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WESTERN VIRGINIA'S COURSE.
appointment, by the convention, of a mental authority of the state. And, governor, lieutenant-governor, council, fellow-citizens, it is the assumption of and legislature, composed of the dele. that authority upon which we are now gates to the general assembly chosen in about to enter.” May, and the senators entitled under The legislature met on the 22d of existing laws to seats in the next gene-July; the new government was recog. ral assembly, who should qualify them- nized by the president; two senators, selves by taking a prescribed oath, Messrs. J. S. Carlisle and W.T. Willey, pledging their support to the Constitu. were chosen to take the place of the tion of the United States and the laws seceders, Mason and Hunter (which made in pursuance thereof as the they did on the 13th of July); and the supreme law of the land, anything various enactments were made suitable in the ordinances of the Richmond to the present condition of things.* convention to the contrary notwith Previous to this, General McClellan, standing, and to uphold and defend having resigned his connection with the the government ordained by the con. Ohio and Mississippi Railroad in order Fention at Wheeling. F. H. Pierrepont to serve in the army, had been ordered was chosen governor, and inaugurated by the president, to take charge of the next day, June 20th. . military operations west of the Alle
In the governor's inaugural address ghanies ; consequently, the defence of he took occasion to speak very plainly Western Virginia was promptly looked of the conduct of the secessionists, and after. On the 26th of May, immedialso of the imperative need of the ately subsequent to the vote on the course which had been adopted by the secession ordinance, General McClellan loyal inhabitants. “We have been issued a stirring proclamation from Cin. driven into the position we occupy to cinnati, Ohio, setting forth his inten. day, by the usurpers at the South, who tions, and urging the people of Virginia have inaugurated this war upon the to join the Union standard.t Forces soil of Virginia, and have made it the
del * Governor Letcher, on the 14th of June, issued a great Crimea of this, contest. We, re- proclamation to the people of North Western Virginia. presenting the loyal citizens of Virginia, Among other things, he besought them to join him and
| the secession party, in such phrase as this : “By all have been bound to assume the position the sacred ties of consanguinity, by the intermixtures we have assumed to-day, for the pro
| of the blood of East and West, by common paternity,
by friendships hallowed by a thousand cherished retection of ourselves, our wives, our collections and memories of the past, by the relics of children and our property. We, I re the great men of other days, come to Virginia's ban.
ner, and drive the invader from your soil." But peat, have been driven to assume this
| John Letcher's appeals were in vain; the people position; and now we are but recurring rallied under the old flag and defended it on every to the great fundamental principle of occasion.
+ One passage from this proclamation may here be our fathers, that to the loyal people of quoted, as bearing on a subject of great perplexity to a state belongs the law.making power the government:-"Your houses, your families, and
| property are safe under our protection. All your of that state. The loyal people are
rights shall be religiously protected. Notwithstanding entitled to tbe government and govern- | all that has been said by the traitors to induce you to were pushed forward, and in conjunc in front of the rebel entrenchments on tion with Virginia troops entered upon the road. So well was the enemy's active operations against the rebels. position defended by art and natural Colonel Kelly's movement upon Graf. advantages, that a direct attack was ton and Philippi we have already considered impracticable without the noticed (see p. 34), as also that of certainty of great loss. Colonel Colonel Wallace across Hampshire Rosecrans, with about 3,000 men, was County.
then sent across the hills southeasterly Gen. McClellan ascertaining that the to attack the enemy's rear, while enemy had taken post at Laurel Hill, McClellan was to attack the front, so near Beverly, so as to command the soon as he heard from Rosecrans. road to the southern part of the state Colonel Pegram, the rebel commander
and secure supplies, determin- did not, however, wait for the assault, 1861.
* ed to drive them out, and if but moved off in the night, hoping to possible capture the enemy's forces. join his forces to those of Garnett. On His plan was to occupy the attention finding his rear entirely exposed by this of the rebels under Gen. Garnett (for retreat of Pegram, Gen. Garnett evamerly a United States officer), by seem. cuated his camp, intending to reach ing to make a direct attack, while a Beverly in advance of McClellan, and strong force was marching round to his to withdraw by the road to Southern rear, in order to gain possession of the Virginia. This was soon found to be road above spoken of. On the 7th of impossible, and escape was sought in July, Gen. Morris, taking about 4,000 another direction. Col. Pegram surren. men, moved from Philippi to Bealing: dered with his entire force, on the 12th ton in front, Gen. McClellan having of July; and Gen. Garnett, striving to previously, with the main body, con cross the mountains into the valley of sisting of 10,000 men, advanced from Virginia, was hotly pursued, on the Clarksburg, by way of Buckhannon, 13th, by the Union troops under Captain from the west, so as to attack the Benham. At Carrick's Ford, on the enemy's left at Rich Mountain. This Cheat River, the enemy attempted was on the 1st of July. Skirmishing to make a stand; but Gen. Garnett ensued for several days in various was killed, and his forces were routed directions and with varied success. completely, only a small proportion
On the 11th of July, General Mc- out of several thousands making their Clellan, making his way toward Bever- escape.* “ Our success," says General ly, was encamped with his forces a short
* Pollard, in his “ First Year of the War," p. 84, distance to the west of Rich Mountain, estimates Garnett's force at less than 5,000 infantry
with four companies of cavalry, and Pegram's at about
1,600 men. McClellan is stated to have had with him believe that our advent among you will be signalized a force of 20,000. Some Union writers make Garnett's by interference with your slaves, understand one thing force to have been nearly 10.000, and Pegram's about clearly: not only will we abstain from all interference, 2,000, while McClellan's 's set down at 10,000. We but we will, on the contrary, with an iron hand, crush give the numbers, on what appears to be the best any attempt at insurrection on their part."
| authority, without vouching for their accuracy.
45 McClellan in his dispatch, July 14th, Harris, equally reckless and far more " is complete, and secession is killed in tyrannical. In both states there was this country.”
indeed a show of submitting the ques. On the 19th of July, McClellan issued tion of secession to a popular vote, but an address to his soldiers, full of glow-in both instances a treaty was formed ing and encouraging words, inciting to with the rebel government, and the milfuture victory. On the 22d, however, itary resources of the state were placed (the day after the Bull Run disaster), | at the command of Jefferson Davis be. he was summoned by the president to fore the vote was taken. Of course command the Army of the Potomac, coercion and terrorism prevailed alike, and the army of occupation in Western with a deeper shade of malignity, howVirginia was assigned to Gen. Rose- ever, in Tennessee, in proportion to the crans. By the activity of McClellan nearness of that state to tlie seat of the the Cheat Mountain Gaps, which form. rebel government. Eastern Virginia, ed the key to Western Virginia, were though deriving part of her wealth entrenched and held by a strong force from the raising and selling slaves to of loyal troops.
the cotton planters, was yet dependent In regard to Eastern Tennessee, it upon the skill and labor obtained from was not unnatural or uvreasonable to the North for developing her capacities find there a spirit and determination of improvement; while Western Tensimilar to those prevailing among loyal nessee was not simply related to the Virginians. The inhabitants were South in manners and culture, but might mostly agricultural, and less dependent be considered an integral part of the upon slave labor than those in the South itself. It was, consequently, a western portion of the state, and they much harder task for the mountaineers were ardently attached to the Union of the Cumberland to contend with and its privileges. In both Virginia the wealthy slave proprietors on the and Tennessee there was a hostile, Mississippi, than for a vigorous rural dominant power, and both were betray- population bordering on Pennsylvania ed by the arts and treachery of those to hold their own against the dwellers who held the supremacy in local affairs. on the James and the Rappahanpock. It The situation, however, of Eastern Ten- the chances in both cases had been equal nessee was less advantageous for the within their borders, the contiguity maintenance of the liberties of the peo of the more southern state to the des. ple than that of her northern neighbor. peradoes of Alabama, Mississippi, Ark. Each had a bold, unscrupulous governor ansas and Louisiana, to say nothing of and legislature, ready and willing to the refugee enemies of the Union in 1861.
act the traitor, and force the Kentucky, would have turned the scale
state into the embraces of seces against the efforts of the patriots of sion. The one had its Letcher, a man East Tennessee. thoroughly versed in political arts The loyal citizens of this region, unand appliances ; the other had its willing to give up their birthright with
out an effort to preserve it, met in con- anny of the military power, and the vention at Knoxville, May 30th. More still greater tyranny of a corrupt and than a thousand representatives assem- subsidized press. In Memphis, for in. bled to take counsel in regard to the stance, out of more than 5,000 votes, present crisis. The Hon. Thomas Nel. only five freemen, at the risk of their son was chosen president, and addresses lives, cast in Union votes. Numerous were made by Gen. Arnold and Senator other statements were made, showing Johnson. The proceedings were mark, how little of fairness or honesty had ed by earnest, intelligent, outspoken been practised by the leaders in dis. patriotism. Secession was denounced, union and rebellion. and the people throughout the state But there was now almost no oppor. were besought to resist it and vote it tunity for redress, or, as was contemdown on the day appointed, June 8th. plated, for separate action. The state
The people of the eastern counties was in the vortex of secession, and nothresponded nobly to the appeal of the ing could rescue it but the strong interconvention. In twenty-nine counties position of the United States govern. the vote reached 32,923 against seces- ment. So far from upholding the indesion, while in its favor were cast 14,780, pendence of their mountain region, the but these were made up fully one-half loyal inen of Eastern Tennessee, after by the rebel troops voting without any an ineffectual struggle, were hunted, right whatever. The vote of the entire imprisoned, and driven into exile. state, as proclaimed by Gov. Harris, Thousands crossed the mountains by stood 104,019 för separation; 47,238 stealth to serve in the ranks of the again 3t. The entire vote in February Union arıny, that they might return to had been, for no convention, 70,000, their homes under the flag of the Reagainst, 50,000, and but three secession public, and rescue their families and ists had been elected in the state. friends from the intolerable tyranny Yet, in only four months, Tennessee which oppressed them. The brave and apparently underwent so marvellous a much enduring men of this region were change; fit illustration of what political compelled to bide their time ;* . yet it demagogues and schemers can and will was not wholly in silence; for Eastern do to accomplish their wicked ends. Tennessee had men who were able and
The convention was again called to. willing to raise their voices, as well as gether at Greenville, June 17th. A their arnis, in her defence. Besides declaration of grievances was adopted, * When Gen. Schoepf repulsed the rebels at Camp in which was a full recital of the course Wild Cat (see p. 39) the East Tennesseeans expected
him to come to their aid. Deceived by the rebel re pursued by rebels and traitors. In no
ports of their great force at Bowling Green, Schoepf, part of the state but East Tennessee, it after advancing two or three days in the direction of was set forth, was the recent election
Cumberland Gap, retreated towards the Ohio, strew
ing the road with wrecked wagons, dead horses, etc., free, and no where else was the Union and leaving East Tennessee to her fate, much to the allowed to be spoken of and advocated. disappointment
disappointment of those who loved the cause of
| loyalty and devotion to the common interests of our Loyal men were overawed by the tyr- / country.