Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia
THIS PAGE HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

To call out the militia in West Virginia

Union or Secession
  • To call out the militia in West Virginia
  • To call out the militia in West Virginia
Governor Francis H. Pierpont wrote to President Abraham Lincoln on September 3, 1861, advising him how best to call out the militia in western Virginia.
« Return to Civil War Begins

To call out the militia in West Virginia

Governor Francis H. Pierpont to President Abraham Lincoln, September 3, 1861, Letter Book (1861–1864), 31–32, Executive Papers of Governor Francis H. Pierpont, 1861–1865, Acc. 36928, State Government Records Collection, Record Group 3, Library of Virginia.

Governor Francis H. Pierpont wrote to President Abraham Lincoln on September 3, 1861, advising him about how best to call out the militia in western Virginia, because "if W. Va. is held until Decr. it will be a death blow to Secession in this region." Fighting had occurred in many regions of western Virginia beginning at Philippi on June 3, 1861. At Rich Mountain, in Randolph County, on July 11, George B. McClellan, a major general of Ohio Volunteers, secured much of western Virginia for the Union. At Cheat Mountain in Pocahontas County, September 11–13, 1861, one week after Pierpont's letter to Lincoln, Union forces again prevailed over Confederate soldiers, commanded for the first time by Robert E. Lee.

Governor Francis H. Pierpont to President Abraham Lincoln, September 3, 1861, Letter Book (1861–1864), 31–32, Executive Papers of Governor Francis H. Pierpont, 1861–1865, Acc. 36928, State Government Records Collection, Record Group 3, Library of Virginia.

Sep 3d.
To His Excellency,
the President of the U.S.
Dear Sir,
I am convinced that the Confederate forces will exert the utmost of their power on West Virginia, between this and December, perhaps in the next thirty days.
There may be sufficient force in W. Va. to resist the rebels approaching, but I have my doubts on that point. Eight or ten regiments of Volunteer Militia could be raised in W. Va., and Ohio, and Western Pa. to occupy Western Va. This would make a sure thing of what is now doubtful;— and if W. Va. is held until Decr. it will be a death blow to Secession in this region. The force I propose will be raw troops, but they are to meet raw troops.
The policy of the rebels is to exert their greatest force before frost, and it must be met by a corresponding vigor, and crushed out. My opinion is that if you determine to call out any Militia in W. Va, that you had better authorize me to communicate with such districts as can furnish the force, and let it be brought out by authorizing the Commandants individually, without proclamation. They can be procured by paying and subsisting. The arms may be an objection—You know about that.
I make these suggestions for your mature consideration
I am, Very Respfy,
Yours &c