Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
March 1861

March 1
At the Virginia State Convention, John Echols of Monroe County submitted resolutions calling on the U.S. Congress to recognize the independence of the states in the Confederate States of America and for a treaty between the two governments prohibiting the slave trade and providing for free navigation of the Mississippi River.

March 2
At a meeting of the Wheeling City Council, Mayor Sweeney and council members adopted resolutions extending an invitation to Kentuckian John J. Crittenden to visit Wheeling on his return home from Washington. Crittenden had attempted to forge a compromise between North and South to prevent civil war, but his efforts were unsuccessful.

March 3

March 4
Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as the sixteenth president of the United States.

At the Virginia State Convention, Waitman T. Willey of Monongalia County gave a patriotic speech in which he urged delegates to consider what would become of Virginia if she seceded from the Union. In response to those people who claimed the Union was already dissolved, Willey countered, "It still lives, and will live while Virginia stands firm."

March 5
The Virginia General Assembly passed an act which incorporated the Berkeley Border Guards Armory Company for the purpose of establishing an armory for the Berkeley Border Guards, a voluntary military company in Martinsburg, Berkeley County.

March 6
A convention of the Southern States Rights party of Jackson County and a part of Roane County was held in Spencer on March 6 for the purpose of nominating a candidate to represent Jackson and Roane in the Legislature of Virginia. G. W. Duvall of Roane County was nominated by acclamation.

March 7
John Carlile spoke for two hours at the Virginia State Convention. According to fellow delegate Marshall Dent, of Monongalia County, the speech "struck the secessionists like a thunderbolt." It was "decidedly the boldest speech of the session" and "came right up to the point upon which the Union men are bound to stand."

A meeting in Barbour County passed resolutions in support of the resolutions submitted on February 21 at the Virginia State Convention by Samuel Woods and urging Virginia to make "common cause" with other southern states.

March 8

March 9
Marshall M. Dent, a delegate to the Virginia State Convention, wrote a letter to the Morgantown Star about the anti-Union sentiment in Richmond and the treatment of Union supporting delegates.

March 10

March 11
At the Virginia State Convention, George W. Summers of Kanawha County, a member of the Peace Conference, spoke at length in support of the conference.

March 12
George Summers continued his speech in support of the Peace Conference, stating that the duty of Virginia is "to be faithful when all others shall prove faithless; . . . to stand by these monuments of her glory--the Constitution and the Union--constructed by herself more than by all others."

March 13
The Western Virginia Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church began in Wheeling.

March 14

March 15
Citizens of Harpers Ferry and Bolivar affirmed their support for the Union.

March 16
At the Virginia State Convention, Waitman T. Willey of Monongalia County submitted resolutions that taxation should be equal and uniform throughout Virginia and that all property should be taxed in proportion to its value.

James Burley of Marshall County offered resolutions asserting, among other things, that nullification and secession "are fallacies and heresies" and that revolution can be carried out "as well by a portion of the citizens of a State against their State government, as it can be exercised by the whole people of a State against their Federal Government." Burley specifically pointed to a portion of the state exempting from taxation "a peculiar species of property" as grounds for revolution within the state.

March 17

March 18
A meeting of the Democratic party was held in Upshur County.

At a meeting in Gilmer County, resolutions were passed supporting states rights and resolutions offered at the Richmond Convention by Samuel Woods.

Delegates to the Virginia State Convention, including William G. Brown of Preston, Franklin P. Turner of Jackson, Benjamin Wilson of Harrison, Allen T. Caperton of Monroe, and Samuel Woods of Barbour discussed the attitude of northwestern Virginians and Waitman Willey's resolutions on taxation. The discussion of taxation continued over the next few days.

March 19
On the final day of the M. E. Church annual conference, the Committee on the State of the Church presented resolutions regarding the action of the General Conference session at Buffalo changing the chapter on slavery in the Book of Discipline. The resolutions dissented from the chapter "wherein it may be construed as interfering with the established sentiment of our Conference on this subject" and condemned any attempt to "interfere with the legal relations of master and servant." After lengthy discussion on a proposed substitute by the Reverend Gordon Batelle, the resolutions were amended and adopted.

March 20
At the Virginia State Convention, Alpheus Haymond of Marion County spoke at length on taxation.

March 21

March 22
A Union ball was held at Washington Hall in Wheeling.

At the Virginia State Convention, Ephraim B. Hall of Marion County addressed the taxation issue.

But we are told this is an improper time to consider it because we have other questions before us, and that it evinces to the world that we are divided among ourselves and destroys our power and influence with reference to other questions. Now I ask you if you can conceal any longer that there is a dissatisfaction among us? I tell you you cannot do it. I come from that section of the State whose people are denounced upon this floor and outside the hall, as Submissionists, Abolitionists, and all these things. But I tell you, sir, that we have been submissionists because we must; and now we are disposed to be so no longer.

March 23
Ephraim B. Hall of Marion County continued his remarks on the taxation issue.

March 24

March 25
A meeting of the National Democracy of Monongalia was held at the court house in Morgantown.

At the Virginia State Convention, John Carlile of Harrison County spoke in favor of the Peace Conference propositions and their substitution for a report from the convention's Committee on Federal Relations.

This Union is mine and it shall, so far as my conduct is concerned, go to my children to be handed down to them and enjoyed by them as it has been enjoyed by me, to protect them as it has protected me, to be their shield against every danger and their protection for every interest. No right of mine, no right of the people of this Commonwealth has ever been invaded by it. All--all have been protected and secured as the rights of a free people were never protected before, and never, I am afraid, will be again if we let go this hope.

Carlile's proposal was defeated 119 to 4, with only Carlile, James Burley of Marshall, Chester D. Hubbard of Ohio, and George McC. Porter of Hancock voting in its favor.

March 26
The Virginia General Assembly passed an act naming the asylum at Weston the Northwestern Lunatic Asylum.

March 27
At the Virginia State Convention, John S. Carlile offered a resolution to terminate debate in the Committee of the Whole regarding reports from the Committee on Federal Relations. After debate among members, the resolution was defeated by a vote of 66 yeas and 70 nays. Most of the delegates from western Virginia voted in the affirmative.

March 28
Albert Gallatin Jenkins was re-nominated by acclamation for Congress by the Democratic Convention that gathered in Parkersburg.

March 29

March 30
The delegate from Frederick County offered a resolution on the same subject as John Carlile's of March 27, and it was debated at length. Among the speakers was Chapman J. Stuart, representing Doddridge and Tyler counties, who proclaimed, "I am completely worn out with this endless talking." Continuing his comments, Stuart stated, "Let me say to you, that, in my humble opinion, you may let the gentleman from Princess Anne, or any other member of this Convention, speak from now till the first day of October, and he will not change the mind of a solitary man here; because we are all prepared to decide this question for ourselves." The vote was 64 yeas, 38 nays.

March 31

Undated Events, March 1861

Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood

West Virginia Archives and History