Political Reconstruction 1865-1876
ALTHOUGH SPARED the worst reconstruction experiences of the states which attempted to withdraw from the Union in 1861, West Virginia went through a similar transition. Separated into detached sectarian, factional, and clannish groups, as its inhabitants were, political unity was not easily attained. From the first, efforts to reach that goal were complicated also by the divided sympathies of her people with respect to the "Lost Cause." It will be recalled that they sent about one third as many soldiers to the Army of the Confederacy as they sent to the Army of the Union.1
To meet the resulting contingencies, a legislative act of 1863 declared forfeited to the state all property within her bounds belonging to her enemies. Although this law was somewhat of a dead letter from the first, it gave a semblance of authority to vigilant "home guards" bent upon vindicating loyalty, and to self-constituted authorities bent upon promiscuous maraudings and vengeance. Worse still, it was a constant menace to former Confederate sympathizers who were willing to accept the situation and to make the best of it.
At the same time, all officers, both state and local, were required to take____________________