by the antagonisms of neighbors and households; and by the recruiting of military companies for both the Confederate
and the Federal
Allegiance to the commonwealth of Virginia
as being the paramount obligation of the citizen held large numbers of Union men to the defense of its action, who formed themselves into military companies and entered the Confederate army.
On the other hand many were so resolute in their repugnance to secession as to throw off the restraints of the old Virginia
theory of allegiance, and to form companies and regiments for Federal service.
The Unionist sentiment in western Virginia
led to a meeting at Clarksburg
, April 22d, one week after the adoption of the ordinance of secession by the Virginia convention, at which eleven delegates were appointed to meet delegates from other counties at Wheeling
, May 13th, to determine what course should be pursued.
Similar meetings followed, and the convention which met at the date fixed, contained representatives of twenty-five counties.
The popular vote on the ordinance of secession, polled May (fourth Thursday), was largely for rejection in western Virginia
and almost unanimous for adoption beyond the mountains.
The informal convention of May 13th adopted resolutions condemning the ordinance and providing for a general election May 23d, of delegates from all counties favoring a division of the State
, for a convention to be held at Wheeling
, June 11th.
Before that date arrived, on the pretext of defending railroad and other property, General McClellan
with his army had entered the State
, and Wheeling
and the country far beyond were occupied by Ohio
soldiers in overwhelming numbers.
At the same time also, many companies of Virginia
troops, for United States
service, were organized, composed of men who afterward rendered gallant service for the cause they espoused.
About forty counties were represented by delegates