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[9] if he could do so without endangering his own position. Porterfield had reached Grafton on the same day that Lee's letter was written to Jackson, and found no forces to command. The sparseness of the population and the general uncertainty prevailing everywhere made concert of action difficult. Citizens who were true to the Old Dominion, appeared to be in the minority and needed protection.

In view of the emergency, Col. M. G. Harman moved from Staunton, May 15, 1861, with a supply of arms, under escort of Capt. F. F. Sterrett's company of cavalry, for the relief of the Northwest. Capt. Felix H. Hull also proceeded to Highland with the company to recruit and join Captain Sterrett. Captain Moorman marched to Monterey and Captains Stover and McNeil were sent to Huttonsville. Under similar orders, Colonel Goff was engaged in raising troops in Randolph county, and all these separate companies were directed to unite as rapidly as possible at a point on the route to Grafton.

These Federal and Confederate military dispositions around and within the western counties of Virginia had their special bearings upon the political movements heretofore referred to, the object of Virginia and the Confederate government being to hold the western counties, while it was the Federal design to facilitate the ‘disparting of Virginia.’ Keeping these military operations which were occurring in April and May, 1861, before us, we will consider the action taken at the same time among the people of that section which led finally to the institution of the State of West Virginia.

The citizens of Virginia inhabiting the western counties were uncompromisingly divided among themselves in opinion as to their duty when their State became involved in the Confederate war. They had voted against the secession of Virginia, and many of their representatives refused to conform to the ordinance of secession. Hostilities, therefore, were begun first among themselves

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