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appointment, by the convention, of a governor, lieutenant-governor, council, and legislature, composed of the delegates to the general assembly chosen in May, and the senators entitled under existing laws to seats in the next general assembly, who should qualify themselves by taking a prescribed oath, pledging their support to the Constitution of the United States and the laws made in pursuance thereof as the the supreme law of the land, anything in the ordinances of -the Richmond convention to the contrary notwithstanding, and to uphold and dcfeud the government ordained by the convention at Wheeling. F. H. Pierrepont was chosen governor, and inaugurated the next dav, June 20th.
In the governor's inaugural address he took occasion to speak very plainly of the conduct of the secessionists, and also of the imperative need of the course which had been adopted by the loyal inhabitants. "We have been driven into the position we occupy today, by the usurpers at the South, who have inaugurated this war upon the soil of Virginia, and have made it the great Crimea of this, contest. We, representing the loyal citizens of Virginia, have been bound to assume the position we have assumed to-day, for the protection of ourselves, our wives, our children and our property. We, I repeat, have been driven to assume this position ; and now we are but recurring to the great fundamental principle of our fathers, that to the loyal people of a state belongs the law-making power of that state. The loyal people are entitled to the government and govern
mental authority of the state. And, fellow-citizens, it is the assumption of that authority upon which we are now about to enter.1'
The legislature met on the 22d of July; the new government was recognized by the president; two senators, Messrs J. S. Carlisle and W.T. Willey, were chosen to take the place of the seceders, Mason and Hunter (which they did on the 13th of July); and various enactments were made suitable to the present condition of things.*
Previous to this, General McClellan, having resigned his connection with the Ohio and Mississippi Kailroad in order to serve in the army, had been ordered by the president, to take charge of military opeiations west of the Alleghanies; consequently, the defence of Western Virginia was promptly looked after. On the 26th of May, immediately subsequent to the vote on the secession ordinance, General McClellan issued a stirring proclamation from Cincinnati, Ohio, setting forth his intentions, and urging the people of Virginia to join the Union standard, f Forces
* Governor Letcher, on the 14th of June, issued a proclamation to the peopie of North Western Virginia. Among other things, he besought them to join him and the secession party, in such phrase as this:—" By all the sacred ties of consanguinity, by the intermixtures of the blood of East and West, by common paternity, by friendships hallowed by a thousand cherished recollections and memories of the past, by the relics of the great men of other days, come to Virginia's banner, and drive the invader from your soil." But John Letcher's appeals were in vain; the people rallied under the old flag and defended it on every occasion.
f One passage from this proclamation may here be quoted, as tearing on a subject of great perplexity to the government:—" Your houses, your families, and property are safe under our protection. All your rights shall be religiously protected. Notwithstanding all that has been said by the traitors to induce you to were pushed forward, and in conjunction with Virginia troops entered upon active operations against the rebels. Colonel Kelly's movement upon Grafton and Philippi we have already noticed (see p. 34), as also that of Colonel Wallace across Hampshire County.
WESTERN VIRGINIA'S COURSE.
Gen. McClellan ascertaining that the enemy had taken post at Laurel Hill, near Beverly, so as to command the road to the southern part of the state and secure supplies, determin
ed to drive them out, and if possible capture the enemy's forces. His plan was to occupy the attention of the rebels under Gen. Garnett (formerly a United States officer), by seeming to make a direct attack, while a strong force was marching round to his rear, in order to gain possession of the road above spoken of. On the 7th of July, Gen. Morris, taking about 4,000 men, moved from Philippi to Bealington in front, Gen. McClellan having previously, with the main body, consisting of 10,000 men, advanced from Clarksburg^ by way of Buckhannon, from the west, so as to attack the enemy's left at Rich Mountain. This was on the 1st of July. Skirmishing ensued for several days in various directions and with varied success.
On the 11th of July, General McClellan, making his way toward Beverly, was encamped with his forces a short distance to the west of Rich Mountain,
believe that our advent among you will be signalized by interference with your slaves, understand one tiling clearly: not only will we abstain irora all interference, but we will, on the contrary, with an iron hand, crush any attempt at insurrection on their part."
in front of the rebel entrenchments on the road. So well was the enemy's position defended by art and natural advantages, that a direct attack was considered impracticable without the certainty of great loss. Colonel Rosecrans, with about 3,000 men, was then sent across the hills southeasterly to attack the enemy's rear, while McClellan was to attack the front, so soon as he heard from Rosecrans. Colonel Pegram, the rebel commandei did not, however, wait for the assault, but moved off in the night, hoping to join his forces to those of Garnett. On finding his rear entirely exposed by this retreat of Pegram, Gen. Garnett evacuated his camp, intending to reach Beverly in advance of McClellan, and to withdraw by the road to Southern Virginia. This was soon found to be impossible, and escape was sought in another direction. Col. Pegram surrendered with his entire force, on the 12th of July; and Gen. Garnett, striving to cross the mountains into the valley of Virginia, was hotly pursued, on the 13th, by the Union troops under Captain Benham. At Carrick's Ford, on the Cheat River, the enemy attempted to make a stand; but Gen. Garnett was killed, and his forces were routed completely, only a small proportion out of several thousands making their escape.* "Our success," says General
* Pollard, in his *' First Tear of the War," p. 84, estimates Garnett's force at less than 5,000 infantry with four companies of cavalry, and Pegram's at about 1,600 men. McClellan is stated to have had with him a force of 20,000. Some Union writers make Garnett's force to have been nearly 10.000, and Pegram's about 2,000, while McClellan's '.3 set down at 10,000. We give the numbers, on what appears to be the best authority, without vouching for their accuracy.
McClellan in his dispatch, July 14th, u is complete, aad secession is killed in this country."
On the 19th of July, McClellan issued an addrt-vs to his soldiers, full of glowing and encouraging words, inciting to future victory. On the 22d, however, (the day after the Bull Run disaster), he was summoned by the president to command the Army of the Potomac, and the army of occupation in Western Virginia was assigned to Gen. Rosecrans. By the activity of McClellan the Cheat Mountain Gaps, which formed the key to "Western Virginia, were entrenched and held by a strong force of loyal troops.
In regard to Eastern Tennessee, it was not unnatural or unreasonable to find there a spirit and determination similar to those prevailing among loyal Virginians. The inhabitants were mostly agricultural, and less dependent upon slave labor than those in the western portion of the state, and they were ardently attached to the Union and its privileges. In both Virginia and Tennessee there was a hostile, dominant power, and both were betrayed by the arts and treachery of those who held the supremacy in local affairs. The situation, however, of Eastern Tennessee was less advantageous for the maintenance of the liberties of the people than that of her northern neighbor. Each had a bold, unscrupulous governor and legislature, ready and willing to act the traitor, and force the state into the embraces of secession. The one had its Letcher, a man thoroughly versed in political arts and appliances; the other had its
Harris, equally reckless and far more tyrannical. In both states there was indeed a show of submitting the question of secession to a popular vote, but in both instances a treaty was formed with the rebel government, and the military resources of the state were placed at the command of Jefferson Davis before the vote was taken. Of course coercion and terrorism prevailed alike, with a deeper shade of malignity, however, in Tennessee, in proportion to the nearness of that state to the seat of the rebel government. Eastern Virginia, though deriving part of her wealth from the raising and selling slaves to the cotton planters, was yet dependent upon the skill and labor obtained from the North for developing her capacities of improvement; while Western Tennessee was not simply related to the South in manners and culture, but might be considered an integral part of the South itself. It was, consequently, a much harder task for the mountaineers of the Cumberland to contend with the wealthy slave proprietors on the Mississippi, than for a vigo/ous rural population bordering on Pennsylvania to hold their own against the dwellers on the James and the Rappahannock. It the chances in both cases had been equal within their borders, the contiguity of the more southern state to the desperadoes of Alabama. Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana, to say nothing of the refugee enemies of the Union in Kentucky, would have turned the scale against the efforts of the patriots of East Tennessee.
The loyal citizens of this region, unwilling to give up their birthright without an effort to preserve it, met in convention at Knoxville, May 30th. More than a thousand representatives assembled to take counsel in regard to the present crisis. The Hon. Thomas Nelson was chosen president, and addresses were made by Gen. Arnold and Senator Johnson. The proceedings were marked by earnest, intelligent, outspoken patriotism. Secession was denounced, and the people throughout the state were besought to resist it and vote it down on the day appointed, June 8th.
The people of the eastern counties rosponded nobly to the appeal of the convention. In twenty-nine counties the vote reached 32,923 against secession, while in its favor were cast 14,780, but these were made up fully one-half by the rebel troops voting without any right whatever. The vote of the entire state, as proclaimed by Gov. Harris, stood 104,019 for separation; 47,238 again tt. The entire vote in February had been, for no convention, 70,000, against, 50,000, and but three secessionists had been elected in the state. Yet, in only four months, Tennessee apparently underwent so marvellous a change; fit illustration of what political demagogues and schemers can and will do to accomplish their wicked ends.
The convention was again called together at Greenville, June 17th. A declaration of grievances was adopted, in which was a full recital of the course pursued by rebels and traitors. In no part of the state but East Tennessee, it was set forth, was the recent election free, and no where else was the Union allowed to be spoken of and advocated. Loyal men were overawed by the tyr
anny of the military power, and the still greater tyranny of a corrupt and subsidized press. In Memphis, for instance, out of more than 5,000 votes, only five freemen, at the risk of their lives, cast in Union votes. Numerous other statements were made, showing; how little of fairness or honesty had been practised by the leaders in disunion and rebellion.
But there was now almost no opportunity for redress, or, as was contemplated, for separate action. The state was in the vortex of secession, and nothing could rescue it but the strong interposition of the United States government. So far from upholding the independence of their mountain region, the loyal men of Eastern Tennessee, after an ineffectual struggle, were hunted, imprisoned, and driven into exile. Thousands crossed the mountains by stealth to serve in the ranks of the Union army, that they might return to their homes under the flag of the Republic, and rescue their families and friends from the intolerable tyranny which oppressed them. The brave and much enduring men of this region were compelled to bide their time ;* yet it was not wholly in silence; for Eastern Tennessee had men who were able and willing to raise their voices, as well as their arms, in her defence. Besides
* When Gen. Schoepf repulsed the rebels at Camp Wild Cat (see p. 39) the East Tennesseeans expected him to como to their aid. Deceived by the rebel reports of their great force at Bowling Green, Schoepf, after advancing two or three days in the direction of Cumberland Gap, retreated towards the Ohio, strewing the road with wrecked wagons, dead horses, etc., and leaving East Tennessee to her fate, much to the disappointment of those who loved the cause of loyalty and devotion to the common interests of our country.