John Fox, 2010 West Virginia Book Festival presenter and author of “The Confederate Alamo: Bloodbath at Petersburg’s Fort Gregg on April 2, 1865,” offers a couple of book ideas for the Civil War aficionado in your life:
I am almost finished with an excellent book that just came out called “Valley Thunder: The Battle of New Market and the Opening of the Shenandoah Valley Campaign, May 1864” by Charles R. Knight [2010, Savas Beatie]. It is a well researched account of the May 15, 1864 Battle of New Market (just north of Harrisonburg, Va.) chock full of great maps and photos. The battle is best known for the insertion of the Virginia Military Institute corps of cadets into the fight during a driving thunderstorm. Major General John Breckinridge commanded the Confederate troops while German born Major General Franz Sigel commanded the Union forces.
Several of the Confederate units had been recruited from counties that had since seceded from Virginia to form the new pro-Union West Virginia while several West Virginia regiments fought in Sigel’s army [12th West Virginia, 1st West Virginia, and two batteries from the 1st West Virginia Artillery. This was one of those battles where former friends and neighbors were shooting at each other. Sigel and his Union troops were driven off which resulted in Sigel being relieved of command and Major General Phil Sheridan arriving to take over the Union army in the Shenandoah Valley.
Also, another great book on the war that came out several years ago is W. Hunter Lesser’s “Rebels at the Gate: Lee and McClellan on the Front Line of a Nation Divided.] This provides much detail on the 1861 clashes in the Allegheny Mountains as both sides tried to control the western Virginia theater of war.