West Virginia’s Forgotten Union Soldiers: The Andersonville Story

West Virginia’s Union soldiers who fought, were wounded, and killed in the Civil War have received much attention in recent years, but there is one group of soldiers overlooked who were loyal to the Union cause—soldiers that were captured and held as prisoners in places like Andersonville, Georgia. The Andersonville prison was designed for a maximum of 10,000 prisoners but held more than 32,000 men. Of those, 12,920 died and were buried in a cemetery created just outside the prison walls. Many of these Union soldiers were West Virginians who stayed close together in order to survive Andersonville. Some held hope of surviving until the end of the war, some held hope to be exchanged, and some wanted to escape. Their stories are unmatched in the Civil War period for fortitude, perseverance, and shear grit. This paper will explore some of those stories of heroism and survival, from Andersonville to AppalachA’ville.