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[520] hold that Letcher and his fellow-conspirators had a legal right to precipitate their State into treason, so as to bind her loyal, Union-loving citizens to follow and sustain them therein, will echo his lamentations; but those who stand by their country and her Government take a different view of the matter.1

All direct communication between Western Virginia and Washington was, and remained, interrupted for some weeks after the primary2 Rebel foray on Harper's Ferry. The Rebels remained in force at that point, completely controlling travel and transportation on the Baltimore and Ohio road. They finally obstructed that road altogether by destroying3 several bridges farther west; continuing to hold and to strengthen their position at Harper's Ferry. Two companies of Confederate or State militia entered the village of Clarksburg, the capital of Harrison county, on the 20th, but found themselves speedily outnumbered by the Union militia of that place, on whose demand they surrendered their arms and dispersed without a contest.

Although some thousands of West Virginians had volunteered to fight for the Union, none of them were encamped on the soil of their State until after the election held4 to ratify or reject the Ordinance of Secession. The Government, assured that Western Virginia was overwhelmingly for the Union, doubtless chose not to have that unanimity attributed, even falsely, to the presence of a Union force. The Virginians who volunteered were mustered in and organized at Camp Carlile, in Ohio, opposite Wheeling, under the command of Col. Kelly, himself a Virginian. George B. McClellan, who had been appointed a Major-General and assigned to the command of the Department of the Ohio, remained at Cincinnati, his home. Three days after the election aforesaid, he issued from that city a spirited address “To the Union men of Western Virginia,” wherein he says:

The General Government has long enough endured the machinations of a few factious Rebels in your midst. Armed traitors have in vain endeavored to deter you from expressing your loyalty at the polls. Having tailed in this infamous attempt to deprive you of the exercise of your dearest rights, they now seek to inaugurate a reign of terror, and thus force you to yield to their schemes, and submit to the yoke of the traitorous conspiracy, dignified by the name of the Southern Confederacy. They are destroying the property of citizens of your State, and ruining your magnificent railways. The General Government has heretofore carefully abstained from sending troops across the Ohio, or even from posting them along its banks, although frequently urged by many of your prominent citizens to do so.

It determined to await the result of the State election, desirous that no one might be able to say that the slightest effort had been made from this side to influence the free expression of your opinions, although the many agencies brought to bear upon you by the Rebels were well known. You have now shown, under the most adverse circumstances, that the great mass of the people of Western Virginia are true and loyal to that beneficent Government under which we and our fathers have lived so long.

A brief and stirring address to his soldiers was issued simultaneously with the above; and, both being read

1 A Union soldier who, having been taken prisoner by the Rebels and paroled, was, in the Summer of 1862, in camp on Governor's Island, New-York, was asked by a regular army officer--“What is your regiment?” He answered: “The 6th Virginia.” “Virginia?” rejoined the Westpointer; “then you ought to be fighting on the other side.” Of course, this patriot will naturally be found among those who consider the division of Virginia a usurpation and an outrage.

2 Night of April 18th.

3 May 16th.

4 May 23d.

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