rebels at the Gate, by W. Hunter Lesser
    Robert E. Lee & the 35th Star, by Tim McKinney
    War Diaries: The 1861 Kanawha Valley Campaigns, by David Phillips

    Not too much available in the way of WV regimentals. I only know of ones on the 1st Infanty & 2nd Cavalry regiments.


  2. Hi Mike,
    Yeah, I've read those...they're just not among my favorites!

    The West Virginia Book Co. reprinted histories of the 1st and 2nd WV. I don't remember about the 2nd, but Tim McKinney added some material for the 1st. They still have that one in stock and I really should get a copy.

    Most of the Confederate regiments raised in the area have histories as part of the H.E. Howard series, but I haven't read any of them...and, as we know, those books vary wildly in quality anyway. I wish an informed someone would put together a list of the best H.E. Howard regimentals.


  3. Those WV Regimentals are pretty much WV in name only. The 1st WV Infantry contained about 39% West Virginians, the 2nd WV Infantry about 20%, the 1st WV Cavalry about 32% and the 2nd WV Cavalry about 20%. I haven't read Haselberger's "Yanks from the South" since it is OP and expensive, but if the title refers to WV troops in the 1861 campaign then he is way off. Porterfield probably had as many West Virginians under his command at Philippi as Col. Kelley with 3 times the number of soldiers. Best, Bob

  4. The Haselberger book Yanks is available through the Rich Mountain Battlefield Foundation for $25--we purchased the inventory from the Haselbergers. Its got loads of statistics and troop movement in but in my opinion a "chewy" read. "Rebels" is the best work on the campaign and although a fiction novel is 100% accurate on the facts and descriptions of the battles. only a handful of actual WV regiments were in Western virginia at the time (1861) the books list all the accurate troops in the region at the time of the 1st campaign battles.
    --M Depp, Exec. Dir. RMBF


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