West Virginia in The Civil War
When Virginia decided to join the
Confederacy, many in the western part of the state were not in agreement and
decided to stay with the union.
It is difficult to determine accurately the number of men who volunteered for
service in the Union or Confederate armies. The National Archives index shows
that West Virginia provided to the Union Army 31,872 regular army troops, 133
sailors and marines, and 196 United States Colored Troops. This count is not
accurate however, as there are many duplicates and alternate name spellings. The
Union numbers are also boosted because of the large number of Ohioans,
Pennsylvanians, and others who enlisted as "Virginians". An analysis of the 1st
West Virginia Cavalry by the Moore Center in Shepherdstown revealed that only
32% were Virginians. The Confederate Dept. of Western Virginia gives the number
of soldiers for 1863-4 at 18,642. Recent studies have concluded that the numbers
of Union and Confederate soldiers from West Virginia were about equal, in the
range of 22,000 - 25,000 each.