Civil War Persons - Union and Confederate, both military and civilian. This section contains biographies of 66 major personalities from West Virginia (40 Union, 26 Confederate) and about 90 common soldier biographical sketches (at least one per military unit), plus about 90 other Civil War personalities.

Maj. Delany

Major Martin R. Delany

Delany, born in Charles Town, Virginia in May 1812, became the first African-American Commander of an all African-American regiment –the 102nd U.S. Colored Troops- and was essentially a legend in his own time. In a letter of introduction sent by Abraham Lincoln to Secretary of War Stanton, the President wrote "Do not fail to have an interview with this most extraordinary and intelligent black man."

Photo: Credit – Civil War Photo Collection, USAMHI


Geo. S. Patton

Colonel George Smith Patton

Mortally wounded at the Battle of Opequon Creek (or 3rd Battle of Winchester), leaving a widow and 9-year-old son, Colonel `Patton was the grandfather of Lt. Gen. George S. Patton III, World War II 3rd Army Commander, who "… often credited his grandfather –the brave Colonel of the 22nd Virginia— as the inspiration for his military career."

Photo: Credit – Civil War Photo Collection, USAMHI


David Johnston
Sergeant Major David E. Johnston, 7th Virginia Infantry

As a 16-year-old, David Johnston enlisted as a private at the outbreak of the Civil War (May 1861); during the course of the war, he was twice wounded in action – at Williamsburg, VA, and at Gettysburg, PA, was taken prisoner twice --at Gettysburg, and at Sayler’s Creek, VA; and rose to the rank of Regimental Sergeant Major. In his post-Civil War years, he served as State Senator from Raleigh County (1878-80), Judge of West Virginia’s 9th Circuit Court (1880-88,; and U.S. Congressman from West Virginia (1899- 1901).

Photo: Credit - Commonwealth Press, Radford, VA



Preview of Multimedia CD Contents

Overview of the Civil War

Creation of West Virginia

Civil War places in West Virginia

West Virginia Civil War personalities – both Union and Confederate

Civil War battles & other military operations in which West Virginia soldiers participated

West Virginia military units – both Union and Confederate

West Virginia Civil War Soldiers’ Database (Sample)

Civil War era music

Civil War emblems – flags, medals and badges

An extensive bibliography, entitled "For Further Reading"



Sgt. Burns
Sergeant James M. Burns, 1st West Virginia Infantry

Received the Medal of Honor for heroic valor at the Battle of New Market, Virginia. "… while suffering from a severe wound of his lower left leg … Burns went back a hundred yards on the battlefield and rescued severely wounded Private Travilla A. Russell under intense enemy fire."
The story of Sergeant Burns’ valor --narrated by Colonel Keith Gibson, Executive Director of Virginia Military Institute’s museums-- is the particular focus of one of the 13 "on-site" video vignettes in the program. Post-Civil War, Burns served as a regular U.S. Army officer, rose to the rank of Lt. Colonel for retirement, and finally served as Professor of Military Science & Tactics at West Virginia University for about seven years.

Photo: Credit – Portrait Album of Companions, Ohio State Commandery, MOLLUS