Date of Graduation


Document Type



West Virginia's South Branch Valley of the Potomac River played a crucial, but little studied, role in the American Civil War. Writing of the August 7, 1864, Battle of Moorefield, historian Robert K. Krick has noted that it “has received far less attention than it deserves.” In this work, it will be demonstrated that not only the August 7, 1864, Battle of Moorefield, but the conflict in the region in general is deserving of in-depth study. The geographic location and the plantation culture of the South Branch Valley favored its political and economic connection to Confederate eastern Virginia. Nevertheless, with its admission to the Union, the “War Born State” of West Virginia incorporated the unwilling South Branch Valley into its borders. The South Branch Valley became a political and military front on both the state and national levels impacting the social, religious, economic and governmental order of the Valley and fostering a sense of alienation throughout the Reconstruction years. So, while the Civil War was a defining moment in the history of the United States; it was the defining epoch in the history of West Virginia and the South Branch Valley of the Potomac River.