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This week in the civil war

W.Va. statehood goes to vote

What is present-day West Virginia broke away from secession-minded Virginia early in the Civil War and entered the Union in June 1863.

That movement toward statehood was well in motion 150 years ago this week during the conflict.

The mountainous area had already begun drumming up Union supporters even before a Richmond Convention voted for Virginia to secede from the Union in 1861.

President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill into law in December 1862 approving the creation of West Virginia as a pro-Union state.

The issue of statehood went to a vote of West Virginia residents on March 26, 1863, and a majority approved of the statehood bill, including its amendments.

Ultimately the state would be officially created as of June 20, 1863. But animosities between pro-Confederate and pro-Union sides rankled for years as families sent troops to both sides of the conflict to fight.

– Associated Press