West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture & History

West Virginia Archives Library to Host Civil War Symposium in October

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Archives and History is pleased to present “West Virginia and the Civil War” in the Archives and History Library at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex, in Charleston on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022. The symposium will begin at 10 a.m. and is free and open to the public. No registration is required.

“West Virginia and the Civil War” will feature four dynamic Civil War historians and speakers: Christy Perry Tuohey, Dr. Billy Joe Peyton, Steve Cunningham and Dr. Phil Hatfield. During an hour-long break between the morning and afternoon sessions, attendees will have an opportunity to inspect Civil War artifacts from the personal collections of presenters and the Archives and History holdings. Cunningham will have a table with books from his publishing company, 35th Star Publishing.

Schedule of events:

10 – 11 a.m. – Christy Perry Tuohey presents: “A Place of Rest for Our Gallant Boys: The U.S. Army Hospital at Gallipolis, Ohio, 1861-1865”

Situated along the Ohio River at the mouth of the Great Kanawha River, Gallipolis, Ohio, was an ideal location for a U.S. Army hospital in the early moments of the Civil War. This is the account of both Civil War horrors and hope, of Army surgeons and civilians who risked their own lives while working tirelessly in the wards of the Gallipolis U.S. Army Hospital to heal sick and wounded soldiers from both sides of the conflict. The people who cared for the warriors came from all quarters: an Ohio school teacher, a New England surgeon, and a hospital steward who nursed his regimental comrade back from the brink of death. Native West Virginian and Marshall graduate Perry Tuohey, a veteran of newsrooms and classrooms, is an author and freelance writer. She worked as a TV news reporter and anchor in Charleston/Huntington; Charlotte, N.C.; and Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio. Her writing has been published in multiple print and online newspapers and magazines. A Place of Rest for Our Gallant Boys: The U.S. Army Hospital at Gallipolis, Ohio, 1861-1865 is her third book.

11 a.m. – noon – Dr. Billy Joe Peyton presents: “Soldiers, Statesmen, Politicians: Commanders and Officers of the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment”

The Union army is considered “one of the most remarkable military assemblages in history.” President Lincoln believed there was scarcely one regiment from which could not be selected “a president, a cabinet, a congress, and perhaps a court.” This prophetic statement was affirmed in the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry case, as former officers included two presidents, three members of Congress, a Supreme Court justice, an ambassador, and several lawyers. Peyton, a public historian and retired Professor of History at West Virginia State University, earned his BA, MA, and Ph.D. from WVU. His 40-year public history career included work with public and private organizations. Peyton is the author of two books on Charleston history, chair of the Charleston Historic Landmarks Commission, and sits on the board of the WV Humanities Council.

Noon – 1 p.m. – Break

1 – 2 p.m. – Steve Cunningham presents: “Bringing Order Out of Confusion: The Colonels of the 7th West Virginia Cavalry”

Cunningham will present never-before-published information from his many years of research on the 7th West Virginia Cavalry regiment that was raised in the Kanawha Valley, concentrating on the colonels who commanded the unit, John Hunt Oley and Lucien Loeser. Cunningham has been conducting research on West Virginia and the Civil War for many years. The focus of his research has been on the 7th West Virginia Cavalry, a Union regiment raised in the Kanawha Valley. He is the president and owner of 35th Star Publishing and a descendant of four privates of the 7th WV Cavalry. A graduate of Virginia Tech and Marshall, he has authored or co-authored many articles about the Civil War and contributed research to many other authors’ books on the subject. Steve will publish his upcoming history of the regiment tentatively titled, Loyalty They Always Had: The 7th West Virginia Cavalry in the U.S. Civil War.

2 – 3 p.m. – Dr. Phil Hatfield presents: “The Battle of Hurricane Bridge”

The Battle at Hurricane Bridge is an often-overlooked Civil War action occurring at the small and otherwise quiet western Virginia village. For five hours the green Union troops of the 13th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry under the command of Capt. James Johnson fought to hold off the hardened Confederate veterans of the 8th and 16th Virginia Cavalry commanded by Brigadier General Albert Gallatin Jenkins. The victory at Hurricane Bridge directly contributed to the Union army maintaining control of the James River and Kanawha Turnpike, a key supply line, and enabled federal control of the Kanawha Valley for the remainder of the war. Hatfield, Ph.D., a member of the Company of Military Historians, earned a Ph.D. in psychology from Fielding University, a master’s degree in psychology from Marshall, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology and history from the University of Charleston. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and author of five books and numerous scholarly articles related to the Civil War.

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