apprehended invasion from “the Government
,” and designating twenty points throughout the State
--five or six of them westward of the mountains — at which the militia from the adjacent counties respectively were required to assemble forthwith, for organization and service; and, only three days later1
--still seventeen days prior to that on which the people were to vote for or against Secession — the State
was formally admitted into and incorporated with the Confederacy
, and Gen. Robert E. Lee2
put in chief command of the Confederate forces in Virginia
— by this time, largely swelled by arrivals from South Carolina
, and other Rebel States.
The people of West Virginia
, thus summoned, in the name of their State, to fight against the country they loved for a Rebellion they abhorred, saw the toils closing fast around them, and realized that they must awake and resist, or they would soon be helpless under the feet of their betrayers.
Rebel officers, appointed from Richmond
, were busily at work, enlisting and mustering their young men for the uses of treason, under the guise of obedience to lawful and constitutional authority.
On the 4th, a strong and spirited Union mass meeting was held at Kingwood, Preston county
, near the north line of the State
, at which the most determined hostility to Secession was avowed, and the separation of Western from Old Virginia demanded.
The meeting further resolved to vote, on the appointed day, for a member of Congress — not that of the Confederacy
, but that of the Union
A like meeting, impelled by a similar spirit, was held at Wheeling
on the following day, whereby adherence to the Union
was affirmed, separation from Eastern Virginia
demanded, and a determination evinced to render no further tribute, whether military or pecuniary, to the Rebel
rule at Richmond
Hon. John S. Carlile
was especially decided and zealous in advocacy of separation.
Another great Union meeting was held at Wheeling
on the 11th, which was addressed in the same spirit by Mr. Carlile
, as also by Francis H. Pierpont
The response of the masses was unanimous and enthusiastic.
On the 13th, a Convention of delegates, representing thirty-five counties of West Virginia
, assembled at Wheeling
, to reiterate more formally the general demand that Secession be repudiated, and West Virginia
severed from the Old Dominion.
This Convention adjourned on the 15th, after calling a provisional Convention, to assemble on the 11th of June.
The delegates were to be chosen on the 26th of May; on which day, about forty Counties held regular elections, and chose delegates in accordance with the call — usually, by a heavy vote.
The provisional Convention met on the designated day. Arthur J. Boreman
was chosen permanent Chairman
; and John S. Carlile
, on the 13th, reported, from the Committee
on Business, a Declaration, denouncing the usurpation by which the Convention
had pretended to sever Virginia
from the Union
, repudiating the idea of allegiance to the Southern Confederacy, and vacating the offices of all who adhered to the Rebellion
In the debate which followed, Mr. Carlile