stream of emigration poured, especially after the Revolution, robbing Virginia
of many of her best citizens, to the enrichment of the great central west.
The State and allied companies then began the construction of well-graded turnpikes along these natural highways, until good roads from nearly every county town in the basin of the Big Kanawha led into the James river
and Kanawha turnpike, the main stage road from Staunton
, and thence to the mouth of the Kanawha
, and also to that of the Guyandotte
near the Kentucky
From the days of Washington Virginia
spent lavishly of her means in the opening of a great waterway, from the head of tide at Richmond
, up the James
and across to and down the waters of the Kanawha
to its head of steamboat navigation; and when the civil war began, the James River
& Kanawha canal was in operation for 198 miles, from Richmond
, in the heart of the Great Valley
In the same general direction, at an early date, the State
co-operated in the construction of a railway, 195 miles of which, from Richmond
's river, well within the Appalachians
, were in operation as the Virginia Central
at the beginning of the war, and large numbers of men were then at work constructing the continuation of that line to the Ohio
at the mouth of the Guyandotte
That work is now known as the Chesapeake & Ohio railway.
The basin of the Big Kanawha as a whole was one of the most important portions of Virginia
, rich in agricultural, forest and mineral wealth, especially coal and salt.
The coals which underlie the larger portion of its area were then in demand down the Ohio
In the year of grace 1898, they were.
one of the most important factors in the magnificent victories won by the sea power of the United States
The loyal Virginians
of that region promptly prepared for home defense by the organization of military companies, and demanded arms and aid from the more thickly settled portions of the State
, as their territory was peculiarly vulnerable by way of the Ohio
and the navigable waters of the Big Sandy, the Guyandotte
and the Big Kanawha.
These waterways gave easy access for the troops and supplies of the enemy for more than 100 miles toward the interior of the State
, and made the problem of its defense one difficult to solve.