Grayback Mountaineers: The Confederate Face of West(ern) Virginia

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Copyright Disclaimer:This site does not store any files on its server. We only index and link to content provided by other sites. Another Neo-Confederate anti-Lincoln screed Moore I bought this book for what I hoped would be an enjoyable and scholarly read about my home state's trials during the War of the Rebellion, and a reference for the units from what is now West Virginia that fought for the Confederacy. Admittedly, the state's history is difficult to understand, so it is important to lo About the Author Mr.

Hinkle is the second of five children born to Harlan H. The gist of the book includes lists of the Civil War military units, separated by county, that contained men from West Virginia who fought for the Confederacy. These units include the Virginia Militia, Virginia State Line, guerilla companies, and actual line companies and regiments of the Confederate States Army. While the list does indeed look comprehensive, I wonder whether the author's "research" in this area is any more unbiased than in the first part of the book.

However, it does look like most of his footnotes are based upon H. Howard's fine Virginia Regimental History Series so hopefully there'll be no surprises with Hinkle's detailed lists. Also, Mr. Hinkle provides a chapter detailing Confederate personnel from West Virginia along with some more interesting anecdotes occurring in The Mountain State during the war. Another thing that stood out was the huge amount of spelling errors located in the text. These are mostly incorrect verb tense but also included such wonders as "sharps shooting riflemen" rather than "sharpshooting riflemen.

It appears that the book was perhaps self-edited; if so, the publisher needs to rectify that egregious problem. Altogether, this book was a disappointment from a genuine historical viewpoint.

grayback mountaineers the confederate face of western virginia Manual

While it may satisfy some from the Neo-Confederate movement, those who are looking for a scholarly work will probably end up being unsatisfied. I gave it one star because I couldn't give it zero. Caveat Emptor. Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW! This is but a faint picture of what awaited the Southern states, as they saw it, upon the coming into power of a sectional party, with Mr.

Lincoln as chief magistrate, whose inaugural address clearly foreshadowed war.

Alexander W. Monroe

After repeated demands made by South Carolina, and after several ineffectual attempts by negotiation for the surrender of Fort Sumter, and a Federal fleet had sailed and was then off the harbor of Charleston, for the reinforcing and provisioning of the garrison, it is claimed that treachery and duplicity of the Federal government had been used to deceive the state authorities of South Carolina as to the surrender of the fort.

It was therefore decided to reduce the fort; hence, on the 12th day of April, , the bombardment commenced, the news of which fired the Northern heart, notwithstanding the well known principle that it is not always he who strikes the first blow that is the aggressor, but he who by his conduct or act forces that blow to be given. However, the shot had been fired which aroused the whole country to the highest pitch of excitement, with seemingly no way to allay it. The war was on. Let us return to the Virginia convention which assembled in Richmond February 13th. These were momentous days.

This historic body, composed of the ablest and best men from the Commonwealth of Virginia, carefully considered the grave issues involved, the fearful consequences of civil strife.


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Upon the best authority it is averred that two-thirds of the men composing this convention were opposed to secession, and preferred to remain in the Union. A committee on Federal Relations was appointed, which, on the 10th day of March, reported fourteen resolutions, as follows: protesting against all interference with slavery; declaring secession to be a right; defining the grounds on which Virginia would feel herself to be justified in exercising that right, namely: the failure to obtain guarantees; the adoption of a warlike policy by the government of the United States, or to reinforce, or recapture the Southern forts.

These resolves clearly defined the attitude of Virginia at this critical moment. After serious discussion pro and con, all but the last of these resolves had passed the convention, when the news was received that the bombardment of Fort Sumter had begun. Virginia was still for peace and the Union, endeavoring by every means within her power to avert the awful calamity of civil war. Her territorial limits were extensive, reaching from the northeast point of North Carolina northwestward nearly five hundred miles to a point within about one hundred miles of Lake Erie, practically separating the eastern from the western states of the Union; hence her geographical position entitled her to and gave her great power and influence toward a settlement of the impending trouble.

It was then claimed,—which was no doubt true,—that the Federal Administration was anxious to see her shorn of her power, which in a measure was accomplished by her dismemberment, by the formation of West Virginia out of her territory, and this by the aid of the Federal power. Virginia's son was foremost in fanning the flames of revolution, leading to the overthrow of British tyranny and the establishment of American independence.

Her son had written the Declaration of Independence. Her son had led the Continental armies during the Revolution, and her son was active in the framing and ratification of the Federal Constitution. Virginia had been among the first to suggest and to assist in creating the compact of union.

To the Confederated states and in the spirit of patriotism and confidence in the continuance of good will, she had given to the Union her north-west territory, an empire within itself, out of which six or more states have been formed. She had furnished seven presidents to the Republic. It was on the 15th day of April that Mr. Lincoln issued his call for seventy-five thousand troops.

Virginia's quota, , were to rendezvous at points in Virginia, thus placing armed soldiers in her territory, though still in the Union, her convention a few days previous having refused to secede by a vote of 89 to This act of Mr. Lincoln was construed by our people as an act of war, and without authority, that power being vested in Congress alone. Thus it will be seen that all the efforts made by Virginia to preserve the Union and peace had been defeated, Mr.

Lincoln having pronounced secession unlawful and void. Virginia was a Southern state, in sympathy with her sister states of the South, and could not be induced to make war on them, nor on the Northern states of the Union. The conduct of the Federal Administration had not only forced her out of the Union, but to take sides in the impending crisis. It was not a Southern Confederacy that Virginia sought or her people fought for, but to uphold and maintain the integrity and sovereignty of the state, and this necessarily meant separate government. I am sure at no time did the people of Virginia think of becoming the aggressors upon the rights of the other states of the Federal Union.

The issue was, therefore, squarely presented.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Virginia must decide on which side she would stand. There was no middle ground, no neutral position, no evading the issue. Against her persistent attachment to the Union, the strongest appeals and bitterest denunciations, Virginia remained unmoved.


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  • When her voice and her pleadings were no longer heard, the news of the bombardment of Fort Sumter, and Mr. Lincoln's call for troops, reached the convention, the supreme moment had come. The die was cast. There could be no further hesitation. On April 17th the Ordinance of Secession, amid anguish and tears, was adopted by a vote of 81 to The call for troops by the President brought an immediate change in the current of public opinion in Virginia from the mountains to the sea. The Ordinance of Secession was ratified by the people on the 23d day of May by a majority of 96, out of a total vote of , Virginians having now made their decision to defend themselves and their state, hastened to arms with ardor and a determined spirit of resistance.

    On learning of the adoption of the Ordinance of Secession by the convention, the country was ablaze with the wildest excitement, and preparations for war began in earnest. Volunteer organizations of troops were forming all over the state. Why and wherefore, may be asked.

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    Not to attack the Federal Government, to fight the Northern states, but only to defend Virginia in the event of invasion by a Northern army. There was at this time in the county, already organized and fairly drilled, the volunteer company of Capt. Pearisburg and the region roundabout in the most part received the news of the secession of the state with apparent relief and gladness, and immediately James H. French, Esq. Enlisting men for war was something new; people are always ready to try something new, and as our people were possessed of a martial spirit, this, together with the excitement and enthusiasm of the occasion, made it no difficult matter to enroll a full company in an incredibly short time.

    Names were readily obtained, among them my own.

    John Singleton Mosby: The Gray Ghost - Civil War Journal

    I had to go with the boys,—my neighbors and schoolmates, little thinking, or in the remotest degree anticipating, the terrible hardships and privations which would have to be endured in the four years which followed. The idea then prevalent among our people was that we were not to be absent a great while; that there would probably be no fighting; that Mr.

    Lincoln was not really in earnest about attempting to coerce the seceded states, and if he was, a few Southern men would suffice to put to rout the hordes of Yankeedom. If, however, the Northern people were intent upon war, our people were ready to meet them, because thoroughly aroused.

    Fifty-Seven Year Index, 1893-1949

    Our people had by this time arrived at the conclusion that war was inevitable; no settlement on peaceable and honorable terms could be had. They had therefore left the Union, which seemed to them the only alternative. Consequently we felt obliged to appeal to the sword for the settlement of questions which statesmanship had failed to solve; yet always willing to make a child's bargain with the Northern people,—"You leave us alone and we will leave you alone.

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    It was even said that one Southern man could whip five Yankees; that the old women of the country with corn-cutters could drive a host of Yankees away; but the people who made these assertions knew little of what they were saying, for ere the war had long progressed we found we had our hands full, and it soon became evident that we might like to find someone to help us let go. The organization of the company which afterwards became Company D, 7th Virginia regiment, took place April 25, The only contest for office worth relating was for the captaincy, which was between James H.

    French and Andrew J. Grigsby, and resulted in the election of the former.

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