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Notes and Queries. did General George H. Thomas have any purpose of fighting on the side of Virginia, his native State, at the commencement of the late war?

This question has been revived by Chaplain Van Horne, in his recently published “Life of General George H. Thomas,” who devotes some ten pages to an attempt to show that General Thomas never for a moment wavered in his allegiance to “the old flag,” and was at all times “patriotic and loyal,” while Lee “yielded to the pressure against positive convictions, and drifted into the leadership of the forces in arms against the general government.”

We propose at some future time to fully consider this question, but meantime we give the following statement, which explains itself:

It is unpalatable to have again to refute the assertions of the injudicious friends of General George H. Thomas, that he never entertained the purpose of casting his lot with his own people when the other Virginians resigned from the Federal service on the command of their State.

Thomas was a tower of strength in the Federal army. He alone of all the Virginians who remained in that army was the one we could not well spare.

No native of the State had been more intense in his devotion to her, none had more pride in the history of her people, and to the last moment none was more earnest in avowing his native allegiance than [525] he. He was serving in Texas when the crisis came which sundered the sections. His friends in Virginia were informed of his views, and the officials of the State were apprised of his intentions. He procured a furlough, came to Virginia, applied to the Superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute for the appointment (with the rank of Major) of Commandant of the Corps of State Cadets.

On the request of his friends the Governor of Virginia decided to appoint him a Colonel of the Virginia forces and Chief of Ordnance of the State.

And when, as yet, neither Lee nor Johnston had indicated any purpose to leave the Federal service, the attitude and intention of Thomas were as well known as those of any gentleman of the State, and he was spoken of by several of the secession members of the convention as the fit man to be General of the forces of Virginia should she secede.

After the Government had decided to appoint him Colonel, he went North, from Virginia, to make his final arrangements, and then to resign and return to take part with his people.

The Governor held the appointment open for him until he found Thomas had resolved to remain in the Federal service.

Richmond, October 22d, 1882.

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