The Union Hole: Unionist Activity and Local Conflict in Western Virginia


The Union Hole: Unionist Activity and Local Conflict in Western Virginia - David Scott Turk.

Paint Bank, in Craig County, was the core of what local citizen George A. Linton called the "Union Hole"-an area with mixed loyalties that sometimes swayed heavily to the north, in this traditionally southern state. This study of Civil War Unionism in western Virginia focuses on the dilemmas confronted by the people of Craig, Alleghany and Monroe Counties (the last presently in West Virginia), and contains an abundance of names and biographical information valued by genealogists. True tales about the underground of secret societies, prison escapes and local police actions illustrate the hard choices encountered by members of the community. Some faced war, prison, self-imposed exile, or even death for the decisions they made. The residents of these counties were divided into three separate camps. One of these camps consisted of the Confederate officers, who were mainly planters from the fertile valley regions. The second group was made up of the mountain farmers, who comprised most of the populace in the three counties. Most of them cared little about the slave question. They did not wish to fight for anyone, and, often, would resist to keep from fighting. The third group, the Unionists, never believed in the Confederacy, or if they did dabble in the issues of states' rights, believed primary loyalty should be to the Union. They often fought by small individual means. Secret societies conducted meetings, worked for the Union and sometimes harbored fugitives from the local police and militia. They supplied food to passing Union troops, and at times were involved in bushwhacking, especially if one of their own was a prisoner. The material consulted for this book came from many rarely-used primary sources, including diaries and interviews of descendants of the Civil War-era residents. Family photographs, a roster of the 108th Virginia Militia, a bibliography, and an index round out this fascinating study. David Scott Turk works in the field of history and has studied the history of western Virginia since 1985.

(1994), 2008, 5½x8½, paper, index, 154 pp.

ISBN: 9780788400292