Virginia is attempting to lead the way into the Sesquicentennial by creating a commission and having it start meeting and planning. Too early? Well, it's less than 4 years away, so, no, I salute this forethought. I do take issue, however, with the rationale given on its website (VaCWComm'n):
Virginia is central to the commemoration of the Civil War.
- Virginia led the call for the Peace Convention of 1861, bringing together both free states and slave states in an attempt to reach an agreement that would avoid the war and preserve the Union.
- The bookends of the war were in Virginia: the site of the first major battle of the war (Manassas), and the end of the war (Appomattox).
- Sixty percent of the Civil War's battles -- three out of every five -- were fought in Virginia. No other area in the Western Hemisphere has ever been as devastated by war as Virginia was during the Civil War.
No offense, but saying the state is "central" because it called for a convention of states to undermine the 1860 election overlooks that an entire region of the commonwealth, now known as the State of West Virginia, remained loyal and anti-slavery throughout the four years of conflict. I also note that several states in the North--Michigan being one--refused to send delegates to negotiate a repeal of the presidential election. This sounds a tad like revisionism. Next, saying the war ended in Virginia connotes that Lee surrendered the Confederacy at Appomattox; in fact, he refused to do so, saying he had no such authority, and the war continued until...Johnston surrendered in NC, Mobile was captured, Jeff Davis was captured, Kirby Smith surrendered troops west of the Mississippi. The last '60%' item is the most correct one, yet is it true that Virginia was the most devastated? What about Georgia? Isn't it powerful enough to give the statistic alone?
I certainly do understand the notion that folks should advocate for the proper role of their state in the CW context. That, after all, is the raison d'etre of this blog. But I will continue attempting to maintain historical verity, and I respectfully petition others to do so.