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[58] 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 through Lewisburg, Charleston, and thence to the mouth of the Kanawha, and also to that of the Guyandotte near the Kentucky boundary. 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 to Buchanan, 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 to Jackson'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 at Manila and Santiago. 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.

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