Pocahontas County Is Getting New Civil War Markers Thanks To Civil War Trails
Hillsboro, WV – As part of the sesquicentennial celebration of the American Civil War, five sites in Pocahontas County are getting new Civil War markers. The first was installed at the Pearl Buck Birthplace in Hillsboro. Mitch Bowman, Executive Director of the Civil War Trails program, gives us a little background.
“It’s now 15 years old and we have nearly 1300 sites that we’ve worked with localities, such as Pocahontas County to interpret sites and lead travelers to the sites so they can read about what happened exactly where they’re standing” says Bowman. “The 150th anniversary of this first campaign in Pocahontas County and several other sites involved, and it’s fun to get those installed just literally a couple of weeks before the event happened 150 years ago.”
He says this program started appropriately enough in the capital of the Confederacy, Richmond, Virginia in 1994, through the efforts of some historians with the National Park Service. The first trail traced General Robert E. Lee’s retreat from Petersburg to his eventual surrender at Appomattox.
“And before that trail was open, two other trails were funded in Virginia, and there’s been no looking back since then” says Bowman. “It’s very similar to an outdoor museum because you’re encouraged to pull up to each site, get out of the car and read about what happened right there.”
Terry Hackney is an Americorps Vista Volunteer with the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area and works directly for the Rich Mountain Battlefield Foundation. He’s also a Civil War re-enactor, which explains his interest in this project.
“My work with the marker is mostly dealing with text and images, and coordinating with the people with Civil War Trails” says Hackney. “West Virginia Division of Tourism came up with the program to fund 150 Civil War markers. The first campaign in western Virginia, this is where the Civil War really got going, and a lot of names were made here.”
He says the new markers are similar to the existing black and white historical markers already in place throughout the state. But the new markers will also include graphics such as maps, quotations and more in depth information about why the area is significant to Civil War history.
The Pocahontas County Conventions and Visitors Bureau will pay the maintenance costs on each of the five county locations where signs will be installed. In addition to Hillsboro, signs are also being placed in Huntersville, Minnihaha Springs, Camp Allegheny and Bartow.
After completing the work in Pocahontas, Mitch Bowman says they will head next to Randolph and Upshur Counties to install more trail markers. He says the West Virginia Civil War Trails map guide will be out the second week of May. You can find out more about the Civil War Trails program at www.civilwartrails.com.