State of Virginia,
The State constitution was framed in June, 1776.
While the foremost citizen of Virginia
was leading the army fighting for independence, and was the most earnest advocate for a national bond of all the States, the representatives of her people, in her legislature, always opposed the measures that would make the States one union.
Her legislature separately ratified (June 2, 1779) the treaty with France
, and asserted in its fullest degree the absolute sovereignty of the separate States, and when Congress received petitions concerning lands in the Ohio
country, the Virginia Assembly remonstrated against any action in the premises by that body, because it would “be a dangerous precedent, which might hereafter subvert the sovereignty and government of any one or more of the United States
, and establish in Congress a power which, in process of time, must degenerate into an intolerable despotism.”
, too, vehemently condemned the phraseology of the preamble to the national Constitution— “We, the people” —arguing that it should have been “We, the States.”
So, also, did George Mason
So jealous of their “sovereignty” were the States in general that Congress, at the beginning of 1780, finding itself utterly helpless, threw everything upon the States.
deeply deplored this state of things.
“Certain I am,” he wrote to Joseph Jones
, a delegate from Virginia
, in May, “unless Congress is vested with powers by the several States competent to the great purposes of war, or assume them as matter of right, and they and the States respectively act with more energy than they have hitherto done, our cause is lost. . . . I see one head gradually changing into thirteen.
I see one army branching into thirteen, which, instead of looking up to Congress as the supreme controlling power of the United States
, are considering themselves as dependent on their
Towards the end of June General Greene
wrote: “The Congress have lost their influence.
I have for a long time seen the necessity of some new plan of civil government.
Unless there is some control over the States by the Congress
, we shall soon be like a broken band.”
The marauding expedition of Arnold
up the James River
, early in 1781, was
followed by a more formidable invasion in the latter part of March. General Phillips
, of Burgoyne
's army, who had been exchanged for Lincoln
, joined Arnold
, with 2,000 troops from New York, and took the chief command.
They went up the James
and Appomattox rivers
, took Petersburg
(April 25), and destroyed 4,000 hogsheads of tobacco, which had been collected there for
shipment to France
on account of the Congress
There were virtually no troops in Virginia
to oppose this invasion, for all that were really fit for service had been sent to the army of Greene
, in the Carolinas.
had about 500 halfstarved and naked troops, whom he was training for recruits.
These were mostly without arms, and retreated before Phillips
, who had halted at Annapolis
, now hurried forward, and, by a forced march of 200 miles, reached Richmond
twelve hours before Phillips
appeared on the opposite side of the river.
Joined by Steuben
the marquis here checked the invaders, who retired to City Point
, at the junction of the James
After collecting an immense plunder in tobacco and slaves, besides destroying ships, mills, and every species of property that fell in his way, Phillips
embarked his army and dropped some distance down the river.
When, soon afterwards, Cornwallis approached Virginia
from the south, he ordered Phillips
to meet him at Petersburg
Before the arrival of the earl (May 20), General Phillips
died (May 13) at Petersburg
On May 24 Cornwallis crossed the James
and pushed on towards Richmond
He seized all the fine horses he could find, with which he mounted about 600 cavalry, whom he sent after Lafayette
, then not far distant from Richmond
, with 3,000 men, waiting for the arrival of Wayne
, who was approaching with Pennsylvania
The marquis fell slowly back, and at a ford on the North Anne he met Wayne
with 800 men. Cornwallis had pursued him as far as Hanover Court-house, from which place the earl sent Lieutenant-Colonel Simcoe
, with his loyalist corps, the “Queen
's Rangers,” to capture or destroy stores in charge of Steuben
at the junction of the Ravenna and Fluvanna rivers.
In this he failed.
had been detached, at the same time, to capture Governor Jefferson
and the members of the Virginia legislature at Charlottesville
, whither they had fled from Richmond
Only seven of them were made captives.
narrowly escaped by fleeing from his house (at Monticello
) on horseback, accompanied by a single servant, and hiding in the mountains.
He had left his dwelling only ten minutes before one of Tarleton
's officers entered it. At Jefferson
's plantation, near the Point of Forks
, Cornwallis committed the most wanton destruction of property, cutting the throats of young horses not fit for service, slaughtering the cattle, and burning the barns with remains of previous crops, laying waste growing ones, burning all the fences on the plantation, and carrying away about thirty slaves.
now turned upon the earl, when the latter, supposing the forces of the marquis to be much greater than they were, retreated in haste down the Virginia peninsula
, blackening his pathway with fire.
It is estimated that during the invasion — from Arnold
's advent in January until Cornwallis reached Williamsburg
late in June-property to the amount of $15,000,000 was destroyed and 30,000 slaves were carried away.
, in their retreat, had been closely followed by
, and Steuben
, and were not allowed a minute's rest until they reached Williamsburg
, where they were protected by their shipping.
The convention to consider the Articles
of Confederation, or to form a new constitution, having met on the invitation of Virginia
, courtesy assigned to the delegates to that State the task of giving a start to the proceedings.
Accordingly, Governor Randolph
, after a speech on the defects of the confederation, on May 29, 1787, offered fifteen resolutions suggesting amendments to the federal system.
They proposed a national legislature, to consist of two branches, the members of the first, or most numerous branch, to be chosen by the people, and to be apportioned to the States in the proportion of free population or taxes; those of the second branch to be chosen by the first, out of candidates to be nominated by the State
A separate national executive was proposed, to be chosen by the national legislature; a national judiciary and a council of revision, to consist of the executive and a part of the judiciary, with a qualified negative on every act of legislation, State as well as national.
These were the principal features of the “Virginia
plan,” as it was called.
It was referred to a committee, together with a sketch of a plan by Charles Cotesworth
P i n c kney, which, in its form and arrangement, furnished the outline of the constitution as adopted.
For many years the State of Virginia
maintained a predominating influence in the affairs of the nation.
During the War
of 1812-15 its coasts were ravished by British marauders.
In 1831 an insurrection occurred in Southampton county
, led by a negro named Nat Turner
, which alarmed the whole State, but it was speedily subdued.
In 1859 an attempt was made by John Brown
(q. v.) to free the slaves of Virginia
Early in 1861 the question of secession divided the people.
The Confederate leaders of Virginia
found it hard work to “carry out” the State
, for there was a strong Union sentiment among the people, especially in the western or mountain districts.
They finally procured the authorization of a convention, which assembled in Richmond
, Feb. 13, 1861, with John Janney
It had a stormy session from February until April, for the Unionists were in the majority.
Even as late as April 4 the convention refused, by a vote of 89 against 45, to pass an ordinance of secession.
But the pressure of the Confederates
had then become so
A Virginia landscape.|
hard that one weak Unionist after another gave way, converted by sophistry or threats.
Commissioners were sent to President Lincoln
, to ascertain his
determination about seceding States, who were told explicitly that he should defend the life of the republic to the best of his ability.
Their report added fuel to the flame of passion then raging in Richmond
In the convention, the only question remaining on the evening of April 15 was, Shall Virginia
secede at once, or wait for the co-operation of the border slavelabor States?
In the midst of the excitement pending that question, the convention adjourned until the next morning.
The following day the convention assembled in secret session.
For three days threats and persuasion had been brought to bear upon the faithful Union members, who were chiefly from the mountain districts of western Virginia
, where slavery had a very light hold upon the people.
On the adjournment, on the 15th, there was a clear majority of 153 in the convention against secession.
Many of the Unionists gave way on the 16th.
It was calculated that if ten Union members of the convention should be absent, there would be a majority for secession.
That number of the weaker ones were waited upon on the evening of the 16th, and informed that they had the choice of doing one of three things—namely, to vote for a secession ordinance, to absent themselves, or be hanged.1
Resistance would be useless, and the ten members did not appear in the convention.
who remained in the convention were awed by their violent proceedings, and on Monday, April 17, an ordinance was passed by a vote of 85 against 55 entitled, “An ordinance to repeal the ratification of the Constitution of the United States
by the State of Virginia
, and to reserve all the rights and powers granted under said Constitution.”
At the same time the convention passed an ordinance requiring the governor to call out as many volunteers as might be necessary to repel an invasion of the State
It was ordained that the secession ordinance should go into effect only when it should be ratified by the votes of a majority of the people.
The day for the casting of such vote was fixed for May 23.
Meanwhile the whole military force of Virginia
had been placed under the control of the Confederate States of America
Nearly the whole State was under the control of the military authority.
At the time appointed for the vote, Senator James M. Mason
, author of the fugitive slave law, addressed a letter to the people.
declaring that the ordinance of secession absolved them from all allegiance to the United States
; that they were bound to support the “sacred pledge” made to the “Confederate States
” by the treaty of annexation, etc.
The Virginia convention had appointed ex-President John Tyler
, W. Ballard Preston
, S. M. D. Moore
, James P. Holcombe
, James C. Bruce
, and Levi E. Harvie
, commissioners to treat with Alexander H. Stephens
of the Confederate States of America
, for the annexation of Virginia
to the Southern Confederacy. Mr. Stephens
was clothed with full power to make a treaty to that effect.
It was then planned to seize the national capital; and at several places on his way towards Richmond
, where he harangued the people, he raised the cry of “on to Washington
(q. v.) Troops were pressing towards that goal from the South
He was received in Richmond
, by the authorities of every
kind, with assurances that his mission would be successful.
The leaders were eager for the consummation of the treaty before the people should vote on the ordinance of secession; and on Stephens
's arrival he and the Virginia
commissioners entered upon their prescribed duties.
On April 24 they agreed to and signed a “convention between the commonwealth of Virginia
and the Confederate States of America
,” which provided that, until the union of Virginia
with the latter should be perfected, “the whole military force and military operations, offensive and defensive, of said commonwealth in the impending conflict with the United States
, should be under the chief control and direction of the President
of the Confederate States
On the following day the convention passed an ordinance ratifying the treaty, and adopting and ratifying the “provisional constitution of the Confederate States of America
On the same day John Tyler
telegraphed to Governor Pickens
, of South Carolina
: “We are fellow-citizens once more.
By an ordinance passed this day Virginia
has adopted the provisional government of the Confederate States
They also proceeded to appoint delegates to the Confederate Congress; authorized the banks of the State to suspend specie payment; made provision for the establishment of a navy for Virginia
, and for enlistments for the State
army, and adopted other preparations for war. They also invited the Confederate States
government to make Richmond
The proclamation of the annexation was immediately put forth by John Letcher
, the governor of Virginia
All this was done almost a month before the people of Virginia
were allowed to vote on secession.
The vote for secession was 125,950, and against secession 20,373.
This did not include the vote of northwestern Virginia
, where, in convention, ten days before the voting, they had planted the seeds of a
new commonwealth (see State of West Virginia
). The State authorities immediately afterwards took possession of national property within the limits of Virginia
, and on April 25 action was taken for the annexation of the State
to the Southern Confederacy, and surrendering the control of its military to the latter power.
On May 7 the State
was admitted to representation in the Confederate Congress, and large forces of Confederate troops were concentrated within its limits for the purpose of attempting to seize the national capital.
From that time until the close of the Civil War Virginia
suffered intensely from its ravages.
The Confederates assembled at Manassas Junction
attempted to take a position near the capital.
Early in May the family of Col. Robert E. Lee
had left Arlington House, opposite Georgetown
, with its most valuable contents, and joined him at Richmond
Under his guidance the Confederates
were preparing to fortify Arlington Heights
, where heavy siege guns would command the cities of Washington
This movement was discovered in time to defeat its
Already Confederate pickets were on Arlington Heights
, and at the Virginia
end of the Long Bridge
across the Potomac
Orders were immediately given for National troops to occupy the shores of the Potomac River
, opposite Washington
, and the city of Alexandria
, 9 miles below.
Towards midnight, May 23, 13,000 troops in Washington
, under the command of General Mansfield
, were put in motion for the passage of the Potomac
at three points—one column to cross the Aqueduct Bridge
; another at the Long Bridge
, at Washington
, and a third to proceed in vessels to Alexandria
Gen. Irvin McDowell
led the column across the Aqueduct Bridge
, in the light of a full moon, and took possession of Arlington Heights
At the same time the second column was crossing the Long Bridge
, 2 miles below, and soon joined McDowell
's column on Arlington Heights
and began casting up fortifications.
The New York Fire Zouave Regiment, commanded by Col. Ephraim Elmore Ellsworth
(q. v.), embarked in vessels and sailed for Alexandria
, while another body of troops marched for the same destination by way of the Long Bridge
The two divisions reached Alexandria
about the same time.
The United States frigate Pawnee
was lying in the river off Alexandria
, and her commander had been in negotiation for the surrender of the city.
Ignorant of this fact, Ellsworth
marched to the centre of the town and took formal possession of it in the name of his government, the Virginia
troops having fled.
The Orange and Alexandria Railway station was seized with much rolling-stock, and very soon Alexandria
was in the quiet possession of the National
had concentrated troops at Grafton
, on the Baltimore and Ohio Railway, under Colonel Porterfield
A camp of Ohio volunteers had assem-
Signatures of the commissioners of Virginia and the Southern Confederacy.|
bled opposite Wheeling
was assigned to the Department of the Ohio, which included western Virginia
A regiment of loyal Virginians
had been formed at Wheeling
, and B. F. Kelley
, a native of New Hampshire
, and once a resident of Wheeling
, was invited to be its leader.
It rendezvoused at the camp of the volunteers.
Having visited Indianapolis
and assured the assembled troops there that they would soon be called upon to fight for their country, McClellan
issued an address (May 26) to the Union
citizens of western Virginia
; and then, in obedience to orders, he proceeded with volunteers—Kelley
's regiment and other Virginians
—to attempt to drive the Confederate forces out of that region and advance on Harper's Ferry
He assured the people that the Ohio
troops under him should respect their rights.
To his soldiers he said, “Your mission is to cross the frontier, to protect the majesty of the law, and secure our brethren from the grasp of armed traitors.”
Immediately afterwards Kelley
and his regiment crossed over to Wheeling
and marched on Grafton
fled in alarm, with about 1,500 followers (one-third cavalry), and took post at Philippi
, about 16 miles distant. The Ohio
troops followed Kelley
, and were nearly all near Grafton
on June 2.
There the whole Union force was divided into two columns—one under Kelley
, the other under Col. E. Dumont
, of Indiana
These marched upon Philippi
by different routes, over rugged hills.
had a severe skirmish at Philippi
The Confederates, attacked by the other column, were already flying in confusion.
The Union troops captured Porterfield
's official papers, baggage, and arms.
was severely wounded, and Colonel Dumont
assumed the command of the combined columns.
They retired to Grafton
, where for a while the headquarters of the National
troops in northwestern Virginia
So the Civil War
was begun in western Virginia
After the dispersion of Garnett
's forces in western Virginia
, events seemed to prophesy that the war was ended in that region.
had been successful in driving ex-Governor Wise
and his followers out of the Kanawha
He had crossed the Ohio
at the mouth of the Guyandotte River
, captured Barboursville
, and pushed on to the Kanawha Valley
was there, below Charlestown
His outpost below was driven to his camp by 1,500 Ohio
troops under Colonel Lowe
The fugitives gave such an account of Cox
's numbers that the general and all the Confederates
fled (July 20), and did not halt until they reached Lewisburg
, the capital of Greenbrier county
The news of Garnett
's disaster and Wise
's incompetence so dispirited his troops that large numbers left him. He was reinforced and outranked by John B. Floyd
(formerly United States Secretary of War
), who took the chief command.
regarded the war as over in western Virginia
. “We have completely annihilated the enemy in western Virginia
,” he said in an address to his troops.
“Our loss is about thirteen killed, and not more than forty wounded; while the enemy's loss is not far from 200 killed, and the number of prisoners we have taken will amount to at least 1,000.
We have captured seven of the enemy's guns.”
in the chief command in that region, the former having been called to the command of the Army of the Potomac.
But the Confederates
were not willing to surrender to the Nationals the granaries that would be needful to supply the troops in eastern Virginia
without a struggle, and General Lee
was placed in the chief command of the Confederate forces there, superseding the incompetents.
was recalled to Richmond
, in 1861, Floyd
were competitors for the possession of the Kanawha Valley
The former, late in October, took post at a place where his cannon commanded the road over which supplies for the latter passed, and it was resolved to dislodge or capture him. General Schenck
was sent to gain Floyd
's rear, but he was hindered by a sudden flood in New River
, though the Confederates
were struck (Nov. 12) in front by Kentuckians under Major Leeper
fled precipitately, strewing the way with tents, tent-poles, working utensils, and ammunition in order to lighten his wagons.
, pursuing, struck Floyd
's rear-guard of 400 cavalry in the flight; but the pursuit was ended after a 30-mile race, and the fugitives escaped.
soon afterwards took leave of his army.
Meanwhile General Reynolds
was moving vigorously.
had left Gen. H. R. Jackson
, of Georgia
, with about 3,000 men, on Greenbrier River
, at the foot of Cheat Mountain
, and a small force at Huntersville
, to watch Reynolds
He was near a noted tavern on the Staunton pike
called “Travellers' rest.”
moved about 5,000 men of Ohio
, and Virginia
at the beginning of October, 1861.
On the morning of the 2d they attacked Jackson
, and were repulsed, after an engagement of seven hours, with a loss of ten men killed and thirty-two wounded. Jackson
lost in picket-firing and in the trenches about 200 men. Reynolds
fell back to Elkwater
Meanwhile General Kelley
, who was guarding the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, had struck (Oct. 26) the Confederates
, and, after a severe contest of two hours, routed them, capturing three cannon and a large number of prisoners.
The blow given Jackson
at “Travellers' rest” paralyzed the Confederate
power in western Virginia
He left his troops (about 2,000 in number) with Col. Edward Johnson
, of Georgia
, and returned to that State.
had left his troops in charge of Gen. Robert H. Milroy
, consisting of a single brigade, to hold the mountain passes.
He scouted the hills vigorously, skirmishing here and there, and finally, on Dec. 12, moved to attack Johnson
He was at first unsuccessful, the Confederates
became the aggressors, and, after losing nearly 200 men, he retired.
The Confederate loss was about the same.
Late in December Milroy
sent some troops under Major Webster
to look up a Confederate force at Huntersville
It was successful, after a weary march of 50 miles over ground covered with snow.
The Confederates were dispersed, a large amount of stores burned, and their soldiers, disheartened, almost entirely disappeared from that region.
's army went to the Virginia peninsula
(April, 1862), there were three distinct Union armies in the vicinity of the Blue Ridge
, acting independently, but in co-operation with the Army of the Potomac. One was in the Mountain Department, under General Fremont
: a second in the Department of the Shenandoah, under General Banks
; and a third in the newly created Department of the Rappahannock, under General McDowell
was at Franklin, in Pendleton county
, early in April, with 15,000 men; Banks
was at Strasburg
, in the Shenandoah Valley, with about 16,000 men; and McDowell
was at Fredericksburg
, on the Rappahannock
, with 30,000 men. When Washington
was relieved by the departure of Johnson
for the peninsula, McDowell
was ordered forward to co-operate with McClellan
, and Shields
's division was added to his force, making it about 40,000.
Arrangements had been made for the service of auxiliary or co-operating troops in western Virginia
, before the Army of the Potomac started for Richmond
in May, 1864.
In that region Confederate cavalry.
guerilla bands, and bushwhackers had been mischievously active for some time.
was an active marauder there, and, as early as January (1864), Gen. Fitzhugh Lee
(q. v.), with his mounted men, had
made a fruitless raid on the Baltimore and Ohio Railway west of Cumberland
A little later Gen. Jubal A. Early
, in command of the Confederates
in the Shenandoah Valley, sent a foraging expedition under Rosser
in the same direction, who was more successful, capturing 1,200 cattle and 500 sheep at one place, and a company of Union soldiers at another.
struck him near Romney
and drove him entirely out of the new commonwealth (see State of West Virginia
), with the loss of his prisoners and a large proportion of his own men and horses.
was put at the head of a large force in the Shenandoah Valley (April, 1864), who gave the command of the Kanawha Valley
to General Crook
On his way up the valley from Staunton
with 8,000 men, Sigel
was met at New Market
by an equal force under Breckinridge
After much manoeuvring and skirmishing, Breckinridge
charged on Sigel
, near New Market
, and, after a sharp fight, drove him down the valley to the shelter of Cedar Creek
, near Strasburg
, with a loss
of 700 men, six guns, 1,000 small-arms, and a portion of his train.
was immediately superseded by General Hunter
, who was instructed to move swiftly
, destroy the railway between that place and Charlottesville
, and then move on Lynchburg
, meanwhile, had met General McCausland
and fought and defeated him at Dublin Station, on the Virginia and Tennessee Railway, and destroyed a few miles of that road.
lost 700 men, killed and wounded.
had, meanwhile, been unsuccessful in that region.
advanced on Staunton
, and, at Piedmont
, not far from that place, he fought with Generals Jones
, battle of). At Staunton
, when the National
forces concentrated there, about 20,000 strong, moved towards Lynchburg
by way of Lexington
That city was the focal point of a vast and fertile region, from which Lee
had given to Lynchburg
such strength that when Hunter
attacked it (June 18) he was unable to take it. Making a circuitous march, the Nationals entered the Kanawha Valley
, where they expected to find 1,500,000 rations left by Crook
under a guard.
A guerilla band had swept away the rations and men, and the National
army suffered dreadfully for want of food and forage.
had remained loyal to the Union
, and in 1861 a new State was there organized (see State of West Virginia
). After the war Virginia
was under military control.
A new constitution was prepared, and was ratified on July 6, 1869, by a majority of 197,044 votes out of a total of 215,422.
The constitution was in accordance with the Fourteenth Amendment of the national Constitution.
State officers and representatives in Congress were chosen at the same time: and in January, 1870, Virginia
was admitted to representation in the Congress
26, 1870, General Canby
, in command of the department, formally transferred the government to the civil authorities.
Population in 1890, 1,655,980; in 1900, 1,854,184.
See United States, Virginia
, in vol.
governors under the colonial government.