A close study of one region of Appalachia that experienced economic vitality and strong sectionalism before the Civil War.
This book examines the construction of the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad through southwest Virginia in the 1850s, before the Civil War began. The building and operation of the railroad reoriented the economy of the region toward staple crops and slave labor. Thus, during the secession crisis, southwest Virginia broke with northwestern Virginia and embraced the Confederacy. Ironically, however, it was the railroad that brought waves of Union raiders to the area during the war