Acclaimed author Hunter Lesser’s captivating book has a fresh and amusing perspective on the Civil War in West Virginia.
The Mountain State might be the “oddest” in America. Although forged as a Union state in the midst of the conflict, her population was bitterly divided. It should be no surprise that her Civil War stories are filled with countless oddities, weird events, and wonder.
Discover 286 quirky and delightful believe-it-or-not Civil War facts about West Virginia, including:
Brother vs. Sister Sleeping with the General The Union Army Pledges to Protect Slavery Women at War
The Rich Mountain Ghost A Fearless Feline “Mudwall” Jackson The Battle of Stones and Bats Lincoln’s Odd Trick
Follow the Civil War in West Virginia from the first shot fired to the last—well after the war was over. It’s a great way for beginners to gain an overview of the strange struggle in the Mountain State, along with a refreshing and unique perspective for Civil War buffs and scholars alike.
All this and much more in a book that is long overdue—the strange, sometimes bizarre, but always entertaining story of West Virginia’s Civil War oddities.
Civil War Oddities of West Virginia: Strange Tales
of Soldiers, Civilians, and the Supernatural
Hunter Lesser • 2022
Lesser is More
A walk with historian Hunter Lesser is sort of like a stroll
with an encyclopedia audiobook, but better because it’s
interactive. That was the experience at the WVLT-hosted
hike at our Camp Bartow preserve in Pocahontas County
on a September Saturday. Lesser led the development
of interpretive materials at the preserve, and he builds
on those on-site materials during public walks with
additional anecdotes, insights, and nuances that have
rarely found their way into books or other historical
Until now. “Civil War Oddities,” released this past
summer, offers a compilation of 286 well-researched
“who knew?!” snippets, each a paragraph in length,
which chronicle the depth, irony, pain, and paradoxes
of the Civil War in West Virginia. Drawn from sources
including books, newspapers, archives in four states,
and more, Lesser’s book follows the war’s arc from its
beginning in 1861 (the first shot was fired by a woman;
clergy often participated in battles) through the formation
of guerilla groups (that operated independent of both
sides’ armies), to the bumpy beginnings of the new state
(shifting capitals and leaders).
Whether a deep dive or a bit-by-bit light read before
bedtime, the book fleshes out the context of a complex
war. Civil war buffs, history buffs, loyal West Virginians,
and newcomers to the state will all learn something
new about the state’s history. It also offers eerily
contemporary echoes as a portrait of a time of discord,
soul-searching, shifting power dynamics, race relations,
and social unrest.
Brent Bailey, Executive Director of West Virginia Land Trust