« PreviousContinue »
rated in West Virginia mainly depended, issued his proclamation from headquarters at Grafton, calling on the people to arm for their own protection against the enemies of their "freedom and peace," and to rally in arms to the support of the Constitutional Government. The Convention of loyal Virginia Delegates, held at Wheeling, proclaimed, on the 17th of June, their repudiation of the pretended ordinance of secession by which Virginia was called on "to separate from and wage war against the Government of the United States," and in the name of the people, declared that "the offices of all who adhere to " the Richmond Convention and Gov. Letcher (in the enumerated acts of treason and usurpation perpetrated by them), whether legislative, executive or judicial, are vacated. A new State Government was promptly organized, with Francis H. Pierpont for Governor. In due time a State Legislature was chosen, and Senators and Representatives in Congress were elected. Thus, with the full approbation of President Lincoln, and with his substantial support, was the first step inaugurated toward a restoration of a loyal local Government in the insurgent States. The State Government thus organized was for Virginia in its integrity, and it was sustained by the people, wherever our armies held in check the armed forces of the Rebels.
On the 23d of June, three weeks after the battle of Philippa, Gen. McClellan, having just arrived, issued another proclamation to the people from headquarters at Grafton, announcing that the Army of the Ohio, "headed by Virginia troops, is rapidly occupying all Western Virginia." He reaffirmed the promises of his former proclamation, adding: "Your houses, families, property and all your rights will be religiously respected." He denounced upon guerrillas and marauders the severest penalties of military law. To the soldiers of his Army he issued an order enjoining good conduct, and inspiriting them for the work before them. "We have come here," he said, "to save, not to upturn."
Nearly three weeks later, July 12th (after a skirmish at Laurel Hill, on the 10th), an engagement was had with the Rebels under Col. Pegram, commonly known as the battle of Rich Mountain, resulting in the surrender of that officer and a
number of men, heal stimated as une hundred or one tonand's els he mut and dose pursuit of Gen. Tarnett and the fores levas ringme a he support of Pegram man he leath of larnett at larmektori, in the 14th. Vrhout sessing the tents of his iner ampaign. iʼn vilch the under of nen menesi in ster sie may be estimated at rather more than 10 900 I will suffer a quote the final sumning by the Commanding enemi in his Espatch to the ar Department, if July 145, is blows:
HOTELSVELLA. Va. Jug 14, 1961. Cil. E.. D. Tuensent, Asistent Aijatime Gmerzi :
Gen. Garnett and his firees have been routed and his bagmage and une fin asen. Es rny are completely demoralized. Gen. Carmen wis ei ville attempting a my his forces at Carrickfel near St. George.
We have completely annihilated the enemy in Western Virvinia
Our loss is but thirteen killed and not more than forty woanded, wille the enemy's loss is not far from two hundred killed, and the number of prisoners we have taken will amount to at least one thousand. We have captured seven of the enemy guns in all.
A portion of Garnett's forces retreated, but I look for their capture by General Hill, who is in hot pursuit.
The troops that Garnett had under his command are said to be the crack regiments of Eastern Virginia, aided by Georgians, Tennesseeans and Carolinians.
Our success is complete, and I firmly believe that secession is killed in this section of the country.
GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN, Maj.-Gen. U. S. A.
A similar work was simultaneously going on in Missouri, under the earnest and skillful guidance of Gen. Nathaniel Lyon. Missouri was nearly betrayed by its Secessionist Governor and his subordinates, without the aid of a conspiring Convention, yet she was drifting, under unscrupulous management, in the same direction which Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee had gone. Gov. Claiborne F. Jackson had defied the popular repudiation of Secession, issued his proclamation, on the 12th, calling out 50,000 militia, to repel "invasion," etc., and immediately organized a further Rebel force at the State Capital,
after the breaking up of Camp Jackson, at St. Louis, as already narrated. Gen. Lyon approaching Jefferson City with a moderate force, Jackson evacuated the place on the 14th of June, and the Union forces occupied it on the following day. On the 17th, Gen. Lyon, finding that the Rebel Governor was fortifying at Boonville, forty miles distant (his forces being commanded by Gen. Sterling Price), advanced to that point and gained a complete victory, dispersing the insurgents, who lost heavily in killed, wounded and prisoners. These energetic movements at once secured the possession of a large portion of the State from Rebel interference.
The defeat of the conspirators, first at St. Louis and afterward at Boonville, had been so complete that it was several weeks before any considerable force was rallied to disturb the quiet into which the State was settling down, under the new government of loyal rulers, which was meanwhile forming. On the 31st of July, Hamilton R. Gamble was elected Provisional Governor by the Missouri State Convention, and duly inaugurated, with other loyal officers, chosen at the same time. The future of that State was thus assured.
In Gen. Butler's Department a movement, preparatory to opening the way to Yorktown, was made by a small force, on the 10th of June, resulting in a repulse at Big Bethel. Coming a week after the cheering success at Philippa, under Gen. Morris, the effect of this reverse, unimportant as it may seem, was sadly felt by the country, and placed the Commanding General under a cloud, from which he unfortunately did little to redeem himself, during the time he retained this command.
The fight at Falling Waters, on the 2d of July, was the chief event, which had thus far relieved the general quietude, not to say dullness, prevailing in the Department of Gen. Patterson. This skirmish occurred near Hainesville, Md., in the tardy execution of a long-deferred movement of Patterson's force from Chambersburg, by Williamsport, to Harper's Ferry. The loss was small on either side, yet, as an indication of some approaching activity, it was not without its effect on an already impatient people. With further delays and hesitations, the force of Patterson was at length thrown across the Potomac.
At this time, a considerable Rebel force was believed to have accumulated at Manassas Junction and at Winchester. The popular demand was almost universal that our troops, now so long in arms, the brief term of a large portion of whom was about to expire, should be led against the enemy. Gen. Scott at length decided on a movement upon Manassas-resulting in the battle of Bull Run, with which this first period of the war may be said to have closed.
Gen. Irvin McDowell took command of the troops on the Virginia side of the Potomac, May 27th, three days after they had crossed over. His headquarters were at the Arlington House. On the 31st of May, a company of cavalry, under Lieut. Tompkins, dashed into the village of Fairfax Court House, where several hundred Rebel cavalry were stationed, killing a number of the enemy and capturing five prisoners. His own loss was one killed and five wounded or missing. This may be called the first cavalry raid. As a reconnoissance, this otherwise unimportant affair was of service, the officer in command reporting the presence of Rebel troops at that point to the number of 1,500 men.
After the manifestations, here as well as in the Shenandoah Valley, of a gradual aggressive movement of the insurgents, threatening alike Alexandria, Washington and the upper part of Maryland, the impatience of the people-ignorant as they were of the difficulties in the way of properly equipping a force, even then so much out of proportion to any organized in this country during the last forty years-was natural, when, with only skirmishing along the Potomac, no general movement to thrust back these aggressors had been commenced until the middle of July. That the causes of this delay were beyond the control of the Executive, and that even when commenced the experienced military leaders in command had failed to put their forces in full readiness, is now apparent. The Rebels themselves anticipated an earlier attack, and had prepared for it, awaiting the onset on their chosen ground. Meanwhile batteries began to be erected along the Potomac, at Acquia Creek and elsewhere, threatening a complete blockade of the river. On the 27th of June, Capt. James H. Ward, of the Navy, had
lost his life in an attack on the obstructions at Matthias Point. The hope and purpose of capturing Washington and subjugating Maryland were clearly shown by the procedure of the Rebels, and not without reason, when we remember their military preparations during a whole year, and the advantages given them by the Administration just closed.
Baltimore, in which there had been, since the 19th of April, constant conspiracies in aid of the rebellion, and which was relied on by the Rebel leaders for important aid in the general scheme of extending their military sway northward to Mason and Dixon's line, had been occupied by Gen. Butler on the 14th of May. Strong works thrown up on Federal Hill, and clsewhere, as well as Fort McHenry, now held the conspirators in check, and their designs were effectually overthrown before Butler's transfer to the new Department of Virginia, a few days later. This Department originally embraced Eastern Virginia to the summit of the Blue Ridge, and the States of North Carolina and South Carolina. Gen. N. P. Banks succeeded to the command at Baltimore, and continued the vigorous measures of his predecessor.
On the 15th of July, Gen. Patterson's army advanced, occupying Bunker Hill, and the Rebel force under J. E. Johnston fell back on Winchester. Patterson was expected at least to occupy the attention of the Rebels, to whose force his own actually was, as believed at the time in Washington, largely superior. Almost simultaneously with this "demonstration" in the Valley, Gen. McDowell issued an order (July 16th) distributing his troops into divisions, and took up the line of march toward Fairfax Court House. This place his advance column occupied on the following day, without resistance. His entire effective force was not far from 50,000 men: the First Division under command of Gen. Danicl Tyler, of Connecticut; the Second under Col. David Hunter, of the Army; the Third under Col. S. P. Heintzelman, of the Army; the Fourth under Gen. Theodore Runyon, of New Jersey, and the Fifth under Col. D. S. Miles, of the Army. The two last divisions were intended to act as the Reserve.
On the 18th, Patterson's force, instead of attacking Johnston