Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Michael E. Woods, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Kevin Barksdale

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Deal


“Civil Neighbors to Violent Foes” researches the effect of guerrilla warfare in West Virginia during a national war and statehood movement, and the impact that emotions had on the people of the state. When President Lincoln won the election in 1860, secession was inevitable and war a likely possibility. At the time, West Virginia was still a part of Virginia, but old state political divisions, combined with the current national political divisions, fueled the fire for a new state, separate from Virginia and loyal to the Union. It would take West Virginia two years from the time delegates began holding conventions in 1861 to obtain statehood on June 20, 1863. In response to the statehood movement and the Civil War, guerrilla warfare ran rampant all over the new state. This thesis analyzes this irregular warfare. Further, this thesis analyzes the emotions that were driving the war and the people, whether soldiers, guerrillas, or innocent citizens. This thesis contributes to the field of guerrilla warfare by arguing that betrayal is the emotion that led to all emotions and people’s choice to partake in guerrilla warfare. Further, while significant scholarship does exist on guerrilla warfare in the Civil War in the western United States, scholarship on the topic in West Virginia is limited. This thesis adds to that limited scholarship. In addition, this thesis provides a further study on the possible effect emotions can have on people during chaotic events such as war. Understanding guerrilla warfare fully and completely is imperative in understanding the Civil War, as its issues started within homes and communities, just as did guerrilla warfare’s.


West Virginia -- Politics and government.

West Virginia -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.

Virginia -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.

Guerrilla warfare -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.