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At the outbreak of the Civil War, Western Virginia was strategically important. The counties between the Allegheny Mountains and the Ohio River held important transportation routes and also provided important natural resources. Many of the citizens were loyal to the Union.
The government of the Confederate States knew that this area could provide the Union Army a route into the Shenandoah Valley and sought to secure the railroads and turnpikes in the summer of1861. Without strong local support, they were unable to succeed. Union victories in what is now West Virginia helped to make possible the formation of that state, which was formed when western counties of Virginia seceded from Virginia in order to rejoin the United States.
|We started our trip at Grafton.||Railroad at Grafton||Grafton National Cemetery||Grafton Cemetery Lecture|
|Phillipi, West Virginia seen from A-B College||Covered Bridge at Philippi, WV||Conversation at Philippi Museum||Laurel Hill|
|Dr. Poland at Rich Mountain||Boulder used as shelter||The old turnpike on Rich Mountain, WV||Camp Garnett|
Dr. Poland's book The Glories of War provides a thorough description of the 1861 struggle for western Virginia.
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Linda's blog for May 2007 mentions this trip