« PreviousContinue »
GEN. LYON'S ACTIVITY IN MISSOURI.
Gen. Lyon, in carrying out his instructions from headquarters, not only issued a proclamation, denouncing the action of the governor as set
and protection to treason only, General infamous and degrading sway of its Harney's course was promptly re- wicked minions in this state. No brave pudiated at Washington, and General and true-hearted Missourian will obey Lyon, on the 1st of June, was placed the one or submit to the other. Rise, in command of the department. This then, and drive out ignominiously the active and energetic officer, at an inter- invaders, who have dared to desecrate view with Governor Jackson and the soil which your labors have made General Price, on the 11th, positively fruitful, and which is consecrated by refused to agree to any measures other your homes." than those which he had thus far steadily been carrying out. He put no faith in the professions of the governor and his sympathizers, and he would not listen for a moment to any proposal ting at defiance the authoriwhich looked towards giving up the vantage ground already held by the government. He further demanded the disarming of the state militia and the rejection of the obnoxious militia bill, and insisted upon the full and unrestricted right of the government to take any steps it deemed necessary, in order to protect Union men and repress insurrection.
Governor Jackson, thinking these terms to be “degrading," as he phrased it, issued a proclamation, calling for 50,000 state militia to repel federal invasion, and to protect life, liberty and property in Missouri. He acknow. ledged that the state was still one of the United States, and to a certain extent bound to obey the government; but he closed in the following words, which show plainly the animus at the bottom:-"It is my duty to advise you that your first allegiance is due to your own state, and that you are under no obligation whatever to obey the unconstitutional edicts of the military despotism which has enthroned itself at Washington, nor to submit to the
ties of the United States and consummating his treasonable purposes, but he also resolved to arrest the rebel authorities and break up their military preparations. He moved at once on Jefferson City, which was reached on the 15th of June; but he found that Jackson had retreated some forty miles above, to Booneville, cutting off the telegraph and destroying the railroad bridges on the route. Gen. Lyon followed him, and two days afterwards defeated and dispersed the hostile forces. At the same time, in a proclamation the next day, he avowed the most liberal and conciliatory policy towards all quiet and orderly persons in Missouri.
It is interesting, in this connection, to take note of the position of affairs in Western Virginia and Eastern Tennessee. Virginia, as previously related, (see p. 22) had, through its unscrupul ous governor and legislature, been carried into the arms of secession. But there was, notwithstanding, a large portion of the people who abhorred the course which had been forced upon the
state, and who resolved to resist to the utmost the designs of the rebels, and to stand by the Union in its integrity. Especially was this the case in Western Virginia. In the counties west of the Blue Ridge there were some 10,000 slaves, while in those on the east the number reached to nearly half a million. The white population was decidedly more numerous in the western part of the state than elsewhere, and rapid advances were being made in the develop ment of its agricultural and industrial resources, in comparison with the stagnation in the counties more favored in many respects on the seaboard. That extensive western region, bounded by the Alleghany Mountains and the Ohio River, and bordering on the north upon Pennsylvania, had little indeed in common with the slave-holding, slave-trading interests and southern sympathies of the eastern division. Thus socially and industrially, as well as geographically, situated, they felt the pressure of taxa tion to be very unequal as compared with the more favored slave-holders, and they were not prepared to give themselves up to joining the secessionists in their mad and wicked purposes against the very life of the Republic.
counties west of the Alleghanies, and a convention was held at Wheeling, May 13th, to consider and determine upon the action requisite in the existing crisis. Resolutions were passed, condemning the ordinance of secession, as "unconstitutional, null and void," and declaring the annexation to the southern confederacy "a plain and palpable violation of the constitution of the state, and utterly subversive of the rights and liberties of the good people thereof." Provision was also made for a convention of representatives of the people, to be held at Wheeling, June 11th, in case the ordinance of secession should be ratified, as was proposed, on the 23d of May, (see p. 23).
On the day appointed the convention assembled. Forty counties (five to the east of the Alleghanies) were repre sented, and the delegates entered upon their work, first taking an oath to sup port the Constitution and laws of the United States. It was maintained, that the government at Richmond, having violated the constitution of the state, its authority was thereby annulled, and that the offices of all who adhered to the usurping convention and executive Acting on their convictions, these were, ipso facto, vacant. After a few patriotic Virginians denounced the pro- days' discussion, this view was found ceedings of Governor Letcher and the to prevail, and a declaration, setting secession leaders. A meeting was held forth the motives of the decision, and at Clarksburg, in Harrison county, on an ordinance for the reorganization of the 22d of April, and the the state government, were passed by initial step was taken to sepa a nearly unanimous vote. The declararate Western Virginia from any part or tion was forcible and clear in its statelot in the evil counsels prevailing ments as to the necessity of energetic throughout the rest of the state. Dele- action. The ordinance, reorganizing gates were chosen from the various the state government, provided for the
WESTERN VIRGINIA'S COURSE.
appointment, by the convention, of a mental authority of the state. And,
governor, lieutenant-governor, council, and legislature, composed of the delegates to the general assembly chosen in May, and the senators entitled under existing laws to seats in the next general assembly, who should qualify themselves by taking a prescribed oath, pledging their support to the Constitution of the United States and the laws made in pursuance thereof as the the supreme law of the land, anything in the ordinances of the Richmond to the present condition of things.* convention to the contrary notwithstanding, and to uphold and defend the government ordained by the convention at Wheeling. F. H. Pierrepont was chosen governor, and inaugurated the next day, June 20th.
fellow-citizens, it is the assumption of that authority upon which we are now about to enter."
The legislature met on the 22d of July; the new government was recog nized by the president; two senators, Messrs. J. S. Carlisle and W. T. Willey, were chosen to take the place of the seceders, Mason and Hunter (which they did on the 13th of July); and various enactments were made suitable
In the governor's inaugural address he took occasion to speak very plainly of the conduct of the secessionists, and also of the imperative need of the course which had been adopted by the loyal inhabitants. "We have been driven into the position we occupy to day, by the usurpers at the South, who have inaugurated this war upon the soil of Virginia, and have made it the great Crimea of this, contest. We, representing the loyal citizens of Virginia, have been bound to assume the position we have assumed to-day, for the protection of ourselves, our wives, our children and our property. We, I repeat, have been driven to assume this position; and now we are but recurring to the great fundamental principle of our fathers, that to the loyal people of a state belongs the law-making power of that state. The loyal people are entitled to the government and govern
Previous to this, General McClellan, having resigned his connection with the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad in order to serve in the army, had been ordered by the president, to take charge of military operations west of the Alleghanies; consequently, the defence of Western Virginia was promptly looked after. On the 26th of May, immediately subsequent to the vote on the secession ordinance, General McClellan issued a stirring proclamation from Cincinnati, Ohio, setting forth his intentions, and urging the people of Virginia to join the Union standard.+ Forces
* Governor Letcher, on the 14th of June, issued a
proclamation to the people of North Western Virginia.
by friendships hallowed by a thousand cherished re
rallied under the old flag and defended it on every occasion.
One passage from this proclamation may here be
quoted, as bearing on a subject of great perplexity to the government:-"Your houses, your families, and property are safe under our protection.
All your rights shall be religiously protected. Notwithstanding 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 directions and with varied success.
On the 11th of July, General McClellan, making his way toward Beverly, was encamped with his forces a short distance to the west of Rich Mountain,
believe that our advent among you will be signalized by interference with your slaves, understand one thing clearly not only will we abstain from all interference, but we will, on the contrary, with an iron hand, crush any attempt at insurrection on their part."
was killed, and his forces were routed completely, only a small proportion out of several thousands making their escape. "Our success," says General
* Pollard, in his " First Year of the War," p. 84, 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 a force of 20,000. Some Union writers make Garnett's force to have been nearly 10.000, and Pegram's about 2,000, while McClellan's 's set down at 10,000. We give the numbers, on what appears to be the best authority, without vouching for their accuracy.
Harris, equally reckless and far more
On the 19th of July, McClellan issued an address to his soldiers, full of glow ing and encouraging words, inciting to future victory. On the 22d, however, (the day after the Bull Run disaster), he was summoned by the president to 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 the 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 unreasonable 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 who held the supremacy in local affairs. The situation, however, of Eastern Tennessee was less advantageous for the maintenance of the liberties of the people than that of her northern neighbor. Each had a bold, unscrupulous governor and legislature, ready and willing to act the traitor, and force the state into the embraces of seces
to hold their own against the dwellers on the James and the Rappahannock. It the chances in both cases had been equal within their borders, the contiguity of the more southern state to the des peradoes of Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana, to say nothing of the refugee enemies of the Union in Kentucky, would have turned the scale against the efforts of the patriots of East Tennessee.
The loyal citizens of this region, unwilling to give up their birthright with