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Aull Center and Morgantown Public Library System collaborate for Civil War series

MORGANTOWN — The Aull Center and the Morgantown Public Library System have partnered to produce a virtual event series rehashing Civil War events related not just to the state of West Virginia, but the city of Morgantown itself.

The first virtual presentation in the series premiered via Facebook Live at 1 p.m. Tuesday. The focus of that introductory installment was the history of the Seventh West Virginia Infantry.

Dr. Nathan Wuertenberg, staff researcher at the Aull Center, presented information regarding the Seventh West Virginia Infantry initially discussed by Mark Snell and David Mellott in their 2019 book, “The Seventh West Virginia Infantry: An Embattled Union Regiment from the Civil War’s Most Divided State.”

Wuertenberg also covered research presented by Theodore Lang in his 1895 publication, “Loyal West Virginia from 1861 to 1865.”

According to Wuertenberg in his presentation, Lang wrote that the Seventh West Virginia Infantry could have been considered a “banner” regiment that served for West Virginia, because it lost the greatest percentage of its sick and wounded men, and also because it was the only West Virginia regiment to serve with the Army of the Potomac.

For a significant portion of the Civil War, the Seventh West Virginia Infantry was part of the Gibraltar Brigade, which gained notoriety during the war because of its charge on Sunken Road at Antietam, and a counterattack on East Cemetery Hill at Gettysburg that contributed to the prevention of another attack.

The infantry regiment was led by a variety of men, including Generals Nathan Kimball, Samuel Carroll and Thomas Smith.

West Virginians made up almost 70% of the regiment. Pennsylvanians filled one full company as well as part of two others. Two full companies were composed of men from Ohio.

Wuertenberg said there was also a “sizeable immigrant component” to the composition of the regiment. This included involvement from Germans, Irishmen, Canadians, Scots and Englishmen.

One of the infantry regiment’s companies, Company E, was organized in the city of Morgantown. The majority of the men — up to 90%, in fact — that had enlisted in Company E by the end of July 1861 were actually from Monongalia County.

The Aull Center and MPLS’ virtual Civil War series will be available for free public viewing on the Aull Center’s Facebook page throughout the month of June. Each video presentation will cover a different topic that connects the state of West Virginia with the Civil War.

  • June 15, 1 p.m.: Short stories and tall tales.
  • June 20, 1 p.m.: The story of West Virginia statehood.
  • June 29, 1 p.m.: Lee and McClellan in West Virginia.

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