West Virginia Historical Society :: History of Virginia

West Virginia Historical Society

September 1, 2014
Hardy County, West Virginia

Secession was the hope of some western Virginians around 1829-secession from Virginia. Westerners believed underrepresented in Virginia's legislature, overtaxed, and shortchanged in state spending. In several counties, tough terrain made servant farming impractical.

After the Richmond vote to secede from the Union, leaders in twenty-seven counties organized to keep. After a half-year of war, these people were able to expand their base—reaching over the natural buffer for the Allegheny Mountains—to add twenty-one extra counties and consume two-fifths of this territory of Virginia.

The westerners were divided—even following admission of the brand-new condition in to the Union in 1863. Pro-Confederate majorities existed in twenty-four for the forty-eight counties, and Confederate sympathizers had been active in the others.

"Irregular Troops of Virginia/Riflemen of this Alleghenies"

These Confederates, shown here gathering when you look at the Shenandoah Valley, had been volunteering for Confederate solution or already mustered in. Their particular uniforms and tools had been arbitrary, however, if, as suspected, this drawing ended up being manufactured in June 1861, these western Virginians had been on the list of victors in the beginning Manassas (bull-run) a few weeks later.

In which is West Virginia?

With this map you can start to see the outline associated with the area that became West Virginia. Few slaves were within the lands held by western farmers, just who resented the political energy of eastern slave proprietors.

Division inside western States-Rights satisfying in Harrison [County], April 1861

This broadside records an unsuccessful protest by secessionists in Harrison County against the efforts of unionists indeed there to be involved in forming a "petty, feeble" brand-new condition. It asserts that Lincoln had "no power" to initiate their "unholy battle, " that Virginians wouldn't take part in "the destruction of the buddies and brothers, " and therefore the crisis had been "inaugurating a civil strife in our really midst."

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