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they had professed since 1789—belong to the invading party, or to that standing on the defensive—it chose the latter, and passed its ordinance of secession.
The people confirmed that choice by an overwhelming vote.
The action of the Virginia convention was kept secret for nearly two days in order to give time to take possession of the United States armory and arsenal at Harper's Ferry, and volunteer companies were secretly hurried from the valley for this purpose.
These troops reached Halltown, about five miles from Harper's Ferry, late in the afternoon of the 18th of April.
Learning of their advance, the small Federal garrison there, at 10 p.m., fired the armory, and crossing into Maryland retreated all night toward the United States barracks at Carlisle.
The Virginia troops occupied the town shortly after its evacuation, and proceeded to extinguish the fires.
On the nomination of the governor, Gen. William B. Taliaferro was, on the 18th, assigned to the command of Virginia t