Page images
PDF
EPUB

PROCEEDINGS

OF

THE

WHEELING CO'N VENTION.

211

be

-willing to do justice us to their own local and peculiar policy. With Judge Thompson's Proclamation.

even to those who pro- such a position as West Virginia occupies, sepa. nounced themselves ene

rated by vast mountain ranges from Old Virginia, mies of the old Government. Among other accessible to the whole West and the whole North,

the whole will be a unit in our defense. West arguments put with telling force against the eastern section of the State, and the Seces- Virginia never can be coerced or conquered. Her

streams may run blood and her households

may sionists, who threatened to subjugate the

desolated, and if this shall be so, it will be the work western section in event of its refusal to

of those in West Virginia who remain in arms to opuccede to the revolution, was this:

pose and resist the wishes of the majority of her " To those citizens in Western Virginia who claim people. Retire, disband, and let us alone in peace, the right of secession, in like manner I appeal to under the Constitution and the laws, and do not relay down their arms against their brethren and fath quire those laws and Constitution to be maintained ers, and to submit to the judgment and wish of their here at this mighty sacrifice." own people, in so large a portion of the State as

This strong document assisted materially West Virginia. If it is right for one portion of the

in consolidating the Union sentiment: apply. people in mass to violate or set aside the Constitution, so as to free themselves from political inter- ing the peculiar philosophy of secession, the course with other portions of the people of the

Western portion of the Commonwealth had United States, surely it should be permitted to so

a right to a separate organization if it so large a body of people as West Virginia, exercising willed. Immediately the sentiment of sepatheir sovereignty in a lawful manner under the Con- ration became paramount; and the election stitution and in support of the Constitution, to (June 4th) of delegates to the Convention of choose their destinies. This, at the late election, June 11th, resulted in the choice of such repthey have done in no equivocal manner: They resentatives as the Committee had called for should be permitted, and especially by you, their

-brave, discreet and loyal men. brethren, exercising with such unanimity this sove

The Convention assemreign and constitutional right, to stand by the Con-bled at Wheeling on the

Assemblage of the stitution and the laws in peace; to maintain the

Wheeling Convention.

11th, and proceeded to solemn integrity of the institutions under which they have grown and prospered. By this vote they business on the day following. Forty counhave solemnly said they have no cause of revolu. ties were represented, in the proportion of tion; they are satisfied ; let them remain in peace. their representation in the State Legislature. If you are dissatisfied, go in peace; go where you Arthur J. Boreman, of Wood county, was will have the support and sympathy of those whose chosen permanent chairman, and delivered cause you espouse; and in God's name, in the name an address which gave the key-note to the of our ancient friendships and fireside relations, in proceedings to follow. It was patriotic, loyal the name of that peace, the skirts of whose robe and firm. The programme arranged for acwill be dabbled in blood, if you remain in arms; in tion contemplated the organization of a Provirtue of the holy ties of relationship, and for the visional Government for the State: the depreservation of whatever of Constitutions and the laws are left, while yet the ruin has not reached you entire reorganization of the Municipal branch

position of the old State authorities, and the and us; while the vengeance of civil war has not broken up all domestic ties, and the sword of pri

On the second day of the session a resovate revenge has not crossed your own thresholds lution was introduced and unanimously adoptand sprinkled it with blood, and left your homes ed, thanking General McClellan for ‘invading' and your households in ruin; by all the solemn Virginia, commending the bravery of the galmemories of the past and the obligations of the pres. lant Colonel Kelley and his regiment, &c., &c. ent to recognize the wishes of the people of West Vir- The Committee on Business, through its char ginia to seek their own happiness and welfare in a

man, John S. Carlisle, reported on the 13th, lawful and peaceful manner; in the solemn majesty a Declaration, reviewing the unhappy condiof those laws, and in a higher appeal of justice and tion of the State, setting forth the usurpathe cry, depart, depart in peace, and give not up tions of the Richmond Convention, offering a West Virginia, which otherwise will remain in safety, if not repose, to the horrors of a terrible bill of rights, repudiating allegiance to the war. With such a large majority, neither Eastern Southern Confederacy, and vacating the Virginia nor the South will be disposed to coerce

offices of all who adhered to it, whether legis

es.

a

[ocr errors]

lative or judicial. The reading of this was leading objects of the Convention, after the listened to with profound interest, not a dis- establishment of a Provisional Government, senting opinion being expressed.

It was

was to provide for the separation of Western made the special order for from Eastern Virginia. This, after a warm Proceedings of the

the 14th. Various other contest, was adopted by a vote of fifty-seven Wheeling Convention.

resolves were sprung-all to seventeen. proving the feverish anxiety of the members The 19th being set apart

Proceedings, &c. for action. In the debate which followed, on for the consideration of the the Declaration, Mr. Dorsey of Monongahela, Ordinance of Reorganization, the Convention took strong grounds for an immediate divi- proceeded with the important discussion. It sion of the State. Mr. Carlisle took the was finally passed, nearly as it came from the ground that Congress, at the coming session, Committee. It providedwould not be likely to recognize the division 1st. For the appointment by the Commit (which recognition was necessary) until the re-tee of a Governor and Lieutenant-Governor, bellion in the Southern States was put down, to act until their successors should be duly the object of Congress being to restore every

elected. original State to the Union. Congress would 2d. For a Council of Five, to be appointed recognize the Provisional Legislature, and by the Convention, to act as advisers with with the consent of the Legislature and Con- the Governor, and to aid in executing his gress, separation could be effected at an early official orders. day. This view did not disconcert those 3d. For the recognition, as the Legislature, members who were for immediate division of of those members elected to the State Genethe State and its admission to the Union as ral Assembly May 23d, 1861, who should the State of Kanawha.

subscribe to and qualify themselves by takAn ordinance was reported, on the 14th, ing the oath or affirmation prescribed.* from the Business Committee, reorganizing 4th. Defined the oath and provided that all the State, vacating the seats of all State offi- State officers, Legislators, Judges, Clerks, cers in rebellion against the United States ; Sheriffs, Commissioners, Justices, &c., should providing for a provisional government and take or subscribe to it before being qualified for the election of officers; also providing to discharge the duties of their office. that the State, county and municipal officers 5th. Declared all offices vacant of those who immediately take the oath of allegiance to refused to take oath, and provided for an the United States. This was made the spe- election to fill the vacancy. cial order for June 19th.

It was announced, on the 14th, that five * The oath adopted read as follows: hundred stand of arms had arrived at Wheel- State of Virginia, Ohio County, ss. : ing, as a loan from old Massachusetts, to arm “ Before the subscriber, a Justice of the Peace the Home Guards—that fifteen hundred more for the county aforesaid, this day in my said county, were on their way--an item of news which came A. B., and took and subscribed the following

oath : sent a thrill of patriotic joy through the assembly.

“.1, A. B., solemnly swear that I will support the Mr. Dorsey, above referred to, brought for- Constitution of the United States, and the laws ward his Declaration of Independence (June made in pursuance thereof, as the supreme law of 17th) looking to a division of the State. It the State of Virginia, or in the ordinances of the

the land, anything in the Constitution and laws of was supported by Pierpont and others, and, Convention which assembled at Richmond on the after an interesting debate was adopted 13th of February, 1861, to the contrary notwithunanimously. This Decluration was signed standing : And that I will uphold and defend the on the 20th, by fifty-six members—the same Government of Virginia as vindicated and restored number attached to the glorious instrument by the Convention which assembled at Wheeling on of 1776.

the eleventh day of June, 1861.

A. B.' On the 18th, Mr. Farnesworth, of Upshur “Given under my hand, this 5th day of July, 1861. county, offered a resolution that, one of the

"J. P."

[blocks in formation]

Address of the Con

vention.

[ocr errors]

On the 20th the Western Virginia Decla- | dence of the substitution of ration of Independence was signed. It was a tyranny for the voice of an impressive scene. The roll was called by the people. “This bold ascounties, and each member came forward to sumption of authority," it said, “was followed the Secretary's desk and signed the parch- by numerous acts of hostility against the Uniment.

ted States, by the levy of troops to aid in the In the afternoon, Frank H. Pierpont, of capture of the National Capital and the subMarion county, was unanimously elected Gov- version of the National authority; and, to ernor; Daniel Palsley, of Mason county, Lieu-crown the infamy of the conspirators, with tenant-Governor, and Messrs. Lamb, Paxhaw, whom the Executive had now coalesced, by Van Winkle, Harrison and Lazar to form the an attempt, without even the pretense of the Governor's Council. The election of an At authority or acquiescence of the people, to torney-General was postponed.

transfer their allegiance from the United The Governor was formally inaugurated States to a league of rebellious States, in arms during the afternoon, when he delivered his against the former.” The document then Inaugural Address. It was brief but patri- proceeded to cite the incidents of the mockotic, calling upon the people and their repre- voting on the Ordinance-how Judges chargsentatives to be firm, while he himself prom-ed Grand Juries that opposition to the revo. ised to be true to the great trust reposed | lution would be punished as treason to the in him.

State—how “armed partisans of the conspiThe new Government, now fully launched rators in various places arrested, plundered upon the sea of trouble, moved forward with and exiled peaceable citizens for no other a firmness, a prudence, a foresight which did crime than their adherence to the Union." not fail to command the approbation of the These and other causes led loyal Virginians President of the United States and of all to resent the outrages, the indignities, the loyal people. In that reorganization was the usurpations heaped upon them, and the movegerm of Virginia's regeneration and restora- ment inaugurated resulted in the calling of tion to the Union.

a Convention to legislate a new Government On the 24th, a Commit into existence, under which they might find tee, (of seventeen,) previ- protection and retain their old relations to

ously appointed, reported the Federal Government. The question of an address to the people, explaining and jus- the right of secession was referred to only to tifying the acts of the Convention. The ad-be denounced. Only the people of the United dress, at considerable length, sketched the States could dissolve the compact of the history of late events in Virginia, reciting the Union. “The ratification of the Constituinfamous course of procedure in the Rich- tion of the United States by our own Commond Convention, by which the State was monwealth, in express terms, reserves the forced out of the Union -- how the whole right to abrogate it to those by whom it was thing was done in secret session, against the made, the people of the United States; thus protests of more than one third of the mem- repudiating in advance the modern doctrine

* Up to this day,” said the of separate State secession. This is in strict address, “the debates which preceded the accordance with the views of our elder statesvote are concealed from the people, who are men, whose patriotism and ability are held thus denied a knowledge of the causes which, in reverence, not only by us and by our felin the opinion of the majority, rendered se- low-citizens of the Union, but by good men cession necessary and justified so gross a dis- throughout the world. It is the logic of regard of their lately expressed will.” But, every honest heart, that a contract, a comeven though thus illegally passed, the Ordi- pact, or call it what you will, can only be set nance had no effect until ratified at the polls aside by the joint act of those by whom it by the people. Yet, prior to that ratification, was made.” This strong argument was folopen violence and acts of treason were com- lowed by others, proving the impolicy of semitted, to which the address referred, as evi-) cession even if a right existed ; and, partic

Address of the Con

vention.

bers present.

[ocr errors]

ularly relating to the condition of Western -writs for such elections to be issued by Virginia, the address assumed that every in the Governor. The document closed with terest of peace, prosperity, progress, patriot- an appeal to the people to stand by the ism, remonstrated against a severance of the Union—to sustain, unflinchingly, their new tie which bound the State to the Union, Government—to prosecute the war against

There was, then, under the circumstances, the “perjured oligarchy who has usurped but one course to pursue—to call a Conven- your Government and has sold you to the tion and to proceed in legislating the State ambitious despots of an unholy affiliation." back into its old relations with the Union. The Convention adjournThe address then stated, in general terms, ed June 25th, to meet on

Adjournment of the the action taken by the Convention in the the 1st Tuesday in August. inauguration of a Provisional Government, Governor Pierpont, on the 22d of June, isthe appointment of Provisional officers, &c., sued his.proclamation assembling the Geneadding that, to the General Assembly (Legis- ral Assembly at Wheeling, on the 1st of July lature) soon to assemble at the Governor's --on which day it came together, most of call, would revert the power and duty of the counties west of the Blue Ridge being such other action as was necessary. All loyal then, or soon after, represented. It proceeded sections of the State not represented in the to legislate for, and to vitalize, the new Gov. Legislature and Convention were called upon ernment, so that it soon found itself in a selfto hold special elections to fill such vacancies sustaining, independent condition.

Convention.

[blocks in formation]

Patterson's First

Proclamation.

MAJOR-GENERAL of Vol. any servile insurrections.
The Chambersburg
Camp.

unteers, Robert Patterson, In its language the docu

assumed command of the ment was patriotic, and troops gathered in camp at Chambersburg. was decidedly against treason and its abetThe enemy being in possession of Harper's tors. * The troops then addressed consisted Ferry, menaced Southern Pennsylvania and of ten regiments of infantry, five hundred Maryland by their presence. The Chambers- dragoons, all finely equipped and quite thoburg camp was first formed with reference roughly armed, with Captain Doubleday's and to covering the endangered section ; but be- Seymour's batteries of flying artillery, in erse. came the centre of movements against the The march was taken up on the morning Confederates when Scott arranged for the of June 7th – Brigadier-General Thomas' Federal advance into Virginia.

division on the advance. Supporting moveJune 3d Patterson issued his proclamation ments were made from the east, by General announcing the forward movement. The Stone's column, which started for Edwards' document, like that issued by McClellan, en

* This is especially remarked, since General Patjoined upon the soldiers respect for private terson had been charged with lokewarmness in the property, protection to the loyal, and, should

cause, and, by some papers, had been pronounced occasion offer, the troops were to suppress I actually disloyal.

FORWARD

AND

RETROGRADE

MOVEMENTS.

215

ment.

FIRST BRIGADE.

Ferry, via Tenallytown and watch and annoy the Federal advance. The The Combined Move

Rockville. (Edwards' Fer- Confederate army left only ruin and desola

ry is on the Potomac, about tion in its track. half-way between Washington and Harper's Patterson took up his

The Federal Ferry.] Colonel Lewis Wallace, with his head-quarters at Hagers

Army. Indiana Zouaves, took possession of Cumber. town June 14th. The army land on the 9th of June.

under his direct command at that date numThese forward and com- bered about twenty-one thousand men, though Bridges Destroyed.

bined movements from the it soon was increased by troops from Wisfront added to the rapid concentration of consin, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. It McCleilan's forces to press the enemy's flank, was organized as follows: compelled Johnston - the rebel General in

FIRST DIVISION. command of the Winchester District-- to re- Brevet Major-General George Cadwalader commanding, tire from his advance. He burned the bridges consisting of First, Third and Fourth brigades.

First brigade, Colonel George H. Thomas, Second U. S. cav. at Point of Rocks and Berlin on the Potomac, alry, commanding. on the morning of June 7th. The same day Third brigade, Brigadier-General E. C. Williams, coma detachment of troops from Leesburg moved manding.

Fourth brigade, Colonel Dixon S. Miles, Second U. S. infandown upon the line of the Alexandria, Lou

try, commanding. don and Hampshire Railroad, destroying

SECOND DIVISION.
bridges at Tuscarora, Lycoline, Goose Creek Major-General Wm. H. Keim commanding, consisting of
and Beaver Dam.

Second and Fifth brigades.
Colonel Wallace made a

Second brigade, Brigadier-General Geo. C. Wynkoop, com-
Dash at Romney.

manding. sudden dash on the 11th

Fifth brigade, Brigadier-General Jaş, S. Negley, comupon Romney, Virginia, which was held by manding. à regiment of Virginia cavalry. The sur

Cavalry, four companies U. S., and First Philadelphia city prise was complete. Though the enemy

troops, Captain James, commanding. fought with some spirit, the Zouaves soon

Captain Doubleday's battalion of artillery and infantry. sent them flying. Two of the rebels were First Rhode Island regiment and battery, Colonel Burnfound dead on the field. Stores, ammuni- side, commanding.

Sixth regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, Colonel Nagle. tion, arms and horses to a considerable amount

Twenty-First regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, Colonel
were seized, with which the Indianians re- Ballier.
turned to Cumberland.

Twenty-Third regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, Colonel
This sudden sally upon
Harper's Ferry Evac-

his left hastened Johnston's uated.

First regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, Colonel Yobe. movements. Harper's Fer- Second regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, Colonel Stam. ry was evacuated June 13th and 14th. Every- baugh.

Third regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, Colonel Minier. thing was destroyed in the shape of immov

Twenty-Fourth regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, Colonel able property, including some stores and heavy guns. The superb railway bridge over the Potomac and the Winchester span were

Seventh regiment Pennsylvania volunteers,

Eighth regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, Colonel Emley. given to the flames, and the piers shattered

Tenth regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, Colonel Meredith. with powder. The old Government armory, Twentieth regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, Colonel Gray. shops, &c., were consumed—the fine machinery having previously been removed to Second and Third U. 8. infantry, Major Sheppard. Richmond. The railroad bridges at Martins

Ninth regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, Colonel Long.

necker. burg and Capen river, the “ Pillar” bridge

Thirteenth regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, Colonel and the turnpike bridge over the Potomac Rowley. at Shepardstown, were also destroyed. Canal Sixteenth regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, Colonel Zeigle. dams, locks and embankments miles, rendered useless. The enemy fell back

Fourteenth regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, Colonel

Johnston. in two columns, one upon Winchester and

Fifteenth regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, Colonel one towards Leesburg—points from which to Oakford.

Dare.

SECOND BRIGADE.

Owen,

THIRD BRIGADE.

Colonel Irwin.

FOURTH BRIGADE.

FIFTH BRIGADE.

were, for

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »