[correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]
Affairs in Western Virginia--condition of the people, &c.
Camp Alleghany Jan. 22, 1862.
The object of this communication is to call attention to the present condition and future prospects of that most unfortunate portion of our glorious old Commonwealth, Western Virginia
The present campaign appears to be drawing to a close, at least as it regards this division of the army; and, at this point, the inquiry naturally arises, what has been accomplished?
To this question but one answer can be given.
We believe there is but one sentiment on this subject, which is that the campaign in Northwestern Virginia
has proved to be a complete failure.
Whether right or wrong, this is the verdict of the people, of citizens and soldiers, with regard to it. All admit that in many respects the Government
has done nobly, indeed all that could have been expected.
The army has been well provisioned, and, assisted by private associations, and especially by the exertions of patriotic ladies, the soldiers have been comfortably clothed.
And when we consider at what a great cost the army in the West
has been sustained, and at what a great sacrifice of life, it is painful to think that this goodly land is still in the hands of the enemy, and its loyal citizens groaning under the iron heel of a miserable despot.
Our beautiful valleys are laid waste, and our pleasant, quiet homes desolated; many of our best citizens have been driven from their homes, and hunted, like wild beasts in the mountains, or dragged into filthy prisons, where they are denied the necessaries of life, whilst others have been taken from their beds at the midnight hour and cruelly butchered in the presence and before the eyes of their own wives and children.
But still the loyal sons of the South
hold fast their integrity, and, like the primitive Christians, ‘ "Take joyfully the spoiling of their goods,"’ choosing rather to suffer affliction with their own people of the South
than to enjoy the advantage of Lincolnism for a season; and, yet, in the face of all this, there are those who are continually prating of the disloyalty of Northwestern Virginia
, and all our disasters and failures have been attributed to this cause.
Now, it is true that there are disloyal men in the West
, but it is also true that thousands who are called Union men are in heart as sound Southern men as are to be found in the State of Virginia
But these men saw no hope of obtaining adequate assistance and protection from the South
; and not willing to sacrifice everything, many of them yielded to the force of circumstances, to the necessities of the case and whilst they are for the present under the Lincoln
yoke, they are earnestly wishing and ardently praying that the Southern
army may come to their deliverance.
The enemy will hold Northwestern Virginia
in spite of us, and not only so, but just so sure, Mr. Editor
, as you do not regain the Northwest
, will your own fair heritage in Eastern Virginia
be subjugated by the North
And yet, in the face of these facts — for facts they are — we hear it said, from time to time, that ‘"Western Virginia
is not worth fighting for. Let the Yankees
have it,"’ &c. I have heard such remarks frequently; and not long since a well dressed officer, who, however, had never been in a battle, and never will be if he can help it, remarked that ‘"Northwestern Virginians
want us to come out here and shed our blood, while they refuse to fight for their own homes and firesides." ’ Now, is not that rich?
‘"Shed our blood!"’ No, sir, you never have shed a drop of blood in your country's cause, and as long as your legs will serve you, you never will; but who are the men who have shed their blood, not only in defence of their own homes, but in defending the