Lee's West Virginia campaign.
Before proceeding with the operations in Northwestern Virginia
, it will be necessary to glance at the condition of that section, and the previous military operations that had been carried on within its limits.
This section of Virginia
did not cordially coincide in the ordinance of secession that had been passed by the State Convention, inasmuch as a considerable part of its inhabitants were opposed to secession, or, in other words, were Unionists
A large number, however, of its most influential citizens were ardent Southern supporters; and there was, also, an intermediate class, indifferent to politics, which was ready to join the party which might prove the strongest.
Besides, it soon became apparent that the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was destined to exercise an important influence on military movements; therefore, this section became an object of interest to both sides.
At first, the Confederate Colonel Porterfield
was sent with a few companies to operate on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad; but this force was too small, and illy provided with the essentials for service, so that it could effect nothing.
Shortly afterward, General Robert Garnett
was sent by the Confederate
authorities to seize the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and to confirm the Northwestern Virginians
in their allegiance to the State
, with a force of about five thousand men, reached the railroad in June, and occupied Laurel Hill
About the same time, General McClellan
crossed the Ohio
into Northwestern Virginia
, with the view of gaining the adherence of its inhabitants to the Federal Government
, and to protect the Baltimore