1861 to 1876
Civil War and Reconstruction
If Virginians were instrumental in creating the Union in 1776, they were also pivotal in breaking it apart 85 years later. Most Virginians rejected secession until they were called upon to provide troops after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter. Far northwestern counties refused to secede and instead formed West Virginia. Virginia became the bloodiest battleground of the war. At its conclusion, slavery was ended and black males could vote, but the daily lives and standard of living of African Americans changed little. Virginia was put under military rule for 3 years.