The Seventh West Virginia Infantry

An Embattled Union Regiment from the Civil War's Most Divided State

David W. Mellott and Mark A. Snell

Though calling itself “The Bloody Seventh” after only a few minor skirmishes, the Seventh West Virginia Infantry earned its nickname many times over during the course of the Civil War. Fighting in more battles and suffering more losses than any other West Virginia regiment, the unit was the most embattled Union regiment in the most divided state in the war. Its story, as it unfolds in this book, is a key chapter in the history of West Virginia, the only state created as a direct result of the Civil War. It is also the story of the citizen soldiers, most of them from Appalachia, caught up in the bloodiest conflict in American history.

The Seventh West Virginia fought in the major campaigns in the eastern theater, from Winchester, Antietam, and Fredericksburg to Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Petersburg. Weaving military, social, and political history, The Seventh West Virginia Infantry details strategy, tactics, battles, campaigns, leaders, and the travails of the rank and file. It also examines the circumstances surrounding events, mundane and momentous alike such as the soldiers’ views on the Emancipation Proclamation, West Virginia Statehood, and Lincoln’s re-election. The product of decades of research, the book uses statistical analysis to profile the Seventh’s soldiers from a socio-economic, military, medical, and personal point of view; even as its authors consult dozens of primary sources, including soldiers’ living descendants, to put a human face on these “sons of the mountains.” The result is a multilayered view, unique in its scope and depth, of a singular Union regiment on and off the Civil War battlefield—its beginnings, its role in the war, and its place in history and memory.

“Delving into the lives of the Seventh West Virginia Infantrys soldiers—all of whom endured the privations of war while being caught between advocates and opponents of statehood—effectively parallels the larger national clash of arms relative to secession and union. Through this means, the authors double-underscore that the Civil War was as much about limited regional concerns as it was about sweeping national controversies.

—Journal of Military History

“A thoroughly researched, penetrating, and deftly written regimental history that should supersede the less rigorous popular works that have long dominated West Virginia’s Civil War literature.

—Michigan War Studies Review
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About the Author

David W. Mellott is a lawyer in Cleveland, Ohio. Several of his ancestors fought in the Seventh West Virginia.

##Mark A. Snell is the retired professor of history and director of the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War, Shepherd University, in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Snell is the author of many works on Civil War history, including West Virginia and the Civil War: Mountaineers Are Always Free.