The Battle of Charleston and the 1862 Kanawha Valley Campaign
by Terry Lowry
35th Star Publishing
Today’s local pick is a great new Civil War book by Terry Lowry. The Battle of Charleston and the 1862 Kanawha Valley Campaign features over 332 photographs and images, many never before published, as well as 11 maps.
Terry Lowry is a graduate of South Charleston High School and graduated in 1974 with a B. A. in History from West Virginia State College (now University) and studied Civil War History at Marshall University Graduate School. A professional musician since 1965, he was contributing music editor for The Charleston Gazette 1970-75 and music editor 1977-78. He published his first book, The Battle of Scary Creek: Military Operations in the Kanawha Valley, April-July 1861, in July of 1982, and also published September Blood: The Battle of Carnifex Ferry (1985); two volumes in the Virginia Regimental Series, 22nd Virginia Infantry (1988) and 26th (Edgar s) Battalion Virginia Infantry (1991); and Last Sleep: The Battle of Droop Mountain November 6, 1863 (1996). He co-authored with Stan Cohen Images of the Civil War in West Virginia (2000). Additionally his Civil War articles have been published in North South Trader, Wonderful West Virginia, and Confederate Veteran magazines, as well as the West Virginia Hillbilly. He has also been a contributor to the Time-Life series of books on the Civil War and remains an avid collector of Civil War memorabilia. He was historian/curator of the Craik-Patton House, Charleston, West Virginia, for two years and since 2001 has been a historian at the West Virginia State Archives, Charleston, West Virginia. In 2009 he published Bastard Battalion: A History of the 83rd Chemical Mortar Battalion in World War II, which critics have called one of the best World War II unit histories ever written. The surviving members of the 83rd appointed him Official Historian of the unit. When it comes to our history, Terry knows his stuff, and this new book has a particular interest for Kanawha Valley residents.
The Battle of Charleston (West Virginia), fought September 13, 1862, between the Confederate forces of Gen. William Wing Loring and the Federal command of Col. Joseph Andrew Jackson Lightburn, pales in comparison to many of the more well-known and documented engagements of the American Civil War. Yet the battle and the activities comprising the 1862 Kanawha Valley Campaign, particularly Lightburn’s subsequent retreat, beginning at Fayetteville and ending at Point Pleasant, were of much more strategic importance than readily meets the eye and held special meaning for many of its participants.
One such individual was Sgt. Joseph Pearson, Company F, 44th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, who wrote about the battle of Charleston in his journal, “We had several killed and wounded in this affair, but it was only a skirmish to what we afterwards learned of war. Yet I was more impressed with the dread[ful] feeling of that little action than all the others I was in to the finish.”
The 1862 Kanawha Valley Campaign has long been neglected by scholars, probably due to the great national attention placed on the Battle of Antietam and the Maryland Campaign, which took place during this same time period. Owing to the meticulous work of author/historian Terry Lowry, it has finally been given its due.
The Battle of Charleston and the 1862 Kanawha Valley Campaign is the perfect gift for the history buff on your shopping list. This book can be ordered directly from the publisher, and can be found at Taylor Books and soon in several other local bookstores.