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COLA hosts Civil War lecture

Apr. 14, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- The Marshall College of Liberal Arts will have a lecture titled "Civil War in the Kanawha Valley," by Billy Joe Peyton, an associate professor of history at West Virginia State University.

He is also the chairman of the department of social and behavioral sciences at West Virginia Sate University. The lecture will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 16, at Marshall University Foundation Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public. Peyton will be available for a question and answer session after the lecture.

The lecture is the final part of a semester-long lecture series entitled "The History and Culture of West Virginia." Previous lectures have included Gerald Stuphin's "Steamboats, Rivers, and West Virginia," John C. Allen Jr.'s "The Early houses of Houses of Jefferson County," and Jack Dickinson's "Every Bloodstained Mile: A Railroad History of Southern West Virginia."

Peyton's lecture will shed light on an often forgotten chapter of the American Civil War including the 1862 Battle of Charleston in which Confederate forces seized the city. The battle left behind soldiers dead in the streets, and a number of buildings were destroyed.

"The state of West Virginia has a rich history in part because these are the counties that seceded from Virginia rather than the nation," said Dr. David Pittenger, dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Marshall University. "Since then the state has enjoyed a remarkable history and a very rich culture. This lecture series is a celebration of that.

"B.J. Peyton is a very good historian known for his writings on West Virginia and is a well-known expert on the American Civil War," Pittenger added. "The whole issue of the Civil War and how West Virginia participated in retaining the union is an important component to our history. I think anytime you study history you have a better opportunity to better understand current situations. Learning of past events can help you better understand future problems. The Battle of Charleston is one that not very many people know about. "

Peyton received his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in history from West Virginia University. He has worked as a public historian at WDWP-TV, at a PBS affiliate in Beckley, and for the National Park Service in Mississippi and West Virginia. He also served as associate director of a research institute at WVU, worked for a local historic architectural firm and taught high school history.