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[87] between Eastern and Western Virginia, which had probably caused many of them already to look forward to the organization of a separate State. In this conjuncture, a convention of the people of Western Virginia was called to assemble at Wheeling on the 11th of June, to consider the alarming condition of public affairs.

Early in May, General McClellan received applications for protection from the people of this region, but was not then prepared to accede to their wishes. Afterwards, however, it became evident that the Virginia authorities contemplated occupying this country, and to secure, by so doing, the command of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, the importance of which was appreciated by both parties. Governor Letcher had already called out the State militia, and not only Western Virginia, but Southern Ohio also, might soon be invaded by them.

A small body of Virginia militia had actually advanced, and were encamped at Grafton, on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. On the 24th of May, the Secretary of War and General Scott telegraphed to General McClellan, informing him of this camp, and asking him whether its influence could not be counteracted. General McClellan replied in the affirmative. This was the sole order which he received from Washington regarding a campaign in Virginia.

General McClellan had formed his principal rendezvous at Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati; while bodies of troops were also at Gallipolis, Bellaire, and Marietta, on the Ohio River, opposite Virginia.

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