Few events have shaped Virginia’s history more profoundly than the Civil War. In 1861, many white Virginians chose secession, but the inhabitants of the far northwestern counties seceded from Virginia to form a new state—West Virginia. Black Virginians were pressed into the service of a nation that fought to enslave them, but war also brought opportunity to seize their freedom and join the fight against slavery. After four years of war, the Virginia landscape was left scarred, but those wounds would quickly heal. More enduring were the emotional effects of defeat felt by former Confederates, and the horrors of enslavement remembered by Black Virginians. The memory of the war and its aftermath continue to be felt to this day.