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[26]

II. the three months campaign.


I. War in embryo.

By the express terms of the ordinance of secession, passed by the Virginia Convention on the 16th of April, 1861, the decree that was to link the fortunes of that State with the Confederacy became valid only on being ratified by the popular vote, appointed to be given on the fourth Thursday of May. The Administration at Washington respecting this provision, awaited the action of the people before advancing its armed force to ‘repossess the places and property’ of the Federal Government.

But it was soon manifest that this stipulation was destined to be a nullity in face of the swift—advancing realities of war. Virginia immediately threw herself into an attitude of defence. Governor Letcher issued a proclamation calling out the militia of the State, and Colonel Robert E. Lee was appointed major-general and commander of the ‘Virginia forces.’ More than this: the Convention having, on the 24th of April, decreed that pending the popular vote on the question of secession, ‘military operations, offensive and defensive, in Virginia, should be under the chief control and direction of the President of the Confederate States,’ Confederate troops, from South Carolina and the States of the Gulf, were rapidly thrown forward into Virginia. Meantime, the United States arsenal at Harper's Ferry had been evacuated and partially destroyed by the commander of the post; and the United States navy-yard at Norfolk had been abandoned by the

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