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Chapter 4:

The guns which opened upon Fort Sumter on the memorable 12th of April, 1861, did not merely crumble the walls of that fortress, but they also shattered all hopes of a peaceful solution of the problems which were then before the country. Civil war was now a sad necessity. The President's proclamation of the 15th called forth the militia for objects entirely lawful and constitutional; and it was responded to with a patriotic fervor which melted down all previously existing [83] party lines. This “uprising of a great people,” as it was well termed by a foreign writer, was a kindling and noble spectacle. The heart of the whole land throbbed like the heart of one. But we cannot now look back upon that brilliant and burning enthusiasm without a touch of sadness, because there was mingled with it so much ignorance, not merely of the magnitude of the contest before us, but of the — nature of war itself. The spirited young men who, at the call of patriotic duty, thronged to swell the ranks of our volunteer force, marched off as gayly as if they had been going to a hunting-party or a picnic excursion. The rebellion was to be put down at once, and by little more than the mere show of the preponderating force of the loyal States; and the task of putting it down was to be attended with no more of danger than was sufficient to give to the enterprise a due flavor of excitement. War was unknown to us except by report: the men of the Revolution had passed away, and even the soldiers of the War of 1812 had become gray-haired veterans. We had read of battles; we had seen something of the pride and pomp of holiday soldiers; but of the grim realities of war we were absolutely ignorant. Indeed, not a few had come to the conclusion that war was a relic of barbarism, which the world had outgrown, and that modern civilization could dispense with the soldier and his sword.

It need hardly be added that we were wholly unprepared for the gigantic struggle that was before us. Our regular army was insignificant in numbers, [84] and scattered over our vast territory or along our Western frontier, so that it was impossible to collect any considerable force together. Our militia system had everywhere fallen into neglect, and in some States had almost ceased to have any real existence. The wits laughed at it, and the platform-orators declaimed against it, to such a degree that it required some moral courage to march through the streets at the head of a company.

The South had been wiser, or, at least, more provident, in this respect. The military spirit had never been discouraged there. Many of the political leaders had long been looking forward to the time when the unhappy sectional contests which were distracting the country would blaze out into civil war, and preparing for it. In some of the States there had been military academies, where a military education had been obtained: so that they had a greater number of trained officers to put into their regiments. This gave them a considerable advantage at the start. Happily for us, graduates of West Point were scattered all over the North: to them the civil authority looked for assistance, and they rendered an assistance which cannot be too highly estimated.

Ohio was as unprepared as other States. There was a small force of militia nominally organized; but the Constitution and laws of the State provided that all its officers should be elected by the men, and the Governor was limited, in his selection of officers in case the militia was called out, to the parties so chosen. In an emergency like this, it was [85] fortunate that Ohio had so efficient a Governor as Mr. William Dennison. He at once turned to Captain McClellan for assistance, and sent a request to Washington that the latter might be restored to his old rank in the army and the duty of organizing the Ohio volunteers assigned to him. To this request no answer was received: indeed, the communications with Washington were generally interrupted, and the several Governors were thus left to their own resources.

Governor Dennison summoned Captain McClellan to Columbus; and he at once applied himself to the work of organizing the numerous regiments offered. A bill was also introduced into the Legislature, and rapidly passed, authorizing the Governor to select officers for the volunteers outside of the State militia. Under this act, on the 23d of April, 1861, Captain McClellan was commissioned major-general of the Ohio “Militia volunteers.”

Under the proclamation of the President of April 15, calling out the militia, thirteen regiments of infantry were demanded from Ohio for three months, and afterwards the same number for three years. To obtain men was then easy enough, but to find suitable officers was exceedingly difficult; and arms and equipments were entirely wanting. A Department of the Ohio was formed on the 3d of May, consisting of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, and placed under General McClellan's command, who thus had under his charge the forces of two other States besides his own. He organized his troops in spite of all obstacles, and within two [86] months of the time of his leaving his peaceful avocations he took the field for the first campaign of the war.

Secession placed no State in so embarrassing a position as the great Commonwealth of Virginia. Separated from the capital only by a river, and extending from the ocean to the Ohio, it lay midway between the two contending parties, and early promised to be what it has since become,--the Belgium of the war. There is no doubt that the great body of its citizens were opposed to the State's seceding; but they were equally opposed to the coercion of the States which had already seceded, and sympathized with many of their alleged grievances. A State convention at Richmond, on the 17th of April, when it was evident that war must ensue, passed an ordinance of secession. Although this was not to go into force until it had been ratified by the people, the inhabitants of the eastern and southern portions of the State immediately began hostilities.

In the portion of the State lying west of the Alleghany Mountains, and known as Western Virginia, the feelings of the people were very different. They owned but few slaves, and their soil and climate were unfitted for those branches of industry in which slave-labor is profitable. While disapproving of the slavery agitation in the North, they had no particular interest in the extension of that institution, and were strenuously opposed to secession for its sake; and they also had some grievances regarding alleged inequalities of taxation [87] between Eastern and Western Virginia, which had probably caused many of them already to look forward to the organization of a separate State. In this conjuncture, a convention of the people of Western Virginia was called to assemble at Wheeling on the 11th of June, to consider the alarming condition of public affairs.

Early in May, General McClellan received applications for protection from the people of this region, but was not then prepared to accede to their wishes. Afterwards, however, it became evident that the Virginia authorities contemplated occupying this country, and to secure, by so doing, the command of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, the importance of which was appreciated by both parties. Governor Letcher had already called out the State militia, and not only Western Virginia, but Southern Ohio also, might soon be invaded by them.

A small body of Virginia militia had actually advanced, and were encamped at Grafton, on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. On the 24th of May, the Secretary of War and General Scott telegraphed to General McClellan, informing him of this camp, and asking him whether its influence could not be counteracted. General McClellan replied in the affirmative. This was the sole order which he received from Washington regarding a campaign in Virginia.

General McClellan had formed his principal rendezvous at Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati; while bodies of troops were also at Gallipolis, Bellaire, and Marietta, on the Ohio River, opposite Virginia. [88] At Wheeling the loyalists were organizing a regiment under Colonel B. F. Kelley. The men were wretchedly provided for, having nothing but muskets; but they did good service before the end of summer. On the 26th of May, intelligence was received at Camp Dennison that the enemy were advancing from Grafton upon Wheeling and Parkersburg, for the purpose of destroying the railroad. General McClellan at once telegraphed to Colonel Kelley to move his regiment (since known as the First Virginia) early the next day along the line of railroad towards Fairmount, in order to prevent any further destruction of the bridges and to protect the repair of those already injured. Two Ohio regiments, under Colonels Irwin and Stedman, were also directed to cross over into Virginia, one to cooperate with Colonel Kelley and the other to occupy Parkersburg. On the same day, General McClellan issued the following proclamation and address:--

Headquarters Department of the Ohio, May 26, 1861.
To the Union Men of Western Virginia.
Virginians:--The General Government has long enough endured the machinations of a few factious rebels in your midst. Armed traitors have in vain endeavored to deter you from expressing your loyalty at the polls. Having failed in this infamous attempt to deprive you of the exercise of your dearest rights, they now seek to inaugurate a reign of terror, and thus force you to yield to their schemes and submit to the yoke of the traitorous conspiracy [89] dignified by the name of the Southern Confederacy. They are destroying the property of citizens of your State and ruining your magnificent railways. The General Government has heretofore carefully abstained from sending troops across the Ohio, or even from posting them along its banks, although frequently urged to do so by many of your prominent citizens. It determined to await the result of the late election, desirous that no one might be able to say that the slightest effort had been made from this side to influence the free expression of your opinions, although the many agencies brought to bear upon you by the rebels were well known. You have now shown, under the most adverse circumstances, that the great mass of the people of Western Virginia are true and loyal to that beneficent Government under which we and our fathers have lived so long. As soon as the result of the election was known, the traitors commenced their work of destruction. The General Government cannot close its ears to the demand you have made for assistance. I have ordered troops to cross the Ohio River. They come as your friends and brothers,--as enemies only to the armed rebels who are preying upon you. Your homes, your families, and your property are safe under our protection. All your rights shall be religiously respected, notwithstanding all that has been said by the traitors to induce you to believe that our advent among you will be signalized by interference with your slaves. Understand one thing clearly. Not only will we abstain from all such interference, but we will, on the contrary, with an iron hand, crush any attempt at insurrection on their part. Now that we are in your midst, I call upon you to fly to arms and support the General Government. Sever the connection that binds you to traitors; proclaim to the world that the faith and loyalty so long boasted by the Old Dominion are still preserved in [90] Western Virginia, and that you remain true to the Stars and Stripes.

Geo. B. Mcclellan, Major-General U. S. A., Commanding Dep't.

Headquarters Department of the Ohio, Cincinnati, May 26, 1861.
soldiers:--You are ordered to cross the frontier and enter upon the soil of Virginia.

Your mission is to restore peace and confidence, to protect the majesty of tie law, and to rescue our brethren from the grasp of armed traitors. You are to act in concert with Virginia troops, and to support their advance. I place under the safeguard of your honor the persons and property of the Virginians. I know that you will respect their feelings and all their rights.

Preserve the strictest discipline. Remember that each one of you holds in his keeping the honor of Ohio and the Union. If you are called upon to overcome armed opposition, I know that your courage is equal to the task; but remember that your only foes are the armed traitors,--and show mercy even to them when they are in your power, for many of them are misguided. When, under your protection, the loyal men of Western Virginia have been enabled to organize and arm, they can protect themselves; and you can then return to your homes with the proud satisfaction of having saved a gallant people from destruction.

Geo. B. McClellan, Major-General U. S. A., Commanding.

General McClellan also wrote full particulars to the President of what he had done, but, receiving no reply, inferred that his course was approved of.

Colonel Kelley reached Grafton on the 13th of May. The enemy retreated at his approach, and he [91] repaired the bridge, and established railroad-communications with Wheeling. Soon after, Colonel Stedman occupied Clarksburg, and established communications with Colonel Kelley. The enemy fell back from Grafton upon Philippi, on the high-road from Wheeling to Staunton, in Central Virginia. General McClellan in the mean time had despatched three Indiana regiments, under Brigadier-General Morris, to Grafton. They arrived on the 31st of May; and General Morris at once assumed the chief command. Hardly six weeks had elapsed since Captain McClellan had been first called upon by Governor Dennison for assistance; and in that time he had actually created an army and begun the first campaign!

The first encounter of the war took place at Philippi, a small town two hundred and ten miles from Richmond. On the 2d of June, General Morris determined to endeavor to drive from this town the rebel force there, under Colonel Porterfield. The attacking force consisted of five regiments, formed in two columns,--the first under Colonel Kelley, the second under Colonel Dumont, accompanied by Colonel (afterwards the lamented General) Lander. Colonel Kelley's column moved towards Philippi by way of Thornton, a distance of twenty-seven miles, partly by railroad. The other column moved directly on Philippi in front. This one reached its destination early on the 3d, notwithstanding deep mud and heavy rain, and at once opened fire from two pieces of artillery upon the enemy, who began a retreat, which was [92] turned into a complete rout when Colonel Kelley, (who had been greatly impeded by the state of the roads) came up and joined in the attack. The enemy left behind them their camp-equipage, seven hundred stand of arms, and several horses. They lost about fifteen men killed and wounded. On the Federal side, Colonel Kelley was severely wounded, but recovered.

General McClellan now pushed the Ohio regiments on into Virginia as rapidly as they could be decently equipped. But the great deficiency which still existed in all military necessaries much retarded him. The loyalists, on the 13th of June, formed a provisional government at Wheeling, with the lion. Francis H. Pierpoint as Governor. But Old Virginia was determined not to lose the fine country beyond the Alleghanies without a struggle. Large reinforcements arrived at Beverly, on the Staunton road, the Headquarters of the enemy; and with them came General Robert Selden Garnett, the former commandant at West Point, and an officer of high reputation, to assume the chief command. Upon learning this, General McClellan thought it time to move; and, his preparations being so far advanced as to justify it, he left Cincinnati on the 20th of June, and arrived at Grafton on the 22d.

He still received no orders from Washington, and was even left ignorant of the plan for the campaign in Eastern Virginia. His own department was very extensive, and the simple administrative cares connected with it extremely arduous. Besides, not only in Virginia, but in Kentucky and Tennessee, the [93] enemy were very active, and it could not be known how soon he might be called upon to plan a campaign for the defence of the Union interests in those States.

The country which now became the scene of operations was that part of Western Virginia lying between the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad on the north, the Ohio River on the west, the Little Kanawha River on the south, and the Cheat River on the east. The region is broken and mountainous, and cut into numerous ravines and valleys by the many little streams which form the head-waters of the Monongahela, Great Kanawha, Little Kanawha, and other rivers. The roads are few in number and very indifferent in quality; the valleys only are cultivated, the rest of the country being covered with dense forests, and a luxuriant growth of bushes which makes the woods almost impassable. A turnpike road runs from Wheeling southeasterly to Staunton, through Philippi, Leedsville, Beverly, and Huttonsville. From Beverly another turnpike runs westerly, at an acute angle with the Wheeling road, to Buckhannon, where it branches off to Clarksburg on the north and Weston on the west. A mountainous ridge crosses the two roads from Beverly to Philippi and Buckhannon; and at the intersection the enemy were strongly intrenched,--General Garnett commanding in person at Laurel Hill, on the Philippi road, a little north of Leedsville and fifteen miles north of Beverly, and Colonel Pegram at Rich Mountain, on the Buckhannon road, five miles west of Beverly. General Garnett's [94] force was about ten thousand men, and Colonel Pegram's about four thousand. Their natural retreat was by way of Beverly and Huttonsville through the Cheat Mountain Pass, as it is called. North of this there is no road over the Alleghanies passable for artillery until the circuitous road running northeasterly from Leedsville through St. George and West Union to Moorfield is reached. If, therefore, by the capture of Beverly the road by Cheat Mountain Pass (and with it any other road south of it) were cut off, this north road was the only retreat open to General Garnett.

General McClellan's plans are best described in his own language. On the 23d of June he wrote a letter to General Scott. “I stated,” says he, “that it was now certain that the enemy had a force of some kind near Huttonsville, with a strong advanced party intrenched near Laurel Mountain, between Philippi and Beverly, and that their chief object seemed to me to be to furnish and protect guerrilla parties, which were then doing much mischief; also that the apprehensions which had existed on the part of our people of an attack by this party of the enemy were not well founded; that, as soon as my command was well in hand and my information more full, I proposed moving with all my available force from Clarksburg on Buckhannon, thence on Beverly, to turn entirely the detachment at Laurel Hill, the troops at Philippi to advance in time to follow up the retreat of the enemy in their front. That, after occupying Beverly, I would move on Huttonsville and drive the [95] enemy into the mountains, whither I did not purpose to follow them unless certain of success.”

In pursuance of this plan, the main body of his army, numbering about ten thousand men, were transferred to Clarksburg. It consisted of two brigades, under Brigadier-Generals Rosecrans and Schleich, with a small body of cavalry, a company of regular artillery, and two batteries of volunteer artillery. Another body, under General Morris, was stationed at Philippi, and a body of reserve, under Brigadier-General Hill, of the Ohio militia, was stationed at Grafton. Before leaving Grafton, General McClellan issued the following proclamation and address:--

Headquarters, Department of the Ohio, Grafton, Va., June 23, 1861.
To the Inhabitants of Western Virginia.
The army of this department, headed by Virginia troops, is rapidly occupying all Western Virginia. This is done in co-operation with and in support of such civil authorities of the State as are faithful to the Constitution and laws of the United States. The proclamation issued by me under date of May 26, 1861, will be strictly maintained. Your houses, families, property, and all your rights will be religiously respected: we are enemies to none but armed rebels and those voluntarily giving them aid. All officers of this army will be held responsible for the most prompt and vigorous action in repressing disorder and punishing aggression by those under their command.

To my great regret, I find that enemies of the United States continue to carry on a system of hostilities prohibited by the laws of war among belligerent nations, and, of course, far more wicked and intolerable when directed [96] against loyal, citizens engaged in the defence of the common government of all. Individuals and marauding parties are pursuing a guerrilla warfare,--firing upon sentinels and pickets, burning bridges, insulting, injuring, and even killing citizens because of their Union sentiments, and committing many kindred acts.

I do now, therefore, make proclamation, and warn all persons, that individuals or parties engaged in this species of warfare,--irregular in every view which can be taken of it,--thus attacking sentinels, pickets, or other soldiers, destroying public or private property, or committing injuries against any of the inhabitants because of Union sentiments or conduct, will be dealt with, in their persons and property, according to the severest rules of military law.

All persons giving information or aid to the public enemies will be arrested and kept in close custody; and all persons found bearing arms, unless of known loyalty, will be arrested and held for examination.

Geo. B. McClellan, Major-General U. S. A. Commanding.

Headquarters Department of the Ohio, Grafton, Va., June 25, 1861.
To the Soldiers of the Army of the West.
You are here to support the Government of your country, and to protect the lives and liberties of your brethren, threatened by a rebellious and traitorous foe. No higher and nobler duty could devolve upon you; and I expect you to bring to its performance the highest and noblest qualities of soldiers,--discipline, courage, and mercy. I call upon the officers of every grade to enforce the strictest discipline; and I know that those of all grades, privates and officers, will display in battle cool heroic courage, and will know how to show mercy to a disarmed enemy. [97]

Bear in mind that you are in the country of friends, not of enemies,--that you are here to protect not to destroy. Take nothing, destroy nothing, unless you are ordered to do so by your general officers. Remember that I have pledged my word to the people of Western Virginia that their rights in person and property shall be respected. I ask every one of you to make good this promise in its broadest sense. We come here to save, not to upturn. I do not appeal to the fear of punishment, but to your appreciation of the sacredness of the cause in which we are engaged. Carry with you into battle the conviction that you are right and that God is on your side.

Your enemies have violated every moral law: neither God nor man can sustain them. They have without cause rebelled against a mild and paternal Government; they have seized upon public and private property; they have outraged the persons of Northern men merely because they came from the North, and of Southern Union men merely because they loved the Union; they have placed themselves beneath contempt, unless they can retrieve some honor on the field of battle. You will pursue a different course. You will be honest, brave, and merciful; you will respect the right of private opinion; you will punish no man for opinion's sake. Show to the world that you differ from our enemies in the points of honor, honesty, and respect for private opinion, and that we inaugurate no reign of terror where we go.

Soldiers, I have heard that there was danger here. I have come to place myself at your head and to share it with you. I fear now but one thing,--that you will not find foemen worthy of your steel. I know that I can rely upon you.

Geo. B. McClellan, Major-General Commanding.


Buckhannon was occupied on the 30th by General Rosecrans, and a regiment was sent to take possession of Weston. General McClellan and staff and General Schleich's brigade reached Buckhannon on the 2d of July. Before advancing on the enemy, General McClellan had to give directions regarding an independent portion of his department. Generals Wise and Floyd had invaded the country south of the Little Kanawha River with a large force. To meet these, General McClellan directed Brigadier-General J. Dolson Cox to proceed thither from Ohio with five regiments, and assigned to him the district between the Great and Little Kanawha Rivers.

On the 9th, the main column of the army reached Roaring Fork, beyond Buckhannon, and two miles from Colonel Pegram's intrenchments. A bridge which had been destroyed had to be rebuilt. On the 10th, Lieutenant Poe was sent out with a detachment to reconnoitre the enemy's position. This reconnoissance was pushed within two hundred yards of the enemy's works. Colonel Pegram, it was found, was strongly intrenched near the foot of Rich Mountain and on the west side of it. The position was surrounded by dense forests, and its natural strength had been increased by rough intrenchments and by felling trees.

As an attack in front would be followed by a serious loss of life, and its success with raw troops, to say the least, was doubtful, General McClellan's plan was to turn Colonel Pegram's position to the south endeavor to cut off his retreat, and, should he succeed [99] in so doing, to push on to Beverly and cut off General Garnett's retreat by Staunton, forcing him to retire by the northeasterly road to Moorfield. The duty of turning the enemy's works was assigned to General Rosecrans. His instructions were to make a circuit to the south and endeavor to reach and occupy the top of the mountain, get command of the turnpike road from Beverly to Buckhannon, and then move on the rear of Pegram's defences. His further order, constantly to communicate with General McClellan, General Rosecrans does not seem to have been able to carry out.

General Rosecrans set out, with a force of eighteen hundred infantry and a small body of cavalry, at four o'clock on the morning of the 11th of July, to execute these orders. After a fatiguing march through a country saturated with rain and covered with dense woods, he reached the summit of Rich Mountain about one o'clock. The enemy had intercepted some letters, and thus obtained intimation of this movement, and had stationed a considerable force, with two pieces of artillery, at the top of the mountain, where some rude intrenchments had been thrown up. Rosecrans formed his command, and had proceeded a short way towards the turnpike, when he came upon a party of skirmishers, who were driven back upon the main body. The enemy now opened fire from their artillery. A spirited attack soon carried the intrenchments, and the rebels retreated in confusion upon Colonel Pegram, leaving their artillery in possession of the Federals. The success of the movement was complete; but [100] his troops, unused to such exertions, being greatly fatigued, General Rosecrans halted.

No communication was received at Headquarters from Rosecrans after eleven o'clock. The firing at Rich Mountain was distinctly heard; but great fears were entertained that the attack had failed. “Soon after the cessation of the distant firing,” says General McClellan, “an officer was observed to ride into the intrenchments and address the garrison. We could not distinguish the words he uttered, but his speech was followed by prolonged cheering, which impressed many with the belief that it had fared badly with our detachment.”

General McClellan determined to attack the enemy in front, and Lieutenant Poe was sent to select a proper position for the artillery. Upon his reporting one, a party was despatched to cut a road to it. It was now too late in the day to begin an attack; but one was resolved upon early the next morning, in hopes of relieving Rosecrans if he were hard pressed by the enemy. The next morning, however, the pickets reported that Colonel Pegram had deserted his works and fled over the mountains. Leaving Rosecrans at Rich Mountain, General McClellan pushed on to Beverly. He thus effectually cut off General Garnett's communications with Staunton. His despatch was as follows:--

Rich Mountain, Va., 9 A. M., July 12.
Colonel E. D. Townsend, Assistant Adjutant-General:--
We are in possession of all the enemy's works up to a point in sight of Beverly. We have taken all his guns, a very large amount of wagons, tents, &c., every thing he [101] had, and also a large number of prisoners, many of whom are wounded, and amongst whom are several officers. They lost many killed. We have lost in all perhaps twenty killed and forty wounded, of whom all but two or three were in the column under Colonel Rosecrans, which turned the position. The mass of the enemy escaped through the woods, entirely disorganized. Among the prisoners is Dr. Taylor, formerly of the army. Colonel Pegram was in command.

Colonel Rosecrans's column left camp yesterday morning and marched some eight miles through the mountains, reaching the turnpike some two or three miles in the rear of the enemy. He defeated an advanced force, and took a couple of guns. I had a position ready for twelve guns near the main camp, and as the guns were moving up I ascertained that the enemy had retreated. I am now pushing on to Beverly,--a part of Colonel Rosecrans's troops being now within three miles of that place. Our success is complete, and almost bloodless. I doubt whether Wise and Johnston will unite and overpower me. The behavior of our troops in action and towards prisoners was admirable.

G. B. McClellan, Major-General commanding.

On the night of the 11th, General Garnett, learning of the disaster at Rich Mountain, fell back on Beverly; but, finding his retreat that way cut off, he retraced his steps, and took the northern road by St. George and West Union. In accordance with orders, General Morris followed him, and overtook him at Carrick's Ford, on the main fork of Cheat River. The enemy were posted in a tolerably strong position, but did not withstand the attack, led by Captain Bonham, and retreated in confusion. [102] General Garnett was himself killed while endeavoring to rally his troops. With soldier-like generosity, General Morris directed the remains to be carefully removed, and afterwards forwarded them to the family in Virginia.

The enemy lost in these engagements about two hundred killed, besides wounded and prisoners, seven or eight pieces of artillery, and large military stores. General Hill failed to carry out the directions sent to him to pursue General Garnett's force, and they escaped. Colonel Pegram, however, finding that Garnett had retreated, fell back on Beverly, and was compelled to surrender at discretion, on the 13th, with about six hundred men. General McClellan occupied Huttonsville and the Cheat Mountain Pass, thus gaining the key to Western Virginia. On the 19th of July he issued the following address to the army:--

Soldiers of the Army of the West:--
I am more than satisfied with you. You have annihilated two armies, commanded by educated and experienced soldiers, intrenched in mountain-fastnesses, and fortified at their leisure. You have taken five guns, twelve colors, fifteen hundred stand of arms, one thousand prisoners, including more than forty officers. One of the second commanders of the rebels is a prisoner; the other lost his life on the field of battle. You have killed more than two hundred and fifty of the enemy, who has lost all his baggage and camp-equipage. All this has been done with the loss of twenty brave men killed and sixty wounded on your part.

You have proved that Union men fighting for the preservation of our Government are more than a match for [103] our misguided and erring brothers. More than this, you have shown mercy to the vanquished. You have made long and arduous marches, with insufficient food, frequently exposed to the inclemency of the weather. I have not hesitated to demand this of you, feeling that I could rely on your endurance, patriotism, and courage. In the future I may have still greater demands to make upon you, still greater sacrifices for you to offer. It shall be my care to provide for you to the extent of my ability; but I know now that by your valor and endurance you will accomplish all that is asked.

Soldiers, I have confidence in you, and I trust you have learned to confide in me. Remember that discipline and subordination are qualities of equal value with courage. I am proud to say that you have gained the highest reward that American troops can receive,--the thanks of Congress and the applause of your fellow-citizens.

Geo. B. McClellan, Major-General.

In the mean time, affairs looked perilous in General Cox's department, south of the Little Kanawha River. General McClellan was preparing to take command there in person, when, on the 22d of July, he received orders to hand over his command to General Rosecrans and report at Washington, where a wider field awaited him.

Thus ended the campaign in Western Virginia. It seems insignificant by the side of some of the bloody contests which have since taken place; but its moral effect was remarkable. It was the first trial that the raw troops of the North were put to, and its success was most encouraging. This is shown by the general satisfaction with which, in the midst of the gloom created by the battle of Bull [104] Run, the intelligence was received that General McClellan was summoned to Washington.

In organizing the Western Army, General Me. Clellan's services were of great value. No preparations had been made beforehand for the struggle; and it is his deserved honor that, finding the West unprepared, he organized the germ of that brave army which has since gained such renown in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi.

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Great River (United States) (1)
Columbus (Georgia, United States) (1)
Charleston (South Carolina, United States) (1)
Belaire (Ohio, United States) (1)

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May 26th, 1861 AD (3)
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