What do we have to say in our defense?
FIRST, my interest in the General came after studying him in a college-level West Virginia history class in the 1980s taught by Dr. David Bard at Concord College. In later years, after running across many William Woods Averell historic markers, I began to read more detailed history.
SECOND, books began to appear by authors Eric Wittenberg, Darrell Collins, and Scott Patchan that shone a favorable light on Averell's abilities and accomplishments. Averell's own autobiography, TEN YEARS IN THE SADDLE, proved to be a detailed and original look at not just the war but life in the 19th century.
THIRD, My own primary source research began to confirm the suspicion that Averell has been shortchanged in what he did for the Union and for West Virginia in particular. Ralph Rhodes, 3rd grand nephew to the General, was simultaneously conducting research and reaching some of the same conclusions. I involved relatives because they are genetically inspired, talented, and work for a pittance!!!!
WE STAND BY OUR WORK! But, if you think differently and wish to comment, please do so on this forum. We welcome praise and agreement also!
- Jon Averill, Sandstone WV, Febuary 6, 2014