West Virginia is well known as being one of the factors that led to the American Civil War. Not long after Virginia divided itself away from the Union, West Virginia took its own measures. The time preceding the Civil War battles, both western and eastern Virginia were quite unhappy with each other. There were a number of reasons the state was divided, one major factor being economy. East Virginia was far more wealthy than the poor westerners. Because of the economical position the west was in, east Virginia took advantage of all the cheap labor they could procure from the west. This became a bone of contention as did other things like religious beliefs, which divided the state even more.
Once Virginia cut ties with the Union, the western people assumed the Reorganization Ordinance of June 19, 1861. Even before the west and east had officially split it had become one of the Civil War Battlefields West Virginia would see develop. At this one of numerous Civil War sites West Virginia locals fought it out in the western parts of the state. This wasn't one of the main tactics of either side of the battle. This one of Civil War battles was fought with the intention of throwing off communications for the enemy and disturbing the flow of supplies and arms, rather than death and destruction.
Though at the Civil War Battlefields West Virginia men lost their lives, there was another reason for much of the deaths occurring. Poverty, one of the very reasons the West Virginians were fighting the east, was slowly killing them off. With little money, many of the Civil War sites West Virginia westerners were laid low at were suffered horrible conditions. Food was scarce and disease flourished. Without any nutrition and very little medical help, a large number of men died during Civil War tours. Circa 1860, control was taken over a number of communication and transportation routes. This was one of the important things to do for the west in order to get a better handle on the raging Civil War battles.
Today, Civil War tours are very popular with visitors on West Virginia vacations. With the exception of three Civil War Battlefields West Virginia maintains, the rest are all located on private property. This means that the at these Civil War sites West Virginia researchers cannot dig or unearth anything, protecting the history that lies there. The very first Civil War Battlefields West Virginia residents shed blood on was at Philippi, south of Morgantown. Those on Civil War tours can see commemorative plaques at the Baptist Church, the Covered Bridge, the Crim Memorial Church and the local college. Commemorative events in the city often include Civil War reenactments.
Other Civil War reenactments can be see at the different battle sites at different times of the year. South of Philippi and southwest of Martinsburg, Beverly is another place popular for Civil War tours. Used as headquarters for a portion of the war, Beverly is home to an excellent museum covering the events of the Civil War. Huttonsville, just north of Snowshoe, also served as Confederate headquarters for short part of the war. Other Civil War Battles took place at Cheat Summit Fort, Camp Elkwater and Camp Bartow, where the Battle of Greenbrier River took place. The largest of all battles, and a place well-known for Civil War reenactments, is Droop Mountain near Charleston. There are several interpretive exhibits, artifacts and a museum revealing interesting history about the battle site.
There are several events occurring throughout the year that exhibit Civil War reenactments. In May there is a reenactment of the Battle of Lewisburg in Lewisburg, the Droop Mountain reenactment, one of the most popular, is held in mid-October and in May Rowlesburg hosts the 145th Reenactment Battles of April 1863.