Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Coal River Valley in the Civil War

I am intrigued by Michael B. Graham's The Coal River Valley in the Civil War: West Virginia Mountains, 1861 (The Hist Pr, Aug '14). With the Coal River formed from the confluence of the Big and Little Coal rivers and draining into the Kanawha River just west of Charleston, the Coal River Valley potentially comprises a rather large chunk of southern West Virginia. I had to Google Map it to get a rough idea of its extent and didn't find any good historical maps online of what is traditionally considered to be the valley's reach. In this area surely the local population was divided in sentiment so perhaps the book deals with that and one would guess that any 1861 military context would have to be related somehow to Cox's campaign. Given that the 1861 period in western Virginia is among my favorite study subjects, I'm excited by my ignorance of Coal River Valley and am definitely looking forward to this one.

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