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Contested Borderland

The Guerrilla Hunters shows that instances of unorthodox combat, once thought isolated and infrequent, were numerous, and many clashes defy easy categorization. Novel methodological approaches and a staggering diversity of research and topics allow this volume to support multiple areas for debate and discovery within this growing field of Civil War scholarship.

Publication Date: April 3, List Price: Brian D. Barton A. William E.

Virginia in the Civil War

McKnight makes good use of contemporary anecdotes to bring to life many of the colorful personalities whose reputations were made or lost fighting in this unforgiving terrain. The mountaineers, skilled in the art of bushwhacking, were born into partisan warfare, and guerrilla bands of deserters and criminals roamed the countryside, often terrifying and robbing defenseless citizens under the guise of military necessity.

And as with many other Civil War monographs, the absence of maps keeps the reader geographically disadvantaged. Towns along important routes were not granted the privilege of neutrality.

As military traffic increased in the area, it was not uncommon for small roadside towns to play host to both Union and Confederate troops within a matter of days. Although never forcibly taken, the Cumberland Gap changed hands four times over the course of the war and was known as the "American Gibraltar. By , Union troops had filtered their way east through the mountains, gaining the loyalty of many southwestern Virginians who had once supported the Confederacy.

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Local militias in both Kentucky and Virginia placed pressure on area citizens to declare their allegiance, and some partisan bands used their military might to pursue personal interests and vendettas. Through firsthand accounts and original military documents, Contested Borderland portrays a self-sustained population forced into a conflict from which they perceived little to gain and much to lose.