December 31,  THIS DAY IN AMERICAN HISTORY

December 31, 1862 – American Civil War: Abraham Lincoln signs an act that admits West Virginia to the Union, thus dividing Virginia in two. West Virginia became a state following the Wheeling Conventions and broke away from Virginia during the American Civil War. The new state was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863, and was a key Civil War border state. West Virginia was the only state to form by seceding from a Confederate state, and was one of two states formed during the American Civil War (the other one being Nevada, which separated from Utah Territory).

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